China is a fast-changing country. Not surprisingly, the list of popular gifts for Chinese family, relatives and friends keeps on changing as well. When I return to China, I always do some extensive research to gather an updated shopping list of gifts to buy. Here is a summary based on various gift-giving guides and online forum postings for my recent trip to China.
1. Parents/Elderly Relatives
* Vitamin Supplements
* Wisconsin Ginseng
Health-related gifts have been always appreciated in China. Even though the same product may be available in China, items bought oversea are considered as of higher quality.
* Skin Care/Cosmetics
Most Western brands sold in department store such as Clinique, Estee Lauder and Lancome are very much adored by Chinese women. However, if you happen to get any free gift with purchase, don't gift that alone. Many people know that you get it for free, so it would be very insulting if you just give the free gift as a gift.
If you really want to make a strong impression, buy from well-known brands such as Tiffany and Cartier. However, it is not a good idea to buy non-name brand pearl, which is typically much cheaper in China, or any gold jewelry that is 14K or lower, as gold jewelry in China is typically 18K or higher.
The following items are especially popular: Lindt chocolate, Ferrero Rochet Fine Hazelnut chocolate, Almond Roca.
* Handbag/Sun Glass/Clothing
Well-known name brands including Adidas, LV, Gucci, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, COACH, CK, Guess, AE, Gap, Levis, Express, Bebe, Nine West, Juicy Couture. Believe it or not, although most products are made in China, it is usually much cheaper to buy the name brands in US.
* Cigarette / Zippo lighter
A good portion of men in China smoke. Brand name cigarette and Zippo lighter can be good gift for them.
* Red Wine
A good choice is any Napa Valley red wine.
* State Quarters / Yearly Stamp Collection
* Name brand watch/belt/shoe
* Name-brand Clothing
Most well-known name brands are good choices.
* Disney-brand toys / Educational toys