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Stuff To Look Out For In China

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#1 wd7512

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 20:20

I am from the UK and know absolutely nothing about the chinese fountain pen industry. At the end of next month i will be going on a 2 week trip to china and i would love to buy some inks and pens there which i couldnt get in the uk so...... I was wondering if i could have some advice on what pens to look out for and which ones to avoid and the same thing for inks, i will, of course, be going around shops so some advice on which shops would be good would be nice as well any ideas?

 



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#2 TruthPil

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 06:33

Welcome to China!

If you are limited to shopping in shops, then availability will vary greatly depending on where you will be visiting. What part of China will you be traveling to?

 

Generally the great fountain pen and ink manufacturers are in the southern part of the country, but their best products will be available in the big and more famous cities as well. Unless you will be traveling to a big city like Shanghai or Beijing, my experience is that you won't easily find top quality Chinese pens, just the cheap stuff kids use for school. I live in a small city in China and the only way I can get any good pens is by shopping online.


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#3 wd7512

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 15:45

Welcome to China!

If you are limited to shopping in shops, then availability will vary greatly depending on where you will be visiting. What part of China will you be traveling to?

 

Generally the great fountain pen and ink manufacturers are in the southern part of the country, but their best products will be available in the big and more famous cities as well. Unless you will be traveling to a big city like Shanghai or Beijing, my experience is that you won't easily find top quality Chinese pens, just the cheap stuff kids use for school. I live in a small city in China and the only way I can get any good pens is by shopping online.

 

I will be travelling to Hefei its quite a large city but obviously not like Beijing or shanghai



#4 TruthPil

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 02:26

OK, then most likely there won't be any shops that sell a wide range of pens or specialty inks. In regular malls and stationary stores I've never seen any inks other than the standard office colors and the nicest Chinese pen you might come across would be a Hero 100 or some really gaudy thing with fake gold all over it.

The best thing would be if you knew a local where you will be visiting who could order pens and inks online for you to pick up when you arrive.

Regarding pens, pretty much every decent Chinese pen can be found on eBay and they are strangely often cheaper than buying them in China.

What you'd be most interested in are inks because many of them aren't available outside the country. If you know someone in country who could help you, then you'll definitely want to check out the hundreds of inks offered by Penbbs. In the shops you'll want to keep your eye out for the upper grade of Hero inks, particularly Blue-black. It has wonderful shading and is pretty much waterproof. Hero 402 Blue-black is a favorite of mine and costs less than US$1 here.

Hope that helps a little.


Edited by TruthPil, 19 June 2017 - 14:12.

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#5 basterma

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 12:19

I am in Beijing and the Hero 401 Blue Black is an amazing ink for the money. I have also seen a profusion of Lamy Safari clones that use the proprietary Hero Cartridges. Other brands use them too like M&G, and some Jinhaos. Most of the pens you will find are ground for Aisan scripts with short strokes, so the will feel toothy and uncomfortable writing looping letters of Western alphabets. However if you sow down your pace and reduce your writing size a bit, you can discover some enjoyable pens.



#6 TruthPil

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 14:14

Oops, I meant to say Hero 402 Blue-black. I corrected the original post.

 

At any rate, keep an eye out for this:

 

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Edited by TruthPil, 19 June 2017 - 14:15.

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#7 gerigo

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 14:58

My experience in China is that everyone is caught up in this fervor to be progressive. Anything that hints at nostalgia and the old days are usually less popular. As with pens and ink. Although I say this, it does not mean that there is not a small group of collectors of pens, and also those appreciative of what they call pen calligraphy that has brought renewed attention to fountain pens and ink.

 

Unfortunately in China, there are no brick and mortar stores to speak of that would sell pens, paper and ink, the likes you see either in Taiwan, Singapore or Japan. That's because they are just not as popular and don't command the economic power like a good ole electronic mart or an Apple store. The best you could do are stores that sell individual brands, such as Lamy, and Parker, which are quite easy to find, as well as Montblanc and ST Dupont, that are quite prevalent as well. Unfortunately I DON'T recommend purchasing from these stores as their prices are just ridiculously high, especially Lamy and Parker. Often double of what you'd pay.

 

Now it does not mean that there are no unique products to be had. Most of the best stuff is unfortunately only available on Taobao, China's equivalent of Ebay/ Amazon. There are very unique pen makers, such as Tang pens, and the now legendary Pen BBS inks. Unfortunately its really not open to people outside of China as it requires payment through Union Pay and Chinese bank accounts. So not great news.

 

If you're interested in Hero or new brands like Kaco, you might be lucky if you were to browse at what is the equivalent of book/ stationery street. The street is filled with shop after shop that sell chinese calligraphy supplies and cheap books of classics. You can find meagre selections of Chinese made pens. Unfortunately their prices are usually twice what you'd pay on Taobao.

 

Sorry not the best news.



#8 bfoutch

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 18:07

You might want to keep an eye open for these new Hero inks. Available in 12 colors.

 

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