3/21/15

Taobao


Often I get ask what I really like about China.the answer is simple - TAOBAO! 

Sorry! I can't help, just being honest...I absolutely love love love Taobao!
Is there anything you can't buy on Taobao?

For those who don't know what I am talking about - It is heaven for shopaholics!


What is Taobao?
Explanation according to Wikipedia : "Taobao ( Táobǎo Wǎng; literally: "clean treasure website") is a Chinese website for online shopping similar to Ebay and Amazon that is operated in China by Alibaba Group."

What is so special about Taobao? 
You can buy a lot of things there. When I say a lot - I really mean it. 
Clothes, household items, decoration, plants, art supplies, accessories, pet supplies, fake stuff....the list goes on.  

What is the big problem about Taobao? 
It's all in Chinese! In my opinion, that is not the real issue! You can figure it out with a translator, for example Google or bing. When you enter a keyword in English on Taobao, the search result will probably show something totally different than what you looked for. 
You have to past/copy the word in Chinese characters from the translator. After a while you will find what you are looking for. 
Definitely more challenging is the order process, as I said everything is in Chinese...
Either you understand Mandarin, so you can order yourself or you need somebody who helps - but first of all you need to set up an account, which need to be connected to Alipay/ your Chinese bank account or credit card, then you can start shopping! 

If you don't have a Chinese friend who can help you, I recommend Communitycenter. They offer weekly TAOBAO workshops for expats, which cost about 300 Kuai to participate. They set up an account for you and explain everything or you can contact Snappyshopper. She can set up accounts as well and get you through the Taobao jungle for 550 Kuai. 

For all the lazy people who don't like to trouble with all the Chinese language or don't want to bother their friends: Try Tao-how It's an special online-service for foreigners in China. They order stuff for you on Taobao (English of course). Either you can search the items yourself or just tell your personal shopper what you are looking for. They give you different options - you chose - they order for you. The disadvantage about it: Per item you have to pay 30 Kuai service fee. Actually 30 Kuai is a lot, especially when the item you desire is very cheap - it doesn't make really sense then. If you intend to pay with Paypal, which is very convenient - you have to keep the exchange rate from Yuan to dollar in mind. (the amount will be charged in dollar) Also 4 percent service charge of Paypal will be added to the total cost in the end. 


"you get - what you pay for" 
yes, most of the time that's ture - but you can make really good deals on Taobao!! 

For example this Cardigan was sold last season at Zara for about 40 Euro in Germany.
I almost bought it, luckily I didn't!! I found it on Taobao for 140 kuai, which was about 16 Euro at that time. The Cardigan is exactly the same, just without the Zara label on it!



This chair/ table is sold at Westwing Germany (designer-interiour online shop) for about 100 Euro, they claim the original price is 280 Euro . Similar ones you can get on Taobao for just 20-30 euro!!



Accesoires, like Statement Necklaces from ZARA for about 30-40 Euro you can find for 30-60 kuai! (again, just without the label, but mostly it is exactly the same)
The Necklace on the picture should cost 120 dollar, on Taobao just 42 Kuai! It is not the same quality, but honestly... looks almost the same.



I could go on now and mention much more... but it would take forever. Better you find out yourself about the many benefits of shopping on Taobao.