For those of you from outside of China, you may be wondering what is Taobao? To put it simply, Taobao is an online marketplace for Chinese to buy and sell products. Our brief beginners guide will give you a quick overview and tell you what you should know about Taobao.
It is similar to eBay and Amazon and it is operated in China by the Alibaba Group. Taobao Marketplace has been online since 2003 and is a consumer-to-consumer (C2C) retail sales platform for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs to open online stores. These stores mainly target consumers in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. This is one of the most visited sites in the world and is the number one online shopping portal in China.
Sellers are able to post goods for sale, which is normally new products that are sold at fixed prices. Buyers can give feedback on sellers using including ratings, comments and complaints. Many of the products that are sold on eBay and Amazon are actually made in China and available on Taobao at very competitive prices. The Payment system for all goods are done through Alipay and the funds are held in escrow until the customer verifies they have received the goods and are satisfied with them at which time the funds are released to the seller.
Taobao is the 800lb Gorilla of Chinese Online Shopping
Taobao is only available in Chinese and there is no English version. The only way to view the website in English is by using a translation service, like Google translate. You can view Taobao in English now clicking on this link. As this only translates the text, the images are still in Chinese and the website layout gets out of alignment. Alternatively we can help you to search whatever you need on the Chinese Taobao website.
Now that you know what is Taobao, the next step is to check out our guide on how to buy anything from China.