Taobao 101- What and what if?
What? – Online buy platform with sellers mainly from China, Taobao Recorded Twice the Revenue of Amazon in 2013; revenue in just 24 hours on Nov 11, 2014 (Bachelor’s Festival) was RMB571M! Parent is Alibaba whose IPO in 2014 at $25 billion is the biggest ever globally. It’s just a platform with thousands of sellers and buyers registered to trade there.
- What if?, Safe? – as a platform, probably similar to Amazon, it won’t pay your money to the seller until 2 weeks after you purchase and reminding you 4 days prior in case you want to raise objection re receipt and quality of the purchase, i.e. once objected, payment date will be extended pending resolution of conflict. There are various guarantees the sellers provided via Taobao, like 7 day return, etc (but not much use in reality to overseas buyers).
- Genuine? – can’t answer you that, you’ve to explore yourself, read this for my tips. However, it’s said over 63% of the goods there are fake!
- Why? – so why buy from there! – cheap (much cheaper than elsewhere probably because most stuff are manufactured in China), have anything under the sun you can think or dream of (almost), abundant selections (goods and sellers) to choose from, most detailed description with heaps of photos for all products, excellent pre-sale support via instant chat- Aliwangwang (install here), good and handy tracking, cheap delivery charges (about HK$40/kg, even cheaper if going through a midway postbox in Guangdong- will blog about this later), …
- What’re worth buying? – anything manufactured in China, items not readily available in local stores like DIY parts, refurbished items (incredibly cheap),…
- What’re not worth getting? – overseas manufactured items. And if you’re in HK or US – electrical consumer items like cameras, mobile phones (except Chinese brands), items you think warranty is important.
- Catch? – as delivery back to China for warranty service is clumsy and relatively expensive, hence better buy only if you don’t need the warranty (most should work when new). For same reason, make sure you understand the item (e.g. color, size of apparels, etc) and very sure that’s what you want before confirming to buy. Always ask the seller thoroughly through Aliwangwang, most are very responsive and will answer every details.
- Note – same precautions as with anything online, take due care against phishing, and never pay through some fishy link/url someone provides you- always go through the Taobao proper pages.
- Interested? – Start from here.