You can make their money stretch further with Taobao, an online shopping mall linking Chinese retailers without the rest of the world.
The site works just like Amazon, but the choice of goods is vastly larger and most are much cheaper than similar items offered by retailers and online anywhere else in the world.
If you shop on eBay and Amazon and believe the offers are at bargain basement prices, then you need to visit Taobao.
Here are some facts about Taobao to help you start shopping and digging out some incredible bargains:
- Taobao has 500 million registered buyers and sellers and makes 50,000 sales a minute
- Shopping comes with two options – TMall, where manufacturers and wholesalers sell direct and Taobao Market Place where small businesses retail to customers
- Almost 1 million products are listed on the web site on average every day
- Shoppers can buy anything from an electric toothbrush to a drone – Chinese girls can even rent a boyfriend for a special occasion
- Orders are shipped worldwide based on weight and size – but delivery can take a couple of weeks, so urgent orders do not come fast
- Shoppers can access Taobao through broker sites, which work in much the same way as Amazon affiliates but have listings in English and pricing in US dollars.
Search Google for ‘Taobao broker’ for a list of sites
- Shoppers can pay on Taobao with a credit card – so gain insurance on purchases. Taobao also has an online payment system like PayPal for regular shoppers.
- If you don’t sign up for a free account, you can’t shop on Taobao or any broker sites
- Unlike Amazon and eBay, Taobao is available anywhere in the world – which is good news for expats in out of the way places and even large countries such as Australia, which is an Amazon-free zone
- Prices are generally fixed, but like eBay, some sellers auction their goods to the highest bidder. The main currency is the Chinese yuan, but the site exchange rate is favourable with other foreign currency exchange services
Taobao is owned by the world’s largest e-commerce platform Alibaba, which links manufacturers to entrepreneurs worldwide and acts as a gateway for businesses seeking to source goods.
Alibaba also runs China’s versions of social media giants Twitter and YouTube.