Monday, December 6, 2010

Shopoholics Beware: Addictive Website!

A confession: I'm addicted to TaoBao.

TaoBao is sort of like the Chinese version to Ebay (only less auctions, more regular sales from stores and factories) and you can find anything there. And when I say anything, I mean ANYTHING, from the small items you didn't even know you need, to cars, plane tickets and even apartments. Everything goes really cheap, of course. It is China after all. The advantage of the website is that some factories sell directly to you goods that they couldn't sell for any reason, and so you don't have to pay any commission that you would have paid if it was a regular store. Some of the products are sold for so cheap, it's even cheap in Chinese standards. As I said - a real pleasure... I bought most of my crafting material through TaoBao - beads, yarn, fabrics, even polymer clay in 1 kg (around 2.2 lbs) packs. It feels a bit different than Fimo or Sculpey, and you definitely have to learn how to work with it, but when 1 kg costs around $4, who cares?!

And we get to the catch (there must be a catch:)) - The website is all in Chinese and some of the stores won't deliver if you're not in China. But that is a minor problem, and a real shopoholic won't let it stop him (or her:)). I have a few friends who can't speak a word in Chinese, but managed to order some items.

This is a website that explains in plain English about TaoBao and how to use it, and it can really help you if you want to try TaoBao. Regarding the payment - this website claims that the only way to order if you're out of China is through a TaoBao agent, but that is simply not true - you can definitely pay by yourself. You just need to ask the store for their bank account details, and to transfer the money directly to them. The disadvantage of this method is that you can't use Alipay, which is the Chinese Pay-Pal. Another, safer, way to pay if you're not in China - Ask around to check if someone you know is going to China, then ask them to go to the post office there and to deposit money for you (promise them you'll order something for them in return...).

Enjoy your shopping spree!

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