Guide to Living in Beijing, China, Living

Taobao Shopping – Guide to Living in Beijing, China

When I just arrived to Beijing, a few first people that I met all told me to avoid shopping online as it is really addictive. At first I laughed and said that I don’t like shopping online. I am one of those old school girls who like to go around, touch and try stuff on. That was before I came to China. Some days ago I posted a post on funny Chinese shops and this time it is online shopping!

Online shopping.

So nowadays the markets are closing down, shops go out of business and retail industry changes. Especially here in China. Have you ever thought that you might want to buy a toaster (which, by the way, you can’t buy in a shop) for RMB 100 and get it delivered to your home? Well that’s true. No, no, no, it is not the delivery fee, it is the price for the toaster.

The delivery happens usually on day 3-4 after you order, but it also depends on the location of your product. My first order was a purifier, that I order from Shenzhen. It arrived on the third day after the purchase.

All you need is Alipay account, a Chinese speaking friend (only once) and a phone or a laptop for online shopping.

Taobao and JD.com

Taobao and JD.com are apparently the best websites for online shopping. As I seem, the Chinese people prefer to use JD.com but as my first order was through Taobao, I am still on it.

Honestly speaking, I have anyways look through both and what they offer are more or less the same, so why trouble yourself, right?

Just type in what you want and it will give you a plenty of choices. If you wonder what is fake and what’s not, just remember we are in China, everything is anyways produced here so does not really matter!

You will have to pay right away to confirm your order, that is to be done through Alipay account (attached to your bank card just like WeChat pay), which you will connect to your Taobao app.

After that, you need to know your address to be able to put it in. This is where you might need to ask your Chinese friend to fill it in for you. Done! You have bought your wish!

How to order?

This another question that many have – how do I order without knowing Chinese.

So normally what I would do is I will make sure I know what I want (Pinterest, Vk etc helps to get a wish). Then I normally would use bing.com/translator to get the Chinese names if I don’t know them. Copy-paste, search and here it is. Many things and characteristics I try to read but if not than I just guess as the pictures on the website are actually helpful.

Sometimes if I really doubt whether I chose everything right, I would ask one of my colleagues to check the order.

On the day of arrival they normally call or just show up at your doors, therefore you should make sure you are available for delivery. Now I mostly order everything to the office as I am barely at home in the afternoon.

Finally, the great thing is that you can track your order and know every step it goes through and where it is at any moment of time. Also, you can always request an exchange of the item if it did not fit or not what you expected.

So far I have already bought an air purifier, a toaster, a blender and now I am waiting for some supplies for my DIY project. Now I am contemplating to order more and more, but trying to stop myself.

Online shopping is a great and very convenient alternative to a traditional shopping in China. Some of the things you will not find in the shops anymore but only online. Try it and see for yourself, but be careful, it always seems easier and less painful  to hit the button instead of giving cash.