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Thread: Beginners guide to Taobao

  1. #1
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
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    Beginners guide to Taobao

    Was asked about shopping for watches on Taobao so thought I would do a small guide now that I have done a couple of successful orders. This also posted on the Made In China sub forum (http://www.intlwatchleague.com/showthread.php?4587-Beginners-guide-to-Taobao&p=158920#post158920)

    This guide is from a Western perspective and from someone without knowledge or understanding of the Chinese language (and yes I know there are many different languages in China with Mandarin being the most common, but I use Chinese going forward, hope this is OK)


    Taobao
    For those that don't know, Taobao is one of the top 5 largest online shopping site in the world. It has over 350 million visitors in a month. It's owned by Alibaba and actually is made up of two sites. Taobao.com for C2C business and tmall.com for b2c. All major businesses has their tmall sites and for Western brands it's one of the best ways to the Chinese market. Searching on taobao.com will also give you tmall results.


    What makes Taobao difficult for Western shoppers is that it is entirely in Chinese (some translations into other south east Asian languages) and the shops only ship to China. But of course we can't let that stop us... That is where the agents come in.


    The agents
    A Taobao agent is a middleman. They are located in an area to which the Taobao merchants ship and they speak Chinese and English. You find the item you wish to purchase. Then you place an order with the agent, who will check for the availability and proceed to place the order on Taobao. The goods will be shipped to the agent. They will check it and then proceed and send it to you. This they do for a fee. Normally 8-12% of item price.


    Typical scenario:
    Me: search for watch and find one on tmall site. Copy link, paste into search engine on agent site. Press add to cart. Continue until satisfied with cart. Submit order.
    Agent: will check availability and approve order. If irregularities will update and seek confirmation. When Ok sends payment info
    Me: Pay
    Agent: Places the orders
    Wait
    Agent: items arrive to agent one by one. Gets checked. Photos sent to me if wanted. Once all items arrived a shipping fee is calculated.
    Me : choose shipping method and pay
    Agent: posts package and sends tracking number
    Wait
    Me: checks status of package in transit daily...
    And finally
    Me: rejoice at the sight of new watches.


    I'm not gonna advocate for one agent over the other since I haven't used all of them. There are plenty of reviews online for various services. I've only used taobaonow.com and spreenow.com. Both have worked well for me. But here you will have to do your own research.


    The agent system is fairly straightforward and easy. They communicate in English and I've always had good service. The difficult part can be the actual searching.


    Searching Taobao
    As I've said before all pages are in Chinese. I don't speak or read Chinese. Because of this it is good that the translation services has improved. I use Chrome for browsing Taobao. The automatic translation works surprisingly well. At least when you have gotten used to some of the stranger translations. (item becomes baby, style/collection becomes table) but you pick those up after a while.


    You can search using English words but you will get fewer results. It is recommended to try and used simplified Chinese characters. For watch related terms there is a wonderful resource put together by Ron Good (AlbertaTime on wus).
    http://www.amchpr.com/amch_pr_translations.htm
    (seems page has moved to http://www.amchpr.com/termstranslations.html)
    I use this all the time copy pasting different terms together. Then when finding something interesting I browse the store where that item was located.


    Some links:
    Beijing watch factory official tmall: https://beijingshoubiao.tmall.com/

    Seagull official: https://seagull.tmall.com/
    Guangzhou official:https://guangzhoushoubiao.tmall.com


    I've bought watches both from the big official stores and also from smaller taobao stores with VCMs. If you have an interest in Chinese watches and want to find some unique watches not available elsewhere I highly recommend trying your wings on Taobao. It can be a bit daunting at first but once you've browsed around on the site some time you start to feel more comfortable. Do your homework regarding agents and all will be fine.

    Happy hunting!
    Last edited by meijlinder; Aug 21, 2015 at 09:57 AM.

  2. #2
    Very mean giving a link that sends me straight to this:


  3. Likes OhDark30, JAGtime liked this post
  4. #3
    wind-up merchant OhDark30's Avatar
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    Oo, yum!
    And thanks for the info meijlinder, dangerous!

  5. #4
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Amf View Post
    Very mean giving a link that sends me straight to this:


    39mm, fairly thin at 9,8mm, b16zr which is a stable mvmt, simple 3-hander. Should be your cup of tea.

    case a bit pedestrian perhaps

  6. #5
    Excellent info. Should be helpful if/when I decide to go hunting for an enamel dial Beijing...
    Olma, Oris, Vostok, Casio, Smiths, Luch, Elgin, Fossil, Orient

    IWL DIY, Restorations and Mods subforum

  7. Likes meijlinder liked this post
  8. #6
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhDark30 View Post
    Oo, yum!
    And thanks for the info meijlinder, dangerous!
    It opens up a whole new world of watches... price of vintage chinese has gone up a bit from what I've gathered, but you can still get good pieces at a very cheap price.

  9. Likes is that my watch liked this post
  10. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by meijlinder View Post
    Was asked about shopping for watches on Taobao so thought I would do a small guide now that I have done a couple of successful orders. This also posted on the Made In China sub forum (http://www.intlwatchleague.com/showthread.php?4587-Beginners-guide-to-Taobao&p=158920#post158920)

    This guide is from a Western perspective and from someone without knowledge or understanding of the Chinese language (and yes I know there are many different languages in China with Mandarin being the most common, but I use Chinese going forward, hope this is OK)


    Taobao
    For those that don't know, Taobao is one of the top 5 largest online shopping site in the world. It has over 350 million visitors in a month. It's owned by Alibaba and actually is made up of two sites. Taobao.com for C2C business and tmall.com for b2c. All major businesses has their tmall sites and for Western brands it's one of the best ways to the Chinese market. Searching on taobao.com will also give you tmall results.


    What makes Taobao difficult for Western shoppers is that it is entirely in Chinese (some translations into other south east Asian languages) and the shops only ship to China. But of course we can't let that stop us... That is where the agents come in.


    The agents
    A Taobao agent is a middleman. They are located in an area to which the Taobao merchants ship and they speak Chinese and English. You find the item you wish to purchase. Then you place an order with the agent, who will check for the availability and proceed to place the order on Taobao. The goods will be shipped to the agent. They will check it and then proceed and send it to you. This they do for a fee. Normally 8-12% of item price.


    Typical scenario:
    Me: search for watch and find one on tmall site. Copy link, paste into search engine on agent site. Press add to cart. Continue until satisfied with cart. Submit order.
    Agent: will check availability and approve order. If irregularities will update and seek confirmation. When Ok sends payment info
    Me: Pay
    Agent: Places the orders
    Wait
    Agent: items arrive to agent one by one. Gets checked. Photos sent to me if wanted. Once all items arrived a shipping fee is calculated.
    Me : choose shipping method and pay
    Agent: posts package and sends tracking number
    Wait
    Me: checks status of package in transit daily...
    And finally
    Me: rejoice at the sight of new watches.


    I'm not gonna advocate for one agent over the other since I haven't used all of them. There are plenty of reviews online for various services. I've only used taobaonow.com and spreenow.com. Both have worked well for me. But here you will have to do your own research.


    The agent system is fairly straightforward and easy. They communicate in English and I've always had good service. The difficult part can be the actual searching.


    Searching Taobao
    As I've said before all pages are in Chinese. I don't speak or read Chinese. Because of this it is good that the translation services has improved. I use Chrome for browsing Taobao. The automatic translation works surprisingly well. At least when you have gotten used to some of the stranger translations. (item becomes baby, style/collection becomes table) but you pick those up after a while.


    You can search using English words but you will get fewer results. It is recommended to try and used simplified Chinese characters. For watch related terms there is a wonderful resource put together by Ron Good (AlbertaTime on wus).
    http://www.amchpr.com/amch_pr_translations.htm
    I use this all the time copy pasting different terms together. Then when finding something interesting I browse the store where that item was located.


    Some links:
    Beijing watch factory official tmall: https://beijingshoubiao.tmall.com/

    Seagull official: https://seagull.tmall.com/
    Guangzhou official:https://guangzhoushoubiao.tmall.com


    I've bought watches both from the big official stores and also from smaller taobao stores with VCMs. If you have an interest in Chinese watches and want to find some unique watches not available elsewhere I highly recommend trying your wings on Taobao. It can be a bit daunting at first but once you've browsed around on the site some time you start to feel more comfortable. Do your homework regarding agents and all will be fine.

    Happy hunting!
    Should this be archived in the Library? Great stuff, meijlinder.

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  12. #8
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
    Should this be archived in the Library? Great stuff, meijlinder.
    Thank you Ryan, just doing my part enabling..

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  14. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
    Excellent info. Should be helpful if/when I decide to go hunting for an enamel dial Beijing...
    If you have a bit of patience it might pop up in their 11/11 sale.

    Last couple of years Taobao has had Chinese Singles day on November 11.

    A bigger online event than Cyber Monday. Loads of discount from all major brands.

  15. Likes Ryan, 93EXCivic liked this post
  16. #10
    Looking more at the Beijing store: the Zungu ($200 on good-stuffs) is $96.50

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