Taobao is a Chinese online shopping website. It is founded by Alibaba Group on May 10, 2003 and it is operated in Hangzhou, Zhejiang.
Taoboa facilitates consumer-to-consumer retail by providing an avenue whereby individuals, businesses, and entrepreneurs can open online stores that cater mainly to consumers living in Chinese speaking countries. Countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan and some other few countries abroad.
Taobao is one of the world’s top 20 most visited websites as it has about 760 million products been listed as of March 2013.
People that want to sell goods are able to post their goods with a fixed price or through auction, though most of the goods sold on Taobao are with fixed prices.
The buyers can go through the different goods, their prices and can also check seller’s profile through the information available on the site. To be confident about a seller, a buyer can check the comment, ratings and also the complaints about the seller.
So can people from the U.S buy from Chinas Taoboa without the use of an agent?
The answer to this question is YES. People from China can buy goods from Chinas Taoboa without using an agent. Though there is a major limitation which is the language barrier. This is because the words on website is written in Chinese language (Mandarin). People in the U.S don’t understand Mandarin so it is pretty difficult for them to use the website.
There are some minor limitations like the shipping standard of delivery, customer service and shopping rules. If you are in the U.S and you absolutely want to buy goods through Taobao, you can ask a Chinese friend or a Chinese colleague to help you with the translations or you can translate Chinese to English from your browser. Payment on Taobao is through credit cards and online transfers.
Though it is safer using an agent but when you do it yourself you cut your expenses by at least 10%.