What is Taobao and how to get started

Taobao, also known as 淘宝, is China's leading online shopping platform. It was also the eighth most-visited website globally in 2021.

About Taobao

Taobao, also known as 淘宝, Taobao China, is China’s leading online shopping platform. It was also the eighth most-visited website globally in 2021.

Established in 2003 by Alibaba Group, Taobao China quickly became a significant contender in the Chinese consumer e-commerce market. Taobao is like eBay but with fewer auctions and more set prices. By offering free listing for sellers, instant messaging for buyers and sellers to communicate, and an escrow-based payment tool: Alipay, Taobao’s market share grew from 8% to 59% between 2003 and 2005 and then expanded to gain 80% of the Chinese online shopping market by 2010.

Now Taobao is China’s biggest consumer-to-consumer (C2C) retail platform. As of December 2021, it has 483.4 million monthly active users.

On November 11 every year also called “China’s Singles Day”, Tmall and Taobao collectively process over a trillion-dollar sales – two times the combined annual sales of CyberDay and Black Friday.

How To Get Started On Taobao

In 2021, China became the largest market for eCommerce, with a revenue of US$1,543 billion, placing it ahead of the United States. And the E-commerce value of the China market is expected to grow at a substantial CAGR of 11.6% between 2021 and 2025 to reach CNY21.4 trillion (US$3.3 trillion) in 2025. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic has been driving e-commerce activities in the country. These all make a solid reason to sell your products to China.

With careful planning, your business can enter China and start selling. And to reach Chinese consumers, you must have a presence on Taobao, one of the dominant Chinese online shopping platform.

However, currently only China-registered companies can register as business sellers. You cannot open a Taobao.com store with a non-Mainland China company.

If you have a Chinese entity, follow the steps below to open a Taobao store:

Step 1. Create an account with Taobao with a mobile number or an Alipay account first, then click “Open a Store for Free” on the top right corner of the Homepage.

Step 2. Choose to register as a business seller.

Step 3. Authenticate with a verified Alipay business account. If you are a legal entity, you’ll be asked to proceed with facial recognition and be required to scan your ID card.

Step 4. Provide company information (Company name, business nature, registration number, etc.)

Step 5. Proceed with facial recognition of the company’s legal representative and scan your ID card.

Cost To Use Taobao

Taobao offers free listing for sellers, so it’s free of charge to list and sell products on Taobao. However, Taobao’s escrow payment provider Alipay charges for its services on Taobao. Merchants are charged a 0.55% fee for every successful sale. The system is free to use for withdrawals under RMB 20,000 – or approximately 3,000 USD. Above this threshold, users are charged a 0.1% fee.

Do not have a Chinese entity, Chinese phone number or Chinese ID? We can help!

If you do not have a Chinese entity, Chinese ID, or Chinese phone number, which is essential to get started on Taobao, 21YunBox is here to help.

We can provide the necessary supporting documents to use Taobao and walk you through the process. Meanwhile, we will also bring your company, product, and service into full compliance with Chinese law.

Contact us now to learn more about our solutions for doing business in China legitimately!


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