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I am not in China. How can I buy from Taobao?

Your best option is to contact a Taobao Agent.  Thankfully Taobao Agents are great, and I would recommend them even if direct Taobao purchase was possible.

Why should I use a Taobao Agent?

Taobao Agents resolve the obstacles international buyers have: payment, communication and shipping. Payment via credit card is difficult and Paypal is not possible on Taobao. Even if payment was possible, negotiating communication and shipping would make you cry. Using a good Taobao Agent means no tears, and only happiness for you.

Everything is in Chinese?!

There is no English version of Taobao. To buy on Taobao, you need a little Chinese language ability. If you are able to scan a restaurant menu in Chinese for your favorite dish, you can probably make it happen.

Can I connect my Chinese bank account to Taobao?

Yes you can! But we do not provide guides for that, as there are many Chinese banks with different procedures, and those procedures change constantly.


Is there any danger to buying on Taobao?

As long as you stay away from the too-good-to-be-true, you will probably be fine buying stuff on Taobao. But, you need to be aware of one major annoyance: sellers frequently post products they do not have in stock. It happens all the time, and it can really ruin your day.

How do I ask if my product is in stock?

If you are interested in buying something, contact the seller on Wangwang chat first – before buying and before recharging your account – to verify that they have the product in stock in your color and size. Do it every time you buy something! Here is how:

  1. post a link of the product you want
  2. ask if they have stock: 有现货吗?
  3. after they respond, ask if it is really true: 确定?

It has been a week and I have still not received my order

A couple likely scenarios here:

  1. The seller does not have stock.
  2. The delivery guy has attempted to deliver when you are not home.

In each case, the best course of action is to contact the seller. You can find order status, and the seller Wangwang contact on your Taobao transaction page.

How do I get money out of my Taobao account?

Getting money out of your Taobao account (for any reason) is a difficult ordeal detailed here, requiring the help of a Chinese friend. You may do better to leave the money in there for future purchases.


Taobao says my password is wrong, but I am sure it is right. What’s up?

See below

The password input box doesn’t show up, instead it is a ? box.

See below

The CAPTCHA image doesn’t appear. WTF?

See below

I am having another password / security plugin / CAPTCHA related problem

The answers to each of the above questions are a mysterious chemistry between your computer, your browser and Taobao’s security plugin. It is not something that we can diagnose, but we can offer these tips, which work out 90% of the time:

  1. Try a different browser (go for IE)
  2. Already on IE? Try Firefox or another browser.
  3. Restart browser, clear cache, restart computer, jiggle all the wires, smack the top of your computer.
  4. Are you on a Mac? The Gods punish you! Find yourself a Win XP machine and try again.
  5. Oh you are on Win XP? Tricky business. Try it on a different computer.
  6. Call the Alipay service hotline: 0571-88156688.

Still have questions?

There are tons of less-frequently asked questions already answered in the comments. If there is a bit of Chinese you don’t understand, or have another question, try pasting it into the ‘Search the Field Guide’ box in the right column.