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Taobao Field Guide http://taobaofieldguide.com Adventures in Chinese ecommerce since 2008 Wed, 09 Sep 2015 16:51:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.1 Taobao Helps Defeat Your Husband’s Mistresses http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/taobao-helps-defeat-your-husbands-mistresses http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/taobao-helps-defeat-your-husbands-mistresses#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 20:38:43 +0000 http://taobaofieldguide.com/?p=5071 2014-08-27_215455

You have just seen an incriminating text message on your husband’s phone

You suspect – no you know – that he is having an affair. What can you do? Where can you turn in this difficult and confusing time?

Taobao can help

Or specifically, Professor Song can help. Professor Song teaches in the Psychology Department at Zhongshan University. And he also councils the romantically entangled part time with his storefront on Taobao.  For 299rmb (about $50) you can chat on Taobao’s IM system “Wangwang” with Professor Song for 1 hour. Or sign up for ongoing counseling at $2600 for a 3-month package.



Caption translation: defeat the mistress // you ask, we deliver

Professor Song has counseled more than 3000 troubled souls, and offers two main services. Relationship counseling and specifically mistress issues is the most popular service, followed by career counseling. And he offers more than emotional stress management:

(Paraphrased from service description:) “our services are not only to enlighten, comfort, or relieve stress, it is not only emotional talk and relationship analysis, we provide a customized professional solution to restore your emotions! We aim to help restore your relationship and save your love.”


Don’t wait – defeat your enemy mistress today

Professor Song’s Counseling Services



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Buy Weibo Fans on Taobao http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/buy-weibo-fans-on-taobao http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/buy-weibo-fans-on-taobao#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 03:30:14 +0000 http://taobaofieldguide.com/?p=4516

I’ve been using Weibo pretty hardcore recently, using it to improve my Chinese. What I have learned it that it is pretty important to be hong (红, popular). Then I learned that you could buy Weibo followers on Taobao.

As with most virtual goods on Taobao, using images of cute girls is the most popular way to advertise.

Real quality fans

Most of the listings boast real quality fans – ones who are verified with a real identity, and who may repost your Weibos or comment back to you.

The dwindling price of Fans

When I went poking around on this story, I discovered that this story has been around since at least mid 2010. China Internet Watch reported that ” with less than 3,000 yuan (USD 440), you can get tens of thousands of fans.”  Today 10000 fans cost about 20 yuan.

Image from China Internet Watch in 2010.  You can see that in 2010, 10 followers cost 1rmb. Today 1rmb buys 500 followers. The only problem with that is that it is not exactly subtle.  For my modest 40 fans to increase by 10x overnight may arouse some suspicion among those original followers. And if it was discovered that I  artificially inflated my hong… that would be too embarrassing to bear, wouldn’t it?

Weibo followers – 1rmb for 500

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China’s Nunchuck Fight Club http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/chinas-nunchuck-fight-club http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/chinas-nunchuck-fight-club#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 06:57:15 +0000 http://taobaofieldguide.com/?p=2194 nunchuck-fight-club-on-taobao

You are looking at the Changzhou Nunchuck Fight Club. Take a good look, and be thankful that you are seperated by time and space. If you weren’t, this might be the last thing you ever saw.

That bad mofo in the middle? He’s the leader.


He looks like he is straight off the set of a John Woo film. He has been training for over a decade, and has the scars to prove it.  Check out a video of him in action.

Just 1 Rope and 2 Sticks

That’s what this badass decided to call his Taobao shop (1绳2棍而已).  He crafts his own weapons. The nunchuck equivalent of Hanzo Steel. They can be customized to your height and arm length, which is perfect for us foreign people, who are more likely to have different proportions.


Get your nunchuck skills in order

I haven’t done any research, but I can only assume by the above picture that Changzhou is overrun by street gangs all devoted to their weapon of choice. The Tonfa gang.  The Bo Staff gang,  The chick gang, all equipped with stainless steel kung fu fans. If you stand a chance of survival in Changzhou, you had better possie up with the right crew.

If you got the right stuff to join the Nunchaku Gang, he will take you under his wing and teach you the ways of Jeet Kune Do – the martial art developed by Bruce Lee. Bring 300rmb and leave your shirt at home.

Nunchuck Lessons – 300rmb

Custom-made Nunchucks – from 50rmb to 150rmb

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Rent a Beijing Girl on Taobao http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/rent-a-beijing-girl-on-taobao http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/rent-a-beijing-girl-on-taobao#comments Sun, 26 Jan 2014 05:04:56 +0000 http://taobaofieldguide.com/?p=917 buy-a-girl-on-taobao

Cool Stuff to Buy

This might be the coolest of our Cool Stuff to Buy. Meet Chen Xiao. She used to sell cosmetics on Taobao.  After getting bored with that, she decided to sell herself. Or at least rent herself out, 8 minutes at a time.

“I want to change my lifestyle”

“…so I’ll let you plan the rest of my life.”  It sounds like the setup for a movie. Cue the montage of her performing her various errands around Beijing, backed by Donna Summer singing “She Works Hard for the Money.”

Her whimsical plea has attracted some interesting assignments. For example, some of her past contracts have had her deliver coffee, buy train tickets, and take photographs at various locations around Beijing.?In fact, the only restrictions she sets are on ‘sexy or violent activities’.

Taobao for Crowdsourcing

Starting at just 8rmb for 8 minutes of service, her rates ramp up to 100rmb for the whole day. That still seems like a pretty good deal. She keeps a regular schedule, splitting her time between working online and going out on assignment. This could be a good option for your personal assistant in Beijing. Chen Xiao’s Remaining Life Shop – 陈潇的剩余人生店

If you need some assistance outside of Beijing, Taobao has plenty of people and companies selling similar types of services.

Running errands 跑腿

chen xiao still doing stuff

What is Taobao and why does it have so much cool stuff to buy?

Check out all the Cool Stuff to Buy, and contact one of our expert Taobao Assistants to help you buy cheap Taobao stuff from outside of China. You will be  a happy camper!

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Male Size-Enhancing Padded Speedos http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/male-size-enhancing-padded-speedos http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/male-size-enhancing-padded-speedos#comments Tue, 10 Dec 2013 04:02:16 +0000 http://taobaofieldguide.com/?p=4144

Wait until Dino Beach sees me in this!

Being a season pass holder to Shanghai’s Dino Beach 热带风暴 water park, I am in my bathing suit all summer long. And long ago I shed my baggy American board shorts in favor of the Chinese Speedo. I mean, I don’t want to look uptight in front of everybody.

Problem is, certain areas of my body seem… uptight in my Speedo. Save your cold water jokes. This is no laughing matter.

Ask for the cup size you’d like to be

Are you an expat in China who still wears your baggy board shorts to go swimming? You might as well wear a T-shirt while you are at it, Mr. Shy!

Shed your old fashion habits and embrace the modern Chinese swimsuit. Just be sure to give yourself this secret advantage.

Buy it on Taobao, the judgement free zone.

The Male Size-Enhancing Padded Speedo ~53rmb

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Taobao Specials for the Rich and the Poor http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/taobao-specials-for-the-rich-and-the-poor http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/taobao-specials-for-the-rich-and-the-poor#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 00:47:14 +0000 http://taobaofieldguide.com/?p=4878 Since China’s shift to a capitalist economy some 30-odd years ago, some people have gotten rich. Many of those people have children, and China is now dealing with its first generation of what are called fuerdai: second-generation rich. The term describes the offspring of China’s most wealthy government officials and businessmen, and conjures up images of spoiled kids with Prada bags, Lamborghinis, and terrible attitudes. And although you can’t buy a Lamborghini on Taobao and you’d be ill-advised to look for Prada there (since a lot of what’s on Taobao is fake), there is still some gear available for fuerdai.

For example, if you’re looking for a way to prove you’re a classless rich kid without wearing it across your chest, you can pick up this fuerdai ID booklet, which resembles a Chinese passport but instead reads fuerdai ID on the front. At less than 1 RMB ($0.16), you don’t even have to actually be rich to pick this one up. And it’s also available in keychain form as a good reminder for anyone who didn’t get the idea when they saw your Maserati. Or here’s another affordable option: a white t-shirt with a print of a 100 RMB note stuck into the front pocket. Still too subtle? Why not just plaster it across your chest with this shirt that has fuerdai written in giant gold characters?

Thankfully, most of this gear is probably targeted at people who want to wear it ironically, but the term fuerdai is used to add a hip, expensive-sounding touch to products that might not otherwise catch your attention. What’s so special about this blanket, for example? It’s a blanket that fuerdai use (a suspicious claim to say the least, given that the thing only costs $6). There are all kinds of clothes from shirts to shoes on Taobao that are being sold as “popular with fuerdai” or “fuerdai style”, despite the fact that most of them are actually quite cheap.

If you’re wondering whether there’s an opposite to fuerdai, there is: qiongerdai, second-generation poor. This describes a much larger swatch of the country than the former term, and as Taobao is a place for bargains there’s a lot of merchandise aimed at them. For example, there’s this clever bumper-sticker, which reads: “I’m qiongerdai, I don’t have any money, so back off!” If you want to take things a step further, there are always t-shirts like this one, which proclaims that the wearer is a single qiongerdai.

It may sound odd that people would intentionally wear clothing advertising that they’re single and poor, but while China’s wealthy do love to show off, Chinese culture still values modesty and conformity, and calling yourself poor, single, ugly (or at least not beautiful), etc. is a way of sounding modest, showing you have a sense of humor, and fitting in with those around you. To that end, I think my favorite fuerdai/qiongerdai product is this three-person t-shirt set (below), which seems designed for a young family to wear. The men’s shirt reads: “I’m not tall, rich, and handsome.” The women’s shirt reads: “I’m not fair-skinned, rich, and beautiful.” And the child’s shirt? “I’m not fuerdai.” The real message isn’t “we lack self-esteem”, it’s more like “we’re just a regular family doing our thing, nothing special.” That’s something a lot of China can agree with.


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Weird Things on Taobao to Help With Your Exams http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/weird-things-on-taobao-to-help-with-your-exams http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/weird-things-on-taobao-to-help-with-your-exams#comments Sat, 09 Nov 2013 21:56:13 +0000 http://taobaofieldguide.com/?p=4890 I’ve found that if you want to find strange things on Taobao, using the term shenqi — mysterious tool — is a good place to start. And as school gets back into session and China’s students prepare for another year of high-pressure tests, what better time could there be to take a look at some of the mysterious tools on Taobao that can supposedly help you with your studies.


For example, there’s this bracelet. It’s easy on the eyes, true, and at just $22 it’s certainly not the most expensive piece of jewelry being sold online. But this bracelet, according to its seller, features some special properties. It’s “spiritual characteristics” will supposedly “benefit your studies, open your intelligence, improve your luck on tests, and enhance your memory.”

T28PHSXfdaXXXXXXXX_!!46899466In fact, there’s lots of weird stuff that you can use to boost your test scores. This feng shui doohickey, for example, may look like something designed by a witch doctor (pictured), but it promises to “enhance” your “feeling” during exams — whatever that means. Or you can try out this watch, which claims to be “absolutely the first choice” for taking tests, although it’s not clear why.

(Disclaimer: none of this stuff actually works. If you want to get a good grade, try studying instead of buying weird stuff online.)

Of course, it’s not all superstitious nonsense; there are some actually useful things that are also marketed on Taobao as “mysterious test tools”, even though they’re not that mysterious. A graphing calculator, for example, is likely to come in handy. So are these earplugs, billed as “must-have” items for exams to keep background noise from interfering with your concentration. These weird little fruit-people fans (below) promise to help keep you cool for those high-pressure exams where you’ve got to sweat it out. And for getting your mind right, there are a variety of t-shirts with motivational slogans like “Strive!” and “Do our best!”


(And of course, Taobao is full of more directly helpful things like exam prep books and workbooks to help students review the subjects they’re meant to be studying.)

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Defending the Diaoyu Islands, Taobao Style http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/defending-the-diaoyu-islands-taobao-style http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/defending-the-diaoyu-islands-taobao-style#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2013 16:05:34 +0000 http://taobaofieldguide.com/?p=4853 China has for some time been embroiled in conflict with Japan over which country owns what China calls the Diaoyu Islands (Japan calls them the Senkakus), an uninhabited string of rocks in the Pacific that no one cared about until it was discovered in the 1960s that there might be oil under them. As you might imagine, Taobao parent company Alibaba is not particularly eager to get in the middle of this highly politicized dispute, and has banned searches on Taobao for terms like “Diaoyu islands” or even “Diaoyu” (which on its own just means fishing).

But probably needless to say, that hasn’t stopped clever Taobao vendors from cashing in on the nationalist craze to “defend the Diaoyu” from the Japanese. Using terms like “patriotism” and “diaobao islands” (the “diaobao is an amalgamation of the word “diaoyu” and the Chinese word for “defend”), vendors have skirted Taobao’s keyword bans to offer a variety of patriotic items (mostly t-shirts) to those who want to show off where they stand.

T1ScTOXaBXXXa4E8bb_124735.jpg_310x310Many of them are quite serious, like the one pictured at right, which admonishes readers to defend their national territory and retain the Diaoyu islands. Some, like this long-sleeve tee and this shirt, mimic propaganda posters from the 1960s and 70s. And it’s not only shirts that are available; patriotic smartphone users can coat their iPhone 4s in this custom defend-the-Diaoyus phone case.

T1s5.MXXdbXXXXXXXX_!!0-item_picThere are also some vendors offering products that go beyond serious and into the realm of seriously offensive, like this shirt, the bottom of which reads “Fuck off, little Japan.” This tee also invites the “Japanese devils” to “piss off”, and this cute-looking striped number has a cartoon panda (pictured left) and a text slogan that begins “Die little Japan!” (and that’s the nice version of how you translate that phrase). And while these messages are mostly meant for domestic consumption, this shirt even translates the rude “fuck off” message into Japanese so the sentiment is impossible for anyone to miss.

Thankfully, not everyone on Taobao takes things so seriously. A number of vendors are selling bumper stickers and t-shirts like the one depicted below. The tongue-in-cheek message, which mentions China’s favorite Japanese porn actress Sola Aoi (safe for work), reads:

The Diaoyu Islands belong to China, Sola Aoi belongs to the whole world!


You can start your own search for defend-the-islands gear here.

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Celebrate National Day the Taobao Way http://taobaofieldguide.com/uncategorized/celebrate-national-day-the-taobao-way http://taobaofieldguide.com/uncategorized/celebrate-national-day-the-taobao-way#comments Fri, 06 Sep 2013 01:18:42 +0000 http://taobaofieldguide.com/?p=4883 China’s National Day — October 1 — is coming right up. It’s an important historical occasion, celebrating the anniversary of the founding of modern China, but even people who don’t care about that have something to get excited about because it comes along with a full week of vacation.

png-3It’s also a good excuse to decorate with red — red is pretty much China’s color of choice for every holiday, actually — and Taobao sellers have got basically everything you need to turn your home into a patriotic wonderland. The basics, of course, are Chinese flags, both the little handheld ones made of plastic and the bigger ones made of cloth. But why go for real flags when you can buy flag-inspired, heart-shaped stickers (pictured)? Or an old-school Communist flag wall banner?

Of course, plenty of people just want the pomp without the historical circumstance, and Taobao’s got them covered there, too. There are, for example, an astounding variety of red paper lanterns — this exquisite red paper chandelier is probably my favorite. There are also a lot of things to stick on your walls, like this faux-traditional paper cutting National Day message in the style of old Communist propaganda posters (pictured below). You can even buy firework decorations to stick on your windows so that it looks like the city is in a constant state of celebration all throughout the holiday week. (And there are some real fireworks available as well if you look carefully).


But it’s not all about decorating your house. People also decorate themselves with patriotic shirts like this “I love China” tee, this China dream shirt, and this cute collection of patriotic character shirts for little kids. Or you can just turn your upper body into a giant Chinese flag:


You can even find vacation destinations being sold on Taobao in the form of tour packages scheduled to leave over the National Day break, when everyone gets time off from work. And what better time could there be to visit China’s most famous hotspots, like Jiuzhaigou Valley Not a fan of the runaway patriotism that spills out onto the streets around National Day? Escape to the Philippines or Thailand and enjoy China’s patriotic celebrations by ignoring them entirely while sunning yourself on a beautiful tropical beach. Basically, whatever you want to do for National Day, Taobao’s got you covered.

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Selling the Loser Identity on Taobao with “Diaosi” http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/selling-the-loser-identity-on-taobao-with-diaosi http://taobaofieldguide.com/cool-stuff-to-buy-on-taobao/selling-the-loser-identity-on-taobao-with-diaosi#comments Sat, 31 Aug 2013 16:20:34 +0000 http://taobaofieldguide.com/?p=4836 Diaosi is a strange term. When looked at literally, the characters mean something like “dick strings”, and though it was originally quite a pejorative term, it has in the past year come to be a term of endearment and a self-identifier for the young and unlucky. ChinaSmack’s glossary has a definition of the term so good that I won’t bother explaining further and will instead let them break it down:

Roughly “loser” or maybe “douchebag” when used negatively but often is used humorously. This term originated on a Baidu discussion forum, and describes someone who is poor, ugly, short, good for nothing, a failure in life, and even prone to excessive masturbation. It has become a popular term similar to the Japanese term “otaku” and can be used to refer to both males and females.

But just as otaku came to define a culture of sorts (heck, there’s even a mainstream gaming website named after it, sort of), diaosi has come to define China’s downtrodden. And of course, while they might be poor, they still have some money, and that means sellers on Taobao are marketing to them.

T1O6vwXkJrXXc8LPM2_044615.jpg_310x310First and foremost, there’s an awful lot of diaosi. Of course, since diaosi tend to be young and poor, we’re taking t-shirts, not Louis Vuitton. There’s this sharp design (pictured right), for example, featuring the stylized characters for diaosi with the blunt motto “I have nothing.” Or this collection of shirts marketed to diaosi, which features slogans like “I’m a virgin” and “Dumbass artist.” For those who can’t afford clothing from the real Dior, there’s this mocking diaosi knockoff, which is clearly quite popular because it’s carried by a lot of different Taobao shopkeeps. And there are lots of other options, like this clever shirt with a non-existant Chinese character printed on it that uses elements from diao and si both.

Taobao also features a wide variety of products being marketed as “mystical” diaosi tools. These tools include everything from a tiny makeup mirror shaped like a MacBook Air to a USB key shaped like a bar of gold to a wallet that looks like a $100 bill (pictured below). Most of the “mysterious” diaosi tools are just sex toys, though — for losers, these guys apparently have pretty active sex lives!

A key thing for diaosi to have, apparently.

A key thing for diaosi to have, apparently.

Of course, diaosi generally like to play online games, so there is also quite an assortment of stat boosters and “assistants” for various online games (League of Legends is obviously the most popular at the moment).

It’s hard to imagine any of these people will still be calling themselves diaosi in five or ten years, but as usual Taobao’s vendors are striking while the iron is hot and capitalizing on the diaosi trend. Personally I wouldn’t be caught dead in any of these shirts, but the transaction numbers — many shops have shipped hundreds in the past few weeks — are proof enough that plenty of people disagree.

Do your own diaosi search here.

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