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.
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.
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]]>
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.
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.
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]]>
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.
“…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’.
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
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!]]>
ShopItChina has a very polished shopping system that makes shopping on Taobao fun and easy for non-Chinese speakers. And they have great customer service to help your orders go smoothly.
A clear and easy ordering system
ShopItChina has an impressive and robust ordering system that shows you all the information you might want – prices, timelines and options – laid out clearly in English. It is the best implementation of an English-language Taobao system we have ever seen, and it makes shopping fun.
You can either search for your product through the ShopItChina website, or paste in the URL of the item you want. It just works, and it works great.
The ShopItChina ordering system is clean and impressive
Pay by credit card
Ordering is extremely easy, polished and straightforward – ShopItChina takes all the guesswork out of pricing your products and shipping. Forget the complex formulas and percentages – the ordering system tells you instantly the cost of the product, the total cost of the order with shipping. They even have free shipping options if your order meets certain cost/weight criteria. They accept major credit cards including Visa and MasterCard, and other forms of online payment.
Excellent Customer Service
In the past, we have seen Taobao Agents use complex order systems as a replacement for customer service attention. We are happy to say that’s not the case with ShopItChina. They have live chat customer service available to answer your shopping questions. You should check them out!
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.
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.
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.”
In 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.)]]>
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.
Many 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.
There 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.]]>
Also, as with all top up operations, test first with a small amount (100rmb) and make sure it works for you as expected!
When I first came to Shanghai and found out about Taobao, I was quite intimidated when navigating around the website. And then I found the Taobao Field Guide. It helped me to set up my own account and taught me how to get money to put onto my account. Well I was very happy when I was able to make my first purchase on my own, and for two years, whenever I needed Taobao money, I faithfully went to the post office and asked for my wang hui E, paid my service charged and off I went again to shop online.
And then, as I was topping up my mobile phone at a Family Mart top up machine, I noticed what looked to be the Taobao logo on the top up menu. I asked the cashier to walk me through the process and, lo and behold I had a new way to add money to my account, without having to wait until Saturday to go to the post office.
I’m sure that many of you have noticed machines like the one pictured below.
This handy little machine can help you top up your mobile phone and your Ali-pay account, and you just have to pay the cashier! Let me take you through how easy it is to add money to your Ali-pay account.
Step 1: Find one of these machines at your local Family Mart – not all Family Marts will have them.
Step 2: Tap “TOP UP”
Step 3: Tap “ALIPAY TOP UP”
Step 4: Tap “ALI-PAY TOP UP PIN”
Step 5: Enter the amount you wish to put on your Ali-Pay account
Step 6: Enter your phone number. Twice.
This is so that they can send the PIN number to your phone.
Step 7: Confirm payment. There is a service charge of (I believe) 2RMB per 100RMB of your top up.
Step 8: Choose “Pay at Cashier.” It’s the last option on this screen. Don’t worry if you hit the wrong button, just hit the back button on the bottom right hand of the screen.
Step 9: Take your receipt
Take this receipt to the cashier. Pay the fee and in a few moments you will get a series of three text messages from two different numbers. The first one will be a confirmation that your payment has been received. DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR RECEIPT. You need this, just like you needed that little piece of paper that you get from the post office. The second text you get will be from number 95188. You will get two texts from this number. The first one will have the website www.alipay.com, in it, the second one is the one that you really need to pay attention to. It has your pin number in it.
From there you just follow the Taobaofieldguide.com link to adding RMB to your account, follow the same steps but instead of choosing the post office link, the green one, choose the orange one on the left.
The next step is simple. Type in your recharge code, it’s on your receipt, it’s the really long number. Then click the orange button.
Next you will be asked for your PIN number. This was sent to you in a text message from 95188. It is six digits long. Click the orange button again, and SUCCESS! You’ve added money to your account.
It doesn’t take as long as all the pictures make it seem. And it is a bit more complicated than going to the post office. But, if you’re like me and have to wait for the weekend to get to the post office, this is just a faster way to get the needed cash onto your account. Cheers!
Thank you Krystal – the Field Guide salutes you!
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.
First 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!
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.]]>