Sign Up for a Taobao Account
Update: old payment methods don’t work anymore
(DEC 2014) We have received reports of buyers not being able to recharge their account because they need to verify their ID with Taobao. This process seems to disqualify the payment methods we advised on the site previously for foreigners. There are a few alternatives / workarounds for payment: (see here and here) but your best option may be to use a good Taobao Agent
UPDATED APRIL 2013
Registration Takes Less than a Minute
If you have ever signed up for anything online, the Taobao registration process will be very familiar. Before you start, you will need a Chinese mobile phone. You can also cross reference our guides with the official Taobao walkthrough for Asian customers who live outside of China. The processes are nearly the same.
Start by going to the Taobao registration page.
Step 2: Type in your Chinese mobile phone number. The link in the green box allows you to attach an email address to your account. You will still need to confirm with a Chinese mobile phone number. That checkbox (that you can’t uncheck) will automatically give you a limited Alipay account (which can add money and buy stuff, but not take money out).
Step 3: A box will pop up asking you to type the 6-digit number sent to your mobile phone.
But before you can start buying things, you will need to add money to your account. That means a trip to your local China Post Office to buy a Taobao Recharge Card.