Taobao is so much better

Shipping is a pain, but cheap compared to shipping from the US (and sellers for some reason won’t entertain shipping outside of the lower 48).

But compared to all the shopping networks in Taiwan, Taobao carries almost the same stuff you can get in the US. Sure, if you buy Nike, LV, or any other branded stuff 99% chance it’s fake, but for unbranded stuff it really can’t be beat. Almost as good as Amazon but without the picky seller…

If some of you guys are looking for stuff nobody has heard of in Taiwan, try Taobao. Like American sized clothing for example. Or for me, stuff like brazing powder, silver solder, machine tool stuff (end mill holders, collets, etc.), all are still cheaper than Taiwanese sellers even accounting for shipping.

I think a lot of Taiwanese are making a killing buying stuff from Taobao (they love wholesale orders there) and selling it here at 500% markup.


Would love to hear success stories (and especially horror stories) sourcing or buying from Taobao. I jump through a lot of hoops to get things from Amazon in a timely way - and I am still hoping for Amazon Prime to cover Taiwan someday. My go-to option after Amazon is eBay, and have had good results buying some things and shipping directly to Taiwan

My missus uses it all the time. No hiccups so far. Very cheap for clothes, and random household items.

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I’ve bought quite a bit of furniture on Taobao. Great quality and a fraction of the price of local sellers. Customer service is generally fantastic–sellers seem to reply to messages 24 hours a day and are happy to customize products (120V versions of 220V appliances, for instance). There’s a bit of a learning curve around freight consolidation for heavier/larger items, but can’t say I’ve had any horror stories.

The only issues I’ve had have been on the Taiwanese side of the order with local delivery companies losing packages or sending them to the wrong city.

I would guess the only hiccup is people buying branded stuff from Taobao and expecting it to be real.

Almost no one buys branded items online in China by the way. If they wanted a pair of Nikes they go to authorized store who can guarantee authenticity.

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No issues in the last 3 years, and generally we get good deals.

Wife has been using taobao for years, all kinds of stuff. Any kind of sports goods are one third price of Taiwan and quality is usually quite good. Can get all kinds of niche sports stuff you won’t see here.
Also a lot of stuff for kids that is WAY cheaper and also.more diverse than Taiwan’s over priced stores. You can get a shitload of cheap but cool DIY stuff for kids but also all kind of clothes and boots…We don’t buy much branded stuff almost never really.
The best purchases was a Pakistani made football through China. I was highly skeptical that it was real but the quality was really excellent and at least half price of Taiwan.

A lot of coaches and teachers in Taiwan are buying stuff on Taobao and then they mark it up and sell it to the kids in their clubs. There’s a lot of greedy SOBs here. There’s always somebody trying to make fucming money from you.

The lack of decent competition and price fixing is what sucks in Taiwan. People just try to screw eachother over and see what they can get away with.

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Yes it’s unbelievable my kids are in a lot of clubs and invariably the coach or the coaches wife or one of the parents is trying to scam some extra TWD out of you for a uniform or a ball or a violin. They’ll spin it as a group thing so everybody has to buy the same thing but only from them. A lot of greedy folks I think .

Once Taobao makes shipping real cheap for Taiwanese they will put just about everyone in Taiwan out of business.

I dislike the fact you have to log in before you can search Taobao products.

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I’ll take that if it means getting the products I need/want vs. ruten where they mess around with the keywords and have false/misleading advertisements…

Back to China?

You’re really pissed at Ruten now.

How does Taobao compare to Aliexpress, if you’ve tried it. I’ve mostly had good luck with them for some products that are resold on the Taiwan markets. If you ask nicely, they’ll usually lower the price below the $2000 NT threshold on the shipping invoice so you can avoid the duties.

I think taobao is a little more of a hassle because it involves shipping agents (most the time they do not ship directly) and some sellers are idiots and puts liquids in the package (which is not allowed by air) and the package gets refused. But you can save some money especially they do sea shipping for heavy or large items.

I was looking for some black brazing flux and no one in Taiwan carries it. I used borax and it didn’t work. But someone in taobao sells black flux and it’s cheap too.

I might just open a ruten store one of these days and resell taobao items.

I’m pissed at ruten because half the time I can’t even find what I’m looking for, but that’s more fault of the seller than ruten.

Other than computer stuff, most of which I can buy locally, my needs haven’t been more complicated than curtains. I guess for anyone with niche-specific needs it’s worth it, but for some things I need an English speaker and at least on Aliexpress they sort-of speak English well and are motivated enough get back to you.
That’s another problem with Taiwan sellers. Some are lazy about getting back to you, even if you’re writing in Chinese.

The problem is no one here knows brazing, in Chinese it’s the same words… welding, soldering, brazing all the same word. I’m just looking to braze some cheap carbide insert to a piece of steel because I have a planer attachment and the HSS cutter constantly dulls if I’m cutting anything harder than basswood. I’m cutting hard as metal purple heart and rosewoods all the time. Carbide almost never dulls so I want to try brazing carbide to the existing POS HSS cutter. Problem is borax sucks as a flux so the carbide flies off during cutting.

Sounds like taobao, owned by Alibaba, is making a bigger push into Taiwan. They offer 7 day return policy, delivery to convenience store, hired a UK company with $1 capital to help manage.

And the Taiwan government is worried that it gives China too much power over the supply chain like they have with tourism.

Just an update on my brazing situation…

Turns out a lot of my brazing woes is because of not enough heat. I kid you not.

I was using those dinky BBQ torches you buy at Carrefour for 350nt. They get the steel barely glowing, maybe a little brighter if the piece was really small. So of course no matter what I used, whether black or white flux, the brazing alloy would not stick.

So I end up buying an oxy acetylene torch setup. Ends up learning a real lesson because I cheaped out buying a used setup that turns out comes with LPG, not acetylene fuel. But even LPG with oxygen burns hot enough to cut, braze, heat, etc. just not weld (something about hydrogen embrittlement which is weird because acetylene has hydrogen too). So I end up spending 4000 on a new acetylene bottle, regulator, then another 4000 because the oxygen tank the setup has was way too small, and was running out basically after 3 hours of usage. So I got a really large 40 liter cylinder that will probably last forever. Then the regulator on the setup crapped out so I had to buy a new regulator…

Remind me not to buy used stuff.

But oxy acetylene setup will heat, melt, braze, weld, cut, and all that. I am going to keep the LPG cylinder for everything else (cut, melt, braze, etc.) and reserve acetylene for welding. I tried brazing steel to steel and it really doesn’t stick nearly as strong as welding. Brazed joints just pop right off even if the metal flowed correctly. Welded joint is so strong I couldn’t hammer it off.

Taobao comes to Taiwan on November 11