What is Taobao?


Taobao is a Chinese e-commerce marketplace. When eBay purchased for US$180,000,000, Alibaba established Taobao Marketplace in May 2003. It quickly established itself as a prominent player in the Chinese consumer e-commerce business. Alibaba owns the company, which is based in Hangzhou. Alibaba Cloud Computing Co., Ltd. registered Taobao.com on April 21, 2003. In 2021, it was recognized as the ninth most visited website.

Taobao Marketplace allows consumer-to-consumer (C2C) retail by giving a platform to individual entrepreneurs and small businesses to start an online shop that primarily serves consumers in Chinese-speaking regions, specifically in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Macau, as well as abroad, with payments made through online accounts. Such stores typically provide express delivery. Alipay, Malaysian bank transfers, international credit cards, and e-wallets are all accepted as payment options on Taobao.

Taobao launched Taobao Mall, a dedicated business-to-consumer (B2C)site, in April 2008 to supplement its C2C retail. Taobao Mall has built itself as a Chinese consumer’s go-to destination for premium brand-name items. Taobao beta-launched eTao in October 2010 as an independent search engine madefor online shopping that would givemerchant information from a variety of large consumer e-commerce websites in China, allowing online customers to compare prices across merchants.

Taobao is a retail store that does not require a minimum purchase and the average consumer is its primary target audience. Sellers can list their items for sale at a set price or at an auction. Most of the products are new items sold at fixed pricing, hence auctions make up a low percentage of transactions. Consumers can use the comments, site ratings, and complaints to evaluate seller credentials.

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Pieter Borremans
By Pieter Borremans

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