As much as you may love Taobao, there’s more to shopping in China than just that. Here are some other good Chinese e-commerce sites to check out – now go forth and shop to your heart’s content.
Jingdong Mall (JD.com) is a Chinese e-commerce site that specialises in electronic products. They also have clothes, beauty items and even a supermarket section, but their primary focus seems to be on electronics and appliances.
Besides a Flash Sale section which features time-based discounts, Jingdong Mall also has a Group Buy feature, where you can get electronics at a discounted price if there are enough buyers. Jingdong Mall is sort of like a mix between Qoo10 and Lazada (and in Chinese, of course).
You can purchase items directly from the site, or use a local agent to buy on your behalf.
Best for: Electronics and appliances.
VIP.com is a shopping site that features genuine brands (both local and international) with time-based discounts and sales. The site is very much skewed towards female shoppers, with beauty products, home items and even a dedicated Mother’s section featuring children’s clothes and baby stuff.
You also get a bigger discount when you purchase in larger quantities, so you might want to rope in some friends for a major shopping spree. #shopaholicsunite
Best for: Childrens’ clothes and baby stuff.
As its name may suggest, Mbaobao.com (short for 麦包包) is all about bags – handbags, backpacks, luggages and even nursing bags. The site features higher-end brands like Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu and Longchamp, but the prices aren’t that much of a steal (comparatively speaking) because they cater more towards the domestic market in China.
However, international buyers who aren’t fussed about brand names will still be able to find modern, on-trend bags that are pretty good quality (for the price you pay). From cute backpacks to luggages in a whole range of colours, the options are truly quite endless.
VIP.com doesn’t have any international shipping options though, so you’ll have to use an agent or forwarder to make a purchase with them.
Best for: Affordable, quality bags.
If you love Taobao’s affordable and (mostly) on-trend clothes, but not the arduous task of sorting through thousands of listings, M18.com might be a better site for you. The shopping site features a wide range of affordable clothes for women, men and children, and is much easier to navigate than Taobao (sorry Taobao, we love you but sometimes you make us want to strangle you).
The site also has a group buy section called 麦麦团, where you can score discounts of up to 70% off retail prices on selected items. The deals are usually limited by time or quantity requirements though, whichever gets fulfilled first.
Best for: Those who like Taobao’s affordable clothes, but can’t be bothered to navigate the site.
Wowsai.com is very much like the Etsy of China, as the site features unique, handmade items that are far different from the usual mass-produced Taobao ones. Wowsai is all about being 100% original, so items may differ slightly in terms of print or finish.
If you want to go a step further, Wowsai also has a reasonably-priced customisation service that allows you to personalise clothes, furniture, home decor items, cards and more.
Best for: Those who want unique or customised items. This is probably where the hipsters of China shop…
At first glance, Vancl almost doesn’t seem like your typical Chinese shopping site. For starters, the layout of the website is clean and organised (Taobao are you listening?). The products also have a distinct style to them, rather than a mishmash of whatever is on-trend at the moment.
If anything, Vancl is sort of like a Chinese version of Uniqlo and Muji rolled into one. Besides casual clothes like tees and pants, the site also sells shoes, accessories and lifestyle items.
Best for: Affordable basic wear for men, such as t-shirts, shirts and pants. They also have some pretty nice canvas shoes.
If you run a store or business, Alibaba is a great place to source for display stands, mannequins, office supplies and more. The site features suppliers, manufacturers and wholesalers from all over Asia, so you can contact the sellers directly to get wholesale prices.
Alibaba also ships directly to Singapore, so you don’t need an agent to make a purchase through the site.
Best for: Small business owners, or if you like hoarding office supplies at home.