If I were asked the question “what is it that has changed the life of common Chinese the most during the past five years,” my answer would definitely be Taobao.com. Taobao is an online market place similar to E-bay.
Since it was founded in 2003, the number of registered users of Taobao has increased from none to 370 million in 2011. Featuring almost 40 billion Yuan worth of goods, the site offer a ridiculously wide variety of shopping choices.
Apart from rice cookers, blenders, iPods and clothes, Taobao also sell bricks and cement, home-made wine, fake brand clothes and handbags, snacks, toilet paper, and live pets.
If those are not enough to surprise you, I have more.
Pirated kindle e-book store
In a store called Kindle eBooks, customers can pay 4 Kuai (that is about 60 cents US) for any e-books priced under $15 available in the kindle store on amazon.com (or amazon.uk). The price goes up as the tagged price of the book increases, but there is no ceiling.
Here is how it works: you make the order on its website, transfer the money to Alipay, and then send an e-mail with you Taobao ID and transaction ID, together with the online address of the e-book you fancied to an email address given in the product description, then the e-book will be delivered to your in 24 hours.
The purchased book can then be shared on any e-readers and tablets of anybody. E-kindle is not the only taobao store that hacks Amazon for money, and most of them are having prospering business ever since numerous kindles are smuggled into China and sold on Taobao as well.
Tapeworm egg store
Another thing on Taobao is less fancy than knowledge, especially for those who have had tapeworm infection. Medusa’s City is one of the three stores on Taobao that sells tapeworm eggs to people who want to lose weight effortlessly.
he pricy package contains four capsules of tapeworm eggs, and according to the instruction below, you have to take all four capsules at a time. In addition, some supplement should be taken in the following weeks to boost the survival rates of the tapeworm.
After your body is successfully transferred into a tapeworm farm, you could “eat to your heart’s content and all the extra weight shedding off from you”. What is never mentioned on the site is how harmful tapeworm infection could be. Forget about healthy eating, forget about the gym, we have tapeworm!
Boyfriend for rent!
In one of the boyfriend shops, 8 men are displayed on the shelf. Their photos are displayed along with their height, weight and age.
Once paid, they could serve all their duties as a sweet partner. Anyone interested?
If a boyfriend doesn’t interest you, what about a pet? Paying 2000 Kuai (330USD) and a super cute baby fox will be delivered to your door stop. An alternative option is a mink that you can also wear around you neck as a scarf in winter.
An adult mink cost as much as a baby fox, and they look adorable. For creepy-pet lovers , there are a wide collection of giant centipedes, toads, grasshoppers and scorpions available, and the seller will never tell you how poisonous they could be.
How to deliver these animals? Stuff them in a box and put them on a train! Sure, you can get an refund if they die on the way.
iPhone accessory store
And finally, I am honoured to present you a power generator for iPhone. Looking like an ugly helmet of Don Quixote, this thing will charge your iPhone automatically with the power generated when a summer breeze blows through and mobilises the tiny plastic wind turbine.Totally eco-friendly, not to mention its aesthetic value – imagine how dazzling I will look with my new iPhone jacket.
How does Taobao work?
Taobao is an online market place similar to E-bay. It facilitates retail and provides an online payment system, the Alipay. Any individuals could open their virtual store in which they post their goods for either auction or fixed price.
Customers order the goods on the site, and make payment the Alipay. Alipay will withhold the money until the deliveries are done and buyers are happy with what they have got. After the deal is done, buyers are invited to comment on the goods, the service, the speed, etc.
- Bizarre stuff on Taobao.com: Sky is the limit (rvampie.wordpress.com)
- China iPhone sales surge, but can Apple protect its apps? (chinadailymail.com)
- Taobao Selling Unreleased iPhone 5 for 8599 Yuan / $1,349 (news.softpedia.com)