Home > Tutorials > How to Buy Directly from Taobao – Updated for 2017

How to Buy Directly from Taobao – Updated for 2017

Shopping directly at Taobao.com is an intriguing experience. While more faint-hearted shoppers may never leave the comfort of a taobao agent’s website, adventurous e-consumers will jump at the chance to shop direct.

Direct shopping will save you money. You’ll avoid agent’s fees of up to 10% and you’ll save the domestic Chinese postage for shipment between a seller’s warehouse and your agent’s place. But extra bucks in your pocket isn’t even the best part: a healthy feeling of accomplishment will grow as you maneuver the Chinese e-commerce system.

1. Preparation

1.1 Can I buy from Taobao/Tmall internationally without agent?

Taobao has launched its overseas market website (world.taobao.com) and official forwarding Services(Taobao cargo) specially for  international buyers.This service includes Taobao Global Direct Shipping and Taobao Global Consolidation and Shipping. It currently supports the following areas:

Shipping Methods Supported Countries
Taobao Global Direct Shipping Singapore,Malaysia,HongKong,Taiwan
Taobao Global Consolidation and Shipping USA,Canada, Australia,New Zealand,Singapore,Malaysia,Taiwan,Macao,Japan(new)

1.2 Translate Chinese Taobao to English Taobao

the one of the major difficulty you are facing to shop on taobao is the Chinese language. In order to solve this obstacle, you need the Google Chrome to get the single page or the whole website translated into your onw language. Get started now:

1) Install Google Chrome. This browser enables instant webpage translation into English, a prerequisite for comfortable Taobao.com shopping. (Unless, of course, you are fluent in reading Chinese.)

This method is far preferable to individual-word translating because you get the big picture. Sure, some of the text may look weird or seem poorly translated, but it’s sufficient to allow you to shop.

2) Open Google Chrome’s settings and search for “translate”. Make sure on the Language Input settings that Chinese (Simplified) is checked for “Offer to translate pages in this language”.


Google Chrome-taobao


Now, any Taobao.com pages you open will automatically be translated into English. Yay! Too easy. (When you mouse-over a translated word, the original Chinese-character set appears. Nice way to learn a new language.)

If you get stuck at a non-translatable section, a good source for instant translation from Chinese -> English ishttp://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php?page=translate. Just cut and paste the characters into the box.

If you cannot copy & paste to translate, you can install the google translate app on your phone,use your camera to translate text instantly.
or try screenshotting text that was not translated and use http://www.i2ocr.com to translate the actual image.

2. Creating Your Account

Open an account on taobao is very easy because it provides English version of sign up now.I have written another post on how to register a taobao account.just follow the steps you will be able to get your taobao account.

It is advised to to download aliwangwang to communicate directly with the seller and forwarder.here is the download page.

3. Product Search

you can use product image and English keywords to search on taobao.here is the guide.

Browse and shop in the translated Taobao.com site to your heart’s content.Click on a category or an item, and you’ll see a page lay-out similar to this one. Look familiar? taobao item page

Clicking “Buy Now” will take you directly to checkout. If you’re filling a shopping cart, you will need to add a check (√) by your confirmed item(s) to activate the orange “Submit” field.

Some important shopping tips:

  • Refresh your knowledge of the metric system or use a converter to ensure you choose the correct size
  • Before you fall irreversibly in love with an item, check the seller’s rating,you can learn more about seller rating and buyer feedback from this post.
  • Estimated shipping costs from the seller to your address can be viewed on this page by “Freight’ (the Chinese yuan (¥) is worth about $0.16, or  ¥6 to one US$).

If you see the following information:

  • sorry, this item can’t be shipped to your selected address.
  • 該寶貝不支持國際轉運服務,如果您需要購買,請取消國際轉運
  • 该宝贝不支持国际转运服务,如果您需要购买,请取消国际转运

that means Taobao cargo can not ship this item to you.you need to find a taobao agent or your own forwarder.

If you see information like this:

  • 根據所在國法律法規或平臺政策 此項商品限制下單購買
  • 根据所在国法律法规或平台政策 此项商品限制下单购买。

that means you can not buy this item from world.taobao.com.World.Taobao.com has a system to filter products that they think is inappropriate for international buyers to purchase from.if you still want to buy this item,you should try to:

  • Contact the seller,copy the error info to them,ask the seller to give you a new item link with no brand name or minimal product info.
  • Find a taobao agent to buy it for you.

4. Placing Your Order

4.1 Input Your Shipping Address

A weak point in the Taobao.com purchase path is the Chinese-language-only, non Google-translatable screen to enter Shipping/Delivery Information.


The option “所在地区 ” has two dropdown menus.the first  is Region list,the second one is country list.If you are from Malaysia,you can choose “马来西亚” from the first menu,then your city from second menu.others should  海外其他 from the first dropdown,then choose your country.

For example, you are from USA,Reference the image above to choose the characters for the region “Overseas(海外其他)” and the country “USA(美国)” from the drop downs.

List of country names in Chinese:

  • USA – 美国
  • Canada – 加拿大
  • Australia – 澳大利亚
  • New Zealand – 新西兰
  • Singapore – 新加坡
  • Malaysia – 马来西亚
  • Japan – 日本

The option “手机号码 ” is your mobile phone number,and “电话号码” is your landline number.If you don’t have landline number,you can input a fake one,it is not important.Make sure you input the real and correct mobile phone number.

4.2 Choose Shipping Method

After hitting the orange “Submit” field, you’ll see your delivery details. Choose here between the Taobao.com default shipping method “Taobao Cargo(淘宝集运)” or an individual arrangement with the seller:


Taobao Cargo: Taobao Cargo,also called Taobao Global Consolidation and Shipping, is Taobao’s official forwarding service.the process is very simple.you need to make two payments just as using the taobao agent.

First payment: Product cost + Domestic shipping fee (to forwarder warehouse)

if you choose Taobao Cargo while check out in taobao,Forwarder warehouse address will be shown as the receiver address,seller will automatically send your order to that address,You don’t need to let the seller know warehouse address privately.

Second payment: International shipping fee (to destination)

Once all the parcels you bought has arrived at the forwarder warehouse,you can log in your taobao account to consolidate items and pay for the International shipping fee (from forwarder’s warehouse to your destination address)

Note: you must register and purchase from world.taobao.com to use “Taobao Cargo”,you won’t see this option if you order from taobao.com

Taobao Cargo currently only support USA,Canada, Australia,New Zealand,Singapore and Malaysia,Japan.if you are not from these countries,you won’t see this option.

Contact Seller Shipping: Seller Supported Countries,you need to contact the seller personally before select this option.Most of taobao sellers do not ship internationally or the shipping fee can be extremely high,so I do not recommend this option.

4.3 Choose the Forwarder

For USA,The default forwarder is JCEX-ups,click “modify(修改)“,you will see more options:


NOTE: you should remember the name of the forwarder,once your parcel has problem or you want to track your order,you can contact them on live chat and aliwangwang.

Items the carrier do not ship internationally:Battery,Liquid,Electric products,Powder,Lighter,Magnet,Tea,Food.

High risk items: replicas and counterfeit items,it will bring high risk to pass customs if your parcel contains fake items or anything that infringe an intellectual property right.

Zhongshan courier can ship the high risk items.

JCEX Jiacheng is stricter,if they found your package includes high risk items,they will hold them in their warehouse,you should either pay to return the items or pay to get them shipped with a higher shipping rate.

4.4 Confirm order details and submmit your order


find somebody to pay(找人代付) means you can ask someone with an Alipay account to pay for your item(s).

anonymous purchase(匿名购买):check this if you do not want people to look up what you purchase, when, from whom, etc.

大陆段运费:means domestic shipping fee.

海外段运费:means international shipping fee.it will be caculated when reaching the warehouse.

Note: even if an item shows to be in stock and a payment could be made, this doesn’t mean that the seller actually has the stock. Thus, it is recommended that, after payment, you send the purchase order number and warehouse address to the seller to verify if they could send out the goods on time.

5. First Payment: Product cost + Domestic shipping fee (to forwarder warehouse)

On the next screen you will be on the Alipay account platform. There you’ll see your own User Name assigned to an Alipay account.

If it is your first purchase using Alipay,you will be required to create an Alipay payment password (6 numerical digits, non-repeating). This password is a unique one, and will NOT be the same as your Taobao.com password.

Then you will be able to choose payment method as shown below:

Credit Card/Debit Card:

  • Visa,MasterCard,JCB
  • 3% service fee
  • Sellers with credit card payment gateway :per transaction limit: 10000 CNY,per day limit: 10000 CNY
  • Sellers without credit card payment gateway :per transaction limit: 6000 CNY,per day limit:6000 CNY

Malaysia eBanking : 1.5% service fee

Singapore eNets :1.00 SGD service fee

eNets is not supported by Taobao since September 26, 2016

Alipay purchase card(支付宝购物卡):

  • 2% service fee
  • Australians can buy it from local post offices
  • per transaction limit: 4500 CNY,per day limit: 5000 CNY

6. Consolidation &Second payment: International shipping fee (to your address)

After making the first payment, you may go to “Purchased Items(已购买的宝贝)” to check the order info.


Label 1.you can click this blue icon to chat with the seller.

Label 2.退款/退货 this is where to request return and refund.

Label 3.退运保险 if seller has bought domestic shipping insurance for you,you will be would be compensated when you return items from warehouse to the seller.

Label 4. this filed displays the delivery status for demestic shipping period,I will talk more about this label later.

Label 5.order details page

Label 6.logistic details page

Label 7.countdown timer, when this countdown timer expired,your payment will be released to the seller.It is not the time left to pay the freight forwarding fees.

Label 8.确认收货(confirm recepit).you don’t have to click this to pay for international shipping.this confirmation is telling seller you have received the item,when that countdown timer expired,it will auto confirm.Just ignore this filed.

6.1 Check order status(Label 4)

Label 4 shows the delivery status of your order:

—- 买家已付款 means you have successfully made the payment.

—- 卖家已发货 means seller has sent your items to the warehouse.

The seller usually ship out your items within 1-3 days,if you do not see”卖家已发货” within 3 days after you make the payment,you should contact the seller for confirmation.you can send this message to him-“老板,我的订单为什么没有发货”

If the item you want is out of stock or does not have your preferred size, color, etc. the seller will send a notification to you via aliwangwang. So, if you found out that your item was not in the warehouse where it was supposed to be, you should check your aliwangwang immediately for any notification.

—- 物流派件中 means the domestic courier is delivering this shipment.

—- when you see ” 快件已签收” and hopefully a red button “支付转运费” on the right like picture below,it means the warehouse get your items and you need to pay for the international shipping fee to get your items.

When all your orders reach the warehouse,Click the “Pay for international shipping(支付转运费)” button,you will then be able to select the orders that you want to consolidate and pay the international shipping for them.Click here to see the step-by-step guide on how to do this.


  • The free storage time in the warehouse is 20 days,so you can consolidate all orders from different sellers within that period.
  • you will be charged 1 CNY per parcel per day for extra days.
  • You can only consolidate up to 20 parcels/orders,if you have more than 20 orders,you’d need to consolidate your orders into 2 packages as each package can only have 20 orders.
  • There is a weight and size limit by the forwarder,Make sure your package does not exceed the limit.

—- when you see “快件已签收” but no “Pay for international shipping(支付转运费)” button or only button like”处理转运”,this is not good because there might be something wrong with your items.

Here, I would like to remind you that in average,your purchased items should reach the warehouse in 3-5 days from the date when order status changed to “卖家已发货” (which means that your items are shipped by sellers). If the “Pay for international shipping(支付转运费)” button does not appear after 5 days, it simply means there’s something wrong with the items. You should then check it with your forwarder and the seller immediately for clarification.

This is very important. I have received emails from many readers saying that they have waited for days for the button to appear. Little did they know that there was something wrong with their items.

And They won’t send you emails or SMS when items reach the warehouse,so You are advised to download “Taobao Global App” from App Store or Google Play. The “Logistics Helper(国际物流助手)” in the app will automatically send you the notification.

6.2 Check order details page(Label 5)

if you want to know where the warehouse address is just in case,click Label 5 after your payment,find “收货地址”,that address is the warehouse address.”转运至” means your address(see screenshot below).


6.3 logistic details page(Label 6)

Click Label 6 to go to logistics info page.then on the left bottom of the page,you will see the following info:


  • 国内段运输 means domestic shipping
  • 海外段运输 means internatioanl shipping
  • 运单号码 means your waybill number
  • 物流公司 means your courier/forwarder
  • 发货地址 means seller address
  • 集运仓地址 means forwarder warehouse address
  • 收货地址 means your address

7. Tracking &Receving

Don’t forget to check the delivery status very closely to track your order!

7.1 How long does it take to receive my Taobao order?

Below is the average delivery time provided by the forwarder:

  • USA: JCEX UPS 5-7 business days,JCEX USPS 7-9 business days,Zhongshan EMS/DHL 9 business days
  • Canada: UPS 5-7 business days,EMS/DHL 9 business days
  • Australia: JCEX 5 business days,ZTO 秀驿物流 6 business days,4px 7 business days
  • New Zealand: 7 business days
  • Singapore: 5 business days
  • Malaysia: West Malaysia 5 business days,East Malaysia 7 business days
  • Japan: 4PX 5 business days,PRouter 4-8 business days.

The speed of the local customs clearance and local postal services will affect the delivery time.

7.2 How can I track my orders?

Note: for some countries,Waybill number for international shipping can only be trackable after your country’s Customs clearance.you will find no tracking information before that.

— Track it via courier’s website

for example,if you use EMS or DHL,you should go to the following site to track the shipment.



— Track it via contacting the forwarder

You can provide your waybill number and ask them where your items are now(我的货现在在哪里),they will tell you the shipping status.

7.3 Avoid Customs import duties

The forwarder will modify your package to pass through Customs, they’re very smart at this so you shouldn’t have a problem.for example,Zhongshan courier will declare a lower price on the package or use EMS to avoid getting taxed with customs when shipping parcels to Canada.

If you are worried about this,you can get the forwarder to declare a lower value or marked as a gift etc by aliwangwang the forwarder right after your payment for international shipping.

From many buyers’ personal experience,EMS is the best shipping method when you want easiest clearance through customs since most of their parcels don’t have to go through the hassle of opening and inspecting.

7.4 What if I get seized by Customs

If you are using UPS or DHL then they will email you invoice of custom and collect money at your doorstep at the time of delivery.

If you choose EMS then once your courier reaches your local post office,you will receive a call from post office and you will need to go there and pay.

8. After Sale

8.1 Refund

After the seller has sent out the goods, you may request for a refund within 25 days.

    1. Within the first 10 days, you may request for a refund by clicking the “Refund” button.
    2. Within the subsequent 15 days, you may request for a refund via “After-sales application”.

If there is a refund,Money will return to your credit card within 7 business days.Service fee will return to you if the refund is initiated within 30 calendar days from the time you make payment. After 30 days, no return for service fee.

8.2 Return

You can return the goods from the warehouse to the sellers,but the return shipping address is needed,you have to contact the seller to ask for it.here is the step by step guide.

9. Resolving Issues

Enjoy Your Taobao.Com Shopping!

Trust me, once you get the hang of buying directly from Taobao, It will always be your No.1 source when buy inexpensive and amazing stuff online.

About Eric

Hi! I'm Eric,the guy behind howtotao.com.Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns regarding taobao.


  1. Hi Eric, as long as we manage to select either “Taobao Global Direct Shipping” or “Global Consolidate and Shipping” meant that the item (Pillow) will be shipped out right (Malaysia)? Because I contacted few seller, all of them respond they don’t ship oversea but record show that 3 months ago there is a transaction from Malaysia.

    • you don’t have to contact seller as long as you see the option to choose either “Taobao Global Direct Shipping” or “Global Consolidate and Shipping”.but pillow is light,large item,so they will you charge you volumetric weight which will makes the shipping fee very high.

  2. Helloo, I have been buying direct from taobao via sea shipment however starting from this year the forwarder cease ship shipment already. Do you know where I can get sea shipment still?

    I’m from Singapore

  3. Hi Eric, I placed an order several days ago to be shipped to Canada with Jiacheng as the forwarder. However the logistics page reads: 很抱歉,您的包裹因不可转运原因无法正常入库,请速与佳成集货商联系

    The goods I bought are makeup, probably counterfeit but not 100% sure.

    I messaged Jiaching on Aliwangwang. They said: 走特货渠道也转运不了 . 眼影,不可以转运哦

    Is there anything I can do besides return the goods to the seller? Can I pay Jiaching a higher shipping rate?

    In the future, is there another forwarder or agent I can use that will be more lenient?

    Thank you so much.

  4. Hi Eric, I understand that you don’t really recommend the contact seller shipping option, but it appears a seller I wish to purchase from does ship to my country. Upon choosing the shipping options, the “contact seller for shipping” option provides a price [i.e. Contact seller for price ¥ 20.00 (Recommended to contact the seller before buying, to determine the delivery to foreign shipping)]. I was just wondering whether you knew what this 20 yuan price was for. Thanks!

  5. Hi there, I really need help! I have chosen 4px as my forwarder. I understand that I have to pay them for the goods. However, I have also paid the sellers directly and now it says “waiting for evaluation” on my orders. However, I do not want to double pay them. What should I do?

  6. Hello! I am in Vietnam how to buy goods and send back to Vietnam?
    Please reply to my email thank you very much!

  7. Hi Eric, I have an order that has logistics information that says 获取物流信息失败. Also It says I ordered and the shipment is waiting to be received. My other orders have already shipped. Am I being screwed over?

  8. Hi Eric,

    Earlier this morning, I received an SMS saying that my order has reached the collection warehouse and to make a second payment but when I checked on Taobao, it says “物流派件中”. Is Taobao just slow in updating the actual status or should I be worried about my items?

  9. hi eric,

    if the taobao item shows that it has been sent to the consolidation warehouse, but when i go to the warehouse to try to make a shipment the item is not there, what should i do? is the item missing cause it is over the 20day free storag period?

  10. Hi Eric, I have chosen EMS/DHL and have paid for the shipment from the warehouse to Canada. I ordered about 200$ worth of clothing. How do I contact Zhongshan courier to declare a lower price on the package to avoid duties and surcharges? Was I wrong to choose this delivery service? Should I have chosen UPS?

  11. Why do I only see 卖家直送 option in delivery? I cant see the taobao cargo option.

    • Just to add on,I created my account ast time,not sure if it is created on taobao.com or world.taobao.com . Then I just add the items on my cart,then I login to my account now at world.taobao.com and try to check out.and that is the only option I see.

  12. Hi Eric ,

    Could u please help me to buy in a different Taobao? It is 2.Taobao, this website is to used items, I would like to buy some vintage items and I am trying to buy there is more of 1 month and nobody seem to know how this website work, some people said for me that I need to bid like in Ebay , another ones said that I can buy directly, but nobody really knows how this 2.Taobao work . If u have any idea of as this website work, could u please do a step by step for me? If u does not , not worried is not a problem. Anyway, I wanted just to say that ur blog is just amazing and very easy to understand. Thank you for u to spend ur time to help us . Big kiss . Lú

  13. Hi Eric, I’m from Singapore, I no problem in registering a Taobao account. But I have a big problem in the payment where by they asked for credit card number. I have enter DBS AND OCBC cards but alipay seem don’t accept it. Then I went to the alipay app, I have try to add the CREDIT CARDS as well. They required me to key in “CHINA identity number” which I don’t have it. Could you advise me how do I solve this issue? Many thanksssss bro!!!

  14. Good day Eric.

    I’m unable to pay for my items on Taobao iPhone app ever since last week. Alipay keeps showing that the system is busy, please try again later.

    I had sent in an email in Chinese to Taobao but have yet to receive any reply after 4 days.

    Is there anything wrong with my Alipay account and how can I resolve the issue?

  15. Hi Eric, I ordered through JCEX UPS to NYC. The status changed to consignment held for customs inspection. If they open my package I’m pretty sure they will seize it. What are my options?

  16. Hi, need advice on which TaoBao appointed forwarder support sensitive shipment pls. I am trying to buy something with battery and I am not sure which forwarder should I use. I have only shipped normal stuff via Dex/NinjaVan to SG.

    • Hi Blur Girl, I dont think any of the TaoBao appointed forwarder support shipping sensitive items like portable chargers etc.

      If you are in Singapore, there are several agents like Ezbuy.

      One disadvantage is that you are buying the item individually, therefore you are unable to enjoy the perks of consolidated shipping (cheaper shipping rates) .

  17. Hi, I am trying to order some tops to Hong Kong. So if I do the Taobao Global Direct Shipping, it straightly comes to my Hong Kong address without putting in those Chinese address?

  18. Hello Eric, I have bought an item from Taobao and choosen 4px as my forwarder. But it shows that 东莞市 派送不成功-原因:for the status now. It seems like the item exceeded the limited length according to 4px customer service. Wondering what are the options I could do after they send the item back to the seller.

  19. Hello, Eric. Just have a quick concern. So I am trying to order few items from different sellers, although, for some reason I am not able to buy some items; it is written as 该宝贝不支持销售到您选择的国家或地区. What is interesting is that the system allows me to buy one item from a seller but rejects me to purchase different item even though it’s from a same seller. Please help out.

  20. Wait, so when i choose EMS/DHL, which one will it be shipped in?

  21. Hi Eric,

    How do I find an agent on Taobao to ship my iPhone charger to Singapore?

    Many thanks

  22. hi eric..please help .. her’s part of the logistic information that confuse me..

    04:57:15【中国】[广州市]快件已到达 广州转运中心
    05:34:52【中国】[广州市]广州转运中心 已发出
    09:11:34【中国】广东省广州市嘉和 已收入
    09:11:34【中国】[广州市]广东省广州市嘉和派件员:胡海兰 02036748266正在为您派件

    so on March-04 my items are expected to arrive but i only placed my order on March 26.. I also dont understand the last update which says my item has been delivered to warehouse..which warehouse is it referring to? Malaysia warehouse or china?

    I also had to extend the receipt time..on the order details page, the transshipment information says this : Current transport status: You have to pay freight forwarding, transport providers are shipped to overseas, you can view the details of transport logistics.

    But i have paid the overseas shipping..

  23. Hey, nice guide, unfortunately i placed an order 3 months back and completely forgot about my item, its a small cap worth 29 yuan and now i have to pay 100 yuan on it because of rental fees. Is there anything i can do about this?

  24. Hello Eric,

    So I have made my purchases, however I believe 2 of my items are grossly overweighed (2 shirts are 3.6kg and a skirt is 2.178kg). Is there a way to contact them to reweigh or have them adjust it.

    I had a representative suggest I pay the fee now and then have Taobao refund me the difference, but I did not really understand how I would prove to them that it is incorrect or how to get them to refund me. Any help?

  25. HELP:


    WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Am I scammed? Can I still get my item?

  26. Hi Eric, I am from Malaysia. I have bought some items from taobao and shipped thru the Global Consolidation and Shipping. On receiving the items, I found out that some parts of the items were damage and I contacted the seller via AliWangWang. They agreed to send me the faulty parts but right to the warehouse only.
    My question is how can I get the items to send to my address in Malaysia and how to pay for the fee?
    Is the process the same as I first purchase the items i.e. the 2nd payment.

  27. Hi Eric , my parcel has been stuck in the custom for the past few days which systems shows “guo guan” and I assumed it reached malaysia, asked the shipper they told me parcel contains sensitive item and is to ship from hongkong to malaysia, so far couldnt track on skynet tracking system. May I know whats going on and how can i solve it? They told me the light i bought from taobao is sensitive item, but seller said he didnt put battery in it.

  28. Good day Eric.

    My iPhone charger was rejected for shipping by the Forwarder.
    How do I find an agent on the website to facilitate the shipping?

  29. Hi Eric,
    I’m not quite sure what to do. I have placed a couple of orders on taobao and i have different situations i hope you can help me with. All of the orders have been placed 7 days ago from now. For most i have “remind the seller to ship button” and for two I have the “confirm receipt” button. One of those has updated logistics tracking and says this for today:

    day 05:14:56 [Ningbo City] Express has arrived in Ningbo, Zhejiang transit center
    05:17:56 [Ningbo City] Ningbo Ningbo transit center has been issued
    08:01:01 [Ningbo City] Express has arrived in Ningbo, Zhejiang should be under the company
    08:03:28 【Zhejiang Ningbo under the company】 has been income
    08:03:28 [Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, the next should be sent to the company staff: investment business hall 13372452783 is for you to send
    11:09:18 [Ningbo City] has been signed, the receipt is a draft, thanks to the use of STO, look forward to serve you again

    However, the other one does not have any tracking update whatsoever.
    What can I do?
    Also, downloading the software to contact sellers is impossible and there is no browser version (I am using chrome)

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