I have only recently arrived in Shanghai for work. Our …

Comment on Taobaofocus Review: Is It a Legit TaoBao Agent & Reliable? by Abe.

I have only recently arrived in Shanghai for work. Our family has been ordering on Amazon since that company sold only textbooks more than 15 years ago. We’ve come to expect a broad selection, competitive prices, very honest and clear transactions, and convenient delivery. Emphasis on “convenient.” Amazon won’t deliver to us while we’re in China, and we’d heard that Taobao is as good as Amazon, but in Chinese.

Enter Taobao FOCUS. This company’s entire sales pitch, for the steep mark-up fee they add onto all orders as a “commission,” is that they process your order in your language (English…). While I do not find that either the Chinese language Taobao site or its significantly more limited multi-lingual counterpart, Taobao FOCUS, rivals the polish and professionalism of Amazon (images, reviews, customer service…), what most perturbs me about Taobao is its nearly exclusive Chinese language delivery service. First off, I recognize I am the foreigner in China and that it is my responsibility to learn Chinese or find help when I need it. However, I paid the commission fees to Taobao b/c I expected the entire purchase experience, from product selection to payment options to account management to delivery, could be conducted in English.

So I bought Taobao’s online goods. Now how do I get them, given I cannot communicate in Chinese? We’ve arranged with friends back in the USA to accept our Amazon deliveries there, repackage, and mail the products to us here in China. In exchange, we’ll throw them a handsome chunk of change to express our appreciation for being able to get the goods we want delivered reliably to us. Taobao FOCUS ought to arrange with English-language delivery services or intermediaries so customers feel confident we’ll get our goods. We’d be happy to pay their “commission” for the convenience.

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