Das "Taobao"-Leben der jungen Chinesen
Der Online-Händler Alibaba steht vor einem Rekord-Börsengang - sein Marktplatz Taobao ist in China so bekannt wie Amazon in Deutschland. In einem Gastbeitrag beschreibt Wanru Chen, warum junge Chinesen bis zu einem Fünftel ihre Gehalts auf Taobao ausgeben - und welche Probleme die Plattform noch bremsen.
Qian, a 28 years old lady in Guangzhou, who is fascinated with fashionable handbags and shoes, no longer goes shopping on the street or in department stores. "I am buying nearly everything, including handbags and shoes, from Taobao - except for the luxury brand like Louis Vuitton or Coach, because too many fake products are produced and sold on Taobao", she says.
"Taobao" and "Tmall" are 2 major online retail platforms owned by Alibaba. The former one is person to person, the latter business to person. Young people, especially those born after 1980s, have developed a habit of buying almost everything on Taobao and Tmall, from fresh fruit, clothes, shoes to household appliance, electronic devices, furniture - you name it.
A VIP customer spends up to one fourth of annual income on Taobao
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Last year, Qian spent roughly 30,000 RMB (about 3500 Euro) on Taobao, which is one fifth to one fourth of her annual income. Such percentage of personal purchasing on Taobao is not rare in China.
To attract heavy consumers like Qian, Taobao has a system of different levels of VIP.
A customer with Vip level on Taobao has the privilege of trying new products for free, higher discounts, exclusive coupons or an insurance to cover your express delivery service fee if you have to return the products to sellers.
Hundreds of packages delivered at the office - per day
Qian works in a media company with about one thousand employees. At lunch times of workdays, at least 5 express couriers from different delivery companies pile up tens or hundreds of packages near the entrance of Qian's office building, waiting for their recipients. A large portion of the packages are the results of transactions on Taobao.
Whenever Qian has free time, even just a few minutes, she will browse Taobao for a while. She doesn't spare a whole period of 2 to 3 hours to go shopping any more. In some days, she can receive 4 or 5 parcels from sellers on Taobao in a single day.
When it comes to luxury products, customers prefer the shopping mall
In theory, with the help of Taobao, a Chinese who lives in city with convenient express service can stay at home or work in the office for a whole week and will still get all kinds of consumer goods he or she needs, without the need to step outside.
However, when it comes to brand products with high added value like luxury handbags and cosmetics, even heavy users like Qian would rather go to counters in shopping malls. Fake products, sometime in the name of "authentic from an unauthorized channel", prevail among retailers on Taobao. So far, Taobao doesn't have a clear rule to address this problem.