Previously I wrote about my excitement finding out I can order Amazon.com to New Zealand customs free, so imagine my excitement finding out I can do the same with TaoBao, China’s ridiculously good Amazon-clone! All thought it requires a little more know-how, and I have limited time to explain, I’ll try to give you the gist of it…
Update: After over 20 very successful items arrived, I’ve finally hit an obstacle of an item which is vanished. Had this been amazon there would have been customers services I could call, but with TaoBao they are next to impossible to contact. Therefore I cannot recommend anyone use it.
TaoBao is basically like Amazon except with Chinese prices, considering that everything is made in China it doesn’t make much geographical sense that our goods goes from China to American then back east to NZ, why not buy straight from the horses mouth?
More importantly, TaoBao has the wonderful Chinese size system for their clothing. Wanna know what is your pants size, your jacket size, your underwear size? Simple, it’s measured by height. If you’re average wide 180 cm height you pick the 180 size, if you’re bulkier or skinnier than average you pick a size that’s slightly above or below your height. I recently received a box of 10 clothing, 9 out of which fit me perfectly! In our messed up western measurement system god only knows who the fudge decides what is the definition of ‘medium’.
Since TaoBao is oriented towards the Chinese market, they also offer sizes to men under 180 cm. Before discovering TaoBao I was trying to find hiking pants on Amazon.com, although I could find many waste measurements, I could not find a single hiking pants (in stock) that didn’t have smaller than “82 inch inseam” (meaning you’d have to be at least 182cm tall or else Amazon doesn’t want your money).
How to order from TaoBao to New Zealand
- Find whatever you want on Taobao.com, using Chromes automatic translation if you don’t speak Chinese.
- Order it, they will charge you an around 3% non-Chinese card fee, as well as your card will probably charge another hidden 3% in the currency exchange rate from CNY. Sometimes they will charge a small delivery fee to their international warehouse.
- Once it arrives to their international warehouse, every item will be unpacked, weighted and listed in a spreadsheet. Here you get to pick and choose which products to bundle together into a package to be sent internationally. This is where you want to be cleaver with how you divide your order to avoid NZ customs. Unfortunately (unlike Amazon.com) you are responsible yourself for the customs calculations, so you may need to spend a lot of time researching it properly.
- Pay for international shipping. When I ordered it was 106 CNY for the 1st kg, then 36 CNY for each remaining kg. So you’d want to combine as many items as possible in 1 package without going over NZ’s customs limit. If you mess up and have to pay customs the bill will be WAY higher than the little extra money for that “1st kg”, so I would much recommend to be on the safer lower side. A 3% non-Chinese card fee will be charged on this international shipping fee as well.
- Wait about 2 weeks, delivered to your door.