Taobao.com is an online shopping site which is said to be like a combination of Ebay and Amazon. I knew it existed–my wife and I bought phones there through a friend–but I did not realize how big it is. Taobao has 80% of the Chinese online market, and generated sales of 15 billion dollars last year. This year they are expected to be bigger than Amazon.
One reason for their growth, they allow sellers to advertise on Taobao for free. One particular story is a bit inspiring–
“I never thought I could do this well,” said Mr. Yang, 23, who earned $75,000 last year. “I started out selling yoga mats and now I’m selling a lot of makeup and cosmetics. The profit margins are higher.”
Taobao fever has swept Mr. Yang’s school, Yiwu Industrial and Commercial College, where administrators say a quarter of its 8,800 students now operate a Taobao shop, often from a dorm room.
Too bad it is only in Chinese.
Hmmm. Maybe someone needs to start an English version of the same thing.