Buying from Chinese Online Retailers


As M.I.C.’s predecessors  N’Sync once sung, “Buy Buy Buy“.

Ever wanted to buy  the gorgeous hanfu’s that you’ve read about from 0kuo0 but don’t know how to get Taobao to ship abroad?  Or get signed-copies of albums/books provided by fanclubs (available now: pre-order signed copies of M.I.C.’s new album)  but have no Chinese bank account? Or even that weird jacket from M.I.C.’s Wang Hao that you’re strangely attracted to even though you hate their store?  (okay, that’s probably just me.)

Here’s a guide of how you can,  WuxiaEdge also a detailed tutorial for buying via taobaospree, but that’s probably not your cheapest option, especially if you know Chinese.

Step 1 : Scour the Chinese Websites for Goods

Taobao/Tmall – Your one stop for everything. This is probably your best shot for clothes and random trinkets.  It’s  the exclusive WWW home to many original Chinese brands, including streetwear by many celebrities.  Tmall is suppose to be more authentic, but a lot of the items on there are still fakes unless it’s from the brand itself, but it should be fairly obvious if it’s the real store or not.

JD – JingDong advertises itself as the more authentic version of Taobao.  You can buy books, DVD’s, albums, and other electronics here without fear of it being fake.

Amazon /Dangdang – Best for books! They often have great deals on books. Also great for other media such as DVD’s and CD’s.   Make sure to buy from ones where the supplier is Amazon/Dangdang to make sure it’s not authentic.

Step 2: Buy it with your choice of websites 

There’s a slew of options here.  All of them take Paypal, and ship most places in the world.  Most of the Chinese ones tend to be bigger and less sketchy looking. The usual process includes you paying first for the good to be delivered to them within China. Once all goods have arrived, they’ll then weigh it and give you an estimate of the shipping costs. You then chose which option you want.    I haven’t tried all of them, but they should also check the good for you before shipping to make sure it’s not damaged.

 Price You Pay  =   (Price + Domestic Shipping + International Shipping + Customs  ) X  (1 + Service Commission)

The bulk of your cost will probably be shipping, so I’m comparing two particular prices below. The first is EMS. This is the cheapest that ships CD’s and DVD’s, which are most of my purchases. EMS requires a signature to be delivered and often arrives fairly quickly, so make sure to check regularly the status of your delivery so it doesn’t get sent back to China while you’re on vacation.  The second one is air mail, which is usually the cheapest for small packages but may take a long time.   Amounts are in RMB and shipping costs are to the U.S.

Note: We haven’t tested out most of the services, so try them at your own risk.

Comparison of Various Purchasing Services ,
shipping costs = first .5kg(per additional .5kg)

Site English  Service Commission EMS shipping (RMB) Air Mail (RMB)
CNstorm N 0% 132(42) 15(12)
dotdotbuy N 5% 116(38) 15(12)
Panli N 10% 139(43) 15(12)
86daigou N 10% 164(51.2) 15(12)
Baakee N 10% 138(42) none
Choobuy Y 5-10% 123(41) 15(12)
Skyany Y 3.5% (?) (?)
Taobaoring Y 8% (?) (?)
Taobaospree Y 10% 144(45) (?)
ZGFShopping N 10% 122(41) 15(12)


  1. The listed price often doesn’t include shipping, and many sellers don’t have listed shipping fees. Make sure to account for more than the listed price.
  2. Taobao has a “find others similar” option if you want to compare prices.  It also has a fun feature where you can upload the picture of a good you want and they’ll try to match it.
  3. Make sure to check the status of your order regularly to make sure there aren’t any issues and so your mail doesn’t get sent back.
  4. If you want to wait until shopping days like the infamous 11/11. Because of lags in ordering, make sure to do your research.   I know Panli allows you to pre-order for those days, and they’ll click the buy for you on 11/11.
  5. If you have large items that are not time-sensitive, a few websites offer a cheap sea route.

I’ve personally only used Dotdotbuy and Panli and haven’t had any issues with either one so far. Let us know if you’ve tried other methods  and how it goes!

6 thoughts on “Buying from Chinese Online Retailers

  1. Hi, have you ever buy from 86daigou? I made a purchase 10 days ago and the goods are still “Ordered”. Do you know how much time it will take to be ready for shipping? (sorry, english is not my first lenguaje)

  2. There are books, music, movies and dramas (DVD/Blu-ray) at They carry Chinese (China/HK/Taiwan), Japanese and Korean products. The service/delivery was prompt and I have always gotten the real deal. You can browse the site in English, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese and Japanese. Drama sets tend to be very expense though ($50-250 USD for a drama series is way too much IMO!!). They have regular sales, so worth waiting to get things discounted. They do offer free international shipping on orders over $39 USD.

    You can shop fashion/beauty items at Like many clothing from Asia, there is a lot of one size items, so buyer beware. I bought some oversized cardigans, so didn’t have any issue with sizes.

    Sasa has an international site so you can shop for beauty products outside of Asia!
    You can choose your country and currency here – Their site is available in English, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese. And there’s free shipping to Canada, US and New Zealand on orders over $49 USD.

    I’ve ordered from all 3 sites and shipped to the US and Canada.

  3. This is so useful. THANK YOU! I have been dying to buy through taobao but didn’t even know where to start.

    Also, this might not be the right place to ask but do you know if M.I.C’s photobook is a part of the Only One album, or is it separate? Thanks again! Cfensi is the best for international cpop fans.

    • Glad to be of help ^.^

      Yes, it is a part of the alubm. Although technically, the album is the gift item of the photobook… State of Chinese industry summed up in one product.
      If you’re interested in getting it, JD will ship like tomorrow. But if you want it signed for an additional shipping cost, you can get it via the fanclub, who’ll get it signed for you during one of the signing sessions (the earliest is the 18th).

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