You want to open a Taobao store and sell on Taobao your products, and you discover it is not that easy, but we can help you. Full guide for foreigners, small business owners. Taobao is not the platform for cross-border e-commerce; however, it is the largest C2C e-commerce site in China and a place to go for any merchant – big or small – attempting to sell to Chinese consumers at a low initial cost. This article will explore what you need to know about selling on Taobao.

I. What is Taobao?

Taobao is an online marketplace that operates according to the C2C mechanism, which means individuals and small business owners can sell their products online through their own “stores” on Taobao. Taobao is the world’s largest e-commerce website and one of the top 10 most visited websites in the world (according to Alexa).


We are the top and most visible Web & Marketing Agency for China you will find on the web. Our Services: E-Commerce, Search Engine Optimization, Advertising, Weibo, WeChat, WeChat Store & PR.

It has by far over 600 million monthly active users, more than 8 million stores, over 1 billion product listings, and accounts for nearly 60% of the total e-commerce sales in China. is mainly known for its domestically produced apparel, jewellery and accessories, sold to working and middle class Chinese. It’s China’s go-to place for low to medium-end consumer goods of all kinds.

Our proposition is simple: we want to help small businesses grow by solving their problems through Internet technology. We fight for the little guy. Since our founding in 1999, we have helped millions of small businesses to achieve a brighter future.

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II. How are Taobao and Tmall different?

Tmall is generally the branded, more luxurious sister site to Taobao.

  • On Tmall, consumers trust to find authentic branded items, and even cross border products, shipped directly from Hong Kong, Europe, Australia, or the United States.
  • Taobao, on the other hand, is more about domestic Chinese brands, made for the domestic market.
  • Tmall, with its Tmall Global platform, is also far more open to overseas and Hong Kong companies, compared to – which is purely domestic.

If you want to get started in e-commerce in China, then Taobao is the place to go. Taobao has relatively low start-up costs and with some initial input and effective marketing, sellers can achieve high sales volumes.

However, if your product requires a high degree of trust where the buyer wants to be assured of quality and willing to pay a little extra, Tmall may be the place to sell, but be prepared for significant start-up costs.

III. Is it possible to sell cross-border products on Taobao?

No, you cannot open a store being a non-Chinese company. However, you can open a Taobao store, in some product categories, if you register a company in China.

Requirements to set up a company in China:

  • Business license application
  • Office rental contract
  • Passport copies

You will not be able to set up a postbox company, using a virtual office to be able to sell on Taobao.

You need to actually rent an office, meaning that you must pay a deposit and a few months rent, before you can even apply for the business license.

You will also need to open a bank account in Mainland China, that you later link to your store.

Most foreign-owned companies in China go to the following banks:

  • ICBC
  • Bank of China
  • China Merchants Bank

As you can see, setting up a company in China to sell on is, therefore, a major commitment – long before you see your first sale.

Most agencies charge around RMB 20,000 to 30,000 to help you register your business in China, and the application can easily take up to 6 months.

Besides, Chinese consumers who are looking for foreign products would generally prefer other platforms such as Tmall or JD… instead of Taobao.

Taobao is perceived as a domestic e-commerce site for domestically made products.

If you are a merchant or a trader, you can team up with local partners to test how your products sell in China market through Taobao as it doesn’t require a lot of initial investment as well as a rigorous application process like other platforms.

IV. Can I use a Hong Kong company to sell on

While Hong Kong is part of China, it has its own legal system. Setting up a company in Hong Kong is very easy, and can be done without ever visiting the country.

However, requires that you set up a company in Mainland China to sell on it, which is on an entirely different level in terms of complexity and cost.

V. Payment made by Alipay

Like Taobao, Alipay is a service provided by the Alibaba group.

Alipay is commonly used by Chinese consumers not only to shop online but also to pay for all kinds of transactions in daily life.

On Taobao, the buyers pay for the products with Alipay. Then Alipay waits until the products are well-received by the buyers before paying the sellers.

This system guarantees that the buyers get to receive products safe and sound after transactions.

VI. How to open a store on Taobao?

You can create a Taobao account through the Taobao user registration page and go to the Seller tab on your account page to apply to open a Taobao store.

The 7 steps to open a Taobao store

  • Step 1. Set up Taobao account and register as Seller
  • Step 2. Connect account to Alipay
  • Step 3. Complete identification authentication
  • Step 4. Create a store, connect plugins, and set up Ali Wang Wang (for Customer Service)
  • Step 5. Design store
  • Step 6. Upload products (referred to as “babies”)
  • Step 7. Promote and market store and products
  • Step 8. Engage with Taobao KOL and use Taobao Live

Unfortunately, if you do not understand or read Chinese then opening a Taobao store can be complicated because it is only available in Chinese. You should work with Chinese partners to help you navigate through the set-up process.

Another choice for you is to sell through other Chinese sellers. There are a ton of small businessmen that would probably love to sell your products on their online shops. You will need to contact them one by one through the platform app to find compatible business partners.


With 7+ years of experience and a professional team of more than 70 international as well as local talents, we have been and are helping brands to achieve their goals in China.

We offer a full range of e-commerce services including:


Explore more details here.

We also can help you with

We have written about how to sell cross-border e-commerce on the most prominent platforms such as Tmall Global, JD Worldwide,, Suning Global…


  • You will receive our case studies
  • A consultation 1h (free)
  • Latest Solution & Pricing (and it is not expensive Taobao)

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  1. Very good article Marketingtochina.
    We have several taobao stores, and we are searching for good western Brands to resell.
    Let me know , and we can collaborate.

    1. Hi Yao, my name is Ching. I live in Australia. What kind of products are you looking to sell on your ecommerce shops? Cheers

    2. Hi
      My name is Steven Cheah from Malaysia and interested to look for partner to sell our product, Hand Sanitizer, in China Tabao or Tmall etc. Hope you are interested. Thank you

    3. would you consider old philatelic items such as stamps, covers, etc that are of collectors interest in china? I am a trader in malaysia and i can’t open a Taobao account . I need a middleman. I can handle stocks from here. How does payment gets throigh to me?…let me know…i know there are many collectors in china wanting such items

    4. Hello, thank you for your message.
      We are searching for good western brand (imported) with good branding.
      Fashion, cosmetics, food, maternity , healthcare

      1. What Healthcare brands, iam based in Pakistan, you can contact me on 00923335527716 or same number whatsapp

      2. Hi, Yao. I have cosmetic products and want to promote and sell to china market. Is a new premium cosmetic brand And I can ship to you from Malaysia. Let discuss this further, do contact me on my mobile phone by WhatsApp, ±60162067801

      3. Hi Yao, we are Malaysian company, we made our own handmade soap and virgin coconut oil product such as body oil, massage oil, hair care product.
        For more info about our product You can visit our website

      4. Please introduce first your brand, I usually make research before wasting both people times.
        Indicate me the brand name or website and I will contact you if necessary.

    5. Hello Yao, are you interested in antiques, such as silver, corals, jewels, porceilain (Meissen) from Germany France and Italy? I noticed a growing interest in China.

    6. Hi! Yao
      My sister in Ireland has been looking for an importer to sell cosmetic, food & health supplements in China. Wonder if you are interested. If so, pls contact her

    7. Hi Yao!

      What kind of healthcare products are you looking for ? I have a European and Japan formulated multifunctional superfood / supplement of premium quality. Please hit me up on WhatsApp! +6590142600

    8. Hi Yao,
      My name is Mary, I have a very successful Anti ageing cosmetic. It is my own brand for past 25years with Trade Mark. It has sold hugely on
      DRTV and Online platforms globally but not in China. I would be interested to collaborate to sell on maybe T mall or others.Please view my website.
      Kind Regards

  2. Hi I have local registered company are interested to participate the online marketing program via seller. Hope I can explore more information on how I can be associated into this organization . Looking forward to share more information from your good self company.

  3. Hi,

    what are the options to sell cosmetics (own and 3rd party premium brands) on taobao from a warehouse in Europe?


  4. Hi,

    what are the options to sell cosmetics (own and 3rd party premium brands) on taobao from a warehouse in Europe?

  5. Dear i am stacie from China gz office which reprsetive ELBA GREEN BRAZILION COFFEE brand in china market we would like to sell our product through internet of taobao and t-mall , so pls let me know your service cost and terms Any questions pls fell fee let me know , my contact

    1. Hello Stacy,
      I can not find any information about your brand , what is your Chinese website? Chinese Name?

      1. I liked a lot this very good article on Marketingtochina and I have further questions:
        Can a private person not resident in China sell ( C2C ) something on Taobao ?
        If not, how can I collaborate with someone resident in China?
        What is the role of a Daigous?
        Have a nice day.

      2. Hi,

        We are exporting dired fruits such as apricot,fig,raisin.Also sugar free organic tu rkish delights.After import China we dont know hot to sell it so we are looking for cooperation seller at taobao JD etc.If you interested in please add my wechat:halilmtl

  6. Hello Yao, are you interested in antiques, such as silver, corals, jewels, porceilain (Meissen) from Germany France and Italy? I noticed a growing interest in China.

    1. I have a shop on Taobao and WeChat. I am also looking for interesting western brands and products to sell. Do contact me via email.

      1. I am an official distributor of the latest Singapore brand, Asentar. We are marketing innovative health n beauty products. The only supplement that human need

  7. We do Tailor made suits and shirts for men’s and womens contact us for details

    Our store is in hong kong and we are looking to sale in Chinese Market

  8. Want to open store and selling product to China market. Products range various and consist of cosmetic too, please advise how to start up as Malaysia merchant.

  9. I am an official distributor of the latest Singapore brand, Asentar. We are marketing innovative health n beauty products. The only supplement that human need

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