Thursday, 3 June 2021

How to Shop on Taobao in English

As you’re probably aware Taobao the largest ecommerce platform in China, and one of the largest in the world too. Nowadays it has a massive selection of products from sellers all over China, and is famed for its incredibly low price tags.

However as amazing as Taobao is, it is targeted mainly at Chinese nationals as well as the international Chinese community. Because of that there is no ‘English version’ of the platform, making it difficult for non-Chinese speakers to use it.

The good news is that even if you don’t understand Chinese it is still possible to shop on Taobao. In fact there are several ways that you can shop on Taobao in English if you really want to.

Translate Taobao into English

Although there is no English version of the Taobao website, there is nothing preventing you from translating it into English. The easiest way to do that is buy downloading Google Chrome and using its translation feature by right-clicking on the webpage and selecting the ‘Translate to English’ option.

While this is a somewhat reliable method, it isn’t exactly perfect. Aside from the fact that some words may not be translated well, you may have difficulty using the search feature due to the fact that it requires Chinese.

If you do need to use the search, you can try using Google Translate to convert English to Mandarin – which is not that effective. Alternatively you could search by image – but that may or may not be effective as well.

All in all this is a decent option as long as you’re patient enough to slowly figure it out.

Use Taobao Agent Services

If you prefer not getting entangled in the translated version of Taobao, you could try using one of the many Taobao agent services that are out there. Essentially these agents cater to international customers and will help them buy and ship products from Taobao.

Some of these services offer a Taobao English version of the website that has various products listed. Others simply will require you to enter the URL of the Taobao products that you want to buy as well as the quantity and specifications that you require.

The main benefit of this option is that it is a lot easier. It also provides a wider range of payment options for international users.

At the same time you should be aware that it will also be a bit more expensive as Taobao agents charge a fee for their services. Additionally you need to make sure you select a reliable agent to avoid any pitfalls.


As you can see either of these options will let you shop on Taobao in English, but both have their own pros and cons. If you’re in no hurry you can take your time and first try translating Taobao into English, and then check out agents if you find that shopping on the translated website is not going to cut it for you.

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