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Taobao: Where You Can Truly Buy Everything, Even Hot Female Models

Posted: 11/13/2014 10:05 am

taobao models Shopping online is fun. It’s great to pick out something online in the privacy of your own home and then find it arrive at your door just days later.

Taobao is the granddaddy of online shopping in China, and was instrumental in making Singles’ Day (November 11) into the biggest retail shopping day of the year. And while Taobao has been noteworthy for offering an wide assortment of oddities for sale that range from virtual girlfriends, mourners for rent, and stuff you never knew you needed to buy, it seems that absolutely everything is available for a price on Taobao—even the Taobao models themselves.

taobao modelsModels are categorized on their Taobao page into several groups and styles such as nationality and location or by sub-categories like “cute“, “sexy“, “sweet“, “schoolgirl“, “office lady“, and “ethnic“.

Each page lists their height, weight, and professional experience along with a multitude of photographs. And if you’re the type of lurker who will peruse models’ pages without any intent of hiring them for a job, there’s still a way you can help out. Models’ pages also have a section for comments and fans, which also differentiates them.

With each page looking like an individual entry into a social network hub, it’s not hard to think of the Taobao model page as a virtual Facebook made up of preening, pouting girls with an enormous wardrobe but without pictures of the food they ate last night.

taobao models

taobao modelsSo now you know: if you’re in the market for a model, you can find one in China’s greatest online mall.

[h/t reddit]

Photos: Taobao


China’s Generation of Lonely Men Leads to Boom In Virtual Girlfriends

Posted: 09/24/2014 2:09 pm

Spike Jonze’s 2013 movie Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix

When Spike Jonze’s 2013 movie Her hit the big screen, no one could have guessed how the fictional relationship between a human and an operating system could become a reality in the future. But now China’s popular e-commerce website Taobao is selling just that to lonely, young men looking for virtual companionship.

For just RMB 20 (US $3.26), you, too, can have the “girlfriend experience” through WeChat. As part of the service, you will be pampered with sweet morning wake-up calls, good night calls and be given a patient listener willing to hear all of your problems 24 hours a day, the report said. The new service is apparently all the rage in China at the moment.

A search of the term “virtual lover” into one e-commerce website generated more than 1,300 results of shops offering the service. One such shop has had 1,695 transactions since August 21, the newspaper said.

Men can choose different types of girlfriends, from a girl next door-type, diva, intellectual and even a “Lolita”. The service charges can range from RMB 20 a day to RMB 500 a month. The development of the “relationship” is categorized into three stages, namely the “knowing each other” stage, the “crazy in love” stage and the final stage in which a user can have “relationships” with, not just one, but three girls at the same time, one of the shop owners told the newspaper.

A screen grab of one of the shops on Taobao that sells the virtual girlfriend service.

The RMB 20 package means the client can chat with a girlfriend for at least 100 messages or speak with her over the phone. In the second stage, the girlfriend will send the client a photo of herself and express feelings to help give the man the illusion “he is crazily in love with the girl”, said the shop owner. However, the newspaper said the final stage service is relatively new, and nobody has purchased it yet. That’s okay though, because the third stage is the most boring in real life, too.

Once the service is completed, the girlfriend is requested to cut off contacts with clients, deleting him from her WeChat account and not to not have revealed her real name or address in order to protect privacy, the shop owner said.

To serve China’s large pool of singles, Taobao has already launched girlfriend rental services for Valentine’s Day and Spring Festival. The new virtual girlfriend service is expected to gain a huge following with a generation of people who have no time and energy for real relationships.

Photos: Warners Bros, Taobao, MIT Technology Review


Weekend Gallery: Enjoy Crazy Taobao Ads Devoid of Context

Posted: 08/3/2014 2:58 pm

taobao tumblr shopping online free market

[Some readers may find the contents of this post objectionable]

This Weekend Gallery comes to us courtesy of Taobao Media Tumblr (link may not be SFW), a cornucopia of some of the most enticing ads you’ll see on the popular e-commerce site.

With the pressure to buy anything taken off your shoulders by removing any context, you can now fully appreciate the extent to which the free market has developed in China.

Looking for a wall hook in the shape of a finger? Maybe a shirt with a flaming horse on it that is labelled “Horse”? Or maybe bed sheets designed with your wedding photos on it? It’s all here:

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Photos: Taobao Media Tumblr


Foreigners Modeling on Taobao Make Up to RMB 2,000 An Hour

Posted: 07/15/2014 11:19 am

foreign model

As you browse Taobao you may be curious where their fashion photography comes from. Who exactly are these foreigners modeling for Chinese companies?

Pat Lisa is one of them (pictured above). She hails from Slovakia and is one of the top contract models for a fashion photography company. She’s one on a roster of some 100 foreign models that come from 20 countries including Brazil, Ireland, and Finland. As their top model, Lisa earns about RMB 2,000 a day, reports MSN.

The pictures come from fashion photography firms that are contracted by companies like Maoshan Clothing of Tongxiang, Zhejiang Province. Having grown rapidly, Maoshan is in constant need of models. In 2013, the company sold 60% of China’s woolen garments for RMB 2.3 billion.

Working conditions for a model are not always ideal, however, despite the pay. A model working a single day with photographer Wang Ji may be asked to change clothes more than 200 times.

Here are photos from a recent shoot where Lisa plys her trade:

foreign modelforeign modelforeign modelforeign modelforeign model

RMB 2,000 a day is still is not the upper limit to what a model can earn in China. By contrast, male model Chris from Brazil earns RMB 2,000 an hour.

foreign model

The salaries beat teaching English, that’s for sure.


Photos: MSN


Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao’s New “Big Baby” Moniker Ridiculed By Fans

Posted: 06/29/2014 2:14 pm

jack ma xu jiayinWell, that didn’t take long: On the same day that an announcement confirmed the Guangzhou Evergrande Football Team will now be called “Evergrande Taobao”, people took to the internet to voice their outrage at the awkward moniker.

The renaming of the team revealed Friday by Jack Ma and Xu Jiayin combined two very popular name brands together: the “Evergrande” football club and the “Taobao” e-commerce website portal. However, the point of contention for netizens is with the abbreviation of this name.*

It turns out that one nickname of “Evergrande Taobao” in Chinese can be the term “Great Treasure”, a term with positive connotations until you realize that the Chinese name Dabao is already an established brand name in China—for a cosmetics line.

dabao cosmeticsSuch a small detail may seem insignificant to cultural outsiders until you realize the depravity to which Chinese football fans will use to insult opposing teams. It should also be noted that Dabao isn’t the equivalent to Maybelline or Max Factor, but serves the less-glamorous demographic of middle-aged women. Dabao products aren’t as much lip gloss or eyeshadow as they are anti-wrinkle creams.

Dabao can also take on a different meaning. As many Chinese call their children the “family treasure”, “Dabao” can be construed to mean “big baby”.

Here’s a short sample of what people had to say about the new name, “Evergrande Taobao”:

Very ugly team name!!!!

Lousy name

Isn’t it called the Guangzhou Evergrande Alibaba Taobao TMall Alipay Team? [crowd.emo]




Jack Ma and Xu Jiayin made a billion yuan investment just to make an advertisement for a household product…

Feel as though the people running around on the pitch will be the (Taobao) delivery service [bored.emo]

Well, at least in this way, the feminization of the French word “Grande” in “Evergrande” now finally makes sense.

dabao cosmetics


*Quick Chinese explanation: long names are often abbreviated in Chinese into something more manageable. For example, “Beijing University” becomes “Beida” from taking the first character of each character pair (学, Běijīng xué) and make them form their own pairing regardless of meaning (北大, Běidà).

In this case, the new formation does have a literal meaning (ie “North Big”) but its nonsensical meaning is overridden by its use as an abbreviation.

Like any other long name, Evergrande Taobao (恒大淘宝, Héngdà Táobǎo) can be abbreviated, but it’s what happens when the second half of the character gets paired up to become 大宝 (Dàbǎo), or literally, “great treasure” that has gotten netizens so furious.

Photos: nipic (2), Chinese News Network


Get Ready to Cheer On Your New Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao!

Posted: 06/27/2014 2:22 pm

jack ma xu jiayin

Jack Ma and Xu Jiayin, the two majority shareholders of  Guangzhou Evergrande, made a formal announcement today that officially renamed the team the “Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao Football Team” for the 2015 season.

We haven’t heard of an official announcement for the English name, but “Evergrande Taobao” is a direct translation of the Chinese one. The joint-naming increases the public profile of the two popular brands: the “Evergrande” football club and the extremely popular “Taobao” e-shopping service.

As part of the deal in which Jack Ma and the Alibaba group paid a reported RMB 1.2 billion for a 50% stake in the team, the club could tack on an additional two characters to its official name. The limit meant four-character “Alibaba” wouldn’t fit.

So starting next year, Taobao won’t just be a convenient way to buy stuff you don’t need without putting on your pants, but one of China’s most-winningest football teams in history.


Photo: QQ


Alibaba Kicks Off High-Tech Hospital Reform in Guangzhou

Posted: 06/17/2014 2:06 pm

payment hosptial E-commerce giant Alibaba seeks to make massive improvements to China’s antiquated hospital system by reducing wait times for patients through the use of online payments and sharing of patient data.

Alibaba has initiated a pilot program called “Future Hospital” at the Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center, the first such place in China that allows patients to pay for medical services through online accounts, reports China Daily.

By paying fees with a smartphone, Alibaba claims the length of an entire procedure can be reduced from five hours at peak times to one. On its first day of implementation, 580 people used the service at Future Hospital.

However, this is just the beginning of Alibaba’s ambition to reform hospital service in China as the e-commerce giant hopes to “use Alipay’s payment, user data, and big data capabilities to build a comprehensive mobile medical care and health management platform,” reports Tech President.

Technode outlines Alibaba’s huge ambitions:

Zhang Jiangang, an exec at Alifinance, mentioned that in the next 5-10 years, in order to implement phase two of the said plan, Alipay will establish a comprehensive online platform to allow virtually mobile prescription, medicine delivery, hospital transfer, medical care insurance reimbursement, commercial insurance as well as damage claims, as part of the improvement of healthcare reform in China…
“This is a long term plan to realize the shift from cure to prevention,” Zhang said.

Alibaba-owned Taobao had previously attempted to offer a free hospital appointment-booking service in several Chinese provinces only to be blocked in Beijing, where a competing service is offered by the Beijing Health Department.

Alibaba recently purchased a 50% share in the Guangzhou Evergrande football team, the other of Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s projects:

“We’re not investing in football, we’re investing in entertainment. Alibaba’s future strategies are health and entertainment.”

Photo: Gansu Daily


Eight killed, three injured in fire in Dongguan Taobao building

Posted: 05/8/2013 7:00 am

The scene of the accident

Eight people were killed and three were injured in a fire in a building in Dongguan’s Humen Village on May 6, Southern Metropolis Daily reports. The cause of the fire, which stretched 200 square metres, is still under investigation.

Humen is known nationally as a trading hub for clothes and the first floor of the building in Longquan Subdistrict was used as the location for a Taobao business, the second floor for staff dormitories and the third floor for the family of five who owned the business.

At about 3 a.m., female staff members Qin Xiaoyan, 24, and Zhang Chenxia were woken up by the smell of the smoke. They opened the door of their room and were overwhelmed by the thickness of smoke. They called for help from their room.

A grieving relative

As well as the 20 firefighters that arrived, neighbours helped extinguish the fire. Zhang and Qin escaped with minor respiratory tract burns but five men and three women lost their lives. The dead are being identified.

The area has become known for small fires, but authorities did not do anything about it in time to avert this tragedy.

The reporter from the paper observed that there are no No Smoking signs around. That and the fact that clothes are highly flammable may provide a clue.

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