Imagine you wanted to show up at work every day carrying a different Hermès handbag. Imagine you had a six-month-old baby at home who was in constant need of diapers and baby formula. And imagine you had just bought a new apartment and you needed to furnish the whole place from living room to kitchen. Don’t go looking at the Landmark, Watson’s, or IKEA, because retail shopping is so 2007. Instead, you can stay right at home and start treasure hunting online at Taobao (淘寶), the world’s biggest marketplace. It is Shopping 3.0.
|An e-tail juggernaut|
Taobao is the Internet’s best kept secret. The site, which literally means searching for treasures in Mandarin, is a combination of Amazon and eBay. It is increasingly the first place Chinese shoppers look to for clothing, cosmetics and everyday household supplies. If you can type it in Chinese, they will sell it. Some of the strangest items sold include...