The Surprising Services on the “Almighty” Taobao

On Taobao, you can get everything from fortune telling to plastic surgery.


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For people living outside of China, Taobao may be best known as China’s eBay or Amazon. However, Taobao has more to offer than one may imagine. Indeed, Taobao was nicknamed the “Almighty Taobao” (“万能的的淘宝” Wànnéng de táobǎo) by young Chinese people. You can find everything on this online shopping site, no joke. 

The concept of Taobao goes beyond a simple e-commerce platform. Besides the regular businesses, there are also surprising shops that provide unexpected services:

  1. 1 Translation Services

    On Taobao, there are thousands of specialized shops offering translation services. These shops serve as translation agencies. You can hire a freelance translator to translate business contracts, medical literature, resumes, user’s guides, driver’s licenses and more. From written material to audio and video, any format can be translated on Taobao. It’s also easy to find translation services for languages such as Arabic, Thai, Burmese, Czech and Polish. 

  2. 2 Graphic Design Services

    Need somebody to design a cool logo or an eye-catching package? Taobao has your back. Countless freelance designers and design companies list their work and qualifications online. You can negotiate with the designers through the Taobao chat box until you have an ideal design. Some companies can even help you to trademark your logos. 

  3. 3 Fortune Telling

    On Taobao, you can find a master or a shifu to help you interpret your dream. They can calculate your “Ba-Zi” (“八字”, a way to predict one’s destiny according to the birthday). They can even analyze the Feng Shui. Usually, people ask about childbirth, academic performance, career, marriage and health. Of course, a savvy customer would always read the reviews before making a decision. 

    If you don’t believe in traditional Chinese astrology, western occult is available as well. Online tarot readings are also popular among young Chinese people.  

  4. 4 Garment Repair

    When you’ve ripped your favorite sweater, you don’t need to buy a new one! The garment repair services on Taobao are life savers. To order these services, you first need to show pictures of your ripped garment to Customer Service. After the tailors confirm that your cloth can be fixed, you then ship your piece to them. Holes in jeans, down jackets, suits and dresses are no sweat for the experienced tailors on Taobao. 

  5. 5 Aesthetic Services

    Taobao’s parent company Alibaba has established a platform called Ali Health and Medical Services. Alibaba partnered with certified hospitals and plastic surgery centers nation-wide on Taobao. The shopping site serves as a reservation and review system. They offer quick aesthetic services such as hyaluronic acid injections and double-eyelid surgery. Customers will book the service online and choose a partner hospital to conduct the minor surgery. 

    Besides these services, there’re also legal offices, travel agencies, appliance repair centers and more on Taobao. Do any of these services surprise you? Or have you found more unexpected services on Taobao? Comment below and let us know!


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Mingsi Ma

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