Forget Taobao.com, try these other shopping sites on for size

Forget Taobao.com, try these other shopping sites on for size

While you've been losing hours on Taobao, we've been checking out these three shopping sites that give China's biggest online store a run for its money
Online shopping in China
The side-effect of these wonderful shopping websites is obvious: an unconscious stab into your wallet. Photo by Flickr user Fosforix

Many of us still struggle with the the ever-present Taobao.com problem: how to balance price and quality. While we've been preoccupied here, a number of other hassle-free online shopping options have emerged giving China's preeminent shopping site a run for its money. Warning: try not to get addicted

Vancl Vancl.com is like China’s Uniqlo, but online.Online shopping destination no. 1: Vancl

Good for: Everything you’ll need to wear -- ever. Vancl.com is like China’s Uniqlo, but online.
Perks:
 First and foremost, this comprehensive shopping website provides everything you or your family might need for your wardrobe, from t-shirts to children's apparel. Its designs are generally streamlined and simple, and most of their clothes are under RMB 99. Secondly, if you’ve been burnt by the quality of the clothes on Taobao.com, then this website is your safe harbor. You get to try on your purchases before you pay and the merchandise is always good quality. Finally, the site has great sales. Pay attention to the regularly advertised sales and discounts; they’ll keep you glued to your computer for hours. 
Cons:
They don’t have English-speaking customer service at the moment.
Must buy:
Men’s iron-free office shirt.
Tips:
The website offers a variety of Asian sizes, from small to extra large for most items. A lot of their discounts are on large or extra large clothes.
Telephone: +86 400 600 6888
Payment Method:
Cash-on delivery, online bank and postal remittance.
Refund Policy: Free refunds or exchanges within one month of receipt.

 

ihush.comihush.com offers big name brands at steep discounts.Online shopping destination no. 2: ihush

Good for: Discounted stock from popular fashion brands
Perks: ihush.com is a shopping heaven for those who adore branded clothes and cosmetics, but don’t have the budget to pay full price (and even if you could, why would you when there's a site like this?). Come here often to check out discounts on brands like Esprit, Quiksilver and Roxy. Prices are, on average, 70 percent less than the original price tag, though most of the merchandise is off-season stock.
Cons: Stocks are only available for a relatively short time (one to two weeks), and the service hotline (Chinese only) is always busy.
Must-buy: Like we said, stock changes a lot, but sports apparel is always a good bet.
Tips: Since most of the merchandise is from last season, it’s a good idea to buy athletic items which are less subject to seasonal influences.
Telephone: +86 400 888 4600
Payment Method: Cash-on delivery, online bank and alipay.
Refund Policy: Free refunds or exchanges.

 

chictalk Chictalk.com.cn showcases Chinese indie designers.Online shopping destination no. 3: Chictalk

Good for: Designer brands
Perks: Founded by shopaholic-turned-designer Sharong Zhou, chictalk.com.cn targets fashion-loving women, and offers more space to smaller Chinese designers than its peers. “We found a surprisingly large number of good indie designers in China, but people's knowledge about their brands are very little,” says Zhou. “Our website lists around 30 designers from Coko Wan to Ying's, and the number grows every month. We will provide them space to sell as well as ways to interact with consumers through blogs and fashion reports.” We also love their selection of dresses (RMB 200-500) and frequent deals. Current discount we love: RMB 99 for a top from insh. Awesome.
Cons: Chichtalk is still a start-up website so the selection is limited.
Must-buy: Dresses by Sharong. 
Tips: You get a RMB 30 voucher once you register as a member.
Telephone: +86 400 716 6808
Payment Method: Cash-on delivery, online bank and alipay.
Refund Policy: Free refunds or exchanges within seven days of receipt (except for specials).

Tracy You is a bilingual journalist based in Shanghai and has worked for several publications including as Editor for CNN Travel. She's a fan of history, British TV and Wii Guitar Hero.

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