Taobabble: Basic Vocabulary

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Taobabble: Basic Vocabulary

To buy and sell on Taobao, it helps to have a handle on the jargon. Here are English translations and explanations for the most-used Taobao terms.


Qin: A term of endearment usually used by shopkeepers to address customers, loosely translated as “dear,” “dearie” or “honey.” Believed to have first appeared in June, 2004, qin is the most frequentlyrepeated word on Taobao. An average of more than 21.8 million people use it in website communications every day, according to Taobao, and the wordmakesmore than 95 million daily appearances.

Bao you: This means “free shipping,” so little wonder it is the second-most-common Taobaoism. Some 7.3 million online shoppers ask for free shipping 14.6 million times per day, according to the website. Most of these requests are oh-so-politely denied, since free shipping is available only in a handful of Chinese cities and provinces.

Pai xia:A verbfor what you do when you place an order. To pai xia is to confirmyour purchasing decisionfor a specific product in a specific size and color before starting the payment process. Taobao shoppers use this term 1.8 times a day per person, on average.

Bao bei: A term of endearment for products meaning “treasure” or “the precious.” It doesn’t matter if you arebuying a Swiss watch or dried chicken feet, if you call the object of your desire bao bei you’ll distinguish yourself as a knowledgeable Taobao shopper.

Hao ping: Everyone likes compliments, but this term, roughly meaning “a positive comment or rating” canmean life or death for Taobao merchants. Buyers pay close attention to feedback from other shoppers, so getting top marks forproduct and service quality iscrucial. That’s why many merchants remind satisfiedbuyers to be sure and leave their hao ping.

Gai jia: This term, literally “change price,”is usually used when online shoppers bargain for lower prices and merchants agree to give them a special discount. Some 1.5 millionbuyersask for one-off discounts 2.66 million timesa day.

Shang xin: Online shoppers want the latest merchandise, so they’ll use this phrase (“upload new”) to nag shopkeepers topost details of the new stuff before they start to browse. Due to this subtle but unrelenting pressure, Taobao clothing retailers refresh the inventory in their electronic storefronts an average of once a week. Offline shops turn over their inventory about once every three months.

Zhang gui: The customer is known as qin. This is thetitle for shopkeeper. The term is an antiquated noun that has beenrecycled from Chinese martial arts movies, similar to the way bartenders are “barkeeps” in American movies about the old West.

960,000 Taobao shoppers ask sellers to upload new products 1.21 million times per day, driving the merchants to keep up the pace. Taking apparel sellers as an example, on average they upload new products once per week, whereas the frequency of offline stores is once per quarter.

Chinese E-CommerceTaobao
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