In addition to shipping packages from China, Taobao agents like ezbuy can transact on your behalf and help you avoid bad deals.
Updated 21 Jun 2017.
As the world’s manufacturer, China’s merchants sell everything for less. With the quality of Chinese goods rising to a more-than-respectable level, many Singaporeans save money by shopping from Chinese merchants online.
Taobao is the de facto online marketplace for shoppers looking to score cheap deals from China. In fact, the Chinese portal has become so popular that Taobao is becoming synonymous with online shopping, the way Google represents searching online.
But because Taobao is a consumer-to-consumer marketplace (you’re buying directly from an individual, not a company), you don’t get the safety net of consumer protection or customer service. To avoid being vulnerable to common Taobao scams, make your transaction through an agent.
What is a Taobao Agent?
A Taobao Agent is a service that helps Singaporeans buy direct from Taobao. They are basically a middleman that communicates with the merchant on your behalf, and helps you with payment and shipping.
You’ll have a pay a modest fee for the services of a Taobao Agent, but in exchange, you’ll get a convenient and hassle-free shopping experience. Also, a good agent can help you avoid frustration and financial loss arising from misunderstanding or a bad deal.
When choosing a Taobao agent, verify that they are able to:
- Alert you if you are buying from a potentially fraudulent seller
- Check that the correct orders are placed
- Make sure goods sent are undamaged and in good condition
- Consolidate and repack your purchases to save you shipping fees
- Liaise with the seller on your behalf in case of any disputes
Which Taobao Agent in Singapore is the Best?
There are several Taobao agents in Singapore who can help you buy from Chinese merchants. To help you decide which one is the best, we compared four popular agents: ezbuy, Peeka, SGshop, and Oops.
Note that we only have information for air freight, which is suitable for smaller packages. However, if you are looking to buy large items like furniture, and don’t need the items in a hurry, sea freight is the more cost-effective choice. Sea freight delivery takes around 2 to 3 weeks, but charges go by increments of every 30kg.
|Taobao Agents in Singapore|
|Taobao Agent||Cost of Air Shipping||Shipping Time||Repacking and Consolidation||Other Services|
|ezbuy (Formerly 65daigou)||From S$1.69 to S$4.99 per 0.5kg, depending on service chosen||From 1 to 2 business days, to 4 to 7 business days, depending on service chosen||Repacking|
- Free for 30 days
- S$1 per order per day thereafter
- Checks for quantity, design, colour, size and visible defects on your goods before shipping to SingaporeParcel Tracking
- 3% of total value of shipment, or S$9.90 minimum
- S$2,000 limit
- S$100 compensation for items not insured
- 4% to 8% of total value of shipment
- Available at 277 points throughout Singapore
- Home delivery: S$5 to S$8 per trip
|Peeka||S$14 for 1st 0.5kg, S$3.60 per 0.5kg thereafter||3 to 5 business days||Repacking|
- First 20 days free
- S$1 to S$5 per day thereafter, depending on weight
- Checks for colour, size and quantity of items ordered. Parcel Tracking
- YesConcierge (Buy4U)
- Minimum $5, or 5% of purchase cost, (price of purchase + local delivery fee*)Other Fees
- Surcharges apply for Buy4U and Ship4U
|Sgshop||From S$1.60 to S$4.90 per 0.5kg, depending on service chosen||From 1 to 3 business days, or 3 to 5 business days, depending on service chosen||Repacking|
- First 30 days free
- S$1 to S$5 per day thereafter, depending on weight
- Checks for quantity, design, colour, size and visible defects on your goods before shipping to Singapore. Parcel Tracking
- Yes Insurance
- 5% of purchase cost (price of purchase + local delivery fee*)
- S$2,500 limitConcierge (Buy 4 Me)
- 4% to 8% of transaction cost (price of purchase + local delivery fee + international freight fee^)
- Clearance fee of S$0.98 per parcel.
|Oops||S$3.30 + S$2.06 per 0.5kg||4 to 7 business days||Repacking|
- N/AParcel Tracking
- Yes Insurance
- May be purchased from air carrier, coverage up to full value of parcelConcierge (Assisted Purchase)
- Minimum S$1, or S$1 per 1kg
*Local delivery fee refers to the amount charged by the seller for delivering your purchase to your agent’s warehouse in China.
^International freight fee refers to the amount charged for delivering your package from your agent’s China warehouse to Singapore.
Not All Taobao Agents Are Created Equal
As the table above shows, there are differences in delivery prices and services offered by Taobao agents.
ezbuy, which also ships packages from the US to Singapore, offers fast delivery at low prices. Besides the rates listed above, they have a Prime service for a yearly subscription fee of S$99. As a Prime member, all your delivery charges will be knocked down to S$2.99 per shipment, and you’ll also enjoy lower fees with their concierge service. With it's one-price-per-shipment model, Prime is useful for shipping bulky and heavy items, such as furniture.
ezbuy also offers another way for you to save money on your Taobao shopping. With its Friends Deal feature (exclusive to mobile site or ezbuy app only), you can rope in your friends to secure discounts on items you all are interested in.
Sgshop ticks all the right boxes with a full-service offering combined with low freight charges and quick deliveries. We also like that they offer three levels of freight service to keep costs low, while still promising a decent delivery window. However, they are the only agent out of the four to charge a clearance fee per parcel.
Oops offers low shipping rates and decent delivery lead times, but they do not provide important services such as basic inspection, which can nip a bad order in the bud.
On the other hand, Peeka’s service includes inspection, but their freight charges are the highest among the four, with a base rate of S$14. There are also several surcharges applicable, so you need to make sure to read all the fine print to know what fees you may end up paying.
Shop with the Right Credit Card
Regardless of which Taobao agent you choose, make your dollar stretch by using a credit card for online shopping. With rebates, you can end up saving up to S$60 a month on your Taobao purchases.
Alternately, you can also use an air miles credit card like the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card, which gives you 2 miles per S$1 spent on overseas transactions. New customers can also enjoy up to 42,000 bonus miles as a welcome gift.
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By Alevin Chan
A Certified Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin's mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He's also on an ongoing quest to optimize happiness and enjoyment in his life.