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16 Very Unusual Things For Sale on Taobao

What’s on Weibo has compiled a list of the most remarkable products for sale on Taobao – China’s largest e-commerce platform.

Manya Koetse



Taobao Marketplace is one of China’s largest online shopping platforms, comparable to Ebay or Amazon. The website was launched in 2003 by China’s Alibaba Group. Taobao is a place where small businesses and individuals can sell products to consumers – anything from clothes to medicines. What’s on Weibo has compiled a list of remarkable products for sale on Taobao.


1. Dogs are popular in China for different reasons (see our ‘20 Facts About Dogs in China article). Dressing up dogs in every thinkable way is trendy. Taobao offers different types of clothing for dogs, shoes and accessories for dogs, and even dye for dog hair. Always wanted a pink-haired malteser or a rainbow-afro poodle? Here’s your chance.




2. One can buy underwear of every kind on Taobao. Although the underwear itself is often unusual (or fake) too, so is the way of modeling it.



3. Ironically, communism has become a commercial industry in China. There are various communist-themed restaurants in Beijing and other cities, and many people like to dress up as ‘Red Guards’ for special occasions such as weddings or graduations. These customs can be bought on Taobao.



4. What’s on Weibo featured an article about China’s booming abortion industry earlier this week. Taobao does not only sell professional equipment for doing abortion procedures, it also sells ‘do it yourself’ abortion kits for 38 RMB (6 US dollars) and ‘abortion pills‘ to cut off early-stage pregnancies.



5. Want to show off what you (don’t) have? This T-shirt will make people look twice – are we seeing a cheeky cleavage or something else?


6. All kinds of animals are for sale on Taobao, from very cheap to very expensive. If you’re not into frogs, how about a 4000 dollar (25000 RMB) cat? Or would you rather have a 160.000 dollar one (990000 RMB)?


7. If you are not a cat or dog person, there are always sturgeons for sale, too. Keep it or eat it.


8. For those interested in sex toys, Taobao is a true paradise with a large selection of made-in-China bedroom gadgets. A popular product is this item; vibrating thimbles to get things buzzing. Also available: vibrating lipstick.


9. For many single girls, Chinese New Year’s and other festivities are stressful times: these are the times that parents will ask their daughters why they are not married yet. This is why ‘rent-a-friend’ services have become very popular on China’s internet. Young men provide their services in pretending to be your boyfriend at various prices, depending on his looks and (academic) career.


10. If China’s single girls want something special for the bedroom, there is always a plastic boyfriend available on Taobao.


If he is not your style, there are althernative faces. How about this one?


11. Barack Obama merchandise is popular in China; Obama watches, Obama toys or posters –  but recently most popular is the products depicting Kim Jong-eun and Obama hugging each other. Available as tshirts or phone covers.






12. For the ones who do not really like Obama and/or Kim Jong-eun that much, there will always be Putin.




13. Farmers can buy their equipment online. Taobao sellers offer all kinds of equipment necessary for castrating cattle. To avoid any mistakes, they also add a picture of how to do this castration.


14. From chocolate to bananas, all kinds of foodstuff can be found on Taobao. But did you know you could also order goat brains or fresh cow brain online?



15. Sometimes yelling at someone can be really helpful to elevate stress and ventilate negative feelings. This is why some sellers on Taobao offer their services to be yelled at. For 2 RMB, you can scream at a real person for 5 minutes.


16. Afraid that your partner is cheating on you? Taobao offers equipment that makes it possible to be your own private detective. This gadget lets you check on any traces of semen in underwear or on bed sheets- they can be used up to 30 times.




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[box type=”bio”]

koetse.148x200About the Author: Manya Koetse is the editor of What’s on Weibo. She’s a Sinologist who splits her time between the Netherlands and China. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in Literary Studies, Japanese & China Studies and completed her MPhil in Asian Studies. Contact:, or follow on Twitter.[/box]

©2014 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at, or follow on Twitter.

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China Digital

TikTok’s In-Video Search Function (And How to Activate It)

TikTok shows a glimpse of what in-video search is going to look like in the future.

Manya Koetse



What is TikTok’s new in-video search function and how to activate it?

Twitter’s most awesome WeChat guru Matthew Brennan recently posted about an “in-video search function” launched in the Chinese social video app TikTok (抖音). (Click here to read about the difference between the Chinese and overseas version of TikTok).

As shown in a video posted by Brennan, the function allows TikTok users to select the face or clothes of a person appearing in a short video to search for other videos or images containing the same person or clothes.

The ‘vision search’ is a powerful new function within the super popular app.

The idea is that it becomes easier than ever for Tiktok users to find (and buy!) a piece of clothing, that perfect handbag, or even a snack featured in a video.

It also helps users to quickly find other videos in which an online celebrity appears. The function ultimately is an additional feature that keeps users scrolling and shopping within the app – increasing app traffic – as long as possible.

On September 16, Chinese media reported about the function as a “powerful” new tool that greatly strengthens the functionality of the popular short video app.

The function might not immediately seem completely new to Chinese app users; like Google Image Search, Baidu and Taobao also have similar functions (百度识图, 淘宝识图).

On e-commerce platform Taobao, for example, you can take a photo of an item you want (e.g. a certain snack as in example below) and Taobao will try to find the exact same product and list the online stores where you can buy it.

But TikTok’s in-video search function is on a whole new level; it does not require users to scan or upload a photo at all. It gives an indication of what visual search will be like in the future.

Whatever video comes by in your TikTok stream, you only need to click the “search” function (识图), select the part of the video you want to search for (you can drag the square from area to area), and TikTok will find the product or face you’re looking for – as long as there are comparable products/faces (it does so very fast).

Very much like Taobao, TikTok will recommend various (in-app) online stores where the product can be purchased.

Want to try out the function? For now, it only works in the Chinese version of the app and is still in the ‘testing phase’ and does not work with all videos.

Make sure you have an updated version of TikTok.

1. Go to “me” (我) page within TikTok
2. Tick the three lines in the top right corner
3. Go to the last option in the sidebar menu titled “lab” (实验室)
4. Activate the function (image below).

So now if you spot a dress you like and would like to buy, press the ‘search’ button on the right of a video, select the dress, and TikTok becomes like your personal shopping assistant looking for similar dresses for you.

Tiktok makes shopping supereasy.

This really makes online shopping more addictive than ever, and also makes it more difficult for people in online videos to hide where they bought their clothing, or what other videos they are in.

Read more about Tiktok here.
Read more about Chinese apps here.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

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China Digital

Didi Riders Can Now Have “Verified Party Members” Drive Them Around

Party-building 3.0? Didi has got it covered.

Manya Koetse



First published

This is Party-building in the new era: Didi now allows users of its Premier Car Service to let a verified Party member drive them to their destination.

On September 20, as the People’s Republic of China is nearing its 70th-anniversary celebrations, the country’s most popular taxi-hailing app Didi published an article on Weibo and WeChat explaining its verified Party Member Driver Program.

Recently, riders in Beijing may have noticed something different at Didi’s Premier Car service, which is called “Licheng” 礼橙专车 since June of last year.

Some of Licheng’s drivers now have a red background to their profile photos accompanied by a Communist Party emblem. Upon clicking the profile of these drivers, customers will see that this driver is a Party Member Driver (“党员司机”) – meaning that the Didi driver’s status as a Party member has been verified through Didi’s “Red Flag Steering Wheel” program (红旗方向盘项目) that was set up in November 2018.

Didi’s “Red Flag Steering Wheel” program (红旗方向盘项目) that was set up in November 2018. Image via Guancha.

Didi writes that these drivers can also be identified as Party members through the red sticker on the dashboard at the passenger side, which literally says “Party member driver.”

The article explains that the recent project is an effort to contribute to China’s Party-building in the digital era, and that Didi aims to establish a Party member community within its company.

This car is driven by a Party member (image via Didi/Weibo).

The company is apparently planning to make this community a lively one, as it promises to provide online and offline activities that will help these drivers stay up to date with the latest developments within the Party, and that will increase their “Party awareness.”

Starting this month, Didi will reportedly also offer “patriotic classes” to all of its drivers via its online classroom program.

China has more than 88 million Party members. Party membership does not come overnight; those who want to become a Communist Party member need to attend Party courses, pass written tests, be recommended by other members, and pass a screening (read more here).

As for now, riders cannot manually pick to have a Party member as their driver; a nearby driver will be automatically selected when they order a car – if it is a Party member, they will know straight away from the driver’s profile.

For now, Didi has set up “mobile Party branches” in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and a number of other cities.

On Weibo, some see the initiative as a marketing move from Didi’s side. “If you hear the driver is a Party member, you know it’s reliable. It’s a good thing.”

The past year was a tough year for Didi, after the murders of two young women by their Didi driver made national headlines, causing outrage and concerns about customer’s safety when hailing a car through the Didi company.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

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