The Challenge


How might we support web entrepreneurs in launching and growing sustainable global businesses? read the brief


A group of web entrepreneurs can run a online department store

talking about online start-ups, I need to mention the most popular website in my country--Taobao. It can possibly be the largest web site for online shopping in Asia, and almost all my friends had ever purchased something from Taobao.
It is obviously that Taobao is a successful platform operated by Alibaba Group, with more than 370 million registered users and 800 million products, all I can say about this online shopping mall is "wow"!

sellers can post products on Taobao through a fixed price or by auctions. buyers can judge the seller's credit from the selling prestige and the comments from other buyers.

one of my friend opened her "store" on Taobao half year ago, base on her experience, it wasn't complicated to become a seller, you have to follow the rules,regulations and understand the services and features that Taobao offering. for example, the payment platform-Alipay and the chat program named Aliwangwang. The payment platform is a preferred payment solution for transitions on Taobao; Aliwangwang, which is more important base on local culture, is more like MSN messenger or Yahoo messenger. usually online shoppers love to chat with sellers about the size, shipping or the many of the sellers have customer service team to handle such things. Of course, when you need a team to chat with customers, it means you business runs really well^^

couple of the difficulties my friend faced as a start-up were : you need to have some skills to decorate you webpage, at least make you store looks pretty; also photoshop is needed, models and photographer are musts. sometimes, when customer bought products from you store, they can hardly remember your brand, instead, they will just say they bought them from it's not easy to build brand image.

anyway, it seems, searching on Taobao has already became part of many people's daily life, my friend says the first thing she does when she opened her laptop, is turn on the facebook, login Taobao, and then check emails or read i truly believe web entrepreneurs have lot of chances by doing similar business.

Mission #2 Day in the Life of a Start-up


Join the conversation and post a comment.

Fei Xin

April 22, 2014, 04:46AM
Nowadays, along with the rapid development of technology, people have already got used to dependent on the Internet in their lives. Computer is become a necessary tool for working and life, so the web entrepreneurs began to meet the needs of people's lives. Due to people have to work, not too much time to communicate with others or shopping. Therefore, the web entrepreneurs developed communication websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, weibo and so on. However, in my opinion, the most successful developed is online shopping website. It has a lot of benefits, not only saving time, but also saving money. The manager of the online shopping website have many strategy to stimulate consumer to buy goods. For example, the website have discount in many special festivals and holidays for limited time.
In China, Alibaba group has successfully developed online shopping platform "Taobao". It became the most popular online shopping platform for Chinese in 21st century.

mengyuan chen

March 04, 2014, 21:14PM
Yes, Alibaba has become one of the largest business-to-business platforms in the world and also is the flagship company of the Alibaba Group. It main focus is operating as the premier B2B marketplace for retail and payment platforms. This company is about 40% owned by Yahoo. is able to connect Chinese manufactures with overseas buyers, better than any other site within China. Since its inception in 1999, has sold over a billion products and has 20 most visited sites globally.

Alana Shaikh

June 27, 2013, 07:49AM
yes AliBaba is a leading group in online shopping field but I have some experiences of online shopping with huge discounts from , and these sites are providing best discounts and have millions of products so I always happy to do shopping from there.

Anne-Laure Fayard

March 27, 2012, 20:34PM
Thanks for sharing team Zenism.
Interesting inspiration. If I understand well Taobao is offering an online platform, a virtual mall, as well as associated services for start ups to start selling their products (and services?). What is the first step? registering as a member and getting a "spot"? Interesting point on the brand image... May I ask you what your friend sell? Didn't she need some seed money to get started? thanks.

Jiangxuan Wu

March 27, 2012, 21:20PM
actually unlike Etsy, at taobao, you can sell anything. my friend has a clothing store, basically girls clothing and shoes, the first thing you do is to register an account, so you can be a buyer or seller. than think about what you can friend bought many things from HongKong ( with a lower price compare with the mainland) and then sell with a little bit higher price on Taobao, but still cheaper than usual department store in mainland. so i think she is more like an agent~~

very interesting, compare with clothes and shoes, make-ups are very popular. sometimes people even make reservations...

Paul Reader

March 28, 2012, 03:09AM
Interesting post - I have friends in Philippines where Sulit offers a similar experience. It seems Ebay's reach into Asia is quite limited, in the Philippines this is partly due to the difficulty of getting credit and the rapid development of cellphone based cash transactions that ebay has yet to embrace.
AL I found this link to an English guide to Taobao ( ) its interesting to look around and I see Taobao has gone into the physical world as well.
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