How to open a Taobao or Tmall shop in 2018 step by step

Taobao or Tmall or Tmall Global?

In the last post, we wrote a long article discussing some different kinds of foreign products we see sell well on Taobao basing on our shopping experience in these years, if you already have such products at hand, please study this article further about how to sell on Taobao.

There are 2 types of shops on Taobao:


  1. Personal Shops:


To open a personal shop, you should already have a Taobao account with real name certified Zhifubao account. You need to input your real name, ID number, contact phone number, front and back photocopy of your ID card, ID expiring date, Bank account holder name and account numbers…You also need to upload your photos to Taobao. Unfortunately, only Chinese residents can do above procedure now.


Taobao claims there is no fees to personal shops now. However, there is many invisible cost you should consider:

  • FYI, the monthly salary here in China for an average white-collar is US$800-US$1000, this is your cost to hire a good shopkeeper to handle all things for you at the beginning, such as: before-sale communication with buyers 7 days a week, packing and shipping, processing item returns.
  • You should deposit 1000-2000CNY (depends on different products) in your Zhifubao account as a Buyer Protection Fund, in case there is some dispute arises, Taobao will use this fund to reimburse the buyer. This is not a must, but 99% Taobao sellers do it as few customers are willing to buy from shops without such fund. Finally, if you decide to close the shop, this fund is refundable.
  • Besides above, there are still some other small cost: Shop decoration fees, advertising fees. Even if your product is very good, it takes at least 3-6 months for a new Taobao shop to make money. If you want to shorten this period, you need to spend more money on decorating your shop or buying some customer traffics from Taobao.


  1. Company Shops (Tmall shops):


It is more complex and expensive to open a Tmall shop on Taobao.


Firstly, the business entity should be a registered company in China. Normally the register capital of a Tmall company varies from 100,000CNY to 1,000,000CNY (16k-160k US dollars), among them 100,000CNY is the majority. You can use this 100,000CNY as circulating fund in the shop running later. If you don’t plan to deposit such a capital in the bank, we have contact with some company registration agency, the register fee is around US$500. And there is still some other fees such as Bank account openning fees, Invoice fees, Accounting Fees…


However, company registration fees is not the big fees to open a Tmall company, there are still 2 big fees


Initial Margin:


The amount varies from 100,000-150,000CNY, this margin is refundable. Main purpose is to prevent fraud sellers running away with customers’ money.


Annual Service Fees(ASF):


Either 30000CNY or 60000CNY charged by Tmall each year according to different categories.


Technical Service Fees(TSF):


This is 2%-5% of your transaction amount according to different categories. If your transaction volume reaches certain amount in one year, above Annual Service fees is refundable at the end of that year according to Tmall’s Policy.


For example:


  1. If you sell health supplement products, the ASF is 30000CNY with 3% TSF. If your annual transaction amount reaches 180,000CNY, you are entitled to be refunded 50%ASF (15000CNY) ; If your annual transaction amount reaches 600,000CNY, you are entitled to be refunded 100%ASF (30000CNY).


  1. If you sell PC related digital products, the ASF is 30000CNY with 2% TSF. If your annual transaction amount reaches 360,000CNY, you are entitled to be refunded 50%ASF (15000CNY) ; If your annual transaction amount reaches 1,200,000CNY, you are entitled to be refunded 100%ASF (30000CNY).


  1. If you sell women clothing, the ASF is 60000CNY with 5% TSF. If your annual transaction amount reaches 360,000CNY, you are entitled to be refunded 50%ASF (30000CNY) ; If your annual transaction amount reaches 1,200,000CNY, you are entitled to be refunded 100%ASF (60000CNY).


Really a long article, isn’t it? You must feel headache when reading here, now you know the basic cost to open 2 different kinds of shops on Taobao.


  1. Alternative Solution:

Even if you have set up above 2 kinds of shops, there is still a big problem. Your shop is brand new without trading history, no good feedbacks means no business. Another alternative way to open a shop on Taobao is, you can buy a ready to sell shop with years’ good feedbacks from other sellers who wants to withdraw from Taobao for different reasons. During our years shopping experience on Taobao, we have a network with hundreds of sellers, some of which want to close their business and transfer their shops. If you buy such a shop, you can begin to earn money in the shortest period. The prices for such shop transference vary from different feedback levels, if you believe us, we can negotiate a good price for you.