I'm working on an article on my top conveniences that make life easier as a Shanghai expat...these are the little things that I will definitely miss when I move away. Life as an expat is infinitely easier today with all the technological help, and no where is that more true than China/Shanghai. In the meantime, though, I wanted to share my latest find in convenience: Baopals.
Baopals' tagline is "Taobao for the rest of us". Yes, Taobao in English so you no longer have to awkwardly translate or ask a coworker for help. There's a little more to it than that...here's a description from their site: "We bring you all the products and shops from China’s Taobao and Tmall, the largest marketplace in the world. We’ve reorganized the products into baopals’ own departments, and added plenty of other tools to make it easier for you to find what you want. From there, simply choose your items, checkout with a variety of payment methods, and we’ll make sure your items get to you!"
For those that don't know Taobao, it is a massive marketplace of products and has just about anything you could ever want. Many Shanghai expats I know use it, but it's tough to navigate if you don't read Chinese. Not only does Baopals make it more accessible but you have a contact who can help if any shipping or other issues arise. They take (and will be adding more) additional payment options as well.
I ordered my first product recently...found just what I needed, saved about $10 over Amazon.cn and it was delivered to my local convenience store within 2 days (this is one of the handy shipping methods, so you can get the items at your convenience rather than coordinating home or work delivery...you receive a text and show the code at the store). We'd been searching for some odd light bulbs for our apartment and also got those for next to nothing in one day.
If you're an expat in China, here's a little gift for you: a coupon for 10 RMB for baopals.com.