Online business matters
Updated: 2012-01-26 07:56
By Zheng Jinran (China Daily)
A sign saying "Taobao.com provides overseas purchase service" in Dalian, Liaoning province. Provided to China Daily
A woman surnamed Ling, 30, usually begins her day at noon. But on weekends, she wakes at about 9 am, has a quick breakfast and then prepares for her busiest day of the week.
She has an online shop selling CDs and other products related to Japanese pop stars at Taobao.com, China's biggest online shopping website.
It's on weekends that she has to pack and send all the items received from Japan to her impatient domestic clients.
Every day she checks her computer soon after she wakes and answers e-mails and messages on Aliwangwang, a communication platform for Taobao.com buyers and sellers.
Typical problems include being told that a package has failed to get through customs and requires an extra fee.
"My assistants in Japan usually transport the goods by air to save time, making them look like private parcels. Once, customs realize they are for business I have to pay 200 yuan at most for a carton weighing 10 kg."
She spends most of her time answering client's questions and arranging delivery and transportation.
Typically, in the afternoon, her cousin helps her sort out the packages, which are taken to the courier for delivery.
"For every purchase, I charge 10 percent of the item's price for my service. On most occasions, I can get about 13 yuan if they buy a CD from my shop. If there is extra postage my profits will vanish. "
Ling usually works till midnight, but is getting tired of the business. She opened her online shop in August 2011, after she spotted a market for her goods.
"Though I still have great passion for my idols, I'm too exhausted to carry on. I make little money from my business.
"Besides, it has taken up my whole life during the past several months. I have no time to spend with my 10-year-old son and husband. I plan to quit in a few months."