Ultimate Step-by-Step Taobao Guide to Shipping Furniture and Fittings to Malaysia Like a Pro 2020

Many might be appalled by the thought of shopping on Taobao, especially if Mandarin isn’t your forte. If you find yourself relating to that, here’s our comprehensive step-by-step shopping guide to help get you started.

Learn how to shop for furniture on Taobao and ship your purchases to Malaysia and get started today!

Use Google Translate

Screenshot of Google Translate

Google Translate is a tool that needs no introduction. This helpful tool can be used to quickly translate specific words to your preferred language when the Chrome plugin doesn’t work.

Use the Google Translate Mobile App

The Google Translate mobile app allows you to effortlessly translate texts while shopping on Taobao’s mobile app.

You can use the app by

  • Highlighting the text for translation

Screenshot of google translate mobile

  • Using the camera for instant translation

 Google Translate Camera

Image credit: Google Play Store

  • Drawing the Chinese characters for translation

Screenshot of google translate on mobile

How to create a Taobao account

Register for account on taobaoOn the homepage, click on“免费注冊”(mian fei zhu ce; free registration) on the top right corner of the screen. This will direct you to the registration page.

Taobao registeration page

Click on the ‘English’ option if you would like to complete your registration in English. From here, simply follow the steps to create your Taobao account.

Once your account has been set up, it’s time to start shopping!

Tips and tricks for shopping on Taobao

Use the Image Search Function on Taobao

Taobao’s image search function is great for those who are unsure of what search terms to use.

Taobao search bar

Click on the magnifying class on the search bar found on Taobao’s homepage. This will lead you to another page with the image search function.

Taobao camera search function

To use the image search function, click on the camera icon and upload an image of the item you’re looking for.

The system will crawl the platform to find the closest possible result on Taobao, accelerating your search process.

Use Filters to Narrow Your Search Results

Taobao Product Filters

Using the filters highlighted in the screenshot above can help to narrow your search further. Some useful filters that you can use include

  • 人气 (ren qi): Popularity
  • 销量 (xiao liang): Sales volume
  • 信用 (xin yong): Creditability of seller
  • 价格 (jia ge): Price range

Use the “找相似” Function

Find similiar products on TaobaoYou can use the “找相似” function to search for similar products on Taobao. This function can also be used to discover better deals, more reliable suppliers or other designs.

How to find reliable sellers on Taobao

Check Reviews of Past Purchases

Taobao seller reviews

Click on the “累计评论” (lei ji ping lun) tab to view reviews left by previous customers. You can use the feedback to determine the reliability and quality of the product before making a purchase.

Clicking on“图片”(tu pian) shows you the photos uploaded by buyers. These images can be used to verify if the actual product is true to the photos that the seller has provided.

Check on the Seller’s Ratings

Taobao seller's ratings

Taobao seller's rating

(a) Check the seller’s Taobao rating

The seller’s Taobao rating can be found either on the product or seller’s page.

Refer to the 信誉 (xin yu; trust) rating. This rating represents the reliability of the seller and is ranked by shapes; the highest level of rating attainable is a diamond, followed by a heart, blue crown, and gold crown.

(b) Average ratings from customers

Look out for the ratings left by other customers. These ratings are represented by scales that indicate the

  • accuracy of product descriptions (描述相符; miao shu xiang fu),
  • quality of customer service (服务态度; fu wu tai du) and
  • quality of logistics service (物流服务; wu liu fu wu).

The scales are from 1 – 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.

The most highly rated sellers would have 5 diamonds and an average rating of 5 across the 3 scales.

Contact the Seller Directly

Taobao live chat
Live Chat Function on Desktop
Taobao live chat function on mobile
Live Chat Function on Mobile

Taobao has a live chat function on both its mobile and desktop version that allows you to contact the sellers directly.

Alternatively, you can download 阿里旺旺 (Ali Wangwang) – an instant messaging phone app that you can use to communicate with the sellers.

You can request for real-life pictures of the product via these platforms to verify its quality.

Plus, if you’re buying in bulk, this will allow you to negotiate for better deals and discounts.

How to place an order on Taobao

How to add items into Taobao cart

Taobao add to cart

At the product page, click on the orange button that says“加入购物车”(jia ru gou wu che). This adds the item that you’ve shortlisted into your shopping cart.

How to checkout items from my Taobao cart

Checkout button on Taobao

“立即购买”(li ji gou mai; buy now) is used when you only wish to purchase 1 item.

Clicking on this button brings you to the page that allows you to confirm your order and shipping details before making payment.

Alternatively, you may also add the items to your shopping cart (“加入购物车”) and check them out once you’re ready.

Taobao Item Has Been Successfully Added into Cart

Doing this will bring you to a page that tells you that you’ve successfully added the item into your cart.

Over here, you can continue shopping and return to the product page by clicking on “返回商品详情” (fan hui shang pin xiang qing). Otherwise, click on “去购物车结算” (qu gou wu che jue suan) to visit your cart to checkout your items.

Taobao shopping cart

Another way for you to visit your shopping cart is to click on the“购物车”(gou wu che) button at the top of the page.

Once you’re at your shopping cart, you can select the items that you wish to purchase by checking the relevant boxes.

Desktop users can click on“优惠卷”(you hui kuan) to claim coupons and vouchers. These coupons are typically used to offset the price of your item if you meet the minimum spending requirement.

Claim shopping voucher on Taobao desktop

Similarly, mobile users can click“领券”(ling kuan) to claim their discount.

Claim voucher on taobao mobile

These minimum spending requirements are usually very easy to hit, especially during Taobao’s many festivals.

Checkout on taobao

Once you’re done, click on the “结算” (jie suan) button located at the bottom of the page to checkout.

How to select a shipping method on Taobao

Webpage to choose shipping address

Taobao will prompt you to key in your shipping details after your items have been carted out.

Change “当前配送至” (dang qian pei song zhi) to “马来西亚” (ma lai xi ya). This changes the shipping destination to Malaysia. You can then proceed to complete the form with your shipping details.

It’s important to note that the address used should be the location you wish to receive your parcel.

Types of shipping methods on taobao

You’ll need to select your preferred method of shipping after filling up the form.

Taobao offers you 4 methods of shipping which are

“官方集运 – 空运” (guan fang jie yun – kong yun): Consolidated shipping via air freight

This method is a more expensive alternative to consolidated sea shipping. It should be used when you need your things to arrive quickly.

For both consolidated shipping methods, you can choose to go with Taobao’s appointed forwarders or an external freight forwarder.

This will be further elaborated below.

“官方集运 – 海运” (guan fang jie yun – hai yun): Consolidated shipping via sea freight

This shipping method requires the freight forwarder to consolidate your purchases and ship them to you via sea.

Use this method only if you can afford to wait and are purchasing bulky items like furniture and fittings.

“官方直送” (guan fang zhi song): Direct shipping

Due to the cost of shipping, this method’s preferred if you need to ship small items urgently.

“自行联系卖家发货” (zi xing lian xi mai jia fa huo): Contact seller directly to arrange for shipping

This method requires you to liaise with the seller personally to arrange for shipping.

It’s suitable for experienced Taobao shoppers who are well-versed in Mandarin or if you need to personalise your purchase.

How to make payment on Taobao

Payment page on taobao

After keying in your payment details, click on the blue button to confirm your payment.

If you’re an international buyer, it can take up to 24 hours for the system to verify your credit card details.

How to track my order on Taobao

You’ll be able to access the following tabs to track your order once it‘s been placed.

Tracking your order on Taobao

Some useful tabs to take note of include

  • 待付款 (dai fu quan): Waiting for payment

Orders in this tab have not been paid for and confirmed. You can still remove items from your shopping cart through this tab if you change your mind about your purchase.

  • 待发货 (dai fa huo): Waiting for the seller to ship out your parcel
  • 待收货 (dai shou huo): Waiting for the buyer to receive the item

This tab indicates that your seller has shipped your parcel out.

  • 待评价 (dai ping jia): Awaiting review from a buyer

After payment has been confirmed, you can click on“查看物流”(cha kan wu liu). This allows you to check on the status of your order.

Taobao Track Order on mobile

How long does it take to ship from China to Malaysia?

The speed of delivery depends on factors such as the shipping method used and the speed of customs clearance.

In general, it takes about 5 days to ship your Taobao purchases to Malaysia via air. It can take up to 3 weeks if you choose to ship your goods via sea.


Check with your forwarder if your items are taking longer than usual to arrive. This could mean that your parcels are missing or stuck in customs.

Should I use an appointed Taobao forwarder or engage an external freight forwarder?

When shopping on Taobao, you can choose to have your items consolidated and shipped by Taobao’s appointed forwarders or an external freight forwarder.

To help you make a decision, here are some pros and cons of engaging an existing Taobao forwarder.

✓ Cost savings
Shipping your items with Taobao’s appointed forwarders can help you save on exchange rate conversions and agent fees.
X Language barrier
Many of Taobao’s shipping agents can only communicate in Mandarin. This can be an issue if you’re not fluent in the language.
✓ Reliability
Taobao partners only with high-quality freight forwarders. This ensures that your items will be handled only by reliable forwarders.
X Lack of insurance
Taobao forwarders don’t provide cargo insurance. This can be a major deterrence especially if you’re buying high-value products.

Therefore, it’s advised that you engage an external freight forwarder to help you purchase insurance for your parcels.

How to engage an external freight forwarder as a Taobao shipping agent?

Purchase the item

Before contacting the freight forwarder, you’ll have to purchase your items from your preferred Taobao supplier.

Contact an external freight forwarder

You’ll then need to pass the freight forwarder a packing list of items that you’ve purchased and the contact details of the Taobao supplier.

Pick up items from suppliers

The freight forwarder will take over from here, liaising with the suppliers to arrange for the collection items that you’ve purchased.

Verify shipment

Photos of the items will be sent to you for verification after the goods have been picked up.

Shipping of items

Upon verification, the freight forwarder will go head to ship your goods out.

Purchase insurance

Insurance is especially important when purchasing big-ticket items. The purchase of insurance is usually done by the freight forwarder on your behalf.

Delivery of items

Your shipment will be delivered to your doorstep after the goods have arrived in Malaysia and cleared the customs.

Bonus: furniture and fittings keyword cheat sheet

Looking for items in Mandarin can be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with the search terms used.

So, we’ve prepared a list of furniture and fittings related keywords to help you with your search process

Design themes
EnglishChinese translation (Hanyu Pinyin)
American style美式 (mei shi)
Contemporary奥美 (ao mei)
Industrial chic工业别致 (gong ye bie zhi)
Japanese style日式 (ri shi)
Minimalist/simple简约现 (jian yue xian)
Modern现代 (xian dai)
Nordic/Scandinavian style北欧 (bei ou)
Vintage夏古 (fu gu)

EnglishChinese translation (Hanyu Pinyin)
Ceiling light吸顶灯 (xi ding deng)
Chaise lounge躺椅 (tang yi)
Closet壁橱 (bi chu)
Coffee/end table咖啡桌/茶几 (ka fei zhuo/cha ji)
Dining table餐桌 (can zhuo)
Floor standing light落地灯 (luo di deng)
Open-arm chair扶手椅 (fu shou yi)
Sideboard餐边柜 (can bian gui)
Sofa沙发 (sha fa)
Striped carpet条纹地毯 (tiao wen di tan)
Study table书桌 (shu zhuo)
Track light轨道灯 (gui dao deng)
TV console电视柜 (dian shi gui)
Wardrobe衣柜 (yi gui)

Types of furniture materials
EnglishChinese translation (Hanyu Pinyin)
Genuine leather真皮 (zhen pi)
Solid wood实木 (shi mu)
Stainless steel不锈钢 (bu xiu gang)
Synthetic leather人造皮 (ren zao pi)

EnglishChinese translation (Hanyu Pinyin)
Basin浴室装饰 (yu shi zhaung shi)
Bathroom/kitchen fittings浴室面盆 (yu shi mian peng)
Bathroom vanity浴室柜 (yu shi gui)
Kitchen sink厨房水槽 (chu fang shui cao)
Shower set花洒 (hua sa)
Tap龙头 (long tou)
EnglishChinese translation (Hanyu Pinyin)
Glossy finish光滑 (guang hua)
Home decoration家居装饰 (jia ju zhuang shi)

After you’ve placed your order with our simple guide, you can simply sit back and relax while we deliver your furniture safely and swiftly to your doorstep.

Make sure to clear out your old and unwanted furniture so you can make room for your new ones!