Tenwest Mandarin School


Buying a travel bicycle

tigertiger (4912 posts) • +1

Good point about 11/11. If you buy on that date, most offers continue for a few days , you get big discounts.

As for paying too much , or getting fake products, this is more likely in the small bricks and mortar stores. Paying too much almost certain. Ask a Chinese friend, all of mine trust Taobao more than small shops, the Chinese are more savvy than us on this.

bilingualexpat (220 posts) • +1

Yes, the event goes on for a few days... but my favorite would be the frenzy midnight countdown and erratic race to be the first 500 or 5,000 to finalize payments for a particular store. Unfortunately, the rewards were much more generous in the past. And bots are so fast at making per-programmed transactions. They're totally cheating! lol Those are mainly resellers and you may find their products on the Xianyu (闲鱼二手网flea market), alongside regular second-hand sellers:


(it's directly linked to your taobao/tmall/alipay account, albeit a separate app)

dolphin (326 posts) • 0

Fake western brands maybe.
But there are Chinese manufacturers making good bikes.
and the pricing on taobao seems shady to me ... better price because the vendor and the members of his gang hijacked a truck maybe.
Whatever. Have a nice trip!

tigertiger (4912 posts) • +3

There are no real bargains in China. The stuff that is much cheaper is normally of much inferior quality. Cheap electrical (not electronic) goods often have sub standard wiring and may only last a few months. No guarantees either. I have had 3 pin trailer sockets/power strips with a three pin plug, and only 2 core cable. I have bought plumbing items with 'brass' fittings. After a year they crumble away because it was really white metal. Childrens' toys that would be considered unsafe back home. Items made with steel that have not had a primer before getting a top coat of paint, result rust.

There has been a huge clampdown on fake goods being sold online. However, substandard goods are still common, and a big indicator is price.
If I can I buy from the flagship stores on Tmall. They might cost a bit more than their competitors, but you get confidence of purchase, after sales service, and they give refunds.
As for bricks and mortar. I have been asked 160 for a cycle lamp, that cost 40 on Taobao. After sales service? You have to fight for an hour for a refund, if you are lucky enough to get one, we have even called in the Police before the shop has given a refund (only works for larger purchases). One big advantage of Taobao is open/visible pricing, which stops price gouging.

bilingualexpat (220 posts) • 0

Briefly touch on counterfeits and segue back to OP's online bike purchase discussion:

Chinese counterfeiters have to consider economy of scale. They usually mass produce popular apparel or electronics that are in high demand. Such as knockoff New Balance shoes we see scattered across Kunming with their outrageous name variations, lol…. fake Sony earphones, or the ubiquitous low quality components @Tiger alluded to. No name earphones that lasts two months due to poor internal wiring.

However, when it comes to more novel items in niche markets with less turnover such as OP's specific Boskey touring bike (fyi "游行车"), the risk of that being a counterfeit on Taobao shops is relatively minimal due to low ROI.

Tmall flagship stores would counter such risks, but they aren’t completely risk-free. Sometimes aftermarket items in their b&m stores may sneak into their discounted online inventory to be cleared out.

If you notice any defects, these flagships or their cheaper official distributors (代理商) on Tmall usually offer 7-day no-fuss, full refund return policies (七天无理由退货). Return shipping fees are not under warranty unless you prepaid for insurance. Nonetheless, a sound safeguard for buyers.

Apart from 11/11 Tmall flagship promotions, which are a bargain in terms of low cost for high quality, Tmall flagships remain expensive on most days to avoid competing with their b&m stores and/or piss off their franchisees.


@dolphin wrote, “But there are Chinese manufacturers making good bikes.”

Most definitely. Some local generic brands may be manufactured by the same original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that name brands outsource productions to.

For example, my friend’s OEM factory manufacture apparels for flagship Nike, even Nike’s rival Adidas, Northface, Puma, among others that are exported. They also mass produce for brandless Chinese apparel companies tailored to the domestic market, as both OEM and ODM.

Hence, the products of these miscellaneous brands come from the same source that churn out authentic global brands displayed in fancy department stores. Same production know-how & raw materials, granted design and QC differ.

Same goes for China based OEM factories in the immense supply chain for Apple products. For example, one of Apple’s battery suppliers would also manufacture smartphone batteries for less well-known local brands. This OEM would supply across markets to various electronic devices, or batteries for ebike and solar panel makers.

As the old Chinese saying goes, “一分钱一分货" (or "you get what you pay for"). The concept even applies to merchandises of knockoff LV bags, which comes in three to four scales of quality & price range.

However when you buy good quality items for low prices, particularly during sales, that is a bargain in my book. A penny saved is a penny earned.

To say there are "no real bargains in China" or infer ubiquitous low quality or counterfeits may be anecdotal and subjective. Statistics of small numbers if you will, granted be cautious with shady sellers and their manipulation of price to product listings.

For example:

A one yuan Nike Air, just ignore.

400 yuan? You may have to select size and color first, which will increase the item's final price. The 400 yuan shoe listed was the pink colored size 4! lol Yes @dolphin, you've been click-baited.

The landscape of competition for sellers are fierce. Sellers look for no holds barred loopholes, but within Alibaba rules & guidelines.

Dazzer (2762 posts) • 0

they stopped knocking off lv bags 10 years ago. if you think you see one, go take a closer look. you wont find lv logo or anything like on it, promise ya. you has either old memory or false memory.

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