In addition to product listings, Taobao.com, China's fastest growing online retail business, also features an array of young Chinese women posing in pictures as well as looking for modeling gigs.
The "Tao Girl" platform has over 40,000 members across China. Online retailers will cherry pic popular models from this membership pool and have them model products online.
According to website China Hush, the company stated earlier this month that Taobao "was working with a logistics company, to allow customers to choose Tao girls in the same city to deliver goods." This announcement was made on April 1, which certainly doesn't seem suspicious. At all.
However, if this is an April Fool's Joke, it sure is being dragged out, because the following day, Taobao followed that up with another statement via Chinese social networking site: "Choose Tao Girls to be the beautiful couriers, since everyone's voices are so high." And that's exactly what everyone wants—high-pitched couriers.
The surcharge isn't much—a mere 10 yuan ($1.60). And since Taobao does have a sea of young hopefuls to draw from, a service like this isn't inconvincible in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Now whether it's necessary is another matter entirely.