Alex is a twenty-three year old woman from China who studies fashion marketing in London. She also does daigou on the side.

“I started [doing daigou] for friends and I only charged for shipping,” she says. “Then more and more people added me on WeChat and Weibo. If it’s a total stranger, why not make some money?”

Daigou is what is known as a gray market, or an unauthorized sales channel. In particular, it refers to Chinese shoppers who travel overseas to purchase goods so they can resell them illegally when they return to China. In some cases, like Alex’s, daigou agents ship their goods internationally and don’t return to China to make the sale.

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Eva Xiao

Eva Xiao is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. Contact her at eva.xiao@technode.com or evawxiao (wechat & twitter).