Chinese shopping “agents” cash in on Russian currency slide

on December 18 2014 | in Daily Headlines Trending | by | with No Comments

In Blagoveshchensk on Russia’s side of the Chinese border, Mou Jiani has turned her home into a warehouse, stocking up on Apple Inc iPhones, handbags and milk powder to sell back home as Chinese shoppers take advantage of the rouble’s slide.

Chinese workers and overseas students in Russia have been snapping up goods at low prices caused by the steep fall in Russian rouble rates before brands can adjust them.

These shopping “agents”, knows as “daigou”, stockpile the products before selling them at a profit to buyers back home.

“In the last few weeks more people have contacted me on messaging apps Weibo and WeChat than I have time to reply to,” said Mou, a trading company worker, who acts as a daigou in her spare time.

The most popular items include smart phones, shoes, handbags and watches, she said.

Shoppers usually pay using Alibaba’s Alipay system on her personal Taobao website, after which she ships the products back to China. Her website received over 3,000 visits on Thursday, a sharp rise from previous levels, she said.

Firms have moved to hike prices or even halt sales, but nifty shoppers have still been able to buy up products on the cheap.

A Louis Vuitton bag in Russia cost just over half the Chinese price on Wednesday, one daigou said.

These shopping agents are not new for Chinese shoppers, who often look abroad to buy luxury items to bypass steep import taxes at home.

However, posts on China’s Twitter-like Weibo asking about “Russian Daigou” soared this month to close to ten thousand from a couple of hundred each month before.

Read more at Reuters.

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