21 May 2015, 1.43pm

 by Nicole Jiang


Lots of receipts from private daigou

Photo by Nicole JIANG, 26th April, 2015.


Tags: private daigou, overseas students, part-time job, local market

Private Daigou, which means “substitute shopping”, has become an increasingly common phenomenon in Australia and received a lot of attention from the community in recent years. Most of them are Chinese people. They purchase luxury goods in fashion countries such as France, Japan and Australia for customers in mainland China. A growing number of people choose private daigou as their part-time job, especially overseas students. International students act as purchasing agency have become a controversial issue. Is this job may affect their study life? Will this promote the development of local economy or cause the resource scarcity? Based on the analysis of benefits and disadvantages of private daigou, ordinary people can obtain more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of this phenomenon. In fact, It is believed that private daigou has more advantages than disadvantages, both for overseas students or local economy.


  • From a students perspective, the benefits of being a private daigou.

“It is an advisable way to earn money,” Crystal said.

Crystal, a 24-year-old Chinese accounting student from the University of Sydney, purchases products like milk powder or health care products from Sydney for Chinese consumers in China.



products purchased by private daigou

Photo by Nicole JIANG in chemistwarehouse

“At the very start, I just gave several health care goods to my relatives as gifts when I returned home. Afterwards, I suddenly realized that I can earn money through this approach while studying abroad,” she said.

Obviously, making money is a prominent factor to attract overseas students to engage in this work. Due to the growth of the expense of studying abroad, students want to earn money to supply living expenses by themselves and help their parents to ease their financial burden. In addition, she also said, “because of convenience, many of my Chinese classmates are doing daigou. We use social network sites like Wechat to promote our products and communicate with our clients without the limitation of time and space.”


  • It can improve professional knowledge and offer practice opportunities.

Jason, a student in UTS, majors in International Trade. He has been working as a private shopping representatives for about a year, purchases several luxury goods such as UGG or Prada etc. He said that he thinks he will work in the field of luxury goods in the future, and daigou is a suitable way to acquire related knowledge, like how to sell or promote luxury brand culture. Therefore, working as a private daigou can provide practical experiences for students who study related major.


  • It can cultivate several personal abilities.

“It makes me become more patient, scrupulous and communicative. Meanwhile, these experiences also make me more independent,” Crystal said.


              Pre-posting confirmation of customers’ details                      

Photo by Nicole JIANG in post office

Undeniably, private daigou is a job that requires patience. In many situations, purchasing agents have not only to explain their product information, but also provide after-sales services over and over again. These may challenge their patience and communication skills. Also they need to be extremely careful with their customers’ personal information when they fill in consignment notes. Furthermore, “it is really challenged, because I have to do various things, such as visiting different pharmacies to compare products and taking them to the post office all by myself. This job makes me stronger psychologically” she said.


  • It is beneficial to the improvement of the local economy, from the perspective of the local market.

Products by purchased private daigou at once

Photo by Nicole JIANG in a gift shop

Broadly speaking, private daigou, more often than not, can sell their products within a short turnover time because the amazing purchasing power of Chinese people, this certainly support the development of local market.

Vivien, a local sales representative of Priceline (Central Station Shop), said that most of their customers are Chinese students, and generally they purchase a lot of products at once. She also admitted that private daigou indeed improve their turnover but did not wish to disclose the specific number.

  • Several risks of private daigou

  • It is time-consuming and affects the quantity of learning.

Admittedly, it is very time and energy consuming to work as a daigou for international students as it requires both of time and energy to communicate and elaborate with customers. However, Ma Xiangjun, an Assistant Professor in the University of International Business and Economics said, “Utilizing spare time to do some part-time job can cultivate student’s ability of time management”. Many parents are worried about that their children cannot concentrate on learning if they work as a daigou. In fact, it is an effective approach to make students learn how to balance and manage their time.


  • Will it cause the resource scarcity for the local market?



  Empty shelf

  Photo by Nicole JIANG in chemistwarehouse and supermarket

It is often complained that daigou leads to a shortage on supply of some products. However Grace, a local consumer lives in the City who goes to Coles every week, said, “Actually, I do not care about the private shopping representatives. They buy some products of famous brand, but for me, I prefer to buy several goods supplied by supermarkets. I think they do not interfere with my life.” Thus, local consumers do not really treat private daigou as a cause of supply shortage to some extent.

Private daigou is an arisen phenomenon in Australia and this group is mostly Chinese international students. Most people argue that daigou is an efficient channel to earn money, while others state that it is difficult and time-consuming. However, dependent on diverse interviews and research, private daigou is a meaningful part-time job for international students. It can not only make money, cultivate abilities but also acquire professional knowledge. Meanwhile, it is also a channel to improve the local economy. The public should rationally treat this job as well as private daigou. Especially if they are international students, as they can enrich their study life by doing some part-time jobs like daigou as long as they are able to plan their daily activities reasonably.

As crystal said, “ I like this work and I can achieve the balance between my study and work. I really enjoy it.”


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Further reading on other information of overseas private daigou.

Shoppers or smugglers? China cracks down on ‘daigou’ boom

China’s Customs Rules To Regulate Private ‘Daigou’ Business Model, Alibaba Will Benefit

 Customs cracks down on trade by private daigou