Your Agent’s fees for currency exchange rates, that go above the market rate directly influence every single purchase price and transaction you make, whether it’s shipping, items or added services. Find out what agent has the cheapest RMB (yuan) / USD Exchange Rate. It’s going to get scientific.

This post is a small piece of our big agent comparison, where we compare every aspect of the different taobao shopping agents:,,, and The results of the particular comparison will be collected in our big agent test. You can read our other comparisons and more content in our Agent Blog Category.

The Exchange Rates

This is for those of you who just want the results. The numbers here are the premium (fees) the agent charges over the market rates, based on actual purchases. In brackets you find the results of a second test, based on advertised information.

  1. CSSbuy: 2.89% (3.7%)
  2. Ytaopal: 5.50% (6.8%)
  3. Wegobuy: 5.67% (7.3%)
  4. Basetao: 6.24% (5.5%)
  5. Superbuy: 8.77% (9.0%)


Now, given the effort we put into this the outcome is pretty unspectacular. The exchange rate should not be a main argument when choosing an agent. But it should be taken into consideration to an appropriate extend. You also have Paypal fees, service fees, value-added services and lastly shipping fees.

The fact that all charge a premium over the mid-market exchange rate doesn’t mean agents are ripping you off. It’s normal because no one changes currency for free, the agents also have to pay a premium when they change your USD to RMB to pay their workers etc.

What you shouldn’t do is open the same item page in every agent and choose the cheapest one solely based on the USD price displayed. As you can see with our second test, the volatility is really high. Updates don’t happen instantly. Choosing agents based on the exchange can quickly lead you into a situation where you bought items at a good exchange rate but by the time you ship the exchange rate is worse.

It seems like CSSbuy lags behind, because sporadic tests showed that they barely ever adjust their exchange rate to the market rate. In the tests that was to their advantage, but it could just as quickly be more expensive.

The Test Environment

We found all of this out by doing actual purchases from the agents. We didn’t just take their exchange rate. Although we did find out, that the advertised exchange rates published by the agents only differ < 0.3% absolute percent from the exchange rate our real test gave us. That means that you generally can compare the prices trusting the information on the site, you don’t need to buy everything to test. That’s what we did in the second test (in brackets)

The main tests were done November 6th at 4PM GMT. The market exchange rate at that time was ¥1 = $0.1429. The second round of tests with the advertised rates was done December 4th at 6PM GMT, rate ¥1 = $0.141843 .

The Calculation

Some of you might not just take our word for it, and that’s cool. Here’s what we did. Our goal was to find out how much USD you had to spend to get 1 yuan. Obviously, the lower the better since you want to spend less of your currency to get the same amount of RMB value. The market price at the time (Nov 6, 2019) was ¥1 = $0.1429.

First we had to clean the price from the Paypal fees. That’s because the paypal fees include a flat fee so it’s not helpful when trying to find out a rate. Then we simply found out how many RMB we got for how many USD we paid.


 $ = (2.39-(2.39*0.029+0.3))/13 = $0.1554


$ = (2.35-(2.35*0.037+0.3))/13 = $0.1508


$ =(2.21-(2.21*0.03+0.3))/12.54 = $0.1470


$ =(2.02-(2.02*0.029+0.3))/11.02 = $0.1508


$ = 1.67/11 = $0.1518

The difference in percent between those USD/RMB and the mid-market exchange rate is the premium from the results above.

Photo Proof

How long these results are valid for

We believe that the agents use a simple calculation for their exchange rate.

Agent Exchange Rate =  Market Rate * X%

As long as X stays the same this guide is valid. Because we calculated X.

We have are affiliate partners with Wegobuy and Superbuy. We also have a dormant affiliate partnership with CSSbuy. Obviously this doesn’t affect the outcome or our opinion.

Categories: Guide


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