Biz Quiz - Taobao vs. eBay

We’ll test your business knowledge in each issue of Lehigh Business.

person with packages

Image by iStock/Insta_Photos

We'll test your business knowledge in each issue of Lehigh Business and give you an opportunity to win bragging rights and Lehigh swag. This Biz Quiz comes courtesy of Haoyan Sun, assistant professor, decision and technology analytics department.

Have you tried to sell something on an e-commerce platform such as eBay? Have you made any sales? Different platforms use different business models to generate revenue. For eBay, they take a cut of the sales you've made, as if it were the middleman, taking commission from each of your sales.

However, there are other business models that a platform could use which don't charge any commission. For instance,, a subsidiary of Alibaba, which is the largest e-commerce platform in China, has no entry barrier for individuals to sell on the platform. If you want to be a seller on the Taobao platform, you can list your stuff for free, and they don't charge you anything when you make a sale.

But the question is, how does Taobao make money? (Bonus: Who has a better business model: Taobao or eBay?)

Think you know the answer?

Submit your answer to by Jan. 1, 2022. We’ll post the correct answer on by Jan. 15, 2022. One winner will be randomly selected from all of the correct solutions and receive some Lehigh Business swag.

Our randomly selected winner from all of our correct submissions from our 2020 issue was Rob Rossi ’87. Congratulations!