taobao is simple. you need to setup a local China bank account (after all its a local sellers eSite). once you have your local bank account, either with or without internet access, you simply place funds into the account and then forward funds for payment via alipay... held in escrow until product/goods arrive and if all is in order you release the funds/payment. that's the basics. but you need to be able to converse in Chinese for most merchants/sellers to get the right info and best deal etc. there are a few speciality sites that have sprung up of late that act as a go-between, especially for foreigners without Chinese language ability etc.
we use taobao all the time... mostly we place funds into the specially setup bank account (just for taobao) via internet or occasionally, physically walk up the road to the bank and deposit the money via the teller...
you can forget about using your international credit card here... many merchants won't accept it, as the merchant fees are too high... get yourself a local credit card
45-50wpm w 3-5% error rate. i apologise now for my typos. - damn butter fingers