From a budding idea in a Hangzhou apartment to the largest e-commerce marketplace in the Middle Kingdom; over the past 15 years, Taobao has grown side-by-side with the phenomenal rise of China’s economy.

For Chinese users, it’s increasingly part of people’s daily lives, not only as the most popular shopping destination but also a platform where millions of small retailers make a living.

The C2C e-commerce site is often referred to by its patrons as “Almighty Taobao” for selling everything you could possibly imagine.

USB disks and Nokia feature phones were beyond a doubt among the bestsellers at the beginning of this century in a world that pre-dates the smartphone era.

This week, Taobao launched its third Taobao Maker Festival, also the largest event in Taobao’s history, in Hangzhou, with over 200 young Taobao vendors and entrepreneurs.

Like always, their stories allow us to take a glimpse into the ongoing trends in Chinese society.

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