You may find a Tmall among the formats on your favorite card releases. Tmall is an exclusive Chinese online retail company. It has been around for 13 years but was never a big sports card dealer until recently. However, it has become a staple in hobby releases. To help you sort though it, we present the full guide to Tmall sports card releases.
The incredible boom in the sports card industry in 2020 caused many retailers all over the globe to get in on the action. Tmall is one of the biggest outlets in the world and it is not surprising they wanted in on the action.
Tmall releases mostly include the same cards as their American counterparts. However, Tmall products include unique exclusive subsets made exclusively for the Chinese market. Therefore, some of these releases are popular on global third-party markets like eBay.
Thirteen years ago, Tmall, short for Taobao Mall, launched in China. It is part of the Alibaba Group. It is a large-scale third-party online and mobile business platform similar to Amazon but built and sold exclusively in China.
As of February of 2018, Tmall has over 500 million active monthly users, making it the third most-visited website globally. Tmall currently has more than 70,000 international and Chinese brands from over 50,000 merchants.
The number of products being released on Tmall is probably larger than you think. Dealing mainly with Panini, Tmall has card releases ranging from the NBA, NFL, Premier League Soccer, and UFC. They also have products from Upper Deck and Topps. Here is the list of the releases you can purchase on Tmall, as long as you are a member.
The chart below will feature the price in US Dollars after being converted from the Chinese Yuan. Today, the exchange rate from the Chinese Yuan to US Dollars is roughly 0.16
|2019||Topps||MLB||Mixed Packs Bag||$3.15|
|2020-21||Panini||NBA||Prizm (Blaster Box)||$139.95|
|2020-21||Panini||NBA||Prizm (Hobby Box)||$251.44|
|2020-21||Panini||NBA||Revolution (NYE Edition)||$220.15|
|2020-21||Panini||NBA||Select (Blaster Box)||$79.88|
|2020-21||Panini||NBA||Select (Hanger Pack)||$65.41|
|2018-19||Upper Deck||NHL||Mixed Packs Bag||$20.13|
|2019-20||Panini||Premier Lg.||Adrenalyn XL||$139.95|
|2019-20||Panini||UEFA||Euro 2020 Select (Hybrid)||$94.35|
|2019-20||Upper Deck||Comics||Marvel Anime (Hobby)||$479.29|
|2019-20||Upper Deck||Comics||Annual Marvel (Hobby)||$40.73|
|2021||Upper Deck||Basketball||Space Jam 2||$92.78|
When Tmall originally began, it was exclusive to China. People from the United States and other countries, would have issues buying there. However, as Tmall grew, so did their international market. However, even if you create an account on Tmall’s online platform and purchase, you still need to deal with shipping costs and possibly customs too.
The bottom line about buying from Tmall is that you will spend a lot more money. Therefore, it is only worth it if you were looking for an exclusive item only released in the Tmall boxes or if the product was impossible to find in the United States. Outside of those two reasons, buying from Tmall isn’t worth it. The prices in China are already inflated. Plus, you have to pay to ship and, possibly, a broker’s fee too.
When comparing the pricing differences between purchasing from Tmall or buying from dealers within the United States, the price is often higher coming from China. You can see the differences here:
|Year||Brand||Type||Tmall Price (USD)||US Price||Difference|
|2020-21||Court Kings||Hobby Box||$440.64||$189.95||$250.69|
|2020-21||Crown Royale||Retail Blaster||$78.47||$105.95||($27.48)|
If the prices are generally higher, why do people get Tmall releases anyway? Since most Tmall boxes have exclusive parallels and inserts you can only get from them, they tend to hold value.
In some cases, the rarity makes for truly strong wax value. So, you pay more but the value is higher.
Here is another chart showcasing the top-priced Tmall exclusive cards that have been sold on eBay recently.
|2020-21||Spectra||Gold RPA||Anthony Edwards||8/8||$8,999.99|
|2019-20||Mosaic||Gold Wave||Ja Morant||PSA 10||$899.00|
|2020-21||Optic||Gold Wave||Steph Curry||$689.99|
|2020-21||Prizm||Blue Wave||Anthony Edwards||PSA 9||$600.00|
|2020-21||Prizm||Gold Wave||Cole Anthony||$599.00|
Timing is everything when it comes to the sports card industry. The same goes for the Tmall products as well. Unfortunately, however, the information is a little tougher to get a hold of regarding release dates in China. So, knowing when to buy from Tmall will require more research on your part.
You will need help from people in the industry, preferably Panini employees. In addition, you may need contacts overseas that can tip you off when those products are about to go live.
Based on the wait for Tmall boxes to get to eBay, you could be standing in a long line of bidders that will run up the price until it is beyond ridiculous. So, try to get it directly from China instead.
The Tmall sports card products are gaining international steam and could soon become easier to buy. But until that happens, buying sports cards from Tmall is not a good investment unless you are searching for a specific exclusive set, parallel, or card not sold in the United States products.
You also have to protect yourself and be prepared to risk losing all your money when sending it to China. There is always a chance you do not ever receive your package, and you cannot do much about it. However, even if the product does ship perfectly, it could end up stuck at customs for weeks before heading to your home. Even then, you could open a box that has already been ripped to shreds by busy customs agents, and there is also nothing you can do about it.
Be careful, do your research, and use a licensed agent when deciding to buy from Tmall. However, if you are careful and honestly think you are getting a good deal, then, by all means, make the purchase. The cards are worth it in the long run.