The online shopping agents are almost exclusively from mainland China, and are young migrants or international students looking for flexible ways to help cover their rent and university fees.
Earlier this year, Beijing tightened regulations on cross-border online shopping, but there is still money to be made, especially in baby milk formula, known as "white gold".
"Everyone cannot buy the good quality or the reliable formula in China, so they want to buy from Australia. Maybe it is more expensive, they don't care [about] the price but they do care about the quality" .
At the height of a boom last year in demand in China for milk formula, a buying surge from daigou attracted criticism in sections of the Australian media for leaving domestic shoppers empty-handed.
Daigou came to prominence in Europe by shipping luxury goods such as Gucci handbags to China. In Australia, the trade revolves around everyday items including food, beauty products, wine and clothes.
Daigou typically charge premiums of about 50% above the retail price in Australia. But even allowing for transport fees, buyers in China invariably pay much less for the same product in a local shop - assuming it is available.
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