TMall designs ridiculously hard quiz for foreigners in China

By Betty Richardson, September 1, 2015

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One of China's largest online retailers, TMall, is branching out from hawking tellies and microwaves to design a Chinese language crash course for dumbass foreigners, in a tongue-in-cheek bid to get them "shop like a native" in just three days. 

Dubbed the 'TMall Chinese Academy' (天猫中文学院), the humorous quiz circulated via WeChat contains 10 tricky questions based on Chinese idioms, slang and pop culture references. 

TMall Chinese Academy Quiz

Containing reading, writing and listening comprehension questions such as 'Who has the LIAN NIU NAI?', which requires an answer out of four multiple choices, the quiz is baffling even for local Chinese – most in our office scored a paltry 66 percent. But hey, maybe that's because they spend too much time fraternizing with us laowai. 

TMall Quiz

So just how does TMall plan to use its Chinese Academy to economic effect? Well, as reward for reaching the end of the quiz (which itself is something of an achievement), TMall will hand over an RMB10 coupon for using on their site. Alright!

TMall Quiz

ABOVE: As you can see, teacher is extremely pissed at out lacklustre 16 percent score but hands over a RMB10 coupon nevertheless. 

However, TMall takes more of a hard sell approach with its Chinese Academy website, the lessons of which strike as significantly easier than its WeChat counterpart. 

Tmall Quiz for foreigners

The site is emblazoned with the slogan 'I SHOP THEREFORE I LEARN,' which seems an unlikely reference to American conceptual artist Barbara Kruger's iconic 1987 work 'I Shop Therefore I am.' Deep stuff. 

TMall Quiz

In this quiz, participants are prompted to learn the Chinese terms for certain items and actions. In some cases, as indicated by a '+' symbol, TMall directs you to its online selection of that particular item. 

Tmall Quiz for Foreigners

So once you've mastered the Chinese for 'cabbage' (baicai, 白菜), you're just one click of the + away from buying the veg on TMall:

Tmall Quiz for Foreigners

While the mobile version seems more like a joke, we have to admit the website version is actually pretty useful for elementary Chinese and slang.

TMall Chinese Language Quiz for foreigners

Anyhows, you can find the WeChat version by scanning the code below, and the online one at

Tmall Quiz for Foreigners

Need to brush up on your Chinese slang? Check out That's Beijing's Chinese Urban Dictionary series.

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