Alibaba vs 1688.com
alibaba
1688.com

The debate about which one is best Alibaba vs 1688 is not new. You can find many articles on the internet favoring either one of them. So, what makes this article different from the rest? 

In this blog post, we will delve into the differences and similarities between Alibaba vs 1688, and help you decide which platform is the right choice for you. We’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each platform, as well as how to buy from them.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a clear understanding of which platform is the best fit for your buying needs.

If you’re an international buyer looking to purchase products from China, you might find yourself torn between these two platforms. Both are well-known and have their own unique features that cater to different types of buyers.

Chapter 1:  Brief Overview of Alibaba vs 1688

Alibaba vs 1688.com

Alibaba and 1688 are two popular online marketplaces that connect buyers and sellers in China. While both platforms offer access to a wide range of products, they differ in terms of their target audience, pricing models, and overall user experience.

In this chapter, we’ll take a closer look at each platform’s key features and how they compare to one another. That will make it much easier for you to analyze which one meets your requirements to source from China. 

The most interesting thing about both is that they are owned by the same parent company: Alibaba Group. This leaves people confused as why was there a need for two of the same sort of marketplaces. However, as you read on, you will understand better. 

1) Overview of Alibaba

aliababa, buy in bulk from China

Alibaba is a well-known online marketplace that was founded in 1999 and is based in Hangzhou, China. The platform offers a wide range of products from various suppliers and manufacturers, making it a popular choice for international buyers.

One of Alibaba’s key features is its extensive network of verified suppliers, which helps to ensure product quality and minimize the risk of fraud. This is especially important for international buyers who may be unfamiliar with Chinese suppliers and manufacturers.

In addition to its supplier network, Alibaba offers a variety of tools and services to help buyers and sellers conduct business more efficiently. For example, the platform offers payment processing and logistics services, as well as tools for managing orders, shipping, and customer communication.

Although the majority of the sellers are of Chinese origin, the website also has foreign sellers. Also, vast numbers of the products you can find on Amazon are outsourced from Alibaba.

We also have a guide on “Is Alibaba Safe and Reliable”. You should also check it out.

a) Alibaba Company’s Background

The founder is Jack Ma. Alibaba Group Holding Limited launched Alibaba.com in 1999. It provides B2B sales services using an online platform. In 2014, the company raised an initial public offering of US$25 billion. At that time the market value of the company reached $231 billion and became one of the largest IPO worldwide.

In 2018, Alibaba gained recognition to be the second-largest company in Asia. It broke the record of the $500 billion valuation mark.

In 2020, the company ranked in 6th place for the highest global brand valuation. It is now one of the largest e-commerce companies and the fifth-largest artificial company.

As of 2/1/2023, Alibaba’s revenues reported $131,191 Million and the market value reported  $317,334 Million. The company ranked in 7th place among World’s Most Admired Companies.

b) Pros of Alibaba

There are numerous advantages to using Alibaba as an online marketplace for sourcing products from China. Here are some of the key pros of using Alibaba:

  • Wide Range of Products: Alibaba offers access to a vast array of products, ranging from electronics and machinery to clothing and accessories. This makes it easy for buyers to find what they’re looking for, no matter how niche or specific their needs may be. Moreover, the range of products that you find is also very interesting. Apart from the usual products, you can find a number of unique products too. 
  • Verified Suppliers: Alibaba’s supplier verification process helps to ensure that buyers are dealing with legitimate and trustworthy suppliers. This helps to minimize the risk of fraud and other scams, which is especially important for international buyers who may be unfamiliar with Chinese suppliers.
  • Customer Relationship: Alibaba receives commendation because of its good customer relationship among its international clients. The seller’s membership fee on Alibaba costs thousands of dollars annually. The company ensures that only legitimate suppliers are uploading their information on the platform. There is English staff working in shifts to attend to customer inquiries and concerns.
  • Escrow service: Alibaba serves as an escrow service for transactions by using a secure payment method. An extra degree of protection is added by withholding payments until the customer attests to receipt and satisfaction with the merchandise.
  • Customization possibilities: A lot of Alibaba’s suppliers provide their products with customization possibilities. Businesses wishing to produce goods under their own brand or modify existing items to fulfill specific needs may find this useful.
  • Opportunities for Negotiation: To achieve flexibility in business agreements, buyers frequently have the chance to actively negotiate with suppliers over terms, prices, and other parts of the transaction.
b) Cons of Alibaba

If you look carefully, there are some cons to buying from Alibaba. These can be as simple as the language barrier to serious ones like pricing issues. Therefore, it is important to do your homework well before ordering from the website. 

  • Language Barriers: Alibaba is a Chinese platform, which means that many suppliers and manufacturers may not speak English fluently. This can make communication and negotiation more difficult, especially for buyers who are not fluent in Chinese. But, when you compare it with 1688, it is much better. 
  • Minimum Order Quantities: Many suppliers on Alibaba require buyers to place minimum order quantities, which can be challenging for small businesses or individual buyers who may not need large quantities of a particular product.
  • Pricing: Customers find it misleading on the prices and MOQs that are displayed on the Alibaba website. But only after communicating with the seller, you will receive the actual quote. So, if you would compare the real prices of different sellers, it would be time-consuming for price comparison.
  • User Interface: In terms of the user interface, customers find the mobile and desktop versions of Alibaba.com confusing. The messenger app is outdated and can lag.

2) Overview of 1688

Alibaba vs 1688

1688.com is an online business-to-business (B2B) platform based in China. Launched in 1999, it is owned by Alibaba Group, one of the world’s largest e-commerce giants. 1688.com primarily caters to the domestic Chinese market, connecting suppliers and buyers within China.

One of the key features of 1688 is its focus on domestic suppliers and manufacturers. This means that buyers can often find products at lower prices compared to Alibaba, which primarily caters to international buyers.

The platform serves as a comprehensive marketplace where businesses can trade a wide range of products and services. It provides a platform for manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers to connect and engage in trade activities. The name “1688” is derived from the Chinese saying “yi liu ba,” which translates to “always making a profit.”

1688.com offers a vast product selection, encompassing categories such as apparel, electronics, home appliances, machinery, chemicals, and much more. The platform facilitates trade not only between large-scale enterprises but also smaller businesses, enabling them to find suppliers, negotiate prices, and complete transactions.

However, these tools may be less accessible for international buyers, who may face language and communication barriers when trying to navigate the platform.