Are you looking for an e-commerce platform can provide competitive prices for your Chinese imports?

Do you know there is a Chinese website alternate to Alibaba.com?

Well, 1688.com is the best solution for you. Owned by Alibaba group of companies, 1688.com is a B2B online supplier having more than 50,000 companies and 120 million users.

It supplies the best quality products at a very low rate because it was first established for local buyers.

Today, the outside world is having eyes on 1688.com due to its remarkable features. The suppliers have more responsiveness on 1688.com and also there are far more products available on this website than on any other website.

The reason is that it is the native language of local manufacturers and traders which makes it easier for them to operate.

Let’s see in the blog how you can buy products from 1688.com and what major challenges a foreigner will face when buying products from China using 1688.com. This blog will provide you solutions to all those challenges.

Table of Content

Chapter 1: Why do Foreigners enjoy buying products from 1688.com China?

Chapter 2: 11 Steps – How to buy products from 1688.com (Chinese website) as a foreigner?

Chapter 3: 8 Steps – How to find the most reliable suppliers in 1688.com?

Chapter 4: What are the possible Challenges faced when buying from 1688.com China?

Chapter 5:  What to Keep in Mind while Buying from 1688.com China?

Chapter 6: How to Avoid Scams when buying online from 1688.com China?

Chapter 7: Frequently asked questions about 1688.com China

Chapter 1: Why do Foreigners enjoy buying products from 1688.com China?

There are a great number of online buying and selling companies working all around the world. The most famous among them is the Chinese Alibaba company for international users.

For domestic purposes, they introduced 1688.com which provides cheaper rates and more product variety than Alibaba. So, the buyers of Alibaba move towards 1688.com to get quality products at low prices. Some more factors of attractions are as follows;

1. Selling products with good quality and competitive pricing

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1688.com is the China domestic trade marketplace where all the suppliers are Chinese, that’s why they sell the products in the accessible range, making the cost of product relatively affordable.

This is the reason that 1688.com has become easier and cheaper to find the item per piece. Along with the cheaper rates of products, the buyers also consider the quality of the products.

In the above picture, you can also see that one product is being delivered by so many suppliers. So there is a lot of competition hence you can get more competitive pricing.

2. Reaching out to more products and product categories

1688.com China is the marketplace where you can get a great number of products as it has all the local products.

These products are manufactured by the local suppliers which may include jewelry, furniture, tools, equipment, machines, home decorating materials, home improvement materials, electronics, digital devices like TV, laptop, mobile phones, etc. Hence you can find any type of product on this portal.

3. Getting products with low MOQ – Can even order 1 or 2 pieces

It is very important to know about MOQs when purchasing items from 1688.com. There are no restrictions for MOQ in this website instead these are explained in terms of wholesale business.

You can order any quantity of the item from 1688.com because the suppliers did not set any specified rules in this regard.

There are certain conditions on which the MOQ is applicable;

  • MOQ for the single product: The order should be greater than the MOQ in this case.
  • Mostly, the sellers provide the quantity for the MOQ of the product.

conditions-on-which-the-moq-is-applicable

You can pick up as many pieces as you want of the same item and also numerous pieces from the different categories in this platform from the same MOQ.

4. Get direct contacts to a variety of high-quality suppliers

The main purpose of this platform is to provide domestic items. The best thing about this website is that the suppliers have already provided direct contact numbers and WeChat.

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You can even find their local shop, factory, or office addresses on this website. So there are many ways to quickly contact the supplier directly and start negotiating.

5. The sellers in 1688.com always give fast responses

Like any other trade market, 1688.com also provides the client with ease to solve their queries and problems in time. They have a mobile app that can help customers whenever they need it.

However, for foreigners using the app in Chinese is so you can use the website and translate it into English. They also have staff members responsible to figure out their questions which will be in the Chinese language. Hence 1688.com China is the faster response service.

6. Communicative and friendly to small sellers and start-ups

In Alibaba, the MOQ offered by the sellers is very high. You have to buy a bulk of products in hundreds or thousands at the same time for a startup. It will be very unpredictable for the beginner to buy so many products at once.

In the case of 1688.com China, you can startup with a minimum of 1 to 2 pieces of products up to ten or more products in the store with 100 to 200 dollars investment.

Some suppliers provide the drop shipping service to send products anywhere in the world with the help of recipient information.

Chapter 2: 11 Steps – How to buy products from 1688.com (Chinese website) as a foreigner?

To buy products via 1688.com, you will go through some steps which are listed below;

1. Open 1688.com in Google Chrome and translate the website into English

Since 1688.com is the local trade marketing place so it is using Chinese language that’s why it is difficult for the foreigners to understand it.

Google Chrome is the best browser when it comes to access 1688.com China. This will help you to translate it into any language you want.

Follow the below mentioned steps to translate the website into English:

Step 1: Open the website

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Step 2: Use the translation option in Google Chrome to translate the website to your desired language or English

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Step 3: The website is now fully translated to Chinese

translated-to-chinese

2. Create an account at 1688.com China by signing up

The name of the country and the mobile number or address is not enough to create an account on 1688.com. Few steps should be followed in this regard:

  • On the website of 1688.com China, click on the register button to go to the registration page.
  • Then you see an agreement, you can agree on this by clicking on the orange button given at the bottom of the page.
  • The next step is to provide the necessary information about you as a foreign buyer like write name, mobile number, country, address, and password. Also, prove that you are not a robot. After reading some of the statements hit the agree to register
  • Then the next page will appear which asks you to write a 6-digits verification SMS code. Click on the submit button to go further.
  • The successive step is to complete the profile of the account. Enter your real name, gender, membership type, name of the company, the purpose of joining, and also choose your business model. Now save the document to complete the registration.
  • To ensure security, update your account by changing the mobile number, email address, and login password after some time. This will secure your account.

3. Search the required product/supplier on the search bar in its Chinese name

1688.com is a huge platform presenting a great number of suppliers and products for buyers. So to see the desired supplier, you should first visit the 1688.com official website on the Google Chrome browser.

Then go on the search bar and write the name of the supplier of the product in Chinese. Simply use translation software to put the Chinese translation in search bar. This will help you sort out the specific seller from thousands of suppliers.

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4. Click the camera icon to use the option of image search in 1688.com

When you visit 1688.com you will see the camera icon in the same line of the search bar. From this option you an upload the picture of the product you want to find. The website will automatically show similar products to you.

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Now, if we take an example that the buyer wants to buy some sort of home decorating items.

Then you first take the picture of those items and upload it on 1688.com by clicking the camera button and within one second you will see the quantities of the products regarding the image on 1688.com. This is one of the easiest methods.

5. Add the supplier into WeChat and use the WeChat translation option to communicate

Communication is the key element between the two members in enhancing the business. So the most common application used in China is WeChat and most of the suppliers on 1688.com China use WeChat to contact their customers.

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If you want to get in touch with the supplier then you must get yourself registered on WeChat. You can use the translation option on WeChat for your convenience.

6. Authenticate the product by talking to the supplier and reading the product description

For the new covers on 1688.com or on any online buying and selling platform, it is an advice for you to check and satisfy yourself before placing the order.

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First of all, read the product details given under the product and in case of doubt go ahead and have a conversation with the supplier for the confirmation of the quality. The verification of the supplier along with the product is the key for a successful order.

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7. Try to talk directly with customer services to ask for details (like delivery time, discount, etc.)

You should contact the seller yourself to know about the details regarding the delivery time, discount and quality of the product.

By discussion the rate of queries lowers and a clear approach is achieved. 1688.com provides a direct chat option through the platform to talk with the supplier and clarify all your inquiries.

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8. Ask about the product certifications

Yes, you can check the product ratings on the supplier’s profile on the product description, delivery time, repurchase rates, response speed, product prices, suppliers’ qualifications, and the reviews of the customers.

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This will help you to check the genuineness of the product. Along with this, you can also ask the seller about the product certifications provided when manufactured.

9. Place the order when you are satisfied with the sample

Always check the credibility of the product and the supplier first. This is the best way to clear your path for the future concerning time and money. After reading the description and reviews and receiving the samples, order the items from 1688.com suppliers.

10. Make payment using the most suitable payment method

There are many ways to send the payment to the supplier. Since it is a domestic platform so the suppliers prefer the local payment methods. Hence the suitable options for transferring money are as follows:

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  • Alipay can help you transfer money directly from the mobile, the verified Alipay account is the only requirement.
  • WeChat is a multipurpose application used all over the world. It can also help you to send money to the supplier as they use this method the most.
  • The customer should have an RMB account if he has the money in US dollars. This is because the suppliers accept the money in renminbi. For this, the customer should open a local account that can convert the US dollar into RMB or CNY.
  • A personal bank account is also acceptable for international customers.
  • The local agent from China can also be helpful for you to pay the bills to the supplier.

wechta-1688

11. Find out some ways to ship the products overseas – 1688.com will only ship goods locally within China

1688.com is the platform founded in China to supply local customers with products online. The international customers also get attracted by this service because of its cheaper rates and the quality products.

Since the suppliers on 1688 usually ship locally, you may have to arrange the shipping from China to your country. However, some suppliers may be able to provide you shipping services as well. Confirm it with the supplier whether you need a shipping service or not.

Chapter 3: 8 Steps – How to find the most reliable suppliers in 1688.com?

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Finding a reliable supplier in 1688.com China is the dream of every customer. In this chapter, you will know about how to reach a trustworthy seller.

1. Go to the Company page of the supplier on 1688.com

Check out the following 4 things on the company page of the supplier on 1688.com

  • Registration location
  • Company name
  • Main product
  • Partnership

With the help of these elements, you will get a lot of information. You should choose the location according to your choice.

If you choose the coastal area the local shipping cost will be lower. And you can also find the supplier with the particular product which means that he is an expert in that specific product or produces it.

2. Check out the number of medals they have received

The supplier with more medals will be more valid. Given is an example of Sanku Clothing profile having four medals.

This tells about the credibility and experience of the supplier. After authenticating the supplier, you can reach him out by using his contact details displayed at the page.

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3. Confirm their Business model if they are a manufacturer or trading company

Every seller on 1688.com is of a different type. Some are manufacturers, and some are traders. So check before placing an order. In the above example in point 2 you can see, Sanku Clothing is the manufacturer.

To confirm this 100% ask them for their business license and check if they are manufacturer on trader on the business license.

4. Confirm their location address to ensure they are a factory

The supplier profile reveals all the details about him. You can check the name, address, and phone number through his portal. The address given there ensures the presence of his factory if he is the manufacturer.

You can surely not expect a factory operating in the city center. So the location also gives a good idea of the supplier’s background.

5. Check if they are working in specialized categories or not

selling-it-on-the-1688

The 1688.com platform has a variety of sellers which are the manufacturers and the traders.

So if you see the presence of a particular product or product under the same category on the seller’s profile then he will be the manufacturer of that product.

If another seller is selling multiple kinds of products then it is highly possible that he is a trader, buying different products from different companies and selling them on 1688.com.

6. See the total number of employees they have

If you are visiting China for the house decorating supplier then after selecting one, you have to check the number of employees the supplier has. If there are 51- 100 employees under his flag then it means that he is running a small business.

If he has 101-500 employees then the business is mature and in case the employee exceeding from 500 to 1000 then it is a huge wholesale business. Decide on which type of supplier is suitable for you then shortlist them, this will narrow down the chart.

Click on any of the suppliers and you will see the company information.

7. See their office pictures and videos if available on 1688.com

On the supplier’s profile, detailed information is provided like the company’s data, history of previous orders, speed of delivery, etc. Some suppliers have pictures and videos of their offices, this can also encourage you to know about the condition and the standard of the supplier.

By looking at those videos and pictures, it can help you to understand if it is a large factory, how is their assembly line, the machinery they are using and also how their warehouse is.

8. Understand what each symbol means about the supplier

symbols-available-on-1688

There are a large number of symbols available on 1688.com, for the reason to make the customer know about the supplier. Before placing an order ensure that the suppliers you are selecting have 3 icons which are shown in the figure.

Chapter 4: What are the possible Challenges faced when buying from 1688.com China?

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The challenges which are faced by the buyers on the 1688.com China platform are discussed below;

1. Domestic website dealing in the Chinese language

1688.com is the domestic market for the Chinese to sell their products wholesale at factory prices. So, the language which this website uses is also Chinese.

Few suppliers at 1688.com write their names in English. So for the foreigners, it is very difficult to understand it. To deal with this situation, there is the option of translate in English by Google chrome browser.

domestic-website-1688

2. Issues regarding payment methods since it allows local payments

The payment method which 1688.com uses is the local one as this website is made to cater to local market. They want the currency paid in RMB.

For the international buyers who approach this service find this point tough to meet as suppliers wants them to provide with the local currency.

So they include the middleman to help them or they go to China to open a bank account after which they can easily use local payment transfer options.

3. Issues regarding shipment methods as 1688.com sellers do not usually ship internationally

Most of the suppliers on 1688.com are selling locally. They do not have their own export licenses to export products internationally. They will prefer to ship the goods locally in China and the buyers need to arrange a shipping company.

The best option is through Express shipping, which is costly but safe; it can pick your order from the seller and deliver it at your door. Shipping through the air, trucking, and sea can also be done. The one through the sea is slow and takes time to reach you while others are costly, and faster in speed.

However, some suppliers will know freight forwarders so they can help you to arrange for the delivery of your goods.

4. Variation in product quality when buying online

variation-in-product-quality-1688

The online platform doesn’t guarantee you about the quality of the products since some of the sellers at 1688.com don’t consider the quality of the items rather they want to sell the products in good or poor condition, because the rules in 1688.com are not that strict for sellers as like Alibaba.

So, if you didn’t verify the supplier then you will end up facing the poor quality product with a loss of money and time.

5. 1688.com suppliers usually will not have export licenses

As 1688.com is working for the inland country trade, so the suppliers do not need to have the export license.

If you are the importer, then it will be quite challenging for you to buy the products through 1688.com suppliers. Some of them might have this license so you can work on it to find the supplier with the license having the quality product at the same time.

Chapter 5:  What to Keep in Mind while Buying from 1688.com China?

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The key points to be considered before purchasing products through 1688.com China are given below;

1. The Stock which shows on the website is not always current

There might be two categories of the sellers in 1688.com such as the active sellers and the non-active sellers.

The one who is active in trading, they have the stock which has all the current and new products available. But the one who remained inactive for some time due to any reason might not have the updated stock.

You should check the seller’s information and his active or inactive status on his profile. This can save time and money afterward. Double confirm with the seller if they do have the stock of the product you want to buy or not.

2. What I can do if my order is failed or the stock is unavailable?

The sellers who have the items at low prices can sell the products earlier and run out of stock. But on the webpage, the product is seen in stock which confuses the buyers.

After seeing the in-stock item they place the order and after some time, they receive the message saying that your order has been canceled as the product was not in stock.

This is a shock for the buyer that after the wait of so many days he couldn’t get anything. For this purchase failure, you can claim a refund of money and there is nothing to be worried about as the deal was secured in 1688.com.

If you want to order the same item from the other seller, then you can place a new order for it and the previous refund will also be considered side by side.

3. Check the Return and refund policy before ordering

refun- policy-1688

1688.com also provides the customers with a refund policy in case of delayed delivery or failed delivery. It will be better if you go through their proposals before buying items.

If you are facing any of the above problems, you can contact the supplier or ask the middleman (local agent) to deal with your problem. Then, 1688.com will be responsible to refund your money and it may take some time.

4. How to get my products when the delivery time is delayed?

1688.com China is the wholesale trade online market that has the task to deliver the product in time. So they take some lead time which is the time in which the order will be shipped.

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Mostly it takes 1-5 days to deliver the order, sometimes it can take 5-7 days, and rarely it can go up to 2 to 4 weeks. In the busy season, it can take 1-3 days longer.

If you see the ordered status in your product for more than a week then you should contact your seller, you can cancel it if you are short of time. If the order is delivered, then cancellation is not a good option.

Chapter 6: How to Avoid Scams when buying online from 1688.com China?

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There are many black sheep hiding everywhere and are ready to bite you. It is your sixth sense, previous research and knowledge and of course wisdom of taking decision that will protect your money and time on the 1688.com platform. To avoid scammers, you should pay attention to the points given below;

1. Understand that cheap rates not always give good quality products

The key point of focus of scammers on the online platform is that they made the customers attract to their products by lowering the price to such an extent that they won’t see any other side to find the quality products.

This is the main problem of how the people fell for their trap. But the wise option is that you should go for quality products with reasonable prices instead of very low cost products.

2. Collect verification proofs from sellers/ suppliers

Before approaching any supplier to order any product the buyers should check their authenticity whether they are verified or not.

The ones with the blue tick beside their name will be the verified ones. You can feel relax to place an order through them.

3. Use authentic payment method, do not transfer money in personal accounts

Another common way adopted by the scammers is that they ask for the payment in their personal accounts. This is an alarming situation for you, you can be alert and do not do whatever he or she wants you to do.

Always send the payment to the supplier after receiving the products and through the proper and authentic payment method.  In this way, you will remain secure.

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4. Be careful if the supplier is not willing to send samples

Some suppliers do not allow their buyers to get the samples even if they pay for them. This can be avoided by approaching another verified seller on 1688.com, because it is also the way of scamming the buyers. If they are not sending the samples, this means something is fishy.

5. Hire trustworthy and authentic 1688.com agent

The agent between the supplier and the buyer acts as a middleman who connects both of them through the proper channel. So the new buyer should approach a trustworthy and reputed agent in the area.

Then he will help the buyer to get the desired product of good quality and competitive prices. In case of an accident or any other hardship, the agent will be liable for the loss of the buyer.

Chapter 7: Frequently asked questions about 1688.com China

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1. Do suppliers at 1688.com speak English?

Since the main focus of 1688.com is to provide the products to the local trade market in Chinese so all the manufacturers, the suppliers, and the merchants are fluent in Chinese but not in English.

And if you may contact the 1688.com supplier you either need the agent to communicate with both ends or learn Mandarin.

You can have chat with the suppliers on WeChat as it has a feature to translate the chats to English and Chinese.

2. How can I pay to 1688.com supplier in US dollars?

The main method of payment to the supplier in 1688 is in the RBM.  In case if the customer has the US dollars to pay for the purchased item then he has to contact the agent who can convert the currency into the RBM and can transfer the amount to the supplier directly or have his own bank account in China.

3. How can I check for the supplier’s information?

To check for the seller’s information, it is better to go through steps to get the proper and complete information about him. First of all, open the vendor’s homepage through Google Chrome and translate page in English.

Then, search for the supplier with the help of a search bar. Click on the company button which allows you to access all the information relevant to your specific supplier. Mainly it shows about the company, history and the verification.

4. How can I translate the com website to English?

The best and the easy way to translate the Chinese webpage into English is to use the Google Chrome browser through which the process will become quite simple and easy.

Visit the website 1688.com after that, click on the translation in English button. After that, the whole webpage will be converted into English. Now, you can read the instructions and directions smoothly.

Conclusion

1688.com is a domestic drop shipping B2B, B2C marketplace dealing with local people and talking in local language. Due to its focus on local marketplace, it is selling wide range of quality products at competitive prices.

This feature appeals the foreigner buyers to learn ways in buying wholesale from 1688.com.

We believe that this blog will help you to understand all aspects of using 1688.com and how to find the best and reliable suppliers to start importing products from.