Global Sources VS Alibaba

Are you stuck between choosing Alibaba or Global Sources for your wholesale needs?

Did you know that which one is the best for your business?

The first problem for people who want to procure wholesale online is which website to select. All of them seem to have the same function and work. Sadly, it is not as easy as it looks. Different B2B and B2C platforms cater to different needs.

Mostly, beginners are not even aware that there are alternatives to procuring from Alibaba. Undoubtedly, Alibaba is one of the biggest online platforms which has some of the best Chinese suppliers, it is not the only one. 

The biggest difference between Alibaba and Global Sources is the types of products available. Alibaba is a B2B platform that has any product you can think of.

Global Sources mostly has electronics, gifts, mobile accessories, fashion. In short, the choice is limited.

In this blog, we will talk about more differences and similarities between Alibaba and Global Sources. The purchase process will also be talked about to make things easier for you.

Chapter 1: Alibaba VS Global Sources – Similarities and Differences Between Them

aliababa, buy in bulk from China

1. What is Alibaba? What is Global Sources?

a. Alibaba

Alibaba was established in 1999 as an online e-commerce company by Jack Ma. It quickly climbed ranks and was soon declared China’s biggest online e-commerce company around 2014. As of 2023, it is giving tough competition to Amazon (the biggest e-commerce platform in the world). Moreover, some critics also claim that it will surpass Amazon in 2024-2025.

Read our blog “What is Amazon Business and How Does it Work” to know more! 

Every exporter, importer and businessman knows the name of “Alibaba”. It is a B2B marketplace and sells almost all the products you can think about. The product categories include electronics, gardening, household, kitchen and so on.

What is Alibaba

b. Global Sources

Many people are not aware of this but Global Sources has been in the market much longer than Alibaba. It has been in the market for almost 47 years now.

It was established in 1970 by Joseph Bendy and Merle Hinrichs as a print catalog. Trading companies and factories used to avail of its services.

It was in 2003 that the current directory format was launched. It is also a B2B platform but does not offer many products. Moreover, it specializes in electronics, fashion, mobile accessories, etc. The product range is much smaller than what Alibaba offers.

What is Global Sources

2. Similarities between Alibaba VS Global Sources

Even though it seems like Alibaba VS Global Sources are the same, this is not the case. This misconception arises because of the multiple similarities between the two platforms. The major ones are mentioned below:

  • They are both B2B platforms that sell products in bulk. This means that you can’t log in and order 1 or 2 pieces of a good. You have to meet the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ).

You can read all about the Minimum Order Quantity in this blog. It is very important to understand it if you want to do business with the Chinese suppliers or any suppliers globally. 

  • They are both your one-stop product sourcing platform. Starting from searching for a product, shortlisting suppliers, negotiating etc, everything can be done here.
  • They don’t directly sell products. They are a platform where different suppliers come and sell their products.
  •  Both are online e-commerce platforms that were established in China.

3. Differences between Alibaba VS Global Sources


Global Sources

Goods Wide VarietyLimited to electronics, fashion, mobile accessories etc
Suppliers 1 million150,000
Supplier RegulationDeregulatedStrict Regulations
Mobile AppYesYes
Product Categories More than 40More than 20
Payment Mode Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Alipay, Letter of Credit, Western Union,  Webmoney, Qiwi, BoletoLetter of Credit, Bank Transfer, Cash, Western Union

Chapter 2: Steps Involved in Buying From Alibaba and Global Sources

Buying from Alibaba and Global Sources is almost the same. Both platforms have a user-friendly interface. Even if you are not familiar with the websites and are visiting for the first time, you can easily order products in no time.

However, there are some differences. We will throw light on them in this chapter! 

Steps Involved in Buying From Alibaba and Global Sources

There are a few details that differ between the two platforms. Apart from that, most of the steps are the same.

1. Detailed Buying Process on Global Sources

  • Register your Account

Register your Account

The first step is to register your account. Even though you can search for products without registering, it is not going to be of much use if you are thinking of buying. So, the wisest step is to register your account first.

When you click on register, you will get two options. If you are a buyer, select buyer and register as one. For suppliers, they will choose the supplier and the registration process will be different and complex.

Detailed Buying Process on Global Sources

After clicking on suppliers, you will come across a form. Fill in the form and select the product alert categories.

This will allow you to turn on alerts for the products you are interested in. Once you have done, click on confirmation and confirm your account registration process.

  • Find suppliers online

Once your account is registered, the process is really simple here. You can also go on specific categories of your interest. Choose the product and you will have a list of suppliers providing that particular product.

Here, you can choose different suppliers based on your needs. Contact multiple suppliers and shortlist them, you will be allowed to choose an alternative if something does not work out with the supplier of your choice.

There are many ways in which you can