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Alibaba vs AliExpress – Which One is Best for Dropshipping in 2022?

Alibaba or Aliexpress: which is better and less expensive for outsourcing?

This is one inquiry many individuals hoping to get into outsourcing inquire. Another normal inquiry we see individuals pose online is: Are Alibaba and Aliexpress the equivalent?

Regardless, Alibaba and Aliexpress are two well known commercial centers that interface retailers and customers with item providers and producers.

They are both claimed by a similar parent organization, the Alibaba Gathering. The Alibaba Gathering is a behemoth in China’s Web based business scene, holding around half of the piece of the pie.

That is basically the main thing they share practically speaking, as the two stages work distinctively and have differentiating plans of action.

Here, we will run a one next to the other correlation among Aliexpress and Alibaba to assist you with understanding their disparities and realize which is best for your business.

Difference Between Alibaba and Aliexpress

Let’s start with Alibaba.

Alibaba caters to B2B businesses looking to buy in bulk at wholesale prices. Often, there is a limit you must cross with your order to qualify for wholesale prices. Alibaba calls this limit Minimum Order Quantity.

Aliexpress, on the other hand,  is a B2C marketplace where just about anyone can buy from without restrictions. No minimum order quantity restrictions. This makes it ideal for beginner dropshippers on a lean budget and individual shoppers.

Let’s now have a closer look at both platforms to help you better understand how they differ.

What is Alibaba?

Not to be confused with the Alibaba Group, Alibaba is an eCommerce platform that connects suppliers and manufacturers with wholesale buyers. Alibaba currently has presence in over 190 countries and has a seller base of over 150,000.

Manufacturers looking to source parts and materials for production can do so on Alibaba. You can also buy semi-finished goods from Alibaba at a competitive price.

In addition to that, you can buy industrial chemicals, plastic, rubber, office materials, electrical equipment of any type, vehicles and trucks, auto parts, and a lot more from Alibaba. You can literally buy everything on Alibaba.

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What’s more, Alibaba makes it easy for you to contact suppliers. You can find these suppliers based on their region, product category, or directly by their name.

Alibaba offers order protection on every order you make. This ensures you get high-quality products delivered at the right time. More details on this shortly.

In addition to order protection, Alibaba has a robust payment solution. You can choose to pay for your orders using a credit card, wire transfer, Western Union, etc.

Key Features of Alibaba

Alibaba has been packed with lots of features to make buying and selling in bulk online a seamless experience. Here are some of them:

  • Request for Quotation (RFQ): You submit an order request. Suppliers would bid on it by submitting quotations, after which you choose the supplier to work with.
  • A CRM tool to help you coordinate your orders
  • Order tracking feature
  • Supplier background check feature
  • A messaging center
  • Transactions and logistics monitoring

Alibaba allows you to set up a buyer and seller account from the same spot, and you can switch between them at will.

You would have to sign up for a Supplier Membership account to sell on the platform.

How Does Alibaba Work?

To sell or buy on Alibaba, you need to sign up for an account. The signup process is simple and only takes about a minute – no need to wait for account approval.

Once you have created your account, the next thing you will want to do is to find a supplier.

There are a couple of ways to go about this. One is submitting a Request for Quotation ticket. To do so, you will have to provide the name of the item(s) you are looking to buy. You will also need to provide your preferred sourcing type, the quantity of products you wish to buy, and other relevant details to help suppliers understand what you are looking for.

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If you don’t wish to use the RFQ option, you can find suppliers based on their country of location. Alibaba has suppliers from over 100 nations.

If none of those look like a viable option, you can find suppliers by searching for the product you are looking to buy. You’d see a “Contact Supplier” button on the search result page when you do.

When to Use Alibaba?

Alibaba is the place to be if you want to buy products in large quantities and at lower prices.

What is Aliexpress?

Aliexpress is an online retail outlet that caters mainly to individual buyers. This means you can conveniently buy just a pair of shoes on Aliexpress without contacting any supplier. There are no minimum order limitations on Aliexpress.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t buy in bulk from Aliexpress at competitive prices. Aliexpress makes it possible for you to contact sellers on the platform and arrange for Wholesale deals. Only that the prices might not be as competitive as that of Alibaba.

Aliexpress has a massive collection of consumer items ranging from automobiles, men’s and women’s fashion, computers and phones, office supplies, to name but a few.

Key Features of Aliexpress

  • Order center to monitor your pending, unpaid, shipped, and completed orders.
  • Dispute settlement.
  • A coupon center where you can hunt for coupons.
  • A message center to track your communication with vendors and suppliers.
  • Buyer protection.
  • Detailed reporting.

How Does Aliexpress Work

Aliexpress works in the same way as Alibaba. First, you would have to sign up for a free account, which takes about a minute.

After successfully creating your account, the next step is to search for the product you want to buy. That, too, is easy; all you have to do is type in the product’s name in the search bar or use the categories section to find it.

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If you want to sell on Aliexpress, you will have to create a seller account. Keep in mind that you will be asked to provide financial and legal documents to verify the nature of your business.

Selling on Aliexpress doesn’t cost a thing; you will only be charged a fee – typically 5% to 10% of your selling price – for every sale you complete.

When to Use Aliexpress

Aliexpress is an excellent choice if you want to buy in small amounts. Or maybe when you want to buy a product for testing purposes before buying in larger quantities.

Difference Between Alibaba and AliExpress

Alibaba and Aliexpress are two marketplaces that operate online. The major difference between the two is the target audience they cater to. Sellers on Alibaba primarily serve businesses and take orders in bulk quantities (B2B model). On the other hand, sellers on Aliexpress take orders in small quantities (B2C model).

Though, you can find bulk sellers on Aliexpress as well.

Alibaba VS AliExpress: Comparison Table

Don’t have time to read the whole article? Here is the crux of the difference between Alibaba and AliExpress.

Alibaba VS AliExpress: Comparison Alibaba AliExpress
Primary business model B2B B2C
Minimum quantity limits Yes No
Private Labeling Yes No
Average production time 15 to 45 days 7 to 45 days
Financing options Available No
Shipping costs Shipping cost is usually negotiated between buyers and sellers Usually free
Does the platform help with disputes Alibaba helps with disputes Aliexpress helps with disputes
Are the payment methods secure? Yes Yes
Can you negotiate prices with the seller? Yes No


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