• eCommerce


A few key names come to mind when it comes to online shopping, including Amazon, eBay, and Aliexpress. Many people are familiar with Aliexpress, the giant Chinese e-commerce company. But what about its counterpart, Alibaba? Essentially, Alibaba is focused on selling products to businesses instead of consumers. Which one is best for your needs will depend on what you're looking for.

Alibaba - Aliexpress Overview

The Alibaba Group was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, a Chinese entrepreneur. Alibaba is a business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce company that sells products to businesses. Its main site, Alibaba.com, is the world's largest online B2B marketplace.

The name comes from the character Ali Baba from the Arabian Nights, known for his vast wealth. Alibaba operates in over 200 countries and has more than 500 million registered users. In 2021, the company reported revenue of $109 billion.

Aliexpress was founded in 2010. It is a business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce company that sells products to individual consumers. Aliexpress operates as a marketplace with many different sellers.

Alibaba is known for its wide selection of products and its low prices. If you're looking to buy in bulk or need a specific product that's difficult to find elsewhere, Alibaba is probably your best bet. However, Aliexpress is better suited for smaller orders and individual shoppers.

In a nutshell, Alibaba is better for business-to-business transactions and trading companies. At the same time, Aliexpress is better for personal shopping or for independent sellers looking to dropship a smaller amount of items at competitive prices.

The Differences Between Alibaba and Aliexpress

The differences between the two platforms are:

  • Alibaba is B2B and Aliexpress B2C
  • Alibaba is for companies and Aliexpress for private people
  • Prices on Alibaba are lower because it is focused on wholesale orders
  • Prices are negotiable on Alibaba but not on Aliexpress
  • There are more Chinese sellers on Alibaba and fewer international sellers
  • Aliexpress has a broader range of products and is better for smaller orders

Alibaba Wholesale

A third option is to use Alibaba wholesale. This is a service that Alibaba offers for small to medium-sized businesses. Like the main Alibaba site, they offer wholesale pricing and bulk buying; however, the minimum order quantity required is much lower. But this does mean that the price you pay per product is higher than at Alibaba but cheaper than Alixexpress.

Alibaba vs Aliexpress - Which is Best For You?

So, which platform is best for you? This will depend on several factors, including if you are a business or an individual wanting to buy products, the type of products you are looking for, and how much you are willing to spend. For dropshipping services, we recommend using Aliexpress as it has a wider range of products and is better for smaller orders. If you are looking for a specific product you wish to buy in bulk, Alibaba may be a better option. However, for general shopping, Aliexpress is the better choice.

But let's dig a little deeper into what each platform has to offer.

Products on Aliexpress

As mentioned before, Aliexpress offers a massive selection of products from a vast number of sellers. You'll find just about anything you can imagine on the site, from clothes and electronics to industrial equipment. The prices are also generally lower than what you would find on Amazon or eBay.

However, with such a large selection comes downsides. First, it can be challenging to find what you're looking for on Aliexpress. Additionally, the quality of some of the products can be questionable.

Products on Alibaba

Because Alibaba is focused on wholesale orders, you will get the best rates. But it is essential to do your homework. You don't want a crate of poor-quality products turning up on your doorstep. Alibaba has a better reputation than Aliexpress when it comes to quality, but it's still important to get samples and read reviews before purchasing.

Aliexpress Shipping Costs

You'll find a range of shipping costs from Alixepress sellers, with many offering free shipping. But you should be aware free or standard shipping from China can take weeks to arrive. Expedited shipping is faster, but it will cost you. Many dropshippers or consumer buyers opt for ePacket, which is a shipping option offered by Aliexpress that's trackable, faster, and more reliable than regular airmail from China.

Alibaba Shipping Costs

Usually, you will find that shipping from Alibaba is more expensive than Aliexpress, as you are transporting a large number of wholesale products from China. Depending on the weight of the products and how quickly you need them to reach your destination, you can opt for sea or air freight shipping.

Aliexpress Dropshipping

There are many Aliexpress suppliers, numbering over 2 million active sellers. This makes it easier to find a dropshipping supplier for your product. However, as there is no central governing authority, the quality and reliability of these sellers can vary greatly. It is best to order a test product from a supplier before committing to larger orders.

Alibaba Dropshipping

Alibaba recently announced that it would offer dropshipping service. At the moment, it still makes sense for an online business to dropship using Aliexpress as the product selection is much more extensive. Even so, this new service, Alibaba Dropshipping Solutions, offers online merchants access to hundreds of high-quality, pre-vetted worldwide suppliers and over one million items at wholesale rates.

Buyer Protection

When choosing from the Chinese suppliers on Alibaba, you should be looking for three things to ensure a smooth and safe purchase. They are verified, a gold supplier and they offer Alibaba trade assurance. Aliexpress also offers buyer protection, and you are refunded if the order doesn't arrive on time.

Private Label Products

If you are an ecommerce business that requires customized products rather than branded products, then Alibaba is a better choice. This is because you can deal with the suppliers directly to provide you with custom products that you can sell under your store's brand.

Minimum Order Quantities

The minimum order quantity (MOQ) on Alibaba will depend on the product price, weight, and shipping destination. The MOQ may also vary depending on the supplier. Typically you can expect to have to order at least 200 units from Alibaba sellers. If you need to customize the product, the MOQ will be much higher.

On the other hand, there is no MOQ on Aliexpress though you will have to pay a fixed price for each product, which is usually more expensive than if you were to order in bulk from Alibaba.

Aliexpress vs Alibaba - Which Has Better Customer Service?

This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on the supplier you choose. Generally speaking, Alibaba suppliers have better customer service as they are more experienced in dealing with international buyers. However, many reputable sellers on Aliexpress will go the extra mile to ensure you are happy with your purchase.

Aliexpress Integration Using Our FREE Shipping Tool

If you are fed up with the hassle of trying to fulfil all your orders and looking for the perfect Aliexpress integration solution, we understand - that's why we created Packlink PRO. This tool lets you ship your packages choosing between over 30 carriers so that you can get your products to your customers as quickly and easily as possible.

Plus, you can track all of your shipments with ease and access personalized advice from our logistics experts whenever you need it. And there are no contracts or hidden fees – only pay for what you send.

The Alibaba Group is an excellent resource for finding high-quality products for your business. Both Alibaba and Aliexpress offer great platforms for finding suppliers and sourcing products, but Alibaba is better suited for wholesale prices and to purchase in bulk. Aliexpress is a better option for dropshipping or placing smaller orders.

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