Consumers have come to recognize, over time, that the cost of buying products from China’s platform is significantly lower than buying them in the United States.

Take a cup as an illustration. A similar style in the US would set you back $30, but in China you’d pay only $4.35.

However, we avoided purchasing from China due to the high shipping expenses and the fear of being scammed or experiencing problems after the sale.

Dropshippers also have a hard time finding the right product.

Then you might want to read this thread before you take sail. I will provide you a comprehensive guide to using Chinese marketplaces to do your shopping.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

The Differences between AliExpress, 1688, Taobao, and Alibaba

Alibaba operates four prominent websites, two in English ( and AliExpress) and two in Chinese (, each with its own set of advantages. To day is the day we settle this mess.

Alibaba’s original purpose was to aid suppliers in offering worldwide product support to buyers.

There are a lot of people who deal in direct shipment, and they use a wide range of free resources to locate the goods they require as swiftly and cheaply as possible.

There are more than 50 million products available in more than 40 categories. Accenting on Chinese-made goods like textiles and electronics.

You can save a ton of money by buying these items directly from the manufacturer.

Each year, shoppers from over 90 different nations and regions check out the site.

AliExpress is the international division of Alibaba Group, and it serves as the company’s cross-border e-commerce platform. As the majority of vendors put it, “the foreign equivalent of Taobao.”

Both AliExpress and Taobao focus on serving as consumer-facing retail platforms, respectively. There are some wholesalers among them, but they are in the minority.

However, 1688 and Alibaba are better suited to wholesalers and Dropshippers looking for suppliers. The shops are constantly on the lookout for new revenue streams.

Alibaba/1688 stands apart from AliExpress/TaoBao in that it caters exclusively to B2B wholesale transactions with manufacturers.

The second type is accessible to customers and offers products and services in limited numbers.

Here’s a handy infographic we whipped together to highlight the distinctions:

When compared to competitors like Amazon, AliExpress typically has lower prices. This is due to the fact that all of the products are manufactured in China and shipped out immediately.

AliExpress offers a shipping option known as AliExpress Standard Shipping, which is either very cheap or free, depending on the weight of your order.

A month is too long to wait for delivery, thus this is useless.

Methods to Buy Stuff from China Platforms

To make a purchase on one of these marketplaces, you can either be a regular consumer or a Dropshipper, and both types of shoppers will be subject to the same basic guidelines.

Shopping in China An Introduction to Alibaba AliExpress Taobao and 1688 1

Consumers can pick from a vast selection of goods offered by these websites.

The primary goal of this guide is to help you avoid being duped into purchasing a subpar product.

And if I may add, it is not a good idea to buy luxury products like Apple or Gucci from these marketplaces.

Markets exist specifically for large corporations like them. Depending on the market, they may use a variety of pricing and distribution methods.

Even if they are manufactured in China, you will not receive a discount for purchasing them in bulk, and there is a great possibility that you will be cheated.

Buyers making purchases out of pure self-interest should also bear in mind that, given the nature of foreign trade, returns are typically not an option.

In most instances, it will be a proportional amount of the return.

Web Translating

The language barrier is the first hurdle you’ll encounter when using Taobao or 1688.

Google’s translation service is a convenient way to get a complete understanding of the content of foreign websites.

However, the quality of the translation is, to put it mildly, subpar. However, it can be useful for a broad comprehension.

The web user interface supports multiple official languages, although it does not translate product names or specifications.

Use Chinese for Keyword Searching

When searching for products on either of these Chinese-language websites, you must use Chinese keywords.

To include all possible solutions, you could, for instance, replace the word “stickers” with the universal symbol “”.

Results for English searches on 1688 and TaoBao can be limited because they do not cater to international customers. Likewise, Amazon is in a similar position.

Search Products with Images

Image searching is a useful function on those websites.

If finding the proper item became difficult because of translation. Just look for an image of it, and then, once you’ve explored it, jot down some keywords in Mandarin for future use.

Using WeChat

Shopping in China An Introduction to Alibaba AliExpress Taobao and 1688

If you want to work with a single vendor over the long term, WeChat is the way to go for your business communications.

As a customer, you may experience inefficiency and wait times when contacting support using the site. However, WeChat is used practically constantly by Chinese people.

They are considerably easier to locate and start talking to while using WeChat.

Verify Suppliers

Depending on your needs, you can choose between two distinct categories of Alibaba suppliers. Both are legitimate, but only one is gold.

If you want to make sure the product is what it says it is, you should work with a reliable provider. When compared to Gold, it is seen as an improvement.

This badge requires an independent verification process.

They must also pay a minimum of $10,000 per year to keep this verification active. The same principle applies to other platforms, albeit with a different hierarchy.