If you’ve been thinking about starting an ecommerce business, then congratulations! Ecommerce is still one of the best ways to make money online and it will continue to stay that way for a long time.
You’ve probably heard of Alibaba, the most popular online marketplace in the world. Many people use it in order to buy wholesale products, while other people use it for dropshipping.
I’ve used it myself for a couple of years. After that, I’ve discovered that SaleHoo is a much better option for what I was doing and I switched. But that’s a story for another article.
Why? Because you’re here to find out what alternatives there are for Alibaba. You’re in the right place, as by the end of this article, you will be familiar with the top 5 websites like Alibaba.
Let’s jump right into it.
Top Websites Like Alibaba – Best Alibaba Alternatives
Alibaba is the most popular online shop in China. It is used by most ecommerce entrepreneurs and it’s very reliable.
It’s very easy to use and it has A TON of products in different niches. A very nice thing about it it’s that it has live chat. Therefore, you can easily communicate with Chinese suppliers.
You can negotiate prices, ask for samples and so on. They also offer payment insurance, which you can use if the quality of the bulk products is lower than that of the sample you requested.
In my opinion, Alibaba is quite good for small ecommerce businesses and beginner entrepreneurs because it’s easy to use. It’s recommended by a lot of dropshipping business owners and for starters, it’s a reliable option.(1)
However, there are other alternatives which we will analyze in this article.
Aliexpress.com belongs to the Alibaba group. The difference is that while Alibaba focuses more on B2B businesses, Aliexpress focuses more on B2C.
It was created in 2010 and it was meant to provide customers with more affordable products. That doesn’t mean that it can not be used in the same way as Alibaba.
Also, Aliexpress is targeted more towards foreigners, as they have really affordable prices compared to what they find in their own countries.
For example, if you’re looking for a product on Amazon, you will most likely find it cheaper on Aliexpress. They also offer free shipping and there is no minimum order quantity.
The drawback is that sometimes the shipment doesn’t arrive on time, which can be bad for your business. You can give it a try.
For example, you can order like 50-100 products because there is no minimum order like on other websites. Look at the quality and decide for yourself if you want to use Aliexpress in stead of something else.
I’ve had positive experiences with Aliexpress and I wouldn’t rule it out of the equation. In regards to dropshipping, it can be a really good option for beginners, as there is no minimum order.
Related: Best Print On Demand Sites
Another B2C platform which you can join for free. That’s right, if you’re on a tight budget and want to start an ecommerce business, then DHgate can be a very appealing option.
It’s quite similar with AliExpress, meaning it’s primarily focused on providing products for customers. Also, you can join DHgate by signing up with your Facebook account.
They make it quite easy to set up and they have a nice variety of products from different markets. They also have a selection of payment methods ranging from wire transfers to credit cards.
They provide secure payments and buyer guarantee, meaning that if there are any problems with your products, they will give you a full refund. At least that’s what they claim.(2)
There are also a couple of negative reviews regarding DHgate, so keep that in mind. However, one of my friends used it a couple of times and he said it was just fine.
The Honk Kong Trade Development Council is another good alternative for Alibaba. The special thing about it is that it’s run directly by the Hong Kong government.
That’s right. The government operates this market itself. They founded it back in 1996.
Since then, they expanded to more than 50 offices and they now have a lot of experience. And since you’re dealing with the government, you can be sure that you will not get scammed.
Also, the taxes are very low, which is another big advantage when you’re dealing with the government. The only drawback that I’ve found with HKTDC is that it caters more towards Chinese nationals. Meaning that when you’re dealing with the company, you might have a hard time finding someone that speaks very good English.
If you’re a beginner entrepreneur, I wouldn’t recommend you start with HKTDC because of that. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed when starting your first online business, and it makes no sense to complicate your life.
However, if you’re more experienced in dropshipping and you already have some kind of success in your business, I would definitely give HKTDC a try. Dealing with the Hong Kong government is much better than with individual producers, because you have the guarantee that your products are safe and there are no problems with your payment.
HKDTC is definitely a platform to keep an eye on.
Another great alternative to Alibaba is 1688.com. It’s primarily focused on B2B trading and there are A TON of high quality products on the platform.
They cater more towards the Chinese market, an aspect that you will quickly realize once you visit their website. Why? Because the website is in Chinese.(3)
If you manage to get passed the language barrier, I would definitely recommend trying it out. They probably have the most affordable prices out of all the websites on this list.
Also, there are a lot of suppliers that are not available on Alibaba. Meaning that you have a great opportunity to get high quality products that no one else offers.
That can definitely skyrocket your business to the next level. If you find a high quality product and start being profitable, your competitors would have no idea where to get the product from.
My advice is to get a Chinese friend to communicate with them or use Google Translate. It can really pay off in the long run, as you can get very good prices on 1688.
Also, you can pay an employee from 1688 to faciliate the communication between you and the suppliers.
In conclusion, 1688 is an amazing option to keep in mind. Once you start growing your ecommerce business, definitely keep an eye on 1688.com.
5. Made In China
That’s a very appealing name, right? In the end, everything is made in China. Including the high quality products that we use in Europe and the U.S.
Made In China is a company created back in 1998. They have more than 2 decades of experience in international trading and have exclusively Chinese suppliers on the platform.
It’s very easy to sign up. You can just do that with your Facebook account. Also, they provide a large variety of payment options ranging from Paypal to Western Union.
Most of their customers are U.S. based businesses, but they also have a ton of European clients. The thing that I like the most about this platform is that they sell big brand name products.
This can’t be said about most of the other websites on this list. The thing is that selling products from huge brands can be insanely profitable. It can also be a huge drawback, as you can get in legal trouble if you do so.
In that case, I always ask for legal documents regarding brands. I suggest you do that too. Made In China is a great platform and you should consider using it in stead of Alibaba.
Leeline Sourcing is a relatively new platform that has quickly made a name for itself by providing transparency to its clients.
The biggest advantage of using this website is the safety. LeelineSourcing also has affordable products and free storage for up to 1 month.
They provide cheap shipping and you can easily check your products before they get shipped. The only disadvantage is that they don’t have such a large variety of suppliers.
Also, most of the suppliers that they have are not so popular. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find high quality products.
A friend of mine worked with this website in the past and had good experiences with it. He found really good products that ended up being quite profitable.
Leeline Sourcing is definitely a platform to keep an eye on in the future.
7. Global Source
Last but definitely not least, Global Source is another good alternative to Alibaba. They are the most established company on this list with more than 5 decades of experience.
Yes, that’s right, this company was created in the 1970s. That’s already a good sign when it comes to the service that they provide.
Global Source also has better suppliers than Alibaba with better products. How do they do that? Well, they are much stricter when it comes to quality.
Global Source don’t allow low quality suppliers on their platform. Therefore, they have a lot less suppliers than Alibaba. However, the quality is much higher.
When you’re dealing with Global Source, you know that you will not get scammed and that you will receive good products. If you ask me, Global Source is a very good alternative to Alibaba and you should definitely try it out.
Especially when you have some kind of a successful ecommerce business, buying products from Global Source can really increase your profits.
Even though Alibaba is still the most popular online marketplace for ecommerce business owners, you should definitely take into account the alternatives on this list.
You can definitely find less popular high quality products on these websites and make a nice profit with them. I know because I did that myself. However, make sure you stay safe when trading branded products.
If you’re on the fence about starting an ecommerce business, I definitely suggest checking out the 100k blueprint. It teaches you from A to Z everything there is to know about building a profitable business.