1688 vs Alibaba

By Sarah
January 23, 2024

Today’s trend calls for good, long-lasting, and usable products that are affordable. People go online to save time, money, and effort. The way we purchase things in bulk has changed over the years. You can go to a website or use an app to buy.

Chinese platforms are the top choices of many around the world. It is easy to access and a good source of cheap but great products! Online shopping is great in many ways. You can compare prices and find good sellers. It is a perfect option for those who want a seamless process.

Do you know Alibaba? Or do you have an idea of Alibaba vs. Aliexpress? Have you also heard of 1688?

Are you looking for a website where you can buy cheap products of good quality? In this blog, we are going to tackle two Chinese platforms. Which one is good to buy from? Is there any bad practice on these sites? We will answer this and more as you read along.

1. What is 1688 and Alibaba?

China is famous for its online marketplaces. It allows Chinese sellers to sell their products online to buyers worldwide. You do not need to be in China to buy because they can ship products to many countries.

They offer great selections and a variety of choices. Whether looking for retail or wholesale, you can access these sites through their apps.

1688 and Alibaba are examples of these sites. They are similar and different in some ways. You can surely find products with low prices and thousands of suppliers.

You can find products for your home, sports, daily essentials, clothing, and more. All products are listed in their category list if you visit their sites.

1) Why are these sites important?

Price and availability are the top factors that make people visit these sites. These are the best sites for buying products at low prices so you can sell them.

It is easy to find suppliers, and they offer large discounts on your purchase. It is very easy to use. Choose an item/product, add it to a cart, pay, and receive the items! You can chat with the sellers, too, if you have questions.

2) What is Alibaba?

Alibaba is an e-commerce site founded in 1999. It offers retail and connects buyers and sellers to sell and buy goods. And then, it is the world’s largest online company.


It ships and works in more than 200 countries and regions worldwide. Alibaba’s markets are both local and international.


  • The website traffic is more than 20 million active users
  • It works in 200 countries.
  • Features seller validation process
  • The Trade Assurance protects the buyers and sellers.
  • It is open to foreign buyers.
  • It has great marketing tools for sellers.


  • You can find anything you need.

You can buy a wide selection of product types on this site. Aside from the daily essentials and very common things you need, you can find rare items here. You can buy even raw materials, tools, machines, etc.

The choices are not limited. In fact, you cannot finish the day by checking out all the suppliers of a particular item!

  • It is easy to use.

You can be a little tech-savvy to understand how to use its website or app. You can navigate it clearly and easily. Finding the things you always see on your favorite sites is not complicated.

You can find the language selector to switch to the language you prefer. The dashboard is neat, and the search bar is easy to see and use.

  • Wide Selection of Sellers

You can find all types of sellers on the Alibaba shop site. There are manufacturers, traders, and wholesalers. You can choose from new to long-time sellers. You can learn about the seller on their profiles and reviews. If you navigate to the seller’s profile page, you can see their certifications and company highlights.

Chatting or getting in touch with the seller is also easy. Ask your preferred seller for quotes, inquiries, or questions instantly. You can see all their listed products and the MOQ requirements. Being smart when choosing your supplier is a must!

  • Buy with confidence

There is  Trade Assurance protection if you are afraid of scams and fraudulent transactions. It is a security program to protect buyers and sellers from fraud. This feature assures the buyer that the ordered goods will be delivered on time and in good condition.

If the goods are not delivered or are not as described, the buyer can file a claim with Alibaba, and they will receive a refund. The seller will only receive the payment if the buyer confirms that the items have been received and shipped in good condition.

  • Payment Options

It offers a secure payment system, so you don’t have to worry about payment. It builds trust and confidence for buyers that their payment is safe. You can pay using cards or PayPal.

You can use Alipay or bank transfers. It has a dispute service that resolves issues that may arise. This feature made Alibaba a strong brand.

3) What is 1688?

1688 is a B2B platform owned by Alibaba. It is like Alibaba, where you can find low prices for any product. However, 1688 is focused only on the Chinese market. It is mainly designed for local sales. This marketplace is for Chinese sellers who want to buy products in bulk.


If you are a foreign buyer, you can still purchase from 1688 but need an agent. The reason is that you may encounter challenges, like language barriers and payment methods. We will tackle more of that later.


  • It is a place for wholesale suppliers in China
  • Legit sellers who pay every year to get a license
  • With 150 million users
  • Has 50,000 companies listed
  • No markups from third parties
  • Prices are always stated in RMB


  • Better, lower prices

Since you deal with direct manufacturers, you will get lower item prices than other platforms. You do not get a markup price from any middleman when you use 1688, so you can buy them at an excellent price.


  • Find better, more, and rare products.

If you are looking for hard-to-find items, you can find them at 1688. There are more unique, diverse choices and wide varieties of products here than on Alibaba. Some Alibaba sellers source their products from 1688, too.

Due to their focus on Chinese customers, 1688.com offers nearly all Chinese suppliers. Many specialized sellers with products you won’t find in other marketplaces. There are lots of sellers that can work within your budget as well.

  • Reliable and trusted suppliers

Sellers here pay a yearly fee to sell. You will find better suppliers here. Imagine being able to get to suppliers that your rival cannot find! This will be your great advantage over Alibaba. You can find a suitable 1688 manufacturer that can be a perfect partner for your business.

  • MOQ conditions

The MOQ will probably be higher if you order a single product. Sellers sets the MOQ in accordance with their order capability. A single product or several goods from the same supplier might satisfy the MOQ. But every seller has a different MOQ.

2. 1688 Vs Alibaba

Alibaba and the 1688 China app both have PROS. Looking at the highlights above, you may not find any difference. But let us check.

1) What’s the difference between 1688 and Alibaba?

Simply put, look at the table below to see the difference between the two.

Factors Alibaba 1688
Website language selector Different languages Chinese only
MOQ requirement Bigger MOQ Smaller MOQ
Payment Methods International options like Paypal, credit cards, etc Alipay
Logistics International Domestic
Scale B2B and B2C B2B only
Target market International Local


What is the difference between Alibaba and Aliexpress? AliExpress is the retail version of Alibaba. It is open to both local and foreign buyers. You buy wholesale things from Alibaba and retail items from Aliexpress.

2) Is 1688 and Alibaba the same?

1688 and Alibaba are the same in that they are both good sources of anything you want to buy from China. It is a secure, safe, and reliable platform for buying in bulk. They are owned by Alibaba Group and are known worldwide. The sites and apps were built with easy features that everyone can use.

3) Which site is better?

To determine which platform is better,  the buyer must weigh which gives more benefits. Alibaba is a global platform that connects global buyers and Chinese sellers worldwide, while 1688 is a B2B platform focusing mainly on the Chinese market.

While both platforms offer low prices and a wide variety of products, they have different target markets and seller pools. These two sites, 1688 Alibaba, can help buyers get products for a good price. The tools help buyers and sellers communicate and make a purchase.

4) What are the Cons of each platform?

While 1688 and Alibaba are both popular e-commerce platforms, they also have their own set of cons.

One major con of 1688 is that it is primarily in Chinese, making it difficult for non-Chinese speakers to navigate and use it effectively. There is no 1688.com English translation. Additionally, 1688 is known for having a higher risk of encountering fraudulent suppliers than other platforms.

On the other hand, one of the cons of Alibaba is that it charges higher fees than other e-commerce platforms. Additionally, the platform can overwhelm new users due to its vast product options and suppliers.

Some customers said that the shipping times on Alibaba are longer. Lastly, some sellers sell products that are not durable and do not last long.

3. Buying from Alibaba

1) Important things to know when buying from Alibaba

If you’re planning to buy from Alibaba, here are some important things to keep in mind:


  • Check the minimum order quantity (MOQ)

Most suppliers on Alibaba have a minimum order quantity (MOQ). Check the MOQ before placing an order to ensure you can meet the supplier’s requirements.

  • Negotiate the price

Alibaba is a platform designed for negotiation. You can always negotiate the price with the seller. You can also try to negotiate the shipping costs or ask for a discount on bulk orders.

  • Use Trade Assurance

Alibaba offers a feature called Trade Assurance, which protects buyers in case of fraudulent transactions or if the supplier fails to meet the final terms. Make sure to use this feature to protect your purchase.

  • Be aware of customs and import taxes.

You may be subject to customs duties and import taxes when importing products from Alibaba. Check the regulations in your country and factor in these costs when placing an order.

  • Choose a reliable shipping method.

Alibaba offers multiple shipping methods, including air and sea freight. Choose a reliable shipping option that meets your needs and budget. Remembering these things, you can have a successful and safe buying experience on Alibaba.

2) Steps on how to purchase

  • Sign up on the site.
  • Search for the products you want to buy.
  • Contact the seller and ask your questions.
  • Check the Alibaba MOQ and negotiate if needed.
  • Check the stated price to prevent dealing with additional fees.
  • Request samples.
  • Verify product quality using samples.
  • Make your purchase.
  • Monitor the delivery and track the package.

3) How do you select the best supplier and seller from Alibaba?

  • Choose the verified sellers.

Verified sellers in Alibaba have gone through a validation process to ensure they are legitimate and trustworthy businesses. This process includes verifying their business license, company name, and contact information. Once verified, they are given a badge that indicates they are a “Gold Supplier” or “Assessed Supplier.”


  • Research the product and seller.

Before making a purchase, thoroughly research the product and seller. Check the product specifications, read reviews from other customers, and look at the seller’s ratings and reviews. You can also ask the seller questions to clarify any doubts or concerns you may have.

4. Buying from www.1688.com

When buying from 1688, it is important to remember a few tips to ensure a smooth and successful transaction.

1) Important things to know when buying from 1688

  • Get help from an agent

Using a reliable agent to help you with the purchase process and communication with the seller is best.


  • Avoid scam

make sure to confirm the product details, pricing, and shipping information before making a payment. It is also advisable to check the supplier’s reputation, customer feedback, and ratings to avoid fraud or scams.

  • Track your package

Be patient during shipping, as the products may take some time to arrive at your location. Make sure you have the tracking number from your shipping agent to monitor.

2) Steps on How to Purchase from 1688

By now, you know that there is no www 1688 com English version. Even if it is only focused on the local market, there is a probable way to purchase. You have three ways on how to buy from 1688:

  • Reach out to the seller directly at 1688.com

Once your 1688.com account has been created, you can use your Aliwangwang account to speak with suppliers directly.

Alternatively, you can contact the provider on WeChat by finding their WeChat ID or mobile number on the product page. Then, you order just as how you do it in Alibaba.

  • Purchase Products Using a Shopping Proxy Website

Chinese buying agent websites can purchase services from well-known Chinese online retailers like Taobao, 1688.com, JD.com, etc. You need to submit a product link for them to check. They will assist you in purchasing the product.

Upon receiving your orders at their warehouse, they will package and repackage them before shipping.

  • Hire thebest 1688 agents

You can hire a 1688 agent service, which will assist you in finding and paying suppliers on 1688 and using international express shipping to ship them to you.


The agent can assist you in locating and negotiating with the supplier on 1688. After that, you can pay for the purchase and the shipping costs from the 1688 Chinese website.

3) How do you select the best supplier and seller from 1688?

To select the best supplier or seller from 1688, you should:

  • Check their reputation and 1688. com review.
  • Confirm product details, pricing, and shipping information.
  • Consider their transaction history.
  • Communicate with them to clarify any doubts.
  • Look for promotions and discounts.

5. Getting Agents for Alibaba and 1688

1) Sourcing/Buying Agents for Alibaba

Alibaba agents are third-party companies that help businesses and individuals source products from Alibaba suppliers and manage the entire purchasing process. These agents can help buyers find the right suppliers, negotiate prices, handle communication, and ensure quality control.


When choosing an Alibaba agent, it is essential to consider their reputation, experience, and customer reviews to ensure that you are working with a reliable and trustworthy partner.

Some of the benefits of using an Alibaba agent include:

  • Access to a fuller range of products and suppliers.
  • Better negotiation power and lower prices.
  • Professional communication and translation services.
  • Quality control and inspection services.
  • Flexible payment options and secure transactions.
  • Efficient shipping and logistics management.

2) Sourcing/Buying Agents for 1688

If you are looking for a sourcing agent for 1688, you can find many reliable and experienced agents who can help you with the entire purchasing process. JustChinaIt can help you with many services.

A good sourcing agent for 1688 should:

  • Help you find the right suppliers, negotiate prices, handle communication, and ensure quality control.
  • Have a good understanding of the Chinese market and culture and experience in international trade and logistics.

Some of the wonderful benefits of hiring a sourcing agent for 1688 include:

  1. Access to a greater variety of goods and providers
  1. Influence in negotiations and reduced costs
  1. Expert translation and communication services
  1. Inspection and quality assurance services
  1. Safe transactions and adaptable payment methods
  1. Effective logistics and shipment coordination

6. FAQ

1) Is Alibaba the same as 1688?

Alibaba and 1688 are similar because they are reliable websites for purchasing goods from China. Both platforms are dependable, trustworthy, and secure when you wish to purchase in bulk. Alibaba Group owns them and is well-known worldwide. Easy-to-use features were incorporated into the design of the websites and applications.

2) Is 1688 reliable?

The sellers in 188 are real and legit. Many people have had positive experiences with 1688. While some risks are associated with buying from any online marketplace, applying our tips and guidance will also give you a great experience!

3) Is 1688. com review true?

The reviews you can read from 1688 are real reviews from customers’ or buyers’ experiences. Sellers pay an annual fee to sell here, so they do their best to provide excellent service and fix customer issues.

Hence, buyers put forth honest opinions and reviews about the service they got from the sellers. Research, read reviews, and use caution when purchasing online is always a good idea.

4) How can international buyers buy from 1688?

There are three options on how international buyers buy from 1688:

  • Reach out to the seller directly at 1688
  • Purchase Products Using a Shopping Proxy Website
  • Hire the best 1688 agents like JustChinaIt

5) Is there a www.1688.com English version?

Unfortunately, there is no 1688.com in English. It is built to focus sales on the Chinese domestic market.

6) Is there an app for Alibaba and 1688?

Yes. You can download the mobile apps in the App Store for Apple users and Google Play for Android users.

7) Which is better for dropshipping?

Both Alibaba and 1688 are great for dropshipping, but it depends on your target market and preferences. If you want to sell products to a global audience, online Alibaba wholesale shopping is the better option as it caters to buyers and sellers worldwide.

If your target market is mainly in China, 1688 is the better choice as it focuses on the Chinese market and offers lower prices. Additionally, 1688 has a wider selection of products from Chinese manufacturers and suppliers. It is up to you to decide which platform best suits your needs and goals.

So, to choose between 1688.com and Alibaba, always consider your business needs, budget, and what is more convenient.


The Alibaba 1688 platforms are an excellent help for anyone who wants to buy products for a lower price and straight from the suppliers. Alibaba.com and 1688 online shopping aimed to provide a platform for businesses to connect and trade products.

It aims to make it easy for companies to buy and sell products online, focusing on providing a wide, full range of products at competitive prices.

1688 and Alibaba have differences, similarities, and pros and cons. The key to a successful and repeat transaction is finding a reliable supplier or a sourcing company to help you with a smooth process. It is essential to know the limitations and what each app can do for your business so you can use it successfully.

Both of the company’s goals are to help businesses worldwide grow and succeed by providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed in the global marketplace.

Are you a buyer who wants to purchase from Alibaba or 1688? Or maybe you wish to expedite the process and change how you deal with Chinese suppliers? We are here to assist. Kindly send us your inquiries.

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