2. Overview of the Leading Online Platforms in China
1688.com is not the only website in China which you can use for sourcing your items. There are many other sites like Alibaba, AliExpress, and DHgate. But, what is the difference between 1688.com and all the other similar online platforms? Here’s a brief look:
1688.com is a leading integrated domestic wholesale marketplace in China. Launched back in 1999, the website aims to connect the wholesale buyers and sellers in China that trade in a variety of things including beverages and food, packaging materials, shoes, electronics, furnishing materials, apparel, home decoration, and general merchandise. 1688.com is a business of the Alibaba group, and many merchants on Alibaba Group’s China retail marketplaces like Taobao and Tmall are sourcing the inventory and buying from 1688.com.
Alibaba.com is the leading wholesale marketplace for global trade. It was the very first business set up by the Alibaba Group and is the ideal place for trade internationally. Buyers registered with Alibaba.com are present in over 190 countries, and these are usually manufacturers, trade agents, retailers, SMEs, and wholesalers that take part in the export and import business. Alibaba.com provides its members as well as other members with various services including logistics service, trade financing, customs clearance, and import/export supply chain services.
AliExpress is also another global retail marketplace and is another business of the Alibaba group. It was launched back in 2010 and is a global retail marketplace that allows consumers from across the globe to directly buy from distributors and manufacturers present in China. AliExpress not only has a global English language website, but also operates numerous local-language sites as well such as sites in French, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese. AliExpress is a top consumer market in various countries including France, Spain, the United States, Brazil, and Russia.
DHgate.com is another leading B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) e-commerce marketplace. DHgate.com has revolutionized online trade between China and the world. The website functions as a leading online trading platform for global buyers and Chinese sellers. The website allows buyers to purchase items in small wholesale lots. You can even order only one item too!
Made-in-China.com was founded back in 1998 and is another leading comprehensive B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce website in China. The platform is dedicated to providing high-quality Chinese products, offer information of suppliers to global buyers, and serves the worldwide trade field efficiently.
3. How 1688.com Is Different
The primary difference between 1688.com and other websites is that 1688.com is focused exclusively on domestic trade. Meanwhile, other sites like Alibaba.com and AliExpress have focused on export since the beginning. For this reason, 1688.com is only in Chinese while other platforms are in English and also have translations in Spanish, French, as well as other major languages.
You might already know that you can easily source cheap products from both AliExrpress and Alibaba.com. For large orders, you can turn to Alibaba.com while for smaller ones, you can just simply use AliExpress. The truth is, 1688.com is even cheaper. So, most of the sellers on other platforms like Aliexpress and Alibaba just buy from 1688.com, add in their own 20-30% profit and then sell it to you.
In fact, in many cases, once sellers on other platforms receive your order, they place an order on 1688.com and later ship the items over to you, thus running their business without having anything in stock. The bottom line is, compared to all other platforms, you will find the cheapest prices when you buy from 1688.com.
Moreover, 1688.com is a B2B platform; Another difference between 1688 and other platforms is that the minimum order quantity for items in 1688.com is comparatively low which means you can order items in a less quantity too.
Plus, websites that are focused on exports like Alibaba and AliExpress, the prices are mentioned in dollars while on 1688.com, the prices are only mentioned in RMBs.