For many of businessmen, the biggest challenge and the first step of running our business is to  find a good supplier.

Finding a reliable China wholesale supplier is a key step in successfully developing an business. And we can’t grow our business without a strong supplier backing us up.

So in this post,  I will take you through the 7 most trusted online sourcing platforms in China.

You might have heard about these websites but never used them.

If you don’t know which platform is most suitable for you, don’t worry. I’m gonna give you some insights into these platforms and the advantages of using this websites.

Alibaba

Alibaba is the world’s largest B2B platform. Almost every buyer has heard of it, and most buyers have used it.

Alibaba

Alibaba is under the Alibaba Group and was established by Jack Ma in 1999. You should know that Alibaba Group is one of the three largest Internet companies in China.

In contrast, Alibaba’s buyer resources are the richest among B2B websites. Anything you want to buy from China can be found on it. For suppliers, Alibaba is also the B2B platform with the most abundant customer resources.

Alibaba purchase process

① Create an account

Before buying from Alibaba, first, you need to create an account. You will be prompted to enter some information, usually including:

  • Country/Region
  • Trade roles (buyer, seller, both)
  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Company name
  • phone number
  • Account password

② Find the product you want to buy

Buyers can find products to order in four ways

  • Search products in the search box
  • Post Request for Quotation (RFQ)
  • Browse product categories
  • Search by picture

The results can be filtered and sorted by a variety of different criteria, including:

Screening can help merchants narrow the product range to quickly find products that meet their needs.

If you cannot find the perfect product with suitable purchasing conditions, you can post your purchasing requirements on the RFQ market. If there is a supplier who can meet your needs, he will contact you.

③ Contact the seller and ask about the product

Get in touch with the seller through online chat, email, phone, or WeChat, and then tell the seller your detailed needs. The seller will answer your doubts. Of course, you can also inquire, such as MOQ, shipping method, payment method or product details.

④ Receive the quotation

After you explain your needs to the supplier, the supplier will provide you with a detailed quotation. Of course, you have to specify your product details, otherwise the supplier will not be able to provide you with an accurate quotation. The more detailed the requirements you provide, the more accurate the quotation.

⑤ Shop around

There are millions of sellers on Alibaba, how do you choose?

On how to find the real manufacturer and the best supplier, you can find some inspiration from these articles:

How to find the best supplier in china for smallbusiness?

How to find a product manufacturer in china?

⑥ Negotiation

After choosing some suppliers and products that you are interested in, you need to negotiate with the supplier on MOQ, price, product customization, delivery date, payment method, etc. Besides, I suggest you get samples before bulk purchase.

⑦ Place an order (payment)

Once you have confirmed the details of the transaction, you can place an order. If you place an order online on Alibaba, you will maintain communication with the seller on the platform. Payment methods accepted by Alibaba include:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Online Banking Payment (eChecking)
  • Wire transfer (T/T)
  • Western Union
  • Alternatively, you can use “Pay Later”, which gives buyers 6 months to pay the order at the lowest 3.5% interest rate.

⑧ Follow up the order

Some buyers may think that after placing an order, they only need to wait for the supplier to deliver on the delivery date. This is a wrong approach. Facts have proved that if the buyer never asks the supplier about the production progress after placing the order, the supplier will definitely postpone the delivery.

Therefore, it is especially important to follow up the progress of the order after placing the order. You can refer to How to prevent & solve delay delivery from China supplier? to learn more about the tips for avoiding supplier delays in delivery.

⑨ Transportation

The last step in the importing process is transportation. In terms of cross-border transportation and logistics, buyers can use Alibaba’s freight platform to obtain a reliable and transparent experience. It mainly provides sea, air, air express and air parcels from China to the rest of the world.

If you don’t know the shipping method, here is a complete shipping guide A complete guide to shipping from China (2021 Update).

Buyers’ most concerned issues when buying from Alibaba

Is Alibaba safe? Will you be deceived?

Alibaba is an absolutely safe and legal platform. But Alibaba does not sell products, they just provide a platform for buyers and sellers to secure transactions. Products on Alibaba are sold by third-party sellers. Whether you will be deceived depends on whether your supplier is reliable.

Learn how to avoid scams on Alibaba Is Alibaba safe? How to know if Alibaba supplier is legit?

Alibaba payment method

Generally, there are the following 6 payment methods in Alibaba.

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Online Banking Payment (eChecking)
  • Wire transfer (T/T)
  • Western Union
  • Alternatively, you can use “Pay Later”, which gives buyers 6 months to pay the order at the lowest 3.5% interest rate.

View the payment guide: How to place an order and pay for an Alibaba supplier?

Mode of transport

Alibaba has its own international logistics service, you can communicate with them online. They will deliver your goods to Alibaba’s cooperative warehouses (air, sea, express).

Alibaba  international logistics service

Or you can ask the supplier to ship the goods by express, air, sea, and train.  Anyway,, the shipping method depends on you.

Express

The process of express delivery is relatively simple. It’s fast and you don’t need to deal with any customs clearance. If you want to ship a small number of product samples or high-value goods, or your goods have a very limited time for delivery to the warehouse, this mode of delivery will be very effective.

Air transport

Air freight is more complicated than express, and using air freight means you have to deal with all standard customs procedures. Unlike the door-to-door worry-free mode of express delivery, air transportation is usually divided into several steps: local logistics in China, delivery from China to the destination country, and domestic logistics in the destination country.

If you are transporting more than 500 kg of goods, for economic and efficiency reasons, air freight may be a good choice. But if your cargo is between 300kg and 500kg, you’d better compare the real-time air freight price with the express price to see which is cheaper.

By sea

In most cases, sea transportation is the cheapest mode of transportation for bulk transportation, and it takes the longest to ship the goods.

Generally speaking, the process of sea transportation is similar to air transportation-logistics is divided into three parts: from your Alibaba manufacturer to a Chinese port → from a Chinese port to your destination port → from your destination port to your warehouse.

If your cargo exceeds 2CBM, we recommend that you consider sea freight. When shipping low-value products, such as wine glasses or plastic bottles, and products that are prohibited from being transported by air, sea transportation is also the most recommended mode of transportation.

Complete shipping guide: A complete guide to shipping from China (2021 Update)

Alibaba trade assurance

Trade Assurance is Alibaba’s order protection service-providing a safe online environment for global trade between suppliers and buyers.

Alibaba trade assurance

When you trade with a supplier in the form of a trade assurance order,if the seller violates the agreement, you can appeal to Alibaba and ask for compensation.

Alibaba Trade Assurance Guide: How does Alibaba Trade Assurance protect your interests?

1688

1688 is the largest wholesale website in China, and it is famous in China for its low prices. Same as Alibaba, Its products are all sold by third-party sellers.

1688 wholesale

1688 is also very popular among Chinese consumers, because you can buy very few products at wholesale prices on 1688. Most of the products on 1688 are cheaper than Taobao.

1688, Taobao and Alibaba belong to the Alibaba Group.

1688 purchase process

Alibaba is called the international version of 1688, so the procurement process of 1688 is similar to that of Alibaba.

The first is to register an account, and then you can log in to the Aliwangwang account to communicate directly with the supplier.

Or, you can find the supplier’s mobile phone number or WeChat ID on the product page, and get in touch with the supplier through WeChat.

The rest is just like purchasing from Alibaba, discussing product details, samples, order quantity, discounts, payment methods, etc. with suppliers.

Are there any benefits for foreign buyers to buy from 1688?

If you don’t need customized products, 1688 is a good choice. You can clearly see the price of the product, and this price is usually lower than that of Alibaba, and you can even bargain over the original price.

The trouble is payment and shipping issues.

For direct payment in 1688, you need a Chinese bank card or use Alipay business account for cross-border payment.

As for transportation, you have two options.

  • One is to directly ask the supplier to send the goods to your country, which requires you to communicate with the supplier.

This requires your supplier to speak English or you to speak Chinese. And some suppliers who do not do international trade may reject you because they don’t know anything about international transportation.

  • The second is that you can hire a freight forwarder in China and ask the supplier to send the goods to your forwarder, and then the forwarder is responsible for transporting your goods from China to your country.

Many buyers now find a 1688 agent in China to help you buy them from 1688. Usually these agents can accept multiple cross-border payment methods such as PayPal, TT, West Union, etc., and they understand international shipping.

These agents can help buyers solve all a series of problems. Moreover, the price on 1688 is relatively transparent, so buyers don’t need to worry that they will make a huge price difference, but only need to pay them a purchase commission.

If you need customized products or packaging, the biggest benefit of 1688 for you is that you have a greater chance of finding a real product manufacturer.

Why?

First of all, if you have custom requirements, you must communicate with the supplier.

  • If the 1688 supplier you find does not speak English, you will not be able to communicate on product requirements and other terms.
  • If your supplier speaks English, things will be easier. But usually suppliers who good at English have their own international trade department, and they also have their own shops in Alibaba.

And only suppliers with an international trade department can handle the issues of customization, payment and international shipping for you.

This is similar to finding a supplier from Alibaba. The only difference is that the supplier you find through 1688 is more likely to be a manufacturer.

In short, when you have no custom requirements, it is feasible to purchase from 1688 by yourself or hire an agent.

When you have customized requirements for products or packaging, we do not recommend that you look for suppliers from 1688.

This will cost you a lot of time, and the supplier you eventually find is actually also on Alibaba.

If you want to find a real product manufacturer, there are many ways to help you.

Complete guide to buy from 1688: How can foreigners buy from 1688.com? (No agent)

When buying from 1688.com, what buyers are most concerned about:

How to pay for goods on Alibaba?

1688 has 4 payment methods in total.

① Alipay

To purchase products on 1688, Alipay is nothing more than the easiest and fastest way to pay. However, to register for Alipay, you also need to bind a Chinese bank card before you can pay.

② Bank transfer

Almost all suppliers in China support bank transfers. You can transfer the purchase cost directly to the other party’s account through online banking. However, most of the 1688 suppliers currently only accept RMB.

③ Find someone to pay

There is a function on Alipay called Find someone to pay on your behalf. You can share the link with your friends and let them pay for you. This function is generally at the top right of the payment page.

④ Alipay Business Account With 1688 Cross-Border Pay

1688 cross-border Pay(cross-border treasure/Kuajingbao/KJB) is a payment solution offered by 1688 and alipay for companies registered in certain overseas countries and regions.

This solution allows foreign companies to pay their suppliers on 1688 directly through their own alipay and 1688 accounts.

Because this is the official solution provided by 1688 and Alipay, so your account security is totally guaranteed. you no longer have to worry about your 1688 or Alipay account is frozen or restricted.

View the full version of the 1688 payment tutorial: How to pay on 1688?

How to ship from 1688?

Please refer to ths guide How to ship after placing an order.

Is 1688 cheaper than Alibaba, AliExpress and Taobao?

Yes, the products on 1688 are cheaper than Alibaba, AliExpress and Taobao.

But as mentioned above, it also has some difficulties for international buyers, such as language, transportation, payment and other issues. This is why most international buyers want to find 1688 agents.

Is 1688 safe and reliable?

Yes, like Alibaba, 1688 is a reliable platform for buyers and sellers to trade. But compare with Alibaba, alibaba is safer than 1688. 1688 is a wholesale website for Chinese, so its’ protection system for foreigner is not complete.

AliExpress

Since Alibaba and AliExpress are part of the same company, people often confuse the two, but they provide completely different services.

Aliexpress wholesale

Aliexpress is a popular retail website that focuses on helping small Chinese businesses sell products directly to international customers.

Therefore, AliExpress is almost like Ebay, you can buy directly on the platform.

You can buy a single product on AliExpress. Like Amazon, everything is bought and sold exactly as shown in the product list and cannot be customized.

In other words, you cannot buy private label products from AliExpress.

Although the price on AliExpress is lower compared to other platforms, the price will always be higher compared to Alibaba.

How to buy safely from AliExpress without being deceived?

Just like shopping on Amazon, you can browse any products you want, and then add them to the shopping cart.

But before buying, please remember that anyone in China can sell on AliExpress, which means there are companies, factories, and people who sell goods at will. That’s why AliExpress has a bad reputation.

It is recommended that you pay attention to the following information when buying on AliExpress to ensure that the products you choose are reliable.

How to buy safely from AliExpress safety

  • The seller’s feedback rating. We prefer to see an average feedback score higher than 4.5.
  • The number of orders that the seller has shipped. I like to see at least 100 orders shipped, preferably more, depending on the cost of the item.
  • Number of comments. I like to see at least 100 reviews, but it depends on how cheap the product is. For cheaper products, I often don’t care much.

In addition to the above data, you have to consider:

  • Seller’s details:

Years of opening: The older the better, although there are also excellent sellers who have only opened for one year.

  • Seller rating: If all three dots are green, this is a very good sign.

Positive Feedback: do not accept less than 90%, it would be better if it can reach more than 95%.

Number of followers: hundreds of thousands of followers are always a good sign.

Top Brand Award (or “Top Brand”): indicates that this store is one of the official popular brands.

AliExpress payment method

The most common payment methods on AliExpress are credit or debit cards.

AliExpress accepts Visa and Mastercard, as well as Maestro debit cards and American Express cards. Remember that payments will be made in U.S. dollars, because AliExpress does not yet accept certain currencies, but your bank will automatically convert them.

Paypal

AliExpress has resumed accepting PayPal as a payment method on its platform. Not all sellers accept this payment method, and sellers who accept this payment method will charge a small fee.

Alipay

AliExpress created Alipay to process payments on AliExpress. Their system is very similar to PayPal: they hold payments until buyers confirm that their orders have been delivered intact.

How to ship from AliExpress?

Most products are shipped from China, but sometimes if you are lucky, you will find items that can be shipped from a local distributor in your country.

According to our experience, this kind of situation is rare

The most common transportation methods for AliExpress are:

How to ship from AliExpress

  • AliExpress standard transportation
  • Private express (EMS, DHL, e-EMS, Fedex…)
  • AliExpress premium shipping
  • Cainiao Super Economy Global and Cainiao Super Economy Special Commodities(no tracking).

How much is the shipping cost?

The price is divided into three grades:

  • AliExpress standard shipping: cheap.
  • Private courier and AliExpress premium delivery: expensive.
  • Cainiao super economy global and special products: very cheap or free (paid by the seller).

How long does it take to reach my country?

  • AliExpress standard shipping: generally 3-4 weeks.
  • Private courier and AliExpress premium delivery: generally 9-20 days.
  • Cainiao Super Economy Global and Special Commodities: generally 30-50 days.

Is AliExpress Safe?

View the complete article here.

Global Sources

Global Sources is a B2B platform that originated in Hong Kong. The purchase process is the same as Alibaba.

Global Sources wholesale

One difference from Alibaba is that the suppliers of Global Sources are generally factories and large trading companies. It is difficult for small trading companies to enter Global Sources because it requires more capital.

There are also more than 40 product categories  on Global Sources, but the product categories are not as rich as Alibaba.

Brief summary

Advantages:

  • Global Resources pays more attention to overseas offline promotion, including exhibition and magazine promotion
  • Network + magazine + CD promotion, buyers can get first-hand information.
  • Strong professional, have advantages in electronic products.

Disadvantages:

  • The operation of the platform is a little complicated, but Alibaba is relatively simple and convenient in operation.
  • Its website function is not strong, only the supplier directory query function; Purchaser information collection and classification is its weakness.
  • Supplier resources and product categories are less.

Is Global Sources legal?

Yes, Global Sources is legal, he is the same as Alibaba, made in China. They are all well-known online wholesale websites in China.

Learn more about Global sources here.

Made in China

Made in China was founded in 1998. Like Global Sources, both are relatively well-known online wholesale websites in China.

Made in China website

The purchase process is the same as that of Alibaba. You can choose “direct order” products or customized products.

Made in China is the only large B2B platform with the sole mission of promoting Chinese products, and it only accepts relevant product information from Chinese suppliers.

Brief summary

Advantages:

  • It has advantages in the textile, handicraft, transportation and machinery industries.
  • Relatively speaking, there are more manufacturers

Disadvantages:

  • It is not as big as Alibaba in terms of scale, influence and promotion
  • Not as professional as global sources.

Is it safe to buy from a Made in China website?

Made in China is not a scam itself. It is the third largest B2B platform after Alibaba and Global Sources. Some companies use all three websites for scams. Please review the supplier carefully before ordering from anyone.

If your order is large, we recommend that you cooperate with a local Chinese sourcing company to strictly evaluate the supplier’s strength and credit before placing an order.

Otherwise, you can only understand the supplier in the communication with the supplier based on your own experience, which is always risky.

DHgate

Established in 2004, Dhgate is a small B2B platform that allows importers from all over the world to buy a small amount of Chinese goods at wholesale prices.

The platform has more than 1.2 million international sellers and offers more than 33 million products. It has 10 million buyers worldwide and supports English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Compared with Alibaba, Global sources and Made in China, Dhgate sellers have lower requirements for MOQ. This is very friendly for e-commerce sellers.

DHgate payment method

DHgate has a variety of payment methods. There are different payment methods in different regions. But buyers usually use credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Moneybookers, Apple Pay and online bank transfers.

DHgate shipping method

ePacket, FedEx and DHL are DHgate’s most trusted international shipping partners.

In addition, there is another method called “DH Storage” that can guarantee fast transportation for buyers and customers living in the United States. This method only applies to products with the DH Storage badge on the page.

Brief summary

Advantage:

  • Featured categories: electronic products, wedding dresses
  • No minimum order quantity
  • Many brand replicas

Disadvantages:

  • Low quality
  • Product catagories are not as rich as Alibaba.

Is DHgate safe to purchase from?

The DHgate platform handles transactions so that money is exchanged through the site — not directly between buyer and seller — which does add a level of safety and buyer protection. As a large and well-established site, DHgate is a legitimate website, and DHgate is safe with your credit card information

Does DHgate sell replica products?

Yes, Dhgate does sell replicas. Not only Dhgate, but also AliExpress. There are also fakes sold on Made in China.

Dhgate replica products

They are easy to identify. If an item is super cheap when it shouldn’t be, then it’s a fake. The fakes on DHgate are not expensive at all.

Yiwugo

Yiwugo is an online small commodity wholesale platform in Yiwu, Zhejiang. Its specialty products include jewelry, toys, department stores, clothing, shoes/bags, office supplies, machinery, hardware and other products, especially gift decorations and toys.

Yiwugo wholesale

Same as 1688, it’s a Chinese local wholesale website。

Yiwu wholesale market

Yiwu is the capital of small commodities in China, and Yiwugo was born.

If you are planning to buy small commodities, Yiwugo will be a good choice.

MOQ: Yiwu’s MOQ varies from supplier to supplier. The minimum order quantity for most products exceeds 10 pieces. The price varies depending on the quantity purchased.

Payment method: Yiwugo does not support direct online transactions, it is more used as a platform to display product and supplier information. The payment method usually needs to be negotiated with the supplier. Usually small orders are paid by PayPal, and large orders are paid by T/T or L/C.

Brief summary

Advantage:

  • As a local wholesale website in China, the price is very cheap
  • The categories of small commodities are very complete, especially all kinds of accessories and gadgets.

Disadvantage:

  • Like 1688, it is a local wholesale website in China. Therefore, most of the suppliers do not speak English, and many only accept payment in RMB. The supplier is not responsible for transportation. To purchase from Yiwugo, you need to cooperate with an agent in China.

Summary

Now that you have a certain understanding of each online purchasing platform, I believe you already know which platform is more suitable for you.

So  it’s  your turn.

If this article is helpful to you, please share it with your friends.

If there is anything in the guide that confuses you, you can leave a message in the comment section below.

Or join our Facebook group, we provide free sourcing consulting services.

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