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Difference Between Aliexpress and Alibaba

The emergence of online shopping has led to the creation of e-commerce platforms, which have been of immense help to the business world, and also to individuals. These are portals or websites that have millions of products that are purchased online. This comes with convenience, better prices, ease of shopping, privacy not to mention many varieties of items available. Some of these shopping websites are Aliexpress and Alibaba.


What is Alibaba?

Alibaba is a wholesale platform founded in 1999 whereby traders buy in bulk all over the world. It is mostly used by manufacturers and bulk resellers. 

It has the following features

  • It focuses on a B2B service whereby manufacturers mainly in China are connected to business persons worldwide
  • The order terms are negotiated and approved via email. 
  • It gets its revenue from the gold supplier membership fee that is paid by suppliers to be able to trade on the platform
  • It focuses on made to order products as opposed to ready-made products. 
  • It has a minimum order requirement

This platform is recommended in cases where;

  • A buyer wants to purchase in bulk
  • A buyer wants products custom made
  • Prices are price sensitive
  • The buyer is importing products that need to be compliant hence certain certification standards must be provided
  • Products are price sensitive


What is Aliexpress?

This is a retail online platform founded in 2010 that allows manufacturers and resellers to purchase goods in small quantities, with no minimum order requirements. Individual purchasing without a purpose for retail prefer using this platform. 

This platform has the following features;

  • It offers low prices compared to those in the market. Products are way cheaper for an individual who is purchasing few items but are higher for a person buying in wholesale. 
  • The shipping takes long, although in most instances it is free
  • It has an easy shopping interface that any individual can easily adapt to
  • There is no minimum quantity order, meaning an individual can buy one or more items. 
  • No interaction with the suppliers is required. 

Aliexpress is preferred when;

  • Few units of products are being purchased
  • Products are urgently needed
  • Products are not sensitive to price
  • Products do not have to be custom made
  • No product certification standard required


Similarities between Aliexpress and Alibaba

  • Both are online business platforms
  • In both platforms, buyers pay using a buyer protection service. 
  • Both are owned by Alibaba Group. 


Differences between Aliexpress and Alibaba

  1. Mode of business for Aliexpress verses Alibaba

While Alibaba caters for the business to business setting, Aliexpress caters for both business to business and business to consumer settings.  

  1. Minimum order quantity for Aliexpress and Alibaba

Alibaba has a minimum order quantity whereby there is a set of requirements on the quantity a buyer can make. On the other hand, in Aliexpress, there is no minimum to order quantity. 

  1. Pricing

In Alibaba, product prices are not fixed. The supplier and the producer negotiate the pricing. On the other hand, in Aliexpress, product prices are listed with no room for negotiation. 

  1. Risk of quality

Whereas more buyer knowledge is provided hence reducing quality concerns in Alibaba, Aliexpress customers get what the supplier offers hence higher quality risk. 

  1. Custom design

Alibaba provides a platform whereby suppliers offer custom-made products and can even private label products per request. Aliexpress, however, does not custom make products.  

  1. Product availability in Aliexpress vs. Alibaba

In Alibaba, it takes time for the products to reach the customer because orders have to be confirmed, samples confirmed, negotiate prices and custom make products where applicable. On the other hand, since the products are already manufactured, the process in Aliexpress is not time-consuming. 

  1. Mode of shipping for Aliexpress vs. Alibaba

In Alibaba, the sellers and buyers get to decide the mode of shipping to be used, mainly because of the large goods quantity. On the other hand, Aliexpress goods are in most instances shipped by air freight. 

  1. Profit model 

While Alibaba charges a certain amount of membership fee for the suppliers, Aliexpress demands a certain percentage of commission on the sales made. 

Alibaba vs. Aliexpress: Comparison Table


Summary of Alibaba vs. Aliexpress

Both Alibaba and Aliexpress are ideal for different business settings. Alibaba is ideal for large business owners buying in bulk, Aliexpress is ideal for small business owners and individuals. It is therefore important for each person to understand the platform most favorable for them.


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References :

[0]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alixblog.png

[1]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3b/Aliexpress_logo.svg/500px-Aliexpress_logo.svg.png

[2]Akdeniz Can. How Jack Ma Did It: An Analysis of Alibaba's Success. Can Akdeniz, 2016.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=JZhcCwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=alibaba&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjin9CtwpDfAhUty4UKHTa8AYgQ6AEIQjAE#v=onepage&q=alibaba&f=false

[3]Express Minh. Aliexpress Affiliate: Everything to Know Before Making Money With Aliplugin. Lulu Press Inc Publishers, 2016.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=EQKTCwAAQBAJ&pg=PT3&dq=Aliexpress&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwim8NWbwpDfAhWPzoUKHZ2_A4oQ6AEIMDAB#v=onepage&q=Aliexpress&f=false

[4]The Alibaba Group and its impact on the world’s e-commerce: Insights about Alibaba group's impact on the economy and its potential. GRIN Verlag Publishers, 2017.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=Sby3DgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Difference+between+aliexpress+and+alibaba&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiH5IK_wZDfAhXSxoUKHQlpD_c4ChDoAQgnMAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

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