Is Alibaba a dropshipper

Alibaba vs. AliExpress: Which is Better for Your Business?

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If you want to sell products on Amazon or through your own online shop, you need a manufacturer. Alibaba and AliExpress are platforms to find such a manufacturer. Both platforms belong to the Alibaba Group Holding Limited.

Alibaba and AliExpress are based on the same business principle: you both work predominantly with Asian manufacturers. However, there are some differences between Alibaba and AliExpress.

In this guide you will find out whether Alibaba or AliExpress is suitable for your company and what to look out for when choosing a manufacturer.

These are the contents of this guide:

  • What is Alibaba?
  • What is AliExpress?

We will be comparing Alibaba and AliExpress on the following:

  • Dropshipping and private labeling
  • Wholesale
  • Minimum Order Quantity
  • delivery time
  • Delivery costs

You can also read more about the Top Alibaba alternatives Experienced.

What is Alibaba?

Alibaba is the world's largest B2B marketplace and was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma. The Alibaba Group (which also includes AliExpress) currently has over 66,000 employees and sales of over $ 509 billion.

As mentioned above, Alibaba is a B2B marketplace where you, as an entrepreneur, can search for available manufacturers for your product.

You can recognize this above all by the fact that you will find a so-called minimum order quantity for most products:

This minimum order quantity varies between 100 and 500 units, depending on the provider and product. Some manufacturers even have a minimum order quantity of over 500 units.

Alibaba functions as a directory of various manufacturers, from which you can get information such as available product variations, costs, certificates and contacts.

You can also contact and negotiate with manufacturers on Alibaba directly. In our experience, this works very well.

If you're looking for retailers on Alibaba, you should definitely look for themGold Supplier Membership respect, think highly of.

Dealers who have this membership have been verified by a special agency for the quality and legality of their production.

There are several ways to pay on Alibaba. Alibaba offers a secure payment and trade assurance program at. Buyers can use this program to get a refund if products do not meet the agreed quality criteria.

Manufacturers must participate in this program. However, this is not the case with every manufacturer. Make sure you only work with producers who do thesecure payment and trade assurance program to offer.

In addition, Alibaba offers Alipay for merchants in the wholesale program. Alipay gives buyers special protection by acting as an escrow in the buying process and ensuring that the manufacturer does not receive any money before the customer receives his goods.

Here you can learn more about Alipay.

What is AliExpress?

AliExpress differs from Alibaba in the sense that it is not a B2B marketplace, but, like Amazon, a B2C marketplace. You can search for products and then easily buy them.

Just like Alibaba, Aliexpress also offers buyer protection. If you don't get your products, we'll give you a full refund.

Some retailers even offer a 60-day money-back guarantee.

There is one thing that distinguishes AliExpress from Amazon. While Amazon is an exclusive B2C marketplace, AliExpress is one smaller Mix of B2B and B2C.

For example, if you order 100 units of a product, some retailers will give you a discount on your bulk order.

Alibaba vs. AliExpress # 1: Dropshipping and Private Labeling

Dropshipping and private labeling are two different business models that are described below.

Private labeling

Private labeling is an English term and refers to the trading of products that run under a so-called trademark.

Private label products are manufactured for a specific retailer and then sold under the retailer's own brand name.

Private labeling has two significant advantages:

  • You can make changes to your product.
  • You can build your own brand.

Here you can read more about Private labeling Experienced.


Dropshipping works similarly to Amazon FBA. With dropshipping, you usually set up your own online shop. You also need a dropshipping partner.

As soon as a customer orders something in your online shop, you forward this order to your dropshipping partner. He will then take care of shipping your products.

On AliExpress you can find many dropshipping partners.

Alibaba vs. AliExpress: which platform for which business model?

If you want to sell private label products, you should Alibaba use. You can communicate with the manufacturers on Alibaba and discuss special changes to your product. You can also negotiate a better price and order large quantities.

You won't find a manufacturer on AliExpress who produces a private label product for you. You can access millions of products, but you cannot make changes to these products.

But many merchants on AliExpress offer dropshipping services. So if you want to start a dropshipping business, then you should take a closer look at AliExpress.


Alibaba is suitable for private labeling.AliExpress is suitable for dropshipping.

Alibaba vs. AliExpress # 2: Wholesale

Wholesale refers to the purchase and sale of large quantities of products to business customers. If Alibaba or AliExpress Is better suited for this depends on what you're looking for and what your company's goals are.

If you are looking for small quantities, for example 100 to 200 units, AliExpress is better suited.

If you want to buy large quantities, i.e. over 500 or 1000 units, then Alibaba is more suitable.

The prices on AliExpress are usually more expensive than the prices on Alibaba. Because of this, you have a larger minimum order quantity on Alibaba.

Let's look at the price of a water bottle on AliExpress:

On AliExpress, the price ranges from $ 2.33 to $ 9.

Let's look at drinking bottles on Alibaba:

The drinking bottles on Alibaba are much cheaper.

So always pay attention to what your goals are and what your budget is. It depends Alibaba or AliExpress more suitable.

Also, always make sure to find the lowest price for an item when searching for products. Most of the time, the real manufacturer offers the lowest price and the same product is sold at a higher price by several resellers.

To make sure you really If you buy from the manufacturer, you can also write a message directly to the contact on Alibaba.


Depending on what your goals and budget are, AliExpress or Alibaba may be a better solution.

Alibaba vs. AliExpress # 3: Minimum order quantity

The minimum order quantity is the minimum number of products you have to order in order to place an order.

On AliExpress and Alibaba the minimum order quantities are very different. You can already order one unit on AliExpress, while on Alibaba you can find minimum order quantities of 50 to 500 or more.

There is one main reason for this:

Most of the products on Alibaba are customizable; H. you can agree certain details with your manufacturer, have your logo printed or change the color.

So that the manufacturer can also work profitably, he requires a minimum order quantity. The manufacturer would not be profitable in the production of an individual product.

Products are not customizable on AliExpress. You cannot make any changes, so you can already order a unit.


For small quantities and a small budget, AliExpress is more suitable.

Alibaba vs. AliExpress # 4: Delivery time

We all know how important it is to have the desired number of products available quickly. Until you have products available, your prospects will shop elsewhere and leave their money with your competition.

On the other hand, you should make sure that your products not only get to you quickly, but are also of the right quality. If the quality of your products is not right, the fast delivery time is of no use to you.


As mentioned many times before, you buy up AliExpress Products that have already been produced. That means there is no time wasted producing the products or making adjustments.

The delivery time at AliExpress is between 5 days to 40 days. In most cases the delivery time is 5 days.


The total duration of the order includes the time to find the desired product, the negotiation time, the time for further administrative tasks and the delivery time. This time can last between 20 days and 6 months.

The more complex your customization requests are, the more time the entire process will take. Production can take up to 30 days.

Shipping depends on whether you have your products shipped by sea or air. The ocean freight can take up to a month.

If you don't have any specific change requests, the order time is significantly shorter.


When time is tight, go for AliExpress.

Alibaba vs. AliExpress # 5: Shipping Costs

Of course, like everywhere else, you have to pay delivery costs when you order products. Shipping costs are very different on AliExpress and Alibaba.


You can even order products with free shipping on AliExpress. For that you have to go into the filterFree Shipping specify.

You have the choice between different shipping service providers, delivery times, etc.

Shipping costs range from $ 1 to $ 3 each. Keep in mind that the more products you order, the more you will likely pay. For 100 units, the shipping cost is $ 71.


Alibaba works differently. It depends on what you agree on with your supplier. For example, your supplier can be generous and send you the sample for free. However, this is very rare.

It is best to choose sea freight as air freight is a lot more expensive.

For this you have to pay:

  • load
  • Ship to dock
  • documentation
  • Sea freight to USA from China
  • Unloading and transport to your destination / warehouse.

All of this with taxes, high season delays and other transaction fees. You will likely have to pay between $ 2,000, if not a lot more, especially if you order a lot.


The delivery costs depend on the number of units ordered. In general, Alibaba is suitable for many units and AliExpress for small to medium quantities.

Alibaba vs. AliExpress: Summary

Basically there are two criteria when you choose Alibaba or AliExpress have to decide: your goals and your budget.

If you have a lot of budget available, then you should use Alibaba, as you can order large quantities at the same time and thus end up paying less per unit.

If you have less budget available, then you should concentrate on AliExpress, as you have a lower minimum order quantity and can place an order for a smaller amount overall.

Alibaba gives you the opportunity to negotiate, make adjustments, and build relationships with your manufacturer. Alibaba is therefore indispensable for private labeling.

You should use AliExpress if you want to build a dropshipping business.

Then there is the time aspect. You can get products much faster on AliExpress than on Alibaba. There are also dealers on AliExpress who offer free shipping. At Alibaba, you'll have a hard time negotiating free shipping with your manufacturer.