4 Useful B2B Wholesale Marketplace Platforms from China

B2B platforms

When we talk about importing from China, the first thing we are going to do is to search on the online wholesale platforms, even if we plan to attend the exhibition shows in China, B2B online marketplaces are also useful and informative, we can check the manufacturers’ information and get a brief idea of them before contacting. There are 4 useful B2B wholesale platforms that we are discussing in this article, namely Alibaba, MadeinChina, Golabalsources, and 1688.

1. Alibaba

Alibaba was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma who was an English teacher in Hangzhou, with the great vision of”To make it easy to do business anywhere”, the company has grown to a world-leading e-commerce giant. When we say Alibaba, most of the time we refer to alibaba.com. Actually, Alibaba is a comprehensive company group that contains the business of domestic and international. Here we focus on its initial business as a wholesale platform worldwide.

1.1 Reliability

As one of the world’s largest and earliest online marketplaces, the development of Alibaba is not always smooth. Back in 2011, Alibaba encountered its biggest integrity crisis, some scram suppliers committed a series of fraudulent practices due to no strict review of the suppliers, and the worse was that nearly 100 of the employees signed direct sales contracts with “fraudulent clients” in pursuit of high performance and high income. The serious case caught Jack Ma’s attention, he denounced the behavior in a subsequent email and get Ali’s management changed. The incident caused the talented CEO to resign under great pressure as well as some other top managers.

After that, suppliers applying for Alibaba membership becomes strict, and now we can see that there are 3rd party inspection institutes like SGS, TUV, and Intertek providing supplier audit reports which makes Alibaba a much safer online platform. Besides, if we make orders on the suppliers’ store, there is a Trade Assurance protection service, it’s a kind of Escrow services, only when we receive the orders in a good condition, and the products are described as what the sellers write, then we confirm the order and seller get the payment, otherwise, we can ask for a dispute for a refund. Despite all the technical protections, we still need to compare and select the qualified suppliers carefully, it’s our own job.

1.2 Features

Alibaba is a comprehensive marketplace with almost all categories. Due to its rich in product diversity, we can find anything we want, (of course, the products should be legal and allowed to sell online), this also contributes to it becoming the biggest platform in B2B business. In 2015, Alibaba Group went public in the US, which makes Alibaba more famous than before, and lots of new buyers come to make their purchases. To some extent, daily consumer goods, apparel and accessories, fabrics, shoes, gifts, and home appliances, such categories are the dominant categories on Alibaba. When we open the website, we can also see that these categories are clear on the left part of the first screen. It’s allowed to order directly in the supplier’s store and with a trade assurance guaranteed.

1.3 Suppliers

Most of the suppliers are from China, but there are also many vendors from Southeast Asian countries, such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Vietnam. Alibaba aims to make it easy to do business anywhere, sell all over the world as well as buy worldwide. So a US customer can buy from a Vietnam company through Alibaba, and a Canadian company can also sell on the platform. What an amazing picture that we can’t imagine 50 years ago.

2. Made-in-China

Made-in-China.com was founded in 1998 and is developed and operated by Focus Technology Group with its headquarters in Nanjing City. From the domain name, we can easily recognize the website is from China, however, it is the company that connects sellers and buyers doing business internationally.

2.1 Reliability

The company has a history of more than 20 years, and it is a public company on Shenzhen Stock Exchange. With the purpose of “promoting Made in China, serving small and medium-sized enterprises, and promoting global trade”, Made in China has been continuously plowing in the field of international trade and has won the awards of “Most Commercially Valuable E-commerce Website”, “China B2B Industry Website Influence Award” and “Best Cross-border E-commerce Enterprise in China E-commerce” for many years in a row, which has been highly recognized by the market. Over the years of development, MadeinChina has become one of the most extensive and reliable B2B marketplaces. The website runs on a paid membership system, every supplier is audited yearly. There are also Secured Trading Services for online orders to protect the transactions.

2.2 Features

When we open the homepage, from the categories we can see that Manufacturing & Processing Machinery is listed as the first category. It is obvious that products in Made-in-China tend to be more industrial, which makes the platform a great advantage to attract industrial and machinery buyers. Due to the precise positioning, more professional buyers come to this platform to purchase, and the business is focused on wholesale all the time.

2.3 Suppliers

Sellers on this site are all from China and only from China. The platform is committed to tapping business opportunities for Chinese suppliers and overseas buyers. In order to reduce trade risks for global buyers, all premium suppliers are being audited by the 3rd inspection parties like SGS, Bureau Veritas, and TUV, there are more manufacturing factories instead of trading companies.

3. Global Sources

The Global Sources company was established more than 50 years in Hong Kong and launched its B2B online platform in 1995, before the internet is used widely, the company has multiple channels to connect buyers and sellers through trade shows, business magazines, and till now business exhibitions are still an important addition to the platform.

3.1 Reliability

The company has a history as long as 50 years, with the mission of connecting authentic buyers and suppliers worldwide, with tailored solutions and reliable market intelligence, it becomes one of the world-leading B2B marketplaces. In 2000, the company was successfully listed on Nasdaq and a lot of exhibitions were held every year during its development. And in 2011, the Verified Buyer system was introduced as a standard for the B2B industry.

3.2 Features

Compared to other B2B platforms, Global Sources is rich in channels for providing connections for international business trade. The trade show is one of their important business as an addition to the digital platform, sellers and buyers can do business face to face. Besides, they also publish commercial magazines. We can not make an order directly on this site, which belongs to the earliest type of B2B platform, only for information display.

3.3 Suppliers

Most sellers are from China, but we can also see suppliers from India, South Korea, and Vietnam. Vendors need to pay a membership to be a verified supplier or a verified manufacturer. There is also an O2O badge which indicates the supplier is also an exhibitor at Globalsources trade shows.

4. 1688

1688 was founded in 1999, almost at the same time as Alibaba.com, it is the Chinese domestic wholesale marketplace, which is the counterpart of Alibaba.com, we can visit it by another domain alibaba.com.cn, so it is clear it’s a Chinese website, both Alibaba and 1688 belong to Ali Group. In order to avoid confusion among users, the company adopts 1688.com as its primary domain, it is the most important B2B wholesale platform and has the most influence in this area.

4.1 Reliability

It appears that very few buyers outside China know this platform, but almost every businessman knows it if he sources online. Launched at the same time as Alibaba, the company gains 100M registered members as early as 2013, the data shows more than half of the buyers come from Taobao sellers, which means Taobao owners purchase wholesale from 1688 and do retail on Taobao. The Ali Group has built a complete supply chain from sourcing to selling, from wholesale to retail. All transactions are protected by the Buyers Guarantee service, all deals can be completed online and the orders could be tracked with tracking numbers.

4.2 Features

The platform is only for China domestic wholesale businesses, foreigners will find it is really hard to use it, not only the language issue but also the characteristics of the platform positioning, very few sellers know how to deal with international trade. Ali Group also encourages buyers outside China to use Alibaba.com instead of 1688, they set barriers at the very beginning to register an account. But after all, it’s a great and amazing platform, it covers almost every category from daily use commodities to industrial equipments and chemicals, we can buy on a small MOQ and at a competitive price, and they support drop shipping for Taobao sellers who distribute products.

4.3 Suppliers

All sellers on 1688 are from China because it’s exclusive for domestic wholesale business. Suppliers are required to pay for the membership so that they can open the store for business, they must be corporate entities rather than individuals. We can check sellers’ information in the store under their name cards, including company name, 30 days trade badge, audit reports, etc, if the seller is a factory, we can also find a factory introduction page, the man in charge of the factory may take a video of his factory to show us everything.

We talked about four B2B wholesale marketplaces platforms from China in this article, each one has its own features, and we can choose 1 to use which suits our business type and grow our business.

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