Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: Which Is Best for Dropshipping in 2022?

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alibaba vs. aliexpress

Alibaba and AliExpress are both online marketplaces, and the two platforms are sister companies run by the same owner Alibaba Group.

The main difference between Alibaba Vs. AliExpress is that Alibaba is dedicated to B2B transactions, while AliExpress mainly serves B2C.

In other words, Alibaba sells to businesses, while AliExpress sells to consumers.

Which is the best choice for dropshipping, Alibaba vs. AliExpress?

How can they help your dropshipping business?

In this article, we’ll compare Alibaba Vs. AliExpress gives beginners a better idea of which platform suits their dropshipping needs.

What Is Alibaba?

Alibaba is owned by Alibaba Group (Alibaba Group is a large Chinese multinational company focused on e-commerce and is one of the largest Internet companies in the world).

Alibaba is an online wholesale marketplace for buying products and is arguably the world’s largest e-commerce site! has 40 different product categories and hundreds of millions of products. Product categories include apparel, electronics, food, and industrial tools.

Here, you can buy goods in large quantities at low prices.


Alibaba Group’s e-commerce platforms fulfill the needs of both Chinese and global consumers. Still, most transactions are conducted domestically on sites such as Taobao, 1688, etc. connects Chinese suppliers with buyers worldwide, offering lower prices and requiring minimum order quantities. So, Alibaba has a high global profile.

You may learn more on our blog for Alibaba for details below:
Is Legit? How to Buy from Alibaba?

What Is AliExpress?

AliExpress is a retail e-commerce giant based in China, but it has turned to business-to-consumer (B2C) activities over time.

AliExpress is Alibaba’s online consumer marketplace for international buyers (while Taobao is for domestic China). It allows small businesses in China to sell products to customers around the world.

Technically, AliExpress operates similarly to other remarkable peers such as Amazon or its parent company Alibaba.

Just like Amazon, you can find almost anything there. But unlike Amazon, all sellers on AliExpress are third parties.


AliExpress doesn’t sell anything by itself, which just provides the marketplace. It means your experience can vary greatly from different sellers.

AliExpress displays products from a variety of suppliers around the world, and it ranks among the top blue-chip brands in the world.

In addition, AliExpress doesn’t allow mainland Chinese consumers to purchase products from the platform and doesn’t allow non-Chinese individuals and companies to open stores.

You may learn more on our blog for AliExpress for details below:
What is Is AliExpress Safe?

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: What Are the Differences?

Alibaba and AliExpress are very similar but have two different purposes.

Alibaba is a B2B platform for business transactions, while AliExpress is a B2C platform that facilitates transactions between companies and consumers.

Difference 1. Alibaba can offer lower prices and requires minimum order quantities. This is not the case with AliExpress, which still offers relatively low prices but no minimum order quantity. As a marketplace for consumer purchases, AliExpress is similar to Amazon.

Difference 2. On Alibaba, you can get customized products with your brand label, but this is not possible on AliExpress, because they only sell finished products and cannot do customization.

Difference 3. On Alibaba, most sellers are factories or manufacturers, while most AliExpress sellers are retailers. This also leads to the difference in price.

Difference 4. The price mentioned on AliExpress is fixed. However, you can negotiate a suitable price for your order on Alibaba.

alibaba vs. aliexpress what difference

Difference 5. On Alibaba, sellers, and buyers can decide the shipping method to use, mainly because of the large number of goods. On the other hand, AliExpress goods are shipped by air in most cases.

Difference 6. Alibaba provides more knowledge for the buyer, reducing quality problems, while AliExpress customers get what the supplier offers, so the quality risk is higher.

Difference 7. Alibaba charges a membership fee to suppliers, while AliExpress demands a percentage of commission from sales.

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: Pricing

If you want to buy at a lower price, Alibaba is the place to be. The best part is that the Alibaba products’ prices are negotiable and competitive.

Moreover, you can get multiple offers from different suppliers and choose the products that fit your budget.

Alibaba is more like a wholesaler’s practice, offering discounts for bulk purchases. Alibaba’s manufacturers produce many kinds of products, and most are cheaper bulk items.

The marketplace is intended to be an online B2B platform for manufacturers or trading companies, but many dropshippers use it regularly because of its lower pricing.

alibaba vs. aliexpress which is cheaper

However, AliExpress is not as cheap as Alibaba. Many people think of AliExpress as a wholesaler, but it is a retail site. Therefore, the price paid at AliExpress is the end-consumer price, not the wholesale price.

AliExpress pricing is slightly higher, and anyone can place an order directly through the site. You don’t need to contact the supplier directly and negotiate a quote.

While AliEpress’ cost per item is higher, buyers can place smaller orders and often get free shipping.

Alibaba has no fixed prices because they depend on the number of products requested, the technical characteristics required, and production and shipping time.

On the other hand, with AliExpress, you will have fixed prices for products, usually higher than on Alibaba, because they are not B2B business.

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)

Minimum order quantity is one of the most important things you should consider when choosing a supplier because it is closely tied to price, making it a doubly important consideration.

Alibaba is for manufacturers and resellers, which is for business-to-business trade in short.

Alibaba’s manufacturers or resellers set a minimum order quantity or MOQ, so you must order a specific number of products, not just one.

Many of Alibaba’s suppliers only produce your products after placing an order, posing minimal risk. Usually, the smaller the item and the lower the price, the higher the MOQ.

alibaba vs. aliexpress moq

On the other hand, AliExpress does not use MOQ and no MOQ limit.

Because it is an online retail platform designed to sell consumer goods, they mark up their products to cover the risk of manufacturing the product before selling, warehousing excess product, and the higher shipping costs associated with larger orders.

AliExpress suppliers don’t create white or private label products to your specifications. They just ship products that already exist. So, you can buy single items on AliExpress.

In general, Alibaba products have relatively high minimum order quantities, making them suitable only for wholesale and not for personal use.

If you don’t want to order in bulk, AliExpress should be your choice, but if you’re a business wanting wholesale orders, you’ll want to use Alibaba.

You may learn more on our blog for MOQ for details below:
MOQ Meaning: What is MOQ? The Only Guide You Need

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: Delivery Time

On Alibaba, most orders are produced or customized, significantly delaying order preparation and production time.

Usually, the production time for Alibaba is about 15-45 days, and you need to add more time for shipping.

The long wait is because you are making a bulk order that takes time, and some orders are custom-made. It will take more time to finalize the order for production.

On the other hand, AliExpress usually ships items that are already produced and ready to ship immediately.

Therefore, you only need to calculate the time it takes to get from China to your location, which generally is 7-25days.

In short, if you are looking for an online retailer with a fast turnaround time, you should look at AliExpress.

Because their products are ready for shipment, there is no production time. While Alibaba promises greater product customization, but at the cost of extended delivery times.

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: Shipping Cost

The ePacket service from AliExpress offers free shipping through “Alibaba Shipping” for customers who ship from AliExpress.

Also, you will find a range of shipping costs for AliExpress sellers, and many sellers offer free shipping.

alibaba vs. aliexpress shipping cost

However, you should know that free or standard shipping from China can take several weeks to arrive. Expedited shipping is faster but requires an extra fee.

Epacket is a shipping method offered by AliExpress that is trackable, quicker, and more reliable than regular airmail from China.

Usually, you will find it more expensive to ship from Alibaba than AliExpress because you have to send more wholesale products from China.

Depending on the weight volume of the products and how fast you need them to reach their destination, you can choose between shipping by sea or air.

You may learn more on our blog for Alibaba shipping costs for details below:
Complete Guide: 10 Ways to Save Alibaba Shipping Costs

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: Buyer Protection

If you know anything about Alibaba, you must have heard about Alibaba Trade Assurance. Everyone is telling you that it is safe for you to trade through Alibaba Trade Assurance.

What is Alibaba Trade Assurance?

Alibaba Trade Assurance is a way to protect buyers. For those of you interested in Trade Assurance, it works by providing insurance for your Alibaba payments.

Trade Assurance gives you peace of mind that your purchase is protected. It’s free, and you don’t need any premium plan to use it as a buyer.

You may learn more on our blog for Alibaba trade assurance for details below:
Complete Guide: How to Use Alibaba Trade Assurance?

How does Alibaba Trade Assurance protect buyers?

If there is a problem with an order protected by Trade Assurance, Alibaba will assist you in reaching a satisfactory resolution.

This may mean reimbursing some or all of your fees or reaching an alternative agreement with your supplier.

alibaba trade assurance

It provides protection exclusively in the following cases:

  • Your products are not shipped promptly by the contract with your supplier.
  • Your products do not meet the quality standards outlined in the contract with your supplier.

In addition, there is no “refund” or “return” mechanism when sending money directly to the supplier’s bank account. Alibaba bridges this gap by acting as a middleman between the buyer and the seller.

Is it safe to buy from AliExpress?

Many cheap white-label products on AliExpress are unavailable in offline stores, and you must be on your own.

You will often decide based solely on the description and a few photos. Therefore, the site must have a strong buyer protection policy.

AliExpress buyer protection gives you two guarantees:

  • You’ll get a refund if the package doesn’t arrive within a specific time frame.
  • If the item is not as described (broken, damaged, or not as described in the product listing), you will get a refund.

AliExpress buyer protection begins when you pay for your order. The protection period will be displayed as a countdown on the “My Orders” page.

Once you have confirmed receipt of your order, you will have 15 days to request a refund.

How to extend AliExpress protection period?

Just click on “Request to extend Purchase Protection” and fill in the days you want to extend the period. Please enter at least 14 days, but it can be more.

Then click on “Confirm”. Now the request for extension is sent to the seller. The seller should extend the new purchase protection within 48 hours.

In short, nothing is more irritating than getting a product different from the one you purchased.

Or even worse, buying a poor quality product and getting it later than expected. Luckily, both Alibaba and Aliexpress offer buyer protection to prevent this.

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: Customer Service

Customer service should be at the forefront of your decision on which marketplace to work with. How good is the customer service of Alibaba and Aliexpress? Let us keep on reading.

What is Alibaba Customer Care Support?

As a company that generates most of its sales from online buyers, there is no doubt that Alibaba provides excellent customer service.

Whether you are an investor looking for leads, an eager customer, or a supplier on the lookout, Alibaba offers a huge database to help you.

What is Alibaba New User Guide?

alibaba new user guide

If you are new to the site, Alibaba will share an exciting introduction to its platform and introduce you to its free Trade Assurance service.

Alibaba New User Guide walks visitors through the ordering process, product inspection services, and payment options.

Each section has detailed steps and pictures to help users place an order, track it, and receive it promptly.

What does AliExpress Customer Service include?

1. Account Information

If you wish to learn more about your account, such as updating the tracking number of your purchases, etc., you can access this service through the AliExpress customer complaints department.

2. Shipped Order Information

You can access this service if you want to know about shipped orders, orders not received, etc.

And if you also want to check the status of any order refunds or returns, then their customer service staff will help you with these issues.

3. Payment inquiries

If you are having trouble with your payment method and are concerned about each option’s pros and cons, AliExpress customer complaints department will help you sort it out.

How to contact AliExpress Customer Service?

Contacting AliExpress is easy if you follow the instructions below. Before getting them, you must have an AliExpress account. To create one, click here to register.

To get started, visit and log in to your account.

Next, scroll down and click on “Customer Service”.

aliexpress customer service

Next, click on the “Chat Now” button.

aliexpress customer service chat now

A new window will open where you can chat with an AliExpress customer service representative.

From this window, you can chat in real-time, send pictures and resolve all your complaints through this service option.

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: Dropshipping

AliExpress and Alibaba are two big online marketplaces of the Chinese holding company Alibaba Group. Both marketplaces save you time in finding reputable suppliers and products. 

But which platform is best for dropshipping in 2022? Keep on Reading for our debate on Alibaba Vs. AliExpress, you will find out which platform is most useful for dropshipping.

When should I use Alibaba Dropshipping?

If you want to buy products in bulk at a lower price, Alibaba is an excellent place to do so.

When should I use AliExpress Dropshipping?

AliExpress is a good choice if you want to buy in small quantities. Or when you want to buy a product for testing before buying in bulk.

In short, both platforms have many tools and features that make selling a seamless experience.

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: Which site should I use for dropshipping?

alibaba vs. aliexpress which is best for dropshipping

Alibaba and AliExpress are both excellent choices for dropshipping. Deciding which one to choose depends on how well you know dropshipping.

For beginners, AliExpress is a better choice. The reason is that you don’t need to buy in bulk on AliExpress. In addition, AliExpress has many marketing tools specifically designed for dropshipping.

For veteran dropshippers, Alibaba is a more viable option because the prices are lower there. However, the problem is that the dropshipping features on Alibaba are limited.

Therefore, you are better off sticking with AliExpress for your dropshipping.

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: FAQ

1. Is it safe to buy from Alibaba?

Yes, it is safe to buy from Alibaba.

Like eBay or Amazon Marketplace, there will always be sellers who don’t offer what they claim, but you can take precautions to help ensure you buy from a reputable supplier.

2. Can I use Alibaba for my dropshipping business?

Yes, you can use Alibaba to make a dropshipping purchase. Many dropshipping suppliers are using the platform. However, Alibaba’s primary purpose is B2B wholesale purchasing.

For this reason, AliExpress is often a better platform for dropshippers to source products. AliExpress focuses on B2C orders and has millions of products to choose from.

You may learn more on our blog for Alibaba dropshipping for details below:
Alibaba Dropshipping: How to Dropship from Alibaba? Complete Guide 2022

3. Is Alibaba the same as AliExpress?

Not really. Although the two platforms belong to the same parent company, they are different in many ways.

The most obvious difference is that Alibaba is more suitable for wholesale purchases, while AliExpress is suitable for consumers.

4. Which site is cheaper, Alibaba or AliExpress?

Because it sells through a wholesale model, Alibaba is usually cheaper per item than AliExpress but needs to be purchased in bulk.

In contrast, AliExpress allows you to order any quantity of items, making the price higher but better for dropshipping.

5. Are all AliExpress products from China?

Most of the products sold on AliExpress are from Chinese suppliers, and some come from other countries, such as India.

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: Conclusion

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress are two great e-commerce platforms on which you can buy or sell products. However, they are different in many ways; hopefully, you have seen those differences by now.

On both e-commerce sites, the legitimacy of the suppliers is not guaranteed. So, there is always a risk! Buyers should do thorough research before getting in touch with either as a security for their business. 

To avoid any trouble, you can hire a reliable dropshipping agent and let them help you on Alibaba Vs. AliExpress, such as Yansourcing!

I am Yan, the founder of Yansourcing, the best dropshipping agent in China, who can quickly and safely help you buy and import from China. If you have any questions about importing from China, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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