You want to source your products from China and are looking for the right producer and came across Alibaba? In general, Alibaba is a good place to get an overview of producers in China. However, caution is also required on Alibaba! Find out why in this fact check about Alibaba.

10 facts you should know about Alibaba

Alibaba Group

1. What is Alibaba?

Alibaba is a Chinese trading platform, similar to Ebay for example. Alibaba has been around since 1999 and it is managed in Hangzhou. On Alibaba Chinese companies, producers and agents offer different goods for sale. The target audience is mainly European companies and wholesalers.

2. Who offers goods on Alibaba?

Theoretically, anyone can offer their goods on Alibaba, because the sellers are not verified. Many merchants on Alibaba are so-called agents, who cooperate with different producers.

3. What products are available for purchase on Alibaba?

You can buy just about anything on Alibaba – textiles, electronics, machinery, tools, packaging, etc.

4. Is Alibaba also suitable for private people?

Alibaba is for businesses, for individuals there are other similar platforms such as AliExpress. With most merchants on Alibaba, you can only buy goods in larger quantities.

5. Why do some Chinese companies avoid Alibaba?

Some big companies don’t want to be associated with Alibaba because they are afraid it will put them in a bad light, and they don’t want to earn their big customers.

6. Why are prices on Alibaba often higher or much lower than usual?

While many merchants on Alibaba state that they produce themselves, it is often the case that they are actually sub-merchants or agents. This means that they do not produce the products themselves, but buy them from other producers. This can make the goods significantly cheaper or more expensive, depending on which products they buy from the producers. Because often they buy up the sorted out B-goods and thereby arise very low prices. However, if they buy high-quality goods, it becomes more expensive, because a middleman comes more into play.

7. How can I complain about defective goods at Alibaba?

As a buyer on Alibaba, you have virtually no legal certainty, which means that even with very clear complaints, it is very difficult to get justice. For larger orders, it may be worthwhile to call in a lawyer. For smaller orders it is usually not worth it, because it is too expensive to translate all documents into Chinese and because no consulates are involved.

8. How can I check my goods when buying from Alibaba?

There is no control of the goods by you directly or by an external supplier and this usually does not happen.

9. Are there also serious merchants at Alibaba?

Yes, there are definitely reputable merchants on Alibaba. In our opinion, however, it is very difficult to distinguish these serious from the many dubious merchants.

Working with Kaiserberg

10. How do I pay for a purchase on Alibaba?

Since the purchase is not completed directly through Alibaba, but only between the merchant and you, the payment method depends entirely on the particular merchant. The individual merchants offer different methods. It is important to note not to pay the entire amount upfront, as it is a good way to exert some pressure in case of delivery problems or other issues.

Many of the possible problems that can occur when buying over, you can avoid by working with a Sourcing Agencies like we are. This is because we take care of quality control on site so that complaints don’t happen in the first place. However, if there are any problems, we will help you to claim your goods. Since the delivery goes through us, there are also fewer problems with delivery problems or delays.

Are you interested in a cooperation or do you have further questions? Feel free to send us a non-binding request via our contact form.