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Alibaba vs 1688.com: Pros and Cons


Alibaba alternatives: how to source high-quality products with 20% price reduction

When you think of sourcing from China, Alibaba is the first thing that comes to mind. Alibaba is very popular and accessible, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best option. Why not?

Let’s look at one of our recent cases. The goal was to find a garden accessories manufacturer matching the following requirements:

  • A garden gnome figure;
  • 500 units OEM as a test batch;
  • Private brand logo;
  • Minor design alterations;
  • Text in English on the packaging.

The best possible option on Alibaba after all the negotiations was $8.2 EXW. Further price reduction would imply higher volume, downgrade in quality or skipping any design alterations.

In this case it makes sense to check the local marketplaces, such as 1688.com. Local suppliers are usually willing to cater to smaller orders. It makes 500 MOQ a substantial volume for them and it is often possible to negotiate a price 20-25% lower than on Alibaba.

We found the required model on 1688.com. The price, including all the above mentioned alterations, was $6.18 per unit.  

The downsides
  1. These suppliers are oriented towards the domestic market, have a vague idea about customer service and do not speak English. It seriously complicates all the negotiations.
  2. Another thing is that a factory may be located in a remote area, so the production and transportation of your goods may take longer.

Apparently dealing with 1688.com and other local platforms is more complicated than just looking for suppliers on Alibaba, but it is possible to find much more appealing options there and cut unnecessary expenses.

Another important thing: Chinese mindset is based on completely different factors and unique language structure. Knowledge of these factors, as well as their moral values and traditional views is essential for long-term and fruitful business.

We can provide all the necessary assistance in this matter. Just contact us for a free consultation.

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