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Mesto Yiwu, Zhejiang

The Difference Between 1688 and Alibaba

In the vast e-commerce field, more and more people are pursuing high-quality, durable and affordable goods. Among the products that meet these conditions, products on the Chinese platform are the choice of many people. China has a dynamic and complex market.

Two platforms often mentioned in discussions about Chinese e-commerce are 1688 and Alibaba. There are many people shopping wholesale on these two platforms, and they can find high-quality and cheap products.

Are you also looking for a website where you can buy quality cheap products? Are you undecided between these two platforms? Don’t worry, keep reading this article and we’ll bring you a clearer choice.

What is 1688 and Alibaba?, part of Alibaba Group, is a B2B (business-to-business) platform mainly for wholesale transactions. It is more inclined to be a platform tailored for Chinese domestic enterprises.

In contrast,, also part of Alibaba Group, is a more globally oriented platform that caters to both B2B and B2C (business-to-consumer) transactions. It offers a host of services beyond wholesale transactions, including dropshipping, e-commerce storefronts, and digital marketing solutions. Its user-friendly interface and multi-language support enable businesses from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds to use it, thereby facilitating international trade and cross-border transactions.

Main Difference


  • Mainly facing the Chinese domestic market and buyers, focusing on wholesale transactions.
  • Communicate directly with the manufacturer and you will get a lower purchase price for the product.
  • Websites and most manufacturers only support Chinese communication
  • There are more, better, and rarer products, and the products are richer for Alibaba. Some Alibaba sellers also source products from 1688.


  • Mainly engaged in international trade, shipping and working in more than 200 countries and regions around the world
  • The product range is diverse and you can buy many product types on this website.
  • Easy to use, providing multiple language support to meet the trade needs of enterprises in different countries
  • Supports multiple payment methods, including bank cards, PayPal or Alipay




Target market

Mainly China


Language interface

Mainly Chinese


Trade Focus

China Domestic Trade

Global International Trade

Product range

Emphasis on procurement within China

Diverse varieties to meet global demand


Lower prices often available

Prices may vary by supplier

Payment methods


Various international methods


Mainly B2B B2B



Chinese proficiency may be required

Easier for international users

Order quantity

Small orders are more flexible

Larger MOQ


Domestic Logistics

International Shipping

What are the disadvantages of each platform?

One major disadvantage of 1688 is that it is in Chinese, which makes using 1688 difficult for foreigners.

The disadvantage of Alibaba is that compared to 1688, its products are clearly priced higher and the minimum order quantity will be higher, which is very unfriendly to some companies that are just starting out. Alibaba’s shipping time is long and product quality is not as good as 1688’s.

Which website is better is a powerful platform for domestic wholesale transactions in China, while Alibaba provides a more globally oriented platform to facilitate international trade and cross-border transactions. While both platforms offer low prices and a wide variety of goods, they have different target markets and seller pools as well as different features.

If you are looking for lower prices or lower order quantities, it is more cost-effective to use the 1688 platform. How to solve the language barrier? The best way is to find a reliable purchasing agent who can help you throughout the entire purchasing process.

GoodCan can provide you with many services.

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