Alibaba And AliExpress: Which Ecommerce Is More Profitable Choose?

The two sites that dropshippers are most interested in when it comes to ecommerce or dropshipping are Alibaba and Aliexpress. These markets cater to distinct consumers with differing buying intentions. But there are undoubtedly some areas where the two overlap. We will compare Alibaba and AliExpress for you in this article. After reading through this thorough comparison, you can tell which platform is best for your dropshipping or ecommerce business. 


Alibaba Group was established in 1999 as an online B2B distributor and has ruled China’s ecommerce for the past 20 years without a doubt. It is a market that works best for companies importing lots of wholesale goods to resell online, offline, or to other companies.

The business’s tech empire encompasses cloud computing, local service, logistics, and financial services in addition to B2B, B2C, and C2C ecommerce. 


The online shopping behemoth bridges the gap between third-party vendors and consumers all around the world. It is an online retail store where customers buy products directly from suppliers and retailers. It offers somewhat higher costs but no minimum order requirements. 

AliExpress is the preferable option for small or startup enterprises who wish to sell things online without owning a warehouse because many merchants there specialize in dropshipping.

Also Read: Multivendor Marketplace: Why Consider Joining The Ocean Of Ecommerce

Market Stats of Alibaba and AliExpress 

Alibaba’s online shopping assets had 903 million yearly active users in the first quarter of 2022, up from 882 million in the previous quarter.

alibaba and aliexpress market stats

The number of visitors to the AliExpress website between December 2021 and May 2022 was over 2.7 billion, never falling below 390 million visits per month. With more than 455 million hits from all across the world in January 2022, the B2C e-commerce platform saw its highest total numbers.

aliexpress market statistics

What’s the difference between Alibaba and AliExpress?

The primary distinction between Alibaba and AliExpress is that each website was developed for a different kind of customer. Alibaba is specifically made for business-to-business exchanges. AliExpress, on the other hand, was developed to cater to individual clients. 

Although this China-based Alibaba Group controls both businesses, they serve very different functions. Alibaba is a well-known B2B e-commerce network that links companies all over the world with Chinese suppliers and manufacturers. Some retailers would rather not utilize AliExpress because it focuses exclusively on B2C sales. However, it might be helpful for new merchants who wish to launch enterprises using AliExpress dropshipping because of its important integrations. Here are some distinguishing points that set Alibaba and AliExpress apart:

  1. Customer Base 

Alibaba is designed for B2B exchanges. AliExpress, on the other hand, was developed to cater to individual clients. However, a lot of small firms, particularly dropshippers, also use AliExpress. 

  1. Personalization 

Alibaba is a superior option for online shops looking to buy private-label or customized products. You may quickly request modifications—like imprinting your brand name or emblem on products—at reasonable pricing because you always buy directly from manufacturers and distributors. On the other hand, AliExpress often only provides pre-made, non-customizable products because it is intended for consumers. 

  1. Costing 

The majority of suppliers on Alibaba offer wholesale prices because the platform was designed for business-to-business transactions; nevertheless, you might be required to provide identification to obtain these prices. Additionally, minimum order limitations are frequently present; the lowest is typically around 50 pieces. 

However, AliExpress might be more helpful for finding and testing products for new online shops or small ecommerce firms. Although the pricing on the marketplace is more expensive than those on Alibaba, vendors there do not impose minimum order conditions. 

  1. Transport 

The shipping practices used by Alibaba and AliExpress are a significant additional distinction. The latter frequently offers shipment with couriers and dropshipping, while the former typically offers to ship with couriers or freight. 

Small orders can be shipped by suppliers on Alibaba using courier services like ePacket, DHL, UPS, or FedEx. However, suppliers frequently pick ocean freight for large orders in order to save expenses. Shipping goods by courier from China to Singapore typically takes two days; shipping goods by ocean freight might take up to ten days. Be advised that most Alibaba vendors do not provide dropshipping services. 

Since AliExpress is a typical ecommerce website, its suppliers provide courier shipping. The platform is excellent for finding products for your AliExpress dropshipping store because many vendors also offer dropshipping services. 

  1. Usability 

Alibaba is not particularly user-friendly because it is made for business-to-business transactions. You should be alright if you have prior expertise with wholesale purchasing. The Alibaba-Shopify connection may be challenging for new merchants, and they may need to learn the correct questions to ask to get what they want. You might need to experiment with the platform to figure out how to use different features like payments and imports because the interface can be challenging. 

AliExpress has a far more user-friendly layout than other major ecommerce platforms because it caters to consumers. Customers just perform a search, put what they want in their basket, and go to the checkout. Because everything is done automatically and they do not need to speak to the supplier, it is much simpler to utilize. Because AliExpress offers so many direct integrations, e-commerce for retailers is simple. AliExpress is a well-liked platform for Singapore-based retailers and buyers because it is simple to set up shipping to Singapore. 

  1. Client Services

On Alibaba, you will deal directly with suppliers. For this reason, search for vendors who provide excellent customer service; you can do this by looking at ratings and reviews. The Alibaba ecommerce platform provides customer care on a bigger scale through help pages, forums, and live chat. For official complaints and disagreements, they also have good procedures. Live chat is the primary form of customer service provided by AliExpress, although customers may also submit complaints and ask for refunds directly from the website, bypassing vendors.

How to Choose Between Alibaba and AliExpress for Your Ecommerce Store? 

Alibaba and AliExpress

Here are some things to ponder about while choosing between Alibaba and AliExpress ecommerce platform: 

  • Pricing: AliExpress is preferable for new sellers who may want small orders but do not mind paying retail prices; Alibaba will suit retailers that need wholesale pricing and will place bulk orders. 
  • Experience in wholesale: If you have a lot of experience in wholesale, you can utilize Alibaba relatively quickly; if not, AliExpress can be simpler to use. 
  • Your retail journey: Established retailers may prefer Alibaba’sAlibaba’s B2B offerings, while new merchants may discover that AliExpress offers them more possibilities for beginning a new business. 
  • Dropshipping: If you operate a dropshipping business, AliExpress might be a better alternative for your needs since the Alibaba e-commerce platform typically excludes dropshipping from its list of supported services. 
  • Customization: AliExpress rarely allows for product modification. Therefore if you require customized goods for your company, you will need to use Alibaba. 
  • Programming knowledge: For an Alibaba-Shopify integration, you may require additional programming knowledge because it uses an API. However, AliExpress dropshipping for Shopify is simpler to integrate as it frequently uses applications.

How to Choose Between Alibaba and AliExpress for Your Dropshipping Business? 

Alibaba and AliExpress

You can import products to your website using the dropshipping providers that are offered on both Alibaba and AliExpress. Without any purchase restrictions, you can dropship any kind of product using AliExpress. However, Alibaba only allows users to purchase things in bulk. A few vendors do, however, provide products on Alibaba that are priced per piece. It is unfortunate that not all sellers offer this option. 

  • Pricing: Prices on AliExpress are reasonable. The cost of each commodity varies based on the provider. On Alibaba, you can haggle over the price of each product with the supplier, unlike AliExpress. Just begin the order procedure, and navigate to the “Negotiate with Supplier” area.
  • Product: AliExpress serves multiple markets. From a pencil to vehicle parts, practically anything is available for purchase. Each of these dropshipping items can have a different shipping cost because they are all from China or Hong Kong. Alibaba has almost 20 million items, from lorries to buses to bike mirrors. However, if we factor out the cost of shipping, it offers far lower pricing for dropshipping than AliExpress.
  • Ratings: The only dependable method to determine whether the vendor or supplier is trustworthy is the “rating” bar. People who have already made purchases from the merchant provide the ratings. The AliExpress team typically provides three rating levels, including Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Alibaba exclusively rates suppliers; it does not allow the rating of products. Alibaba evaluates products by gauging customer satisfaction with a supplier. The buyer must fill out a detailed questionnaire in order to rate any source. It examines the supplier’s website after gathering customer feedback. It assigns the supplier the grade of “old Supplier” after examining both requirements. Instead, suppliers who have a larger volume of transactions and a confirmed product line might receive the “Verified Supplier” rate.
  • Shipping: The fact that AliExpress provides an ePacket delivery option is one of the reasons why so many people favor it. On AliExpress, some vendors also provide free shipping. It is a fantastic technique to cut expenses for your dropshipping company. Your package cannot be tracked through Alibaba. You must ask the provider for all of these facts by contacting them using Alibaba’s “message” feature. Additionally, you should be aware that Alibaba shipping is not free; therefore, you must add it to the cost of each individual product you wish to purchase in order to determine the final cost. By selecting Ocean Shipping Quote from the list of product details, you can also acquire estimates for shipping costs for each item.
  • Payment Procedure: Last but not least, the fact that AliExpress accepts a variety of payment methods sets it apart from the competition. It accepts numerous payment methods, including Visa, Mastercard, WebMoney, American Express, and others. Several payment methods, including credit cards and Western Union, are available on Alibaba. Payment is, therefore, not a major concern for dropshippers who want to use Alibaba as their supplier.

Also Read: Best AliExpress Alternatives in 2023 for Dropshipping

To sum up, 

there is no right or wrong platform to select. It is easy to understand why. You are the sole person to know your ecommerce business and its needs. So, you can pick whichever store you like. We just desire to assist you in discovering a fresh AliExpress substitute, and you are now aware of that. Make a thoughtful choice to ensure that your consumers are satisfied with your service. In the end, you will have to provide them with higher quality products for a respectable margin if you want to keep clients.

FAQs about Alibaba and AliExpress

Which is less expensive between Alibaba and AliExpress? 

Because you can bargain wholesale pricing and purchase in bulk from manufacturers, individual product costs on Alibaba are typically lower. Even though you will be paying retail rates, AliExpress may end up being more affordable overall for beginning e-commerce businesses since you just need to purchase a small number of things at once. 

Are Alibaba and AliExpress trustworthy? 

Simply said, absolutely. Both sites often offer trustworthy sellers. Of course, there are occasionally frauds and scams as there are with any e-commerce business. Therefore, before making a purchase, you should always do your homework on the vendor and check reviews and ratings. Both websites additionally provide services to assist and guide customers, reducing the likelihood that you may run into major problems. 

Alibaba Wholesale: What is it? 

Although it is owned by the Alibaba Group, this e-commerce platform is completely distinct from Alibaba and AliExpress. Similar to Alibaba, Alibaba Wholesale provides wholesale goods and bulk purchasing, albeit the latter’slatter’s minimum order requirements are typically significantly lower. As a result, though it will still be less than on AliExpress, your pricing per product may be greater than on Alibaba. 

What is Trade Assurance from Alibaba? 

This is the exclusive buyer protection program of Alibaba because it guarantees that customers can request a refund for delayed orders. If the goods or services do not adhere to the order agreement, it promotes customer trust.

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