Best Sites Like Alibaba: 15 Global Alternatives
One of the most important parts of running an eCommerce store is finding a good supplier. You need a partner you can count on to consistently deliver quality products in a timely manner. Otherwise, your business will suffer.
Most eCommerce sellers turn to Alibaba to find suppliers, and while this is a good strategy it’s not the only place you can look. There are other similar sites out there that have many manufacturers to choose from.
In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of Alibaba and how to use them to find suppliers. We’ll also explore why you might want to look at other sites and go over the best Alibaba alternatives.
Table of contents
Why Buy from B2B Marketplaces in China?
Before we go over all your options, it’s important to understand why it’s a good idea to get your products from sites like Alibaba.
These marketplaces have thousands of suppliers. This allows you to look in one place instead of visiting multiple websites, making it easier to find the best manufacturer in the least amount of time.
There are also several benefits to buying from Chinese companies:
Wages are lower and materials are cheap, meaning you’ll pay less for your items.
Chinese manufacturers are experienced at delivering large amounts of products in a short amount of time.
Despite many negative stereotypes, the quality of Chinese products is very high for the most part.
For these reasons, most sellers choose to buy from China instead of other countries like India or the USA.
About Alibaba and Why You Should Look at Alternatives
Alibaba has the largest collection of manufacturers and suppliers in the world, which is why the vast majority of sellers use them to source their products.
Of course, like any service they aren’t perfect. They’ve had some issues with shady suppliers. But for the most part, they’re still the preferred B2B marketplace for eCommerce businesses.
So why should you look for Alibaba alternatives? Simply put, the more sites you look at the better chance you have of finding the best supplier. If you limit yourself to just Alibaba you may miss out on an awesome manufacturer that’s located elsewhere.
Here are a few more reasons to look at other marketplaces:
You might find a better price on another site.
You’ll have a wider range of products to choose from.
You might be able to negotiate better terms somewhere else.
You might find better delivery and shipping terms.
Some marketplaces may have higher quality products.
Because of all this, it doesn’t hurt to look at other websites similar to Alibaba.
How to Find the Best Products to Order from Chinese Marketplaces
Before you start looking for suppliers you need to figure out what you’re going to sell. If you haven’t found a product yet don’t worry. Here are a few things to looks for to help you find a winner:
High-Profit Margins: This refers to the amount of money left over from each sale after all your expenses. Look for items that have a 30% profit margin or greater.
Small and Light: Shipping costs and Amazon FBA fees are based on size and weight. So, products that are small and light are generally cheaper to sell.
High Demand: Choose an item that people want to buy. It doesn’t need to be the most popular product, but it does need to have a sizable customer base. 300 monthly sales or more usually indicates strong demand.
Few Competitors: Sell an item that not many other people are offering. The fewer sellers there are to compete against the faster you’ll be able to grow your business.
Finding the Best Alibaba Product Ideas Using the AMZScout Product Database
This may all sound complicated, but luckily there’s a tool that makes finding this data super easy. The AMZScout Product Database simplifies the research process. To find out how to use it properly, you can follow these instructions:
1. Go to the AMZScout Product Database. You can get this tool along with an additional set of tools with the AMZScout Seller's Bundle.
2. Start your research.
3. Set product criteria. You can use the search filters to define your item's criteria. For example, you might want to filter by the number of sales if you want high-demand products. Don’t know where to start? Use the Product Selections features for ready-made search solutions.
4. Get your results. Click Find Products to load search results.
5. Choose ideas worth checking with the AMZScout PRO Extension.
Checking Profitable, Low Competition Targets With the AMZScout PRO Extension
Not every high-demand product is suitable; you also need to check that it is profitable and not competitive. To do that and simplify the review process, you can use the AMZScout PRO Extension:
1. Log in to your AMZScout seller dashboard.
2. Install the AMZScout PRO Extension.
3. Search for a niche. It can be:
Niches or categories you have an interest in.
Trending Amazon products.
Products found with the AMZScout Product Database (see above).
4. Analyze a niche. Click the AMZScout icon in the bottom-left corner of your browser to get all sorts of valuable insights, including:
A profit calculator to determine your sales margins.
Monthly sales numbers to help you estimate demand.
Price trends so you can see how a product has performed over time.
A visibility score to measure competition levels.
With access to all the data you need, you’ll consistently choose products that generate a healthy profit for your business.
The Best Sites Like Alibaba
Here are our picks for the 14 best Alibaba alternatives:
1. AliExpress (aliexpress.com)
AliExpress is owned by Alibaba and is their B2C (business to consumer) site. However, many sellers still use this marketplace to source products for their businesses.
While the price per item is generally higher than on Alibaba, the big advantage with AliExpress is that there are no minimum order quantities. This means you can buy just a few or even one product at a time, making it perfect for new sellers who aren’t ready to invest in a lot of inventory.
2. 1688 (1688.com)
1688 is also owned by Alibaba. It offers a wide range of products, but it’s mostly focused on beauty and fashion. So, if you’re selling in one of those niches this might be a good site to check out.
The one downside of 1688 is that all the information is in Chinese. This is because it’s geared towards Chinese buyers, whereas Alibaba is aimed at international buyers. Google can translate the site for you, but the process isn’t perfect and you may have difficulty understanding some of the product descriptions.
3. DHgate (dhgate.com)
DHgate might be the closest equivalent to Alibaba. They cater to both businesses and consumers and have a massive selection of products, from health and beauty to electronics and sports equipment.
One thing that sets DHgate apart is its Digital Trend Centers (DTCs). These are physical stores located in various countries to allow buyers to inspect products in person. You can find DTCs in the US, Australia, Europe, and more.
4. eWorldTrade (eworldtrade.com)
eWorldTrade is an inclusive B2B platform offering a humongous range of products. The platform’s capability in catering to an international audience has created advantages for sellers and businesses. So, sellers from around the world working under different niches can join eWorldTrade.
One of the incredible features of eWorldTrade is its dropshipping service, which has created a seamless trading process and does not hold an inventory. This also makes it easier for sellers especially if they have entered into the business. Moreover, the platform also has set multiple packages that cater to small and medium-sized businesses. Lastly, the platform also entertains its users with a directory.
5. Chinabrands (chinabrands.com)
Chinabrands is a dropshipping platform that connects eCommerce sellers with Chinese suppliers.
The company also sells wholesale products, but they’re mainly focused on their dropshipping services, which allow you to forward your orders to a supplier who fulfills the orders for you. The benefit of this strategy is you don’t need to buy and hold your inventory in advance.
6. TradeIndia (tradeindia.com)
TradeIndia is a similar B2B platform to the others on this list, except it’s based in India instead of China. Buying from India offers many of the same benefits, so it’s definitely worth checking them out to see what they have to offer.
One useful feature is their business loans, which they’re able to offer right through their site. Their DialB2B service also makes it easy to connect with suppliers.
7. Global Sources (globalsources.com)
Global Sources is an online marketplace based in Hong Kong. According to the company, they serve 95 of the world’s 100 top retailers.
Keep in mind that Global Sources is geared towards larger businesses, so their minimum order quantity may be higher. Also, not all of their products include pricing, which can make it difficult to find items that fit your budget.
8. Made-in-China (made-in-china.com)
Made-in-China boasts over 3600 product categories, 6.1 million suppliers, and serves buyers in 11 languages. So, it’s safe to say that no matter what you’re looking for and where you’re from you’ll find what you need.
They also host a number of trade shows every year, so if you’re up for traveling and want to meet some suppliers in person this could be a great opportunity for you.
9. Taobao (world.taobao.com)
Taobao is another marketplace that’s owned and operated by Alibaba. Unlike other sites on this list, it focuses on consumer-to-consumer (C2C) sales. Many consider Taobao to be the Chinese version of eBay.
This website has a lot of unique sellers that you won’t find on other marketplaces. However, it’s not always the best place to source products from. Because you’re dealing with smaller retailers it may be difficult to order large quantities, and the per-item prices will generally be higher.
10. JD (global.jd.com or joybuy.com)
JD is one of the most popular B2C sellers in China. While a large portion of their site is targeted to consumers, they have a wholesale zone for businesses. Here you’ll be able to buy in bulk and get better per-item pricing.
The primary JD site is in Chinese, but if you go to their global site you can browse in English. Their product selection and supplier list are also very impressive.
11. Hong Kong Trade Development Council - HKTDC (hktdc.com)
The HKTDC was established back in 1966 to help create trade opportunities for Hong Kong businesses. Their website also includes a section where you can source products from Hong Kong suppliers.
To help buyers, they offer a number of resources that provide information about sourcing items from China. Because of this, it’s a great website for new sellers.
12. EC21 (ec21.com)
EC21 sells a wide variety of industrial goods, including agriculture equipment, electrical supplies, and hardware. While they also carry some consumer items, this marketplace isn’t the best place to go if you’re looking for the latest toys and games.
That being said, there’s definitely demand for their products, and some of these items are hard to find elsewhere. So, if you’re in an industrial niche this could be the site for you.
13. LightInTheBox (lightinthebox.com)
LightInTheBox offers products in all the most popular categories, including fashion, beauty, toys, and electronics. However, the number of products they carry is less than some other marketplaces, so keep that in mind.
Still, their site is easy to navigate and they provide lots of useful information on all their items, which makes shopping a lot easier.
14. Gearbest (gearbest.com)
Gearbest focuses mostly on gadgets, technology, and electronics. So, if you’re looking for apparel or beauty items this isn’t the place for you. But if you’re searching for the latest popular gadget you’ll likely find it here.
One great thing about Gearbest is their comprehensive quality control process. Every item on the site is thoroughly tested so you know what you’re buying is high quality.
15. SHEIN (shein.com)
SHEIN sells products in a variety of categories, but the vast majority of their items are in the women’s apparel category. They have a massive selection of clothes, so if that’s what you’re searching for this is definitely a marketplace to look at.
Unlike other entries on this list, SHEIN has locations all over the world. They also have sites for specific markets, including the US, Canada, and Australia. This makes shopping and ordering much easier.
How to Find the Best Suppliers on Alibaba
If you do decide to use Alibaba to look for a supplier there’s a simple way to find the best companies to partner with.
1. Click here to get the AMZScout PRO Extension.
2. After installation, Amazon.com will open automatically. Click the log in link if you already have an account.
3. Search for a product. It can be:
Areas of interest or passion you want to explore
Trending products (typically in the movers & shakers category)
Good products in non-Amazon marketplaces.
4. Find a supplier.
Once you find a product you’re interested in selling, click the AMZScout icon (located in the bottom-left-hand corner) to open the extension.
Select the Local and global suppliers on Alibaba button within the tool. You’ll then be able to sort suppliers by country, price, and minimum order quantity. You can also choose to only display companies that support the trade assurance program and have been verified. This makes it easy to narrow your search to the very best suppliers.
Alibaba makes it incredibly easy to find suppliers, and it becomes an effective toolset when combined with AMZScout’s PRO Extension. To shorten your research process from months into days, the PRO Extension can help make that a reality.
As you can see, there are a lot of Chinese marketplaces to choose from. Alibaba is still the most popular, but make sure to check out a few others when looking for a supplier. Who knows, you may find your ideal partner on another site.