Is AliExpress Better Than Alibaba in 2024 ?(Detailed Answer)

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AliExpress and Alibaba are two of the biggest online marketplaces that are based in China. But like all the other online marketplaces, there are a number of differences between these two brands. For instance, while AliExpress runs on a B2C basis, Alibaba is an online platform that’s based on B2B exclusively.

So, if you are looking for a platform that allows businesses to make large products purchases straight from the manufacturers and at wholesale prices, then Alibaba would be a good spot for you, and if you are looking for a simpler, dropshipping online platform that offers smaller product quantities at very competitive retail prices and with no minimum order requirements, then choose AliExpress.


Brief introduction of AliExpress

AliExpress is one of the best online platforms or marketplaces for dropshipping. It offers a wide variety of shops that provide dropshipping services, which means that you could easily find and order a large variety of products from AliExpress, and all these products would be delivered to your customers. If you run a dropshipping business and offer multiple products in your dropshipping store, then AliExpress would be a great business partner for you.

AliExpress gives you really wide access to millions of products, including the trendiest products. You get to set your products’ retail prices, and you could also control the profit margins because you would be bound by the suggested product prices. The products sold on AliExpress can be shipped to your customers either from the warehouses in China or the US.


Brief introduction of Alibaba

If you are looking to build your dropshipping brand but with the option of keeping large product volumes or if you are looking for a platform that allows you to make wholesale purchases with ease, then Alibaba would be your go-to option. The reason for this is that Alibaba allows you to make bigger Minimum Order Requirements or MOQs, and your order will then be delivered to a single location where the products can be picked up from. So, if you are in the T-shirt business and would like to deliver, say, 500 pieces to a single customer or to a location, then Alibaba would be a good option for you.

That said, Alibaba is not the best option for you if you run a dropshipping business, especially when it comes to the number of products you can purchase, especially if you only deal with small product orders. This is because Alibaba’s large product order requirement is too large and unreasonable for single product orders.


What’s the difference between AliExpress and Alibaba?

When to use AliExpress or Alibaba?

AliExpress is one of the leading online marketplaces that allow buyers from the US and the rest of the world to make product purchasers from resellers and manufacturers. AliExpress is a great platform for dropshipping because the company doesn’t have any minimum order requirements, albeit at higher prices. Most of the sellers in AliExpress do, however, offer and allow for dropshipping, which is why AliExpress is a great option for dropshipping, as well as small businesses and startups that wish to sell their products online with no warehouses.


When to use Alibaba

You can use Alibaba for your business if you wish to make imports for large product quantities and wholesale products. Alibaba works well for people who wish to resell their products online or in-store but also wish for more affordable prices. Note, however, that Alibaba offers no options for dropshipping, which makes it a great option for growing, and also the established businesses.

So, what are the other differences between AliExpress and Alibaba?

  • Pricing

Although both these two online marketplaces make it easy for you to make purchases from leading third-party sellers, thanks to the great prices offered on these platforms and from online retail stores in the US, there are some great pricing differences between these two brands.

Alibaba offers a unique wholesale pricing model that is designed for businesses that deal in wholesale or retail businesses. So, if you are looking to resell your products, you can save on costs and make good profit margins from the business; Alibaba would be a great business option for you. Alibaba offers some of the lowest product prices, meaning you get an opportunity to make really good profit margins. What this means is that Alibaba offers the best business connections between buyers and manufacturers.

Note that Alibaba doesn’t charge any upfront fees or even membership fees for the products procured from the manufacturers. Once you’ve browsed through the site and you’ve identified the products you needed to purchase, you’d then reach out to the suppliers via email, or you could also chat them up for a quote. Note that Alibaba doesn’t offer a built-in shopping cart on their site.

AliExpress’s pricing, on the other hand, is higher than the pricing offered by Alibaba. AliExpress offers an excellent product variety from leading third-party sellers, just like Alibaba, but the main difference between these two is that you will always pay more to procure products from AliExpress than Alibaba. AliExpress allows you to place orders to manufacturers from their website, which means a safer transaction, and you won’t have to contact or negotiate prices with the sellers directly. The upside, however, is that you get to make smaller orders, and you’d also get free shipping for the orders.


  • Minimum Order Requirements

The other important difference between Alibaba and AliExpress has to do with their minimum order requirements or MOQ.

AliExpress is one of the best platforms that’s used by businesses for product sourcing, with the website running pretty much like a large retail store. As a result, there is no minimum order requirement for products sold on AliExpress, and anyone could make a purchase from the site.

With the absence of a minimum order requirement on all the products on the site, then AliExpress would be an excellent bet for you if you are interested in dropshipping. AliExpress also offers the option of making one-off product purchases, rather than the option of making large, wholesale/ massive product shipments. Sellers on AliExpress offer a drop shipping function, with the plugin for WordPress known as AliDropship allowing for easy addition of any WordPress site to the dropshipping products sold on AliExpress. AliExpress also allows for dropshipping with multiple third-party solutions, including the Oberlo app offered by Shopify.

Alibaba, on the other hand, offers a minimum order requirement, meaning you cannot order a single piece from Alibaba. In some cases, the MOQ is a specific dollar amount, but for the most part, the MOQ is a specific number of products that are ordered. The typical range for product MOQ by Alibaba is between 50 and 1000 pieces, which is often the case because of the super-low product prices on Alibaba. While you can purchase single items on AliExpress, you cannot do the same on Alibaba. This difference in MOQ is why Alibaba isn’t ideal for single orders or dropshipping.


  • Custom Product Orders and Private Labels

AliExpress doesn’t offer the best product branding or customization options, which is the case because ordering from AliExpress means ordering pre-made products, which aren’t easily customizable.

Alibaba, on the other hand, is a better option when it comes to sourcing customized products or private label products because it allows you to make purchases from the manufacturers directly. Since these manufacturers can create different products based on your specifications, Alibaba is a great option for you.


  • Lead Times

AliExpress allows you to make product purchases for products that are already pre-made, which means that you have shorter lead times when buying from AliExpress than from Alibaba. Most of the time, orders on AliExpress are processed and shipped right away, but the orders would take longer because the ordered products would have to be shipped from overseas. Shipping is also free.

Then there is Alibaba, whose lead times vary incredibly, depending on different factors such as the supplier, the size of the order, the product details, and customization needs. In most cases, orders placed with Alibaba would take 30 days in production from the payment date. That said, you need to keep in mind that it might take a bit of time for the guys at Alibaba to find the right supplier for you, receive product samples, quote negotiations, and finalization the order. And for the products being shipped overseas, these orders would take up to a few months for the orders to be completed. So, if you are making product orders on Alibaba, this whole process would take a few months.


  • Freight

AliExpress offers free shipping for its products across the US, thanks to a service known as ePacket. This is a free shipping service that allows for easy shipping for retail businesses and customers. When used for dropshipping, products take between 12 and 25 days for delivery. Their service is also quite reliable, thanks to the package tracking service offered by ePacket, a service that allows you and your customers to know where the products are at all times. Logistics are also easier thanks to the small product sizes and the low product prices.

Alibaba features a freight procurement platform that is integrated into the whole Alibaba platform. This freight service is powered by Freightos, a platform that allows retailers in the US and in businesses to compare books, pricing, management, and tracking via the ocean and air for wholesale orders. Some Alibaba suppliers will, however, have warehouses across the US, making orders easier and inexpensive, especially for the smaller product quantities.


  • Ease of Use

Both AliExpress and Alibaba feature websites with the same design – they are both intuitive, and they also are easy to navigate, hence easy to use. But between these two, AliExpress is much easier to use, especially for smaller orders, but Alibaba might be a little more complex because you have to reach out to the suppliers directly and for the quotes to be negotiated.

AliExpress also features a built-in shopping cart, meaning that you don’t have to worry about making direct communication with the suppliers. The order process is also quite fast and straightforward.

Alibaba also boasts a website that is intuitive and easy to use but only for experienced wholesale buyers. If you’ve never placed an order for wholesale products on Alibaba, then this site might be a lot easier for you to navigate. Keep in mind that the suppliers you contact are under no obligation to respond to the quotes requested, which is a whole frustrating process for anyone unsure about the kind of information they may be searching for. Also, navigating the site through the imports, shipping, and payment processes might be a tad confusing.


  • Customer Services

Alibaba and AliExpress are leading online marketplaces based in China. Both companies base their success on the existing crop of third-party sellers throughout the sites, meaning you get different services based on the sellers you interact with.

AliExpress offers a reliable customer support service thanks to their live chat option, but there is no phone support offered. The website, however, allows for dispute management services on the platform, which makes it easy for customers to request refunds and for suppliers to make reports easily.

Alibaba, on the other hand, is a platform that allows businesses to deal with suppliers directly, and you won’t have any dealings with Alibaba itself. But you will be happy to know that Alibaba features help centers as well as community forums and areas where you can launch formal complaints from. Disputes are also resolved here. For easy access, you could make use of Alibaba’s live chat. They don’t offer phone support, but you will be in direct contact with the product suppliers via email.


Is AliExpress Better Than Alibaba For Shopping?

Well, it depends on what you intend to buy from these sites. AliExpress is a better option for you if you are interested in dropshipping and have small product orders from retailers, and also if you are looking for quick delivery.

Alibaba, on the other side, would be an ideal fit for you if you are looking for a wholesale supplier, low prices, and if you don’t mind long delivery periods.

Between the two, AliExpress offers higher prices than Alibaba.


Is AliExpress Better Than Alibaba For Dropshipping?

Yes. AliExpress is a better option for Dropshipping than Alibaba because there are no minimum product order requirements, and they can process single product orders easily. The shipping is also fast, which means that your customers will be happy with their orders.



If you are looking for an online marketplace for your business – dropshipping or any other kind of business, either of these options will work for you, but AliExpress is a better option for anyone in dropshipping. Choose Alibaba if you need the best prices for bulk orders.

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