As a forwarding agent in China, people often ask why are the products on Alibaba extremely cheap compared to other Chinese online stores such as Taobao, Dhgate, Aliexpress, and the rest.

As someone that has worked with a company in China that has lots of online stores on different China e-commerce platforms including Alibaba, I would elaborate on the reasons behind the cheap prices of products.

Read More: 14 profitable products to import from China

Manufactures and suppliers

On Alibaba, users are in direct contact with the manufacturers and suppliers which is different from the Chinese e-commerce platforms. on other Chinese e-commerce platforms. The sellers can equally be Chinese dropshipping on foreign buyers, which makes the product price higher on other platforms. Most products on Alibaba are made b the manufacturers which have a store and others are from trading companies with direct access to the manufacturers. Alibaba ensures that all registered sellers on the platform pay a yearly fee which is close to $25,000.

MOQ {Minimum order quantity}

In China, it’s known that the more quantity a customer buys the cheaper the commodity becomes and it applies to Alibaba. Remember these are manufacturers and trading companies that have these stores and products disappear on Alibaba.

These companies intend to sell as much as possible to profit which results in high minimum order quantity. The lower the price of a product the chances of the MOQ being high. For example, if a product on Alibaba could be $0.1 but with an MOQ of 1000 pieces which make it problematic if you are intending to buy in a smaller quantity. If you want to buy the product but for a low MOQ, the price of the product might double.

As for asking for samples from manufacturers or suppliers on Alibaba, the prices are always outrageous due to the fact in China samples are expensive. Although the sample could be provided for free to a customer free if there is an initial deposit for the product.

Accessibility of products and materials

Availability of products and materials is easily the biggest reason wh products are cheap on Alibaba. Each province in China specializes in different products based on the material available within the area. For example, buying bedsheets and bed textile materials from companies located in Nantong would be far cheaper than buying elsewhere in China.

Knowing this most companies on Alibaba sell products and materials which are readily available to them at an extremely low price to enable them create a competitive cheap price for other sellers.

So yes, the products on Alibaba can be cheap and still be genuine and original because of the factors we just covered.

Pro tips when shopping on Alibaba.

  • Always chat with the seller to ensure the product is available before ordering.
  • Ask about the delivery process before putting an order down to avoid a long wait of up to 6 months for a package.
  • The contact person for most Alibaba stores uses google translator for communication, make sure the information you trying to pass down to the supplier isn’t lost in translation.
  • Always remember you can bargain to get a lower price,
  • Ask for a direct camera shot of a product you intent to buy rather than just going with the product image on the website.
  • Always pay on Alibaba so that the refund process would be easier.

Egbo Munachi is a mechatronics engineer and owner of the Chincotonaija online shop. Likes include gaming, watching tv series, ping-pong, and programming.

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