Alibaba vs Aliexpress: What Makes Them Different?

difference between alibaba and aliexpress

Alibaba.com and Aliexpress.com are two well-renowned online portals selling varieties of products including machinery and industrial goods, electronic products, health and beauty, clothes, gift items, and daily consumables. Where Alibaba.com specializes in global wholesale trade, where businesses can purchase goods in larger quantities; Aliexpress.com is the retail section of Alibaba and sells goods in smaller quantities.

aliexpress vs alibaba

The key differences between the two portals can summarized through the following points:

1. B2B and B2C
Alibaba.com is a global B2B portal where most of the purchasers are trading firms, manufacturers, and resellers. They all buy goods in wholesale quantities. On the contrary,
Aliexpress.com is a B2B and B2C portal where both business and individuals can buy in quantities, as small as 1. It is largely an online retail marketplace that offers good quality products, in lower quantities, and at factory values.

2. Nature of Products
Alibaba focuses on “made to order” products. The supplies on this portal never advertise or promote “ready-made” items. Instead, they manufacture products, as per buyer’s specifications, and then list the reference products.
Aliexpress emphasizes on offering smaller quantities of “ready-made” goods, unlike “made to order” by Alibaba. This portal is more appropriate for individual buyers who buy goods for personal or household consumption and for the small and medium-size importers who can’t afford to purchase larger quantities of products.

3. Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)
Members have higher MOQ requirements in Alibaba, as they don’t stock products. They also need to buy minimum volume from their suppliers, and manufacture minimum quantity, to earn good profits. Suppliers of consumer products have 300 or more units of MOQ, and the MOQ requirements are valid for specific goods. Thus, it is excess for individual buyers and small businesses who can’t afford such higher units.
At Aliexpress, the MOQ requirements is lower, and start at 10 units or greater, since the suppliers cannot divide a large volume between many small buyers. It also reduces the problem of reaching a higher MOQ. However, it affects prices.

4. Pricing
Alibaba.com has no fixed prices. Every product in this portal is priced from lowest values to premium pricing. It all depends on the product specifications like color, quality, quantity, dimensions, as sent by the buyers. Buyers enjoy lower prices, since they achieve the MOQ requirements of suppliers.
Aliexpress.com suppliers display a complete list of products and prices for varied quantities. The prices are non-negotiable, and compared to Alibaba prices, buyers end up paying higher.

5. Customization & Branding
Customized designs and logo printing are offered at Alibaba. For developing new products, buyers must clearly state their product specifications including material of graphics, components, Pantone colors, packaging designs and materials, artwork (if any), and logo designs.
There isn’t much scope for customizing products at Aliexpress. Since the items are already manufactured, therefore it isn’t feasible enough to send few of those goods for further product modifications. Thus, it is not the right place for those looking for custom design services.

Thus, if buyers want to buy some 100 or more units of products, wish to avail custom designs and logo prints, and want to trade in the B2B market, Alibaba.com is the right place. And if purchases need to buy within 100 units of ready-made products, which are not price sensitive; Aliexpress.com is where they should go.

Also read: Aliexpress India Review

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