Alibaba vs AliExpress: What’s the Difference?

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Have you also been juggling between the two options? The names, the origins, and even the owner himself may lead you to believe that Alibaba and AliExpress are the same things, but they are not. They may have similar-sounding names, offer Chinese items, and are owned by the same person, Jack Ma, but that’s where the similarities end. Alibaba and Aliexpress are two very distinct businesses that compete in very distinct areas.

Given the aforesaid, we believe that after completing this post, you will better understand some distinct features, but if you need the most comprehensive review to select the option that best meets your demands, please visit the ‘Alibaba vs Aliexpress’ article. 


Working of Alibaba

Alibaba is a B2B or Business to Business wholesale marketplace that allows various Chinese manufacturing enterprises to build stores on its website (similar to Amazon) and sell items to specific clients.

Alibaba does not own the items because it is a marketplace. Suppliers are solely accountable for the quality of their goods and the purchases that they handle. Alibaba does not require customers or sellers to make any type of direct payment; as a result, this might happen outside of the site based on e-mail or chat talks with the supplier.

So, how does Alibaba generate revenue? It accomplishes this through the “Gold Supplier” plan, a form of premium plan that Chinese suppliers may join for a charge after demonstrating that they are legitimate and verified businesses with registered capital and a physical address.


Working of AliExpress

Because AliExpress, like Alibaba, is a marketplace, it does not offer its goods. Instead, it serves as a showroom for third-party products, catering to both B2B and B2C consumers.

Although each store has its display and items, AliExpress’s sales and payment logics are quite similar to those of Amazon. Transactions are made solely through the portal, and AliExpress benefits on every transaction.

Its key advantage is that it allows the sale of a limited number of items (retail), which, unlike Alibaba’s products, cannot be changed or updated because they are already produced.

Differences Between Alibaba and AliExpress

Let’s take a closer look at the fundamental distinctions between Alibaba and AliExpress. 



Alibaba’s vendors all sell wholesale items and have a large minimum order quantity (MOQ) (minimum order quantity). In truth, many businesses do not have the items in stock but will make them according to your specifications. On the other hand, you may buy finished items on AliExpress, and consequently, you may purchase them in extremely small amounts.


Alibaba does not handle any financial transactions. Therefore, it disclaims any liability for monetary operations between consumers and suppliers. Instead of being able to pay online on AliExpress, you may get the transaction certified with Paypal.



The price of an item varies greatly depending on the amount and quality of the product. Prices on Alibaba are not set in stone since they are determined by the volume of items ordered, the technical specifications necessary, and the manufacturing and delivery times. On the other side, because AliExpress is not a B2B marketplace, you will find items with a fixed price, which is usually greater than on Alibaba.


Suppliers on Alibaba make the items themselves, so they may customize and adjust them to your specifications. This means they may add a logo to an existing product, modify its design, or even design a brand new product depending on your demands. Because only ready-made things are sold here, they are unable to be altered.


Toys, beauty products, and gadgets must come with various sorts of certificates if they are to be imported and sold in the EU. When sourcing items, keep in mind that not all Chinese vendors will be able to give you the documentation. Nonetheless, you can contact the wholesaler directly through Alibaba to request items with the appropriate certificates. This is not feasible, however, if you purchase things from AliExpress. The reason is that you are purchasing ready-made items and have no method of directly contacting the provider.


When you buy anything on Alibaba, you’re asking a firm to make it for you. As a result, you’ll need to figure out how long it will take to produce, ship, and clear customs. The items you’ll see on AliExpress, on the other hand, have already been manufactured. They are delivered to the receiver via courier within a few hours, with substantially shorter delivery periods.

When it comes to deciding between Alibaba and AliExpress, it all comes down to your requirement. What kind of purchases do you intend to make? How much money do you have to spend? Because both platforms are owned by the same corporation, they have several aspects in common, such as low costs, simple payment options, and buyer protection.

There are, however, distinctions between the two. The most important thing to remember is that they were created for distinct audiences and hence provide various levels of service. One is a consumer retail portal, and the other is a wholesale portal. And now that you understand the distinction between Alibaba and AliExpress, you can make an informed decision.

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