Alibaba VS Aliexpress: Which One is Better for Dropshipping

AliExpress and Alibaba can sometimes be confused. Some dropshippers think they may find dropshipping suppliers on both of these platforms since they do not understand the differences between them. Let's talk about it in more detail because this is actually not true.
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Dropshipping is a profitable  Ecommerce Business Model. 

Alibaba as well as Aliexpress both are platforms which attract dropshippers most when it comes to product sourcing. Both of them operate as sister companies of the same owner – Alibaba Group.

These marketplaces have different goals and target different types of audiences with different consumer expectations. There are, however, certain points of commonality between these two.

In this post, we’ll examine the differences between Alibaba and Aliexpress to help you. After reading this comprehensive review, you’ll have a the clear idea of which one is best for your dropshipping business. You can read other great articles about dropshipping here.

Alibaba VS Aliexpress: What’s the difference?

Alibaba and Aliexpress are two marketplaces that operate online. The main difference is their target audience . Alibaba’s sellers typically target to businesses and accept large orders (B2B model). On the other hand, Aliexpress sellers only accept small orders (B2C model).

However, you can also find wholesalers on AliExpress.


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Alibaba VS Aliexpress: Main Differences

Let’s look at the primary differences between Alibaba VS AliExpress in more detail:


The Alibaba sellers sell wholesale products on Alibaba wholesale marketplace. Additionally, there is a significant minimum order amount for these individual suppliers. They don’t have any wholesale products in their warehouses. However, the supplier will make them once you place an order.

How is AliExpress organised? It enables you to purchase the same product from suppliers in small quantity.

2. Payments


Alibaba doesn’t create payment systems. It assumes no financial liability for transactions between customers and suppliers.

You can obtain a Paypal transaction certification on AliExpress. It is the idea of online e-retail sales.

3. Pricing

Rates fluctuate, whether they are wholesale or retail. Prices are set by a supplier based on quantity, quality, and size.   Alibaba offers business customers a wholesale price structure. The reason for this is because a supplier will base the price on the number of items ordered.

In contrast, a supplier on AliExpress offers set pricing that are greater than  Alibaba.

4. Minimum Order

To place an order, you must purchase a minimum amount. Alibaba often requests a certain quantity of products.

But on occasion, monetary compensation is necessary. A minimum order quantity of 50 to 1,000 pieces is normal.

In contrast, AliExpress allows you to buy a single item for end-user prices.

5. Custom Products and Private Label

Private label producers create products under the brand name. They are either third parties or general contractors.

Alibaba enables direct producer purchases of private label and custom products. Customized items are available for affordable pricing. Unlike AliExpress, which only allows you to purchase readymade products without customisation.

6. Shipping Costs and Time


Alibaba freight typically takes 60 days, or two months, to complete a shipment. Alibaba’s shipment package will show up when expected.

For sellers that operate an online store or other type of business, it is a good option. This is due to the fact that orders will arrive on time, increasing client satisfaction.

Free delivery is available through AliExpress shipping using AliExpress’s ePacket services. There is also a free delivery promotion available for retail buyers. Customers who dropship from AliExpress use it.

The average AliExpress item will ship from abroad and take 12 to 25 days to arrive.

7. Fulfillment Method

The most complete selection of order fulfilment services is offered by Alibaba. Large warehouses are where the supplier handles items before they reach the consumer.

An AliExpress provider, on the other hand, completes orders from factories.

8. Customization

Suppliers on Alibaba make their high-quality products in accordance with your specifications. This implies that an Alibaba supplier can create products with a customised logo. In accordance with your requests, they might alter its appearance or produce a new product.

This cannot be accomplished by an AliExpress supplier. Products cannot be altered because they are only manufactured and sold here.

9. Certification

Certification is necessary for cosmetics and electronics sold in the EU. Be aware that not all suppliers can offer these documents on their own.

Alibaba gives you the option to speak with suppliers directly and request certified products. These high-quality products can be resold online for profit.

If you place an order from a provider on AliExpress, however, you cannot do this. Since you are purchasing pre-made items, you are unable to contact the provider.

Comparison of Alibaba VS Aliexpress For Dropshipping


On AliExpress, you can dropship an unlimited number of different products. Alibaba, meanwhile, only permits bulk purchases. Let’s find out more about Alibaba VS Aliexpress:

1. Dropshipping on Alibaba

Only manufacturers, resellers, or trading companies are the primary customers of the majority of Alibaba suppliers. They don’t provide services for dropshipping from Alibaba. There are a few suppliers who provide this service, but you must carefully read over their pages.

Your orders with products from Alibaba might be able to be packaged and shipped by a fulfilment firm. But large purchases are still required.

2. Dropshipping on Aliexpress

AliExpress, which provides AliExpress dropshipping services, is the best dropshipping online retailer. Instead of receiving many shipments from AliExpress dropshipping, customers can order just one item.

Additionally, you can market products via AliExpress dropshipping. It is accessible through the WordPress plugin for AliDropship. Another choice for selling dropship AliExpress products is the Oberlo app from Shopify. You can import products from AliExpress to your WooCommerce store to cut costs for your dropshipping business.

Advantages of Alibaba and AliExpress


1. Why to Choose Alibaba?

  • It has a very high profit margin due to the lower cost of production.
  • Alibaba is a great option to buy wholesale in large quantities.
  • You can contract an external fulfilment center to not have to deal the fulfillment process yourself.
  • If you’d like to discuss your options with potential suppliers.
  • It’s great if you’re looking for complete control over branding and creating an independent label.
  • An excellent option if you don’t mind faster delivery times.


2.Why to Choose Aliexpress?

  • If you’re a dropshipper and want to build your own website and sell products but will not be handling all fulfillment duties.
  • If you’d like to have every fulfillment step taken care of for you, it’s okay to give some of your profit.
  • However hard you try, you won’t get the best price on the goods.
  • Your customers are thrilled to purchase single items with no minimum order amount.
  • The shipping cost is estimated to be low nearly everywhere you purchase.
  • It is essential to stop buyers from becoming angry and result in a lot of return. Therefore, it is important to provide buyers some sort of security.
  • You do not plan to sell any products under your label.
  • It’s essential to receive your orders quicker than those sent by Alibaba.


Both user interfaces include a product search bar and eCommerce platform connectivity.

Alibaba is easy to use as Amazon. In addition to having trouble identifying providers, there can also be language barriers.

You don’t need to interact with many providers very much on AliExpress. Additionally, it is the ideal place for dropshipping. Both user interfaces include a product search bar and eCommerce platform connectivity.

Buyers on Alibaba have little legal protection. Samples are available by directly contacting suppliers.

Trade assurance for returns is another option. However, the trade assurance provider is frequently at fault for returns. Avoid purchasing trademark products through Alibaba Trade Assurance.

You are better protected with AliExpress because it is simpler to identify smaller orders. Returns are permitted, and your purchases are safeguarded.

Alibaba’s delivery costs are based on a number of variables.

Suppliers, order size, shipping method, and shipping address are a few examples. Although it is higher than usual, it is not overly uncontrolled.

Sometimes there are no additional fees for AliExpress delivery; other times there are. E-packets are quicker and more economical than smaller containers.

The variation in pricing between the two platforms is brought on by the minimum order quantities of the products. contrasting their business strategies

On the B2B portal Alibaba, you can purchase wholesale goods. The wholesale prices on Alibaba are reasonable and even up to negotiation.

On B2C, AliExpress focuses. After making a purchase, a consumer cannot bargain for a lower price.

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Mark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy is an Ecommerce Consultant & Dropshipping Trainer at eComWiser California. He has 12 years of experience in Ecommerce industry. He likes to write articles about dropshipping, ecommerce and online business.

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