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by Matt Slater
18 December 2014
I’m sure you’ve heard of eBay and Amazon, and you’ve probably heard of Alibaba, but what is Aliexpress?
As internet usage continues to rise more and more consumers are shopping online for new products and better prices. This has led to an increase in international ecommerce as people look beyond their own country’s border for that bargain.
With China’s role as “the world’s factory” firmly established, the website Aliexpress is helping consumers buy directly from source at very attractive prices.
Aliexpress was launched by Alibaba Group in 2010 as a B2C platform for Chinese companies to sell to foreigners.
Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group is a huge Chinese ecommerce company which dominates their domestic B2C market with offerings such as Taobao and Tmall. Already very well known for their international B2B platform Alibaba.com, it finally achieved true worldwide recognition when they launched the largest ever IPO in New York in September 2014.
Aliexpress is a B2C ecommerce platform which allows Chinese individuals and companies to sell their products directly to foreign consumers.
Similar to eBay, sellers on Aliexpress can be either companies or individuals. Aliexpress is different to Amazon because it acts only as an ecommerce platform and doesn’t sell products directly to consumers.
Interestingly, Aliexpress doesn’t allow consumers in mainland China to buy from the platform and doesn’t allow non-Chinese individuals & companies to open stores.
Sellers on Aliexpress are all located in China and are each issued a unique store number on Aliexpress.
Unlike on the B2B website Alibaba.com, there is very limited information available about stores and how they were verified.
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Aliexpress has however implemented a store rating system which they explain here.
Customer service isn’t the focus on Aliexpress and consumers who are used to no-questions-asked full refunds and humble apologies may need to adjust their expectations. It is very much a case of buyer beware.
Aliexpress urges its customers to only make payments to sellers through their platform so they can offer a degree of customer protection. Although refunds can be applied for, the process is very hit or miss. Aliexpress offers tips for avoiding fraud on their website here.
With so many products manufactured in China, the choice of products is almost endless. As you’d expect on a B2C platform, consumer products make up the bulk of the items.
Aliexpress is currently available in English, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian.
As this would indicate, Aliexpress is hugely popular in Brazil and Russia. Data viewed on Alexa.com showed that in December 2014, Aliexpress was the 10th most popular website in Brazil and that Brazil accounted for more traffic to the website than any other country.
According to data from July 2014, Aliexpress is already Russia’s leading ecommerce site in terms of traffic, and the country’s tenth most popular website overall.
Next time you hear someone ask “What is Aliexpress?”, you can explain:
Hi there, I'm Matt, the Founder & CEO of China Checkup. Originally from the UK, I am now based in Brisbane, Australia.
Frustrated by the scarcity of concise, high-quality and timely information about Chinese companies, I setup China Checkup whilst living in Shanghai in 2013.
My team are proud that China Checkup's company verification reports have now helped thousands of clients from all corners of the world to do business in China more safely.
by Matt Slater
18 May 2020
This article takes a look at the 6 different China city types and the various levels of autonomy and power each type holds.
China has over 700 official cities, from the metropolises of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong down to the smaller cities of Beihai, Shangrao and Qufu, but they are not all governed equally.
Read this guide if you want to understand the difference between China city types, including municipalities, prefecture-level cities, county-level cities and more.
by Matt Slater
30 January 2020
Launched by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, the decades long process of Chinese economic reform has transformed China beyond recognition.
This article highlights some of the most significant events during this period in the form of a year by year timeline.
by Matt Slater
09 January 2020
Listening to China business podcasts can be a great way to get insights on the Chinese market, pick up new knowledge and get fresh perspectives.
The great news is that there is actually a lot of great podcasts out there on this topic - and in this article I have chosen my current top ten.
These podcasts cover business in China from a range of angles - including tech startups, importing/sourcing, economics and more - so if you are interested in learning more about China business you are sure to find quality material here.
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