Alibaba vs AliExpress: Giants Of The E-commerce World

Alibaba vs AliExpress: Giants Of The E-commerce World

E-commerce is one of the most popular business trends today; it can be buying and selling, selling, or just buying. A physical product or a digital product can be purchased and sold.

Alibaba and AliExpress primarily deal in physical products, and together they house the world’s largest marketplace for businesses. Selling products from at least two companies from every continent on the planet.

They are one of the largest companies in the e-commerce space, with a combined visit of over 450 million users as of May 2022.

What Is Alibaba?

Alibaba is an online e-commerce site that mainly deals in wholesale and a few retail sales. If you trade wholesale, this is the best place to get products. This is the world’s largest producer hub, which allows them to outperform their competitors!

What Is AliExpress?

It is an offshoot of Alibaba where manufacturing companies can sell their products directly to final consumers and at wholesale prices.

AliExpress homepage

ALSO READ: Konga vs Jumia: Which E-commerce Store Is the Best?

Alibaba vs Aliexpress: Website Traffic & World Ranking


As of May 2022, Alibaba ranks as the 353rd most visited website in the world. This may appear low until you consider how many websites are currently in the world, which is over 1.88 billion, putting ahead of the least more than 1.879999647 billion websites.
When it comes to e-commerce site ranking Alibaba comes 50th in the world out of 26 million-plus websites.


As of 2022, aliExpress is one of the most popular websites in the world, ranking 77th in terms of global websites and 7th in terms of global e-commerce.
According to the statistics, aliExpress has more visitors than Alibaba and thus ranks higher. When it comes to wholesale websites or B2B sites, Alibaba will easily rank first to third.

Aliexpress vs Alibaba- Consumer Base


Alibaba, on the other hand, is more focused on selling to businesses than on selling to individuals. This does not mean that they will not sell to individuals, but you must be prepared to buy more than one of the items you wish to purchase. As a result, Alibaba is more of a B2-B platform than a direct retail site.


AliExpress is more focused on the final consumer. This doesn’t depict that they don’t deal with B2-B customer bases but they are majorly a B2C business.

Is Alibaba Cheaper Than Aliexpress?

Yes, Alibaba is cheaper cause it deals wholesale compared to AliExpress which deals in direct retail.

Alibaba vs AliExpress: Shopping Experience

The interface on both platforms is pretty different, so they have unique different user experiences.

Alibaba’s Homepage


Both being friendly and welcoming, what you will find on Aliexpress is a fine neatly placed home page with no ads flying around. You can easily get the top deals; these are the best-selling items for that season.

Clicking that link takes you to a landing page where you can now narrow down your search to the top deals of the exact category you want.

Flash deals; this is where you see items that are fast selling mostly because of a special offer,
Other; to the left, you see a column list of categories of items, this will help you narrow down your search to a particular set of items you want to buy.

Search bar; this comes in handy when you aren’t lost on what you want to buy. You can easily place the name of the item on the search bar and pick from different retailers.


On Alibaba, the array of items is quite similar to that of Aliexpress, with a special category displayed on the home page and a list of categories of items to the left, and a search bar for more direct navigation.

Checking Out


Checking out on Alibaba is quite indirect, after selecting the item of your choice you are not sent to the payment page, You are instead directed to contact the supplier. this mostly happens when the item you selected is not ready to be shipped. Some items are ready to be shipped while others aren’t.


On Aliexpress once the item of choice is selected, you are sent to the check-out page where you can pay. Here every item is ready to be shipped.

Alibaba vs Aliexpress: Customer Service

You’ll be dealing directly with suppliers on Alibaba. That’s why you should look for suppliers with good customer service—check the ratings and reviews for this.

The Alibaba e-commerce platform offers customer support through help centers, forums, and live chat.

They also have good processes for formal complaints and disputes. AliExpress mainly offers support through live chat, but it also allows buyers to file disputes and request refunds directly on the website, without dealing directly with sellers.

Alibaba vs Aliexpress: Shipping

Another critical difference between Alibaba and AliExpress is the platforms’ shipping methods. Alibaba offers to ship with couriers or freight; AliExpress often offers to ship with couriers, as well as dropshipping.

When shipping small items a courier is advised, but when the item is large, freight is recommended to be cost-effective. And shipping using freight takes a longer time than courier service.

Integration With Other E-commerce Sites

When it comes to integrating Aliexpress or Alibaba into an e-commerce platform it is available on both of them. They are APIs on both platforms that make that possible, and they are workable for various e-commerce sites.

FAQs about Alibaba vs AliExpress

Which is Cheaper?

Alibaba is cheaper than Aliexpress because Alibaba sells at a wholesale price while aliexpress sells at a retail price.

Are both sites reliable?

Yes, both websites are trustworthy. However, how you navigate the app and pay attention to details is critical when shopping on these platforms.

For example, the S22 ultra is not the same as the Samsung Galaxy S22 ultra. Always check the product description and specifications before buying an item.

What is Alibaba Trade Assurance?

This is Alibaba’s buyer protection service. It increases buyer trust by ensuring that they can request a refund for delayed orders or if the products or services do not meet the order specifications.

How to Choose Between Alibaba and AliExpress

If you’re trying to decide between using aliexpress and the Alibaba e-commerce platform, here’s what you should consider:

1. Pricing

Alibaba is a better choice when you are buying in bulk because it is way cheaper than aliexpress. After all, you are getting the wholesale price. Aliexpress, on the other hand, thinks of you as a final consumer this makes thor item more expensive.

2. Wholesale

While pricing is a very important factor when dealing with wholesale, you must consider which platform is more effortless. To deal directly with manufacturers on Alibaba, you will need more than just your money, you must know how to rapport with them to avoid misunderstanding.

So for starters, I will recommend you start with aliexpress, and with more experience, you can switch to Alibaba. But if money is a major deciding factor I will recommend you learn how to do business on Alibaba. They are thousands of free materials online to guide you.

3. Dropshipping

If you drop ship your items, aliexpress may work better for you and your business because the Alibaba e-commerce platform doesn’t often offer dropshipping services.

4. Customization

If you want custom products for your brand, you’ll need to use Alibaba because aliexpress doesn’t usually offer customization on products.

Related: Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Which is Best to Sell Online?

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