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Using Alibaba?

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  1. #1

    Using Alibaba?

    Is Alibaba the equivalent of Amazon in the US? A lot things seems easier to buy online, but in HK if you buy from Amazon you get hit with insane shipping. I see alibaba links a lot in my search results, and I wonder if this is for the regular consumer or businesses who need to purchase in mass quantities. Most of the time they have minimum orders in the hundreds. However, I would see min. orders of 1 occasionally. Does that mean that those can be bought in small quantities? Then do I contact the seller for pricing or what is the best way to approach the seller for these items? Thanks for any tips or pointers on how to shop there.


  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpman23:
    Is Alibaba the equivalent of Amazon in the US? A lot things seems easier to buy online, but in HK if you buy from Amazon you get hit with insane shipping. I see alibaba links a lot in my search results, and I wonder if this is for the regular consumer or businesses who need to purchase in mass quantities. Most of the time they have minimum orders in the hundreds. However, I would see min. orders of 1 occasionally. Does that mean that those can be bought in small quantities? Then do I contact the seller for pricing or what is the best way to approach the seller for these items? Thanks for any tips or pointers on how to shop there.
    Alibaba is a very good way to waste a lot of time if you're not a business looking to trade. You're going to find that most of those guys selling the same thing don't exist.......they all have pictures of the same shiny factories but the reality is some scammer with a cellphone. You can sometimes get through to somebody and they'll answer the phone and mess you about....

    I have done a few things on Alibaba and met some legit. business people but it's tough, especially for small quantities....

    It's not like Amazon.

    Taobao is Amazon here...

    Many find it's less of a headf*ck to order from your home country's Amazon and get it shipped.
    Last edited by bryant.english; 31-12-2012 at 10:42 PM.
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  3. #3

    Ok thanks. Taobao seems very difficult for someone who doesn't know chinese. Is there a english version? Tried to google translate, but that didn't work very well.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpman23:
    Ok thanks. Taobao seems very difficult for someone who doesn't know chinese. Is there a english version? Tried to google translate, but that didn't work very well.
    There's no English version and Google translate isn't good enough. Most people either have a local friend or colleague, (I have a local wife!), do it for them or there are agents/agencies who will help you....I've never used the agents so can't give any advice/recommendations.

    Google taobao agent and you get links to a few....maybe add Hong Kong tot he search term to focus it a bit.

  5. #5

    Alibaba is geared towards wholesalers trying to flog off cheap goods in bulk quantities. There are also a lot of scammers, I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out who is genuine for my wife's online retail shop.

    They do have ali express which is a bit like the retail arm of alibaba and similar to Taobao but also flooded with scammers.

    I would be careful how you pay these outfits and make sure your money is protected i.e don't fall for the deposit money in the seller's account con because you don't have alipay (chinese version of paypal).


  6. #6

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    I would disagree with that. Taobao is the eBay of Mainland China, but people in HK tend to use Yahoo auctions more often. Taobao is an Alibaba company that is also full of scammers and cheats. If the service you are on has any connection to Mainland China, beware.

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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by bryant.english:
    Alibaba is a very good way to waste a lot of time if you're not a business looking to trade. You're going to find that most of those guys selling the same thing don't exist.......they all have pictures of the same shiny factories but the reality is some scammer with a cellphone. You can sometimes get through to somebody and they'll answer the phone and mess you about....

    I have done a few things on Alibaba and met some legit. business people but it's tough, especially for small quantities....

    It's not like Amazon.

    Taobao is Amazon here...

    Many find it's less of a headf*ck to order from your home country's Amazon and get it shipped.
    That's quiet interesting, because my one and only use of Alibaba ( quite recently ) was a positive one. But, I only ever intended to see who I was purchasing from, via formally meeting the company reps. Them picking me up from the station, driving me to their " shiny SZ factory " lol had tea in their boardroom, discussed what it was that I wanted, then shown their showroom and examples of the finish and electrical configuration that I was after. I gave them my design, paid them in full after agreeing that my 1 foot high 55mm thick, brushed stainless steel, back lit, illuminated house number would be made and couriered to my door within a week.

    They met all my expectations and in my opinion defied the usual China crap quality product stereotype, they managed to make me a very high quality, bespoke custom piece for a fair price. Now that I have done business with them, I can just email them my next design and pay into their Hong Kong bank account, from now on, removing the need to visit, making life a lot simpler for my next project.

    So there, there's one positive experience using Alibaba to locate a manufacturer, directly..
    Last edited by Skyhook; 01-01-2013 at 09:19 AM.
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    amazon is avalible in china as well, not as extensive as amazon us, taobao is china's ebay

    http://www.amazon.cn/


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    I've used Alibaba scores of times for all sorts of products and very few issues. You just have to work out who is a factory, who is just a trading company and who the agents are and you're most of the way there. I use factories as close to HK as possible although for some I have to go further afield. Do it right and you can easily get quality products.

    Skyhook and bryant.english like this.

  10. #10

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    Alibaba is pretty useless for end consumer looking to buy one or 2 items; its not an amazon nor an ebay: Its a tool for those looking to import and export large quantity of items.

    Taobao is pretty much it for China. It offers huge selection at decent prices.


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