DHgate vs Alibaba | What do you need to use?

by Tim Howard

If you’re planning to buy wholesale products from China, but are confused between DHgate vs Alibaba, you’ve come to the right place. 

DHgate and Alibaba are the two leading B2B markets in China right now. Keep reading to know which one has the edge over the other. 

The Chinese wholesale market flourished during the Pandemic period, as more people turned to purchase goods online. Throughout this time, even retailers had to rely on online wholesale markets like DHgate, Alibaba, AliExpress, Tradewheel, etc.

They offered reasonable prices and quick delivery times at this time of crisis, which pushed their reputation to the top.

Having existed for so long, these marketplaces have always gone toe-to-toe when it came to providing the best services to their customers.

Still, DHgate and Alibaba are the leading e-commerce marketplaces at this moment, and comparisons need to be drawn between them to let the customers decide which one to go for. 

DHgate vs Alibaba

DH Gate vs Alibaba - Amazon FBA Tips and Hacks!

Pros and Cons – Alibaba vs Dhgate

Since we already went through the detailed background of both these markets’ policies, let’s take a look at their overall pros and cons. 

Dhgate Pros

  1. Buyers can get coupons of up to 50% discounts on their new accounts. 
  2. DHgate has the best customer service and communication system of the two. Their customer care is ready to investigate and solve issues 24/7
  3. As we mentioned earlier, DHgate sellers usually reply to messages or emails within 24 hours, which shows the promptness of their communication system. 
  4. DHgate favours Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. As such, the products they sell are very cheap. 

Dhgate Cons

  1. DHgate is mostly famous for its replica products and cheap products that may not always be the best in quality. Make sure the product is original before you buy it since many sellers provide low-quality replicas even though they are working under a brand name 
  2. Even though DHgate boasts a huge catalog of products, they are limited and may not be always available. 

Alibaba Pros

  1. They have a huge inventory of products, bigger than DHgate. 
  2. Their trade assurance goals ensure buyers’ protection at all times. You can get your money refunded for any problem with your delivery. 
  3. On Alibaba, you can fill out a form to provide all the details of the product that you are searching for. Once the form is submitted, relevant sellers will contact you and give you quotations about those products.

Alibaba Cons

  1. Their shipping times are slower when compared to DHgate. 
  2. Even though Alibaba has verified customers, some scammers do manage to sneak in despite the site’s best efforts. Only purchase from a seller after doing a complete background check on them. 

As of 2021, Alibaba earned a revenue of $109.49 billion USD. Not only that, but also they had 150+ million registered members, a million active buyers, and over 150,000 sellers from around the world. DHgate is close too.

The platform had 31 million global registered buyers, 2.2 million in sellers and other countries from over 220 countries and regions, and 32 million products available.

DHgate vs Alibaba
Source: Statista

In 2020, DHgate launched MyyShopp, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product to build a decentralized, international e-commerce industry.

To fight back the COVID-19 crisis, DHgate sped up the digital transformation of international traders, facilitating communications between global buyers with virtual exhibitions.

As of December 2022, Alibaba’s total revenue was $134.56 billion which is an increase of 22.9% from the previous year ($109.48 billion). 

History of DHgate and Alibaba

Before going into details about which one of them is better, it’s important to take a look at their history. 

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Alibaba:

Alibaba was founded in 1999 in Hangzhou, by Jack Ma and his group of 17 students and friends. They originally served as a B2B marketplace that sold products through a web portal.

Big faith was put into them to improve China’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to help export Chinese products to the global market as well as to address World Trade Organization (WTO) challenges.

Surely, Alibaba didn’t disappoint. In 2002, they became profitable 3 years after launch. Later, they expanded across many other fields, even AI. 

Alibaba rose to prominence because back then, China had good relations with many other countries, allowing Alibaba to spread its trade across those countries.

After several years of rising and falling through a rough road, Alibaba struck a deal of USD 800 million with the International Olympic Committee. They were to sponsor the Olympic games till 2028.

At present, Alibaba not only runs its e-commerce and retail services but also cloud services, online payments, AI, gold supply, messaging, and internet services. In 2014, they ranked as a Chinese subsidiary for small businesses. 

DHgate:

DHgate was founded in Beijing back in august 2004 by Diane Wang. Since then it has been providing its services to customers all over the world. “DH” in the name refers to Dunhuang city and this city was a strategic point in the erstwhile ‘Silk Route.’

It wasn’t until 2005 that the site was officially launched. DHgate refers to itself as the online silk route and for good reason. When it comes to linking various small and medium enterprises in China, DHgate shines. 

The company was running at a loss in its early years until huge amounts of investment in 2007 and 2008 helped them get back on their feet. In 2008, they ranked 7th on the ‘Deloitte Technology Fast 50’ for the Asia Pacific region.

In the next year, DHgate reported a total of 1 million users using their platform worldwide. By 2013, they didn’t limit their business to China but expanded to connect SMEs in Vietnam. 

From 2017, they pushed the envelope even further by opening Digital Trade Centers in the United States, Hungary, Australia, Spain, Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Peru.

They were physical stores under DHgate’s brand name. Soon, their business spread in Japan to support the Japanese Small and Medium-sized Enterprises(SMEs). Turkish sellers were allowed to sell their products online by accessing the DHgate platform. 

Product range comparison

This is a really important criterion that determines the customer retention of any online marketplace. The more the variety of products available, the larger will be the number of customers choosing that marketplace. 

Alibaba:

Alibaba had arguably the biggest stock between these two. Since they have ties with several other countries, their product catalog is endowed with foreign-manufactured products as well. To give you an idea of what they have – you can order an actual car from Alibaba. Let’s take a look at their inventory below. 

Packaging, Chemicals, Textiles, Agriculture & Food products, Clothes, Automotives and Automobiles, Bags, Footwear, Fitness products, Medical Equipment, Electronics, Telecom appliances, Sports equipments, Beauty products and Cosmetics, Home decor, lighting, Machinery, Industrial Parts & Tools, Metallurgy, Rubber & Plastics, Advertising & Office necessities. 

DHgate:

DHgate has a huge inventory with suppliers selling almost all kinds of items. We’ve listed almost every kind of item that DHgate offers down below.

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Jewelry, Garments, Baby products, Bags, Luggage & Accessories, Footwear and Accessories, Cameras, Mobile phones, Computers & laptops,Lighting, Musical Instruments, Electronic and Electrical gadgets, Fashion items, Food & drinks, Games, Hair Products, Fitness products, Makeup accessories and cosmetics, Home & Garden decoratives, Household Appliances. 

Communication Services

Communication plays a key role in the proper and timely delivery of orders. If there are several ways to reach out to the sellers, chances are that you will be able to sort things out easily if there is a problem with the delivery. Let’s take a look at the communication systems of both the marketplaces.

DHgate vs Alibaba
  • Alibaba:

Alibaba takes the cake here regarding the multitude of ways you can reach out to their sellers. Alibaba has four different communication systems, namely, Chat now, Start order, Get the latest price, and Contact supplier. 

Choosing ‘get latest price’ is the easiest way to get in touch with their sellers. But the problem is sellers often don’t pay attention to these requests. 

Choosing ‘start order’ is recommended when you have already got in touch with the sellers, or ordered products from them before. 

Chat now can be a good way to instantly chat with a seller, but the time zone differences can be a trouble, resulting in you getting delayed replies. 

So the best option for buyers purchasing something from a seller for the first time is to use the Contact Supplier option. It is very much like sending an email, and you’re guaranteed to have a reply. 

DHgate vs Alibaba
  • DHgate:

DHgate doesn’t provide as many ways to contact their sellers, but they are known for their fastest reply times. The sellers usually reply within 24 hours. DHgate also takes special care to secure the personal information, sensitive data and credentials of their users, so that there is no data leakage while chatting with the sellers. 

In DHgate, you can either reach out to the sellers through an email or use their in-app chatting function to get in touch with them. 

Features and Payment Options Available

Rest assured that both platforms offer a wide variety of payment options to choose from like Paypal, Western Union, Debit/Credit cards and even Wire Transfer. 

However, Alibaba has an independent payment provider, Alipay that they use to further provide more payment options to their customers.

DHgate has two other payment options which are Payoneer and Telegraphic Transfer.

DHgate vs Alibaba

Here the former acts like a virtual payment system that provides you with a digital credit card that can be used to complete transactions and the latter is an alternate to wire transfer that’s available to buyers who are placing high value orders that are over $1,500.

You will also be able to check the reviews on both platforms to see if the stores are legitimate. 

Apart from this, Alibaba offers a Trade Assurance feature that protects your investment and money whereas DHgate has escrow payment protection where they assure a refund in the event the product you purchased is of low quality or has not been delivered.

MOQ – Sourcing Products from DHgate and Alibaba

The main difference between DHgate and Alibaba is the amount of items you can purchase at a given time. 

This is also called the minimum order quantity (MOQ) and it plays an important role in determining the right platform for your needs.

The thing about Alibaba as i’ve covered above is that vendors and suppliers here deal primarily in wholesale purchases with a specific MOQ set for different products. 

DHgate vs Alibaba

This means that Alibaba is better off for businesses that order in bulk, but is not the best place if you’re looking to buy in retail. 

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DHgate on the other hand is quite like AliExpress where there is no MOQ for the orders placed and you will be able to buy any product at retail or wholesale rates depending on your personal requirements. 

DHgate vs Alibaba : Product Quality

Both DHgate and Alibaba provide a variety of options to choose from and while most of the products listed are of good quality, there will always be a handful of sellers who supply bad or cheap quality products.

Since you can get both high quality as well as low quality products from both platforms, what you end up with depends on the way you assess each seller and if you take the time to examine key factors such as their response rate, store rating, reviews from other buyers and how long they’ve been in business.

One thing to remember is that DHgate is quite famous for their vast selection of fake and replica products. Here you will be able to get your hands on branded knockoffs that are so well made that it might seem that they are genuine. 

Alibaba or DHgate – Which one has the best payment methods?

Alibaba uses its own payment method called Alipay, which is like its own wallet. Since there are no third-party apps involved, they have the best payment system. 

How long does it take to ship orders from DHgate?

Usually, DHgate can take from 3-15 days to deliver the product. The delivery time depends on the availability of the stock as well as the location of the buyer.

Does Alibaba offer rewards and coupons?

Alibaba offers two types of discounts in the form of coupons. The coupons from Alibaba add discounts on any products you purchase, whereas seller discounts are added on only the products sold by that particular seller. 

Why are Alibaba products so cheap?

Products that are sold on Alibaba are cheap because they’re available in bulk and have been manufactured in places where labor costs, electricity and the cost of raw materials is low.

How to improve your experience using Alibaba and DHgate?

There are certain things you should do while shopping from Alibaba and DHgate in order to get the best experience possible.

1. Use a secure payment method and try using wire transfer only in cases where there’s no other option. Stick to using a credit card or your debit card as obtaining a refund is relatively easier here than with other payment methods.

2. Make sure to always communicate with the seller and get clarity on the type of material that’s used, the ordering and delivery process they follow and if the products have any certification or have been reviewed by some governing entity.

3. Check the reviews of the product you wish to buy and see if the seller has delivered good quality items to earlier buyers. Some reviews will have images of what was received so you can take these as a testament to what you’re going to receive.

Takeaway

To conclude, there isn’t any clear winner in this comparison. Both of these sites have their strengths and weaknesses, and your choice boils down to which site you had the better experience with.

To know what works for you, order products from both the sites to know more about their packaging, customer experience, shipping times, etc.

Beware of scammers that may have crept into both the sites, and take proper internet safety measures while shopping online. 

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