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 and 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

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. 
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As of 2021, Alibaba earned a venue of 717,289 million yuan, which equals 113 million 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.

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.

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. 

  • 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. 

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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.

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.

  • 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. 

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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:

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. 

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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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.

  1. 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. 

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