Comprehensive Review for International Buyers

1688 is part of the Alibaba group. It has changed the B2B trading sector thoroughly. This Chinese platform serves as a bridge between businesses and manufacturers. It cuts out go-betweens, allowing buyers to get competitive pricing. 

For companies in need of Chinese products, 1688 is a goldmine. There are millions of genuine suppliers on the platform. They offer countless products, from clothing to electronics. Plus, the products all come at low wholesale prices.

Beyond affordability, 1688 empowers businesses. The site supports direct communication with suppliers. Thus, it allows customization and more control over orders. But it is not all dandy at 1688. 

The platform is primarily in the Chinese language, posing a language challenge to foreign buyers. Yet, for businesses willing to invest the effort, 1688 gives many opportunities. This comprehensive overview explores the features of 1688, including its legitimacy and benefits.

1688 What Is It

Learning how to use any platform stems from understanding its origin and function. This section covers the history behind 1688 and sheds light on how this platform works.

History and Background of 1688 launched in 1998. It has emerged as a top B2B marketplace within the Alibaba Group. Its initial focus was connecting Chinese manufacturers with distributors operating domestically. Over time, the platform expanded to include international buyers seeking Chinese goods. Today, it is a massive platform facilitating domestic and international B2B trade.

1688 is an essential part of the Alibaba Group. It provides a complementary service to Taobao and Tmall platforms. It connects manufacturers to wholesalers and buyers. This link fosters collaboration within the Alibaba platform. It creates connections across different buying segments.

How Works

1688 operates on a wholesale model. This model works by connecting businesses with manufacturers/suppliers. On the platform, suppliers list their products. They offer a vast selection across various categories, like home appliances and furniture. 

1688 allows for more flexibility. It differs from traditional wholesale models with high minimum order quantities (MOQs). 1688 includes many suppliers with lower MOQs. Hence, 1688 is compatible with businesses of different sizes, including smaller companies.

Regarding the pricing model, 1688 runs on a freemium model for buyers. Basic account registration is free. It permits browsing and product inquiries. However, upgrading to premium membership comes with a lot more perks. You unlock features like access to supplier contact information and advanced search filters.

Sellers on 1688 upload products with minimum order quantities and wholesale prices. They can offer various payment methods and set minimum transaction amounts. The registration process for sellers involves company verification and product category selection. Suppliers can create their online storefronts. Here, they showcase their products with detailed descriptions and pictures.

One of 1688’s unique selling points is direct communication between buyers and sellers. Both parties can keep taps using the platform’s messaging system. Buyers can send inquiries, negotiate prices, and request product samples. Secure payment options are available within the platform, offering some buyer protection. 

However, diligence and supplier verification are crucial before committing to large orders. Many buyers use sourcing agents with experience navigating the platform and vetting suppliers. 

The primary language of 1688 is Chinese, which can be a barrier for international buyers. Translation tools and extensions can help you browse the platform in other languages. While there is buyer protection, understanding Chinese business practices and legalities is recommended. Using a reputable sourcing agent can reduce risks and ensure a smooth import process.

How to buy from 1688

What Are the Main Features of

So, the history and how 1688 works is understood. What about the services and features of the Chinese B2B platform? Here is a brief run-through of services and features:

1) Product Range and Categories

1688 product range
1688 product range

1688 stuns with product variety, catering to nearly any industry. It’s a one-stop shop for wholesale goods, from electronics to raw materials. While there are tens of categories on 1688, there are popular options. They include apparel, consumer electronics, homeware, beauty products, and office supplies. But 1688 shines in niche markets, too.

You can outsource unique items like party supplies, seasonal decorations, and industrial equipment. Think phone cases? Millions are listed. Need custom furniture? Find it here. 1688’s exclusivity is one of several reasons it is a B2B favorite. Buyers don’t need to visit many platforms to get products. At, they have access to countless products with different varieties.

2) Search and Discover

Mastering search tools is critical to using 1688. Search by keyword, category, or supplier location. Refine searches with filters for price, minimum order quantity (MOQ), and brands. Undoubtedly, with packed catalogs, scrolling is close to useless. The search tool enables buyers to access all their needed products quickly.

In addition to the search features, 1688 includes translation tools. The language barrier lies in the interface and product descriptions. Use translation tools and browser extensions to bridge the gap. Many suppliers offer English descriptions or rely on product images. But with the translation tools, you can explore 1688 without constraints.

3) Buyer and Seller Tools goes beyond connecting buyers and sellers. It offers tools and services for smooth transactions. Here are the tools on the platform:

Secure Payment: provides secure payment options like escrow services. These tools offer some buyer protection. Hence, buyers can be confident that their transactions are safe from tampering.

Communication Tools: 1688 has an integrated messaging system. The tool lets buyers and sellers talk directly, negotiate prices, and clarify details.

Supplier Verification: 1688 offers some verification features. These features are excellent in assessing a seller’s legitimacy. You can use it as a first encounter when determining which supplier to try.  

Reviews and Ratings: Buyers often leave reviews or ratings for suppliers. Like other online marketplaces, this procedure offers valuable insights.

Bulk Purchase Discounts: Many sellers have tiered pricing. They also provide decent discounts for larger orders.

Customization Options: It depends on the supplier and product. Some offer customization, such as private labeling or packaging changes.

Sourcing Agents: Sourcing agents can help you source products from 1688. They connect businesses to reliable suppliers. Moreover, they negotiate deals and manage import processes.

Using search tools and sourcing agents lets you tap into 1688 potential.

How to Find the Right Products on 1688?

Here, we uncover how to use to find the products you need:

Start with specific keywords in your search. Explore product categories for new ideas and suppliers.

product search on 1688
product search on 1688

Refine searches with filters for price, MOQ, brand, and other criteria. Compare products and suppliers before making a decision.

refine product search
refine product search

Contact suppliers to iron out details and negotiate prices.

contact suppliers on 1688
contact suppliers on 1688

These features let you find the right products. You also get access to competitive prices. Finally, your business can build successful sourcing relationships with Chinese suppliers.

What Are the Advantages of

1688 offers several compelling advantages for businesses looking to source Chinese products. The perks are more pronounced when compared to traditional wholesale channels. Here’s an overview of the critical benefits of choosing 1688:

1) Cost-Effective

The biggest 1688. com’s advantage is direct access to manufacturers. allows buyers to bypass intermediaries. Thus, it enables them to save a lot more on their purchases. Lower wholesale prices translate to higher profit margins or competitive pricing strategies.

2) Vast Product Selection boasts a staggering variety of products. Buyers can find everything at 1688, from everyday essentials to niche market items. Hence, it is a one-stop shop for almost everything a business might need. This vast selection allows for product diversification and caters to diverse customer bases.

3) Competitive Pricing hosts millions of suppliers. With so many suppliers, the platform fosters a competitive environment. Hence, there are competitive pricing structures. This way, businesses can compare offers and negotiate the best deals possible.

4) Lower MOQs features lower MCQs. This perk makes one-up traditional platforms that usually have higher MCQs. As a result, this platform is more attractive for startups or those testing new product lines.

5) Customization Options

Some manufacturers offer customization possibilities. The range of optimization is broad, too. They include private labeling, packaging, or slight product tweaks to meet specific needs.

6) Direct Communication with Suppliers

The platform supports direct communication between buyers and sellers, allowing clear communication. Buyers and sellers can discuss requirements and prices and clarify product details. This way, all the aspects of the deal are ironed out before placing an order.

7) Secure Payment Options offers secure payment options like escrow services. The service provides some buyer protection. It works by holding funds until the buyer confirms being satisfied.

8) Supplier Reviews and Ratings

Buyers can leave reviews and ratings for suppliers. This valuable feedback helps other buyers assess a seller’s legitimacy. Moreover, it serves as a testament to product quality and customer service.

What Are the Drawbacks Of

While offers significant advantages, it has challenges and concerns. It is imperative to be aware of this before diving in. Here is a look at all the challenges and drawbacks to know:

1) Language Barrier

1688. com’s primary language is Chinese, which most foreigners don’t understand. Thus, it can be a significant hurdle for international buyers. Navigation, product descriptions, and communication with suppliers can also be challenging. Hence, without proper translation tools, it is nearly impossible to use 1688.

2) Cultural Differences

Understanding Chinese business practices and cultural norms is crucial. It enhances successful interactions with suppliers. Negotiating styles and communication etiquette might differ from Western norms.

3) Quality Control

Follow-up and supplier verification are essential to lower quality issues. Relying only on product descriptions and pictures is risky. Yet, you can request samples. Also, having precise quality specifications and using third-party inspection services can help. This way, you can ensure product quality meets your standards. It saves you the time and effort of buying a defective product.

4) Vetting Suppliers

Identifying reliable and trustworthy suppliers can be challenging. has millions of listed suppliers. However, businesses can use the platform’s verification features and read reviews. If any of these processes seem difficult, work with an experienced sourcing agent. Choosing a professional sourcing agent can help cut risks.

5) Payment and Shipping Issues

International payments and shipping arrangements can be complex. Businesses have to understand currency exchange rates. As an international buyer, choosing reliable shipping partners is also essential. Thankfully, working with a freight forwarder can help solve these difficulties.

Some Extra Considerations for New Buyers on 1688:

1) Lead Times: When sourcing from China, production times and shipping times can be longer. Always factor in lead times. It enables your business to set up inventory management and meet customer demand.
2) Intellectual Property Concerns: Be aware of potential intellectual property concerns. You should conduct copyright and trademark checks to cut risks.
3) Minimum Order Value (MOV): Some suppliers may have minimum order values other than MOQs. Understanding MOV requirements helps avoid unexpected costs.
4) Trade Shows and Canton Fairs: China trade shows can help connect with suppliers. It also enables you to assess product quality firsthand.

What Do Buyer Reviews Say About promises an excellent collection of products at competitive prices. However, buyer reviews highlight the features of 1688. Here are what verified buyers have to say about shopping on the platform:

Positive Reviews

1) Cost Savings Take the Cake

Buyers praise 1688. com’s cost savings compared to traditional channels. Direct access to manufacturers translates to lower prices and potentially higher profit margins.

2) Product Variety Offers Something for Everyone

The sheer volume of products across categories stuns buyers. From clothing to electronics, there’s something for nearly every industry. Hence, has enough product diversification and caters to diverse customer needs.

3) Customization Can Help You Stand Out from the Crowd

Buyers appreciate the ability to customize products. On, they can create private labeling or packaging modifications. This customization benefit allows unique offerings to stand out in the market.

4) Direct Supplier Communication Clears the Air

The platform facilitates direct communication with suppliers. Hence, both parties must know order specifications and prices before purchasing.

5) Secure Payment Options Offer Peace of Mind

Buyers value secure payment options like escrow services. These offer some protection by holding funds until the order received is satisfactory.

Negative Reviews

Many international buyers are frustrated by the Chinese primary language barrier. Navigation, product descriptions, and supplier communication can be difficult without translation tools.

1) Quality Control Is Not Always What You See

Inconsistent product quality is a recurring complaint. Some buyers receive products that don’t match descriptions or pictures. Thorough vetting and requesting samples are crucial.

2) Lead Times Can Drain You

Production and shipping times from China can be longer than expected. Buyers must factor in lead times to avoid stockouts and meet customer demands.

3) Hidden Fees and Minimums Can Bother You

Surprise minimum order values (MOVs) and hidden fees can add unexpected costs. Understanding supplier requirements and carefully reviewing terms before placing orders is essential.

4) Complex Returns and Disputes Can Become A Headache

The return and dispute resolution process can be complex, especially for international buyers. Understanding platform policies and clear communication with suppliers are key.

5) Finding Reliable Suppliers Is Not Easy

Identifying trustworthy suppliers can be overwhelming, with millions of sellers on the platform. Reading reviews, using verification features, and hiring sourcing agents can help reduce risks.

6) Cultural Differences Can Lead to Misunderstanding

Understanding Chinese business practices and cultural norms is crucial. Negotiation styles, communication etiquette, and quality expectations might differ from Western norms.

7) Intellectual Property Concerns Can Be Risky

Be aware of potential intellectual property infringement. There are serious problems. Conducting trademark and copyright checks before placing orders can reduce the risks.

The Final Verdict – What Do We Believe About 1688? offers undeniable advantages. However, navigating the platform requires research, patience, and extra support. Buyers’ reviews help understand the pros and cons of the platform. This way, businesses can make firm decisions about using 1688. 

Overall, a successful experience relies on careful supplier selection and clear communication. Also, managing expectations around lead times and quality control helps.

How to Use As an International Buyer?

How do global buyers use 1688? This part explores shipping and logistics as a foreign buyer in 1688. Here is all that’s needed to use as an international buyer below:

1) Handling Cross-Border Trade

Venturing into cross-border trade on requires understanding legalities and customs procedures. Different countries have varying import regulations and duties. Researching your specific country’s requirements is crucial to avoid delays at customs. 

Knowing import processes helps classify products correctly and determine potential duties or taxes. Many online resources and customs brokerage firms can assist with navigating import regulations.

International payments on can be complex. While the platform offers some cross-border payment solutions, they are limited. Explore alternative payment methods accepted by Chinese suppliers. They include wire transfers or third-party payment processors familiar with international transactions.

Note: Currency exchange rates fluctuate, impacting your final landed cost. Consider using tools to track exchange rates. Also, factor in potential fluctuations when negotiating prices with suppliers.

2) Shipping and Logistics primarily connects buyers with suppliers. Some suppliers might offer direct international shipping. But it is not common. Only a few suppliers provide the service. The alternative is working with freight forwarders to oversee the shipping process.

The forwarders function as intermediaries. They take charge of customs clearance and shipping documentation. These freight forwarders also help consolidate products from multiple suppliers. Choose a freight forwarder with experience in China and your country. This choice streamlines the process.

Shipping costs depend on specifications and urgency. If you want speed, air freight is the best option. However, it can be the most expensive option.

Sea freight is more lucrative, especially for larger shipments. However, you might face longer transit times.

Consolidation can help you combine shipments from multiple suppliers into one package. It can reduce your shipping costs. You can discuss these options with your freight forwarder to lessen your transportation expenses.

Minimizing shipping costs requires careful planning. Negotiating lower prices for larger order quantities can reduce shipping costs. Consolidating shipments also helps reduce shipping costs.

Choosing the correct shipping method depends on your needs. If speed is crucial, air freight might be necessary. However, for non-urgent deliveries, sea freight offers a more cost-effective solution.

Additional Tips for International Buyers to Use 1688

Following this comprehensive approach ensures a smooth import process. Moreover, it minimizes potential risks associated with cross-border trade.

1) Communicate Clearly with Suppliers

Ensure clear communication about packaging and labeling with suppliers. Also, discuss any specific documentation required for customs clearance. International Commercial Terms can help settle shipping costs and risks.

2) Track Shipment

Freight forwarders often offer shipment tracking. Use these tools to monitor your shipment’s progress and arrival times.

3) Plan for Delays

Unexpected delays can occur during international shipping. Factor in potential delays when planning your inventory and production schedules. Consider safety stock levels to mitigate potential stockouts caused by unexpected delays.

4) Insurance

Get cargo insurance for your business. The insurance protects your shipment. This way, you are one step ahead of every possible loss or damage while in transit.

5) Licenses

Some products need import licenses. Research the necessary permits before finalizing your purchase.

Understanding the legalities, payment methods, and shipping and logistics aspects is imperative. You can use 1688. com’s vast product selection.

How to Source Products from Like a Pro?

Successfully using hinges on identifying trustworthy suppliers. It can ensure you secure the best possible deals. Here’s a guide to help international buyers strike winning bargains.

Vet 1688 Suppliers

Find reliable suppliers for your business. This process is the foundation for a smooth sourcing experience. Here’s how to assess the suppliers’ credibility and trustworthiness:

1) Scrutinize Company Information

Dive deep into the supplier’s profile. Look for details like years in operation, product categories offered, and customer reviews. This initial exploration provides a starting point for your evaluation.

2) Utilize Verification Features offers verification features like supplier certifications or on-site inspections. While these don’t guarantee absolute legitimacy, they showcase the supplier’s commitment.

3) Read Online Reviews and Ratings

read reviews of 1688 supplier
read reviews of 1688 supplier

Reviews from previous buyers offer invaluable insights. Look for comments on product quality, communication style, and the supplier’s reliability. These reviews paint a picture of real-world experiences that can guide your decision-making.

4) Start Communication and Inquiry

Don’t hesitate to contact potential suppliers. Ask straightforward questions about their products, production capabilities, and minimum order quantities (MOQs). Assess their responsiveness and professionalism. Clear communication at this early stage reflects well on their ability to collaborate.

5) See Before You Commit

It is crucial to order samples before placing a large order. It allows you to assess product quality to ensure they match descriptions. Sampling is an excellent way to verify the supplier’s claims and avoid disappointments.

6) Third-Party Quality Inspections

Try third-party quality inspection service for high-value orders. The inspections help confirm product quality with agreed-upon specifications. The scrutiny provides peace of mind, especially for critical or complex orders.

7) Request Trade History and References

If possible, request the supplier’s trade history and references. Reaching out to past customers can provide valuable insights. It can reveal potential red flags or confirm positive practices.

8) Factory Audits

For high-value orders or ongoing partnerships, consider arranging a factory audit. It provides a deeper look into the supplier’s production processes and quality control. While not essential for every transaction, factory audits offer a comprehensive assessment.

Negotiate With 1688 Suppliers

Negotiation is essential to getting the best deals. Here are some golden tips to help you hit winning bargains:

1) Clearly Define Your Needs

Understand your product requirements, order quantity, and delivery timeline clearly. Knowing your needs upfront allows you to negotiate with a focused purpose.

2) Check Around for the Best Offer

You don’t have to agree to the first offer. Request quotes from several suppliers. It lets you compare prices, product specifications, and delivery terms. By comparing options, you can identify the supplier that meets your needs.

3) Start with a Lower Price

Negotiation is a dance. Start negotiating with an offer lower than your desired price. It is standard practice. Also, negotiate politely but firmly—aim for a mutually beneficial agreement.

4) Highlight Your Order Volume

Bigger orders felt lower prices. Larger order quantities can lead to lower per-unit prices. Emphasize your order volume during negotiations. It demonstrates your commitment to the supplier. Moreover, it opens the door for potential price reductions.

5) Negotiate Payment Terms

Find a payment flow that works. Discuss payment terms with the supplier. Consider options like partial upfront payment with the rest upon delivery. Negotiating flexible payment terms can improve cash flow and lead to better pricing.

6) Understand Incoterms

Familiarize yourself with Incoterms. They include your and the supplier’s responsibilities for shipping costs and risks. Understanding this agreement avoids potential misunderstandings and transparent negotiations.

7) Leverage Trade Assurance

Use available protections. 1688. com’s Trade Assurance program offers buyer protection for certain transactions. Understand the scope of this protection and use it when applicable. This program adds a layer of security to your transaction.

8) Unexpected Delays

Have a backup plan. Despite best efforts, unexpected delays can occur during international shipping. Factor in potential delays when planning your inventory and production schedules. Consider safety stock levels to mitigate potential stockouts caused by unforeseen circumstances.

9) Language Barrier

Bridge the gap for smooth communication. The primary language barrier of Chinese on can be challenging. Use translation tools. Also, consider dealing with a sourcing agent who is fluent in Mandarin.

10) Payment Methods

Explore options beyond cash! While cash payments might be offered, explore alternative payment methods. Others include wire transfers or third-party payment processors accustomed to international transactions. These methods provide greater security and faster processing times.

11) Consider Ethical Sourcing

Ethical sourcing is an integral aspect of B2B trading. If you stand by them, you can inquire about the suppliers’ ethical measures. Search for suppliers committed to environmentally friendly manufacturing and fair labor practices.

12) Hire Dropshipping Agent

Hiring a sourcing agent is highly recommended, especially when sourcing goods from 1688. A dropshipping agent often has extensive knowledge of 1688’s vast catalog. Thus, he can help you identify the most suitable suppliers for your desired products. Remember, Most 1688 suppliers only operate in the Chinese language. So, agents serve as interpreters.

Follow these tips and conduct thorough due diligence. This way, you can build strong relationships with reliable suppliers on 1688. This approach ensures successful sourcing. It helps secure competitive pricing for high-quality products. 

Moreover, it sets the groundwork for long-term partnerships that benefit both parties. Remember, successful sourcing is beyond simply the cheapest price. It also involves building trust and ensuring a sustainable supply chain for your business.

Final Thoughts! offers a massive product selection, affordable pricing, and access to manufacturers. However, navigating the platform requires research and planning. Also, you might need extra support due to language, cultural differences, and logistics. can be a valuable sourcing platform with high-quality products. It also enables significant cost savings. To succeed, ensure precise supplier selection, clear communication, and manage expectations.

FAQs for 1688 review

Yes. The B2B platform is a legitimate website. The Alibaba Group owns it. However, individual sellers need to evaluate the trustworthiness of suppliers.

Of course not! They aren’t! has more Chinese suppliers. Conversely, focuses on international suppliers.

Yes. But be prepared for language barriers, longer lead times, and complex logistics. However, you can employ a sourcing agent. They can ensure your experience is smooth sailing.

The advantages are affordable pricing and product variety. There is also the possible customization from suppliers. drawbacks are language barriers, quality concerns, and complex shipping. Also, there are potential intellectual property risks.

Related Posts

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
© 2024 Fulfillbot. All rights reserved
Made with by Bebonsourcing