Top 17 Alibaba Alternatives To Find Wholesale Suppliers

As the world’s largest online business-to-business trading platform, Alibaba has helped many businesses connect with suppliers and customers around the world. But it’s not the only option out there and there are many Alibaba alternatives.

In fact, many Chinese suppliers can not be found on Alibaba and you’re severely limiting your options by relying on Alibaba for all of your product sourcing needs.

For example, every wholesale supplier that we use for our 7 figure online handkerchief store is NOT on Alibaba.

The main benefit of Alibaba is that you can quickly access thousands of suppliers and products with a simple search.

The Alibaba interface is intuitive, easy to use and you can get full audit reports on any factory on the platform.

In addition, Alibaba provides a service called “Trade Assurance” which insures that any transactions made on Alibaba are secure and protected from fraud.

But the main disadvantage of Alibaba is that everyone buys from Alibaba. The best suppliers are often NOT on Alibaba because they already have an established customer base and don’t want to deal with random inquiries.

In addition, Alibaba is flooded with middlemen and trading companies so you have to sort through a sea of suppliers before you find a good one.

To expand your wholesale supplier search, here are 17 Alibaba alternatives that are as good or better.

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Alibaba Alternative #1: Global Sources

GlobalSources.com is a leading online Chinese supplier directory that connects buyers with suppliers all over the world.

With over 1.5 million suppliers, Global Sources is considered one of Alibaba’s main competitors that specializes in electronics and accessories.

Overall, the suppliers on Global Sources tend to be more established and higher quality than Alibaba. As a result, the minimum order quantities will often be higher.

In addition to their supplier directory, Global Sources also offers a wide range of value-added services, such as product sourcing, market research, and logistics, to help buyers get the most out of their sourcing experience.

Twice a year, they also run the Global Sources Summit which is one of the best sourcing tradeshows in the world next to the Canton Fair.

Global Sources Pros

  • 2nd largest supplier directory next to Alibaba
  • Quick and easy way to find suppliers online
  • Higher quality suppliers compared to Alibaba
  • Better suppliers for electronics than Alibaba
  • Global Sources holds their own supplier tradeshow in Hong Kong
  • Global Sources Summit conference is a must attend

Global Sources Cons

  • Minimum order quantities are higher than Alibaba on average
  • Global Sources is smaller than Alibaba

Alibaba Alternative #2: Canton Fair

canton fair

The Canton Fair, held in Guangzhou, China, is one of the largest trade shows in the world for businesses looking to source products from China.

The fair is split into three phases, with each phase featuring a different range of products. Phase 1 is electronics and machinery, phase 2 is building materials and home furnishings, and phase 3 is gifts and toys.

Going to the Canton Fair is my favorite way to find China wholesale suppliers because…

  • You can touch and see actual product samples
  • You can meet the factories face to face
  • You can find factories not on Alibaba
  • You will work with real factories and not middlemen

The Canton Fair attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world, and is a great opportunity to see the latest products and trends from China.

It’s also an excellent way to meet potential suppliers and manufacturers directly and negotiate deals.

Canton Fair Pros

  • Meet hundreds of factories in the span of a week
  • See and touch actual product samples
  • Find factories not on Alibaba
  • Negotiate and close deals on the spot

Canton Fair Cons

  • Must travel to China
  • Hotel and airfare can be expensive

Alibaba Alternative #3: Import Database

Jungle Scout

Every sea shipment into the United States is documented on the US import records and you can browse these records to find out the exact factories that any company uses.

The Jungle Scout Supplier Database is a tool that allows you search the import records to see…

  • What any company is importing into the US and in what quantities.
  • The exact factories that are being used.
  • How often any company imports by sea.

Here’s a demo of how to use Jungle Scout to find the suppliers that your competition is using.

Click here to sign up for Jungle Scout and save 30%

Import Database Pros

  • Easy to find your competitor’s factories
  • Can approximate the sales volume for any company
  • Can get product ideas by seeing what other companies are importing

Import Database Cons

  • Tools to access the database cost money
  • Factories may not be willing to work with you
  • Companies can hide their information from the public record

Alibaba Alternative #4: China Sourcing Agent

China Sourcing Agent

A China sourcing agent is a consultant that connects you with factories in China to produce your products. They typically live in China and help you locate manufacturers that can not be found on Alibaba.

A good China sourcing agent will have a strong network of trusted factories, freight forwarders and inspection companies to make your product sourcing experience simple and easy.

For example, they will…

  • Pre-screen factories for quality
  • Negotiate on your behalf
  • Communicate with factories in fluent Chinese
  • Help with quality control
  • Find low cost freight forwarders to deliver your products.

Depending on the agent or service, a China sourcing agent typically charges 5% of your cost of goods.

China Sourcing Agent Pros

  • Find pre-vetted companies without doing any work
  • Find factories not on Alibaba
  • Negotiate better pricing
  • Have a trusted person on the ground in China

China Sourcing Agent Cons

  • Costs money
  • You can not bypass the agent and work with the factory directly
  • Possible backdoor deals between the agent and factory

Alibaba Alternative #5: Made-in-China

Made in China

Made-In-China.com is an online directory that connects Chinese manufacturers and suppliers with international buyers. The Made In China site offers a wide range of products, from electronics and machinery to clothing and home décor.

Buyers can browse through a huge catalog of over 40 million products, request quotes, and place orders directly with suppliers. Made In China also offers a number of value-added services, such as quality control and logistics assistance.

Compared to Alibaba and Global Sources, Made In China is the 3rd largest B2B platform in China. However, they offer more industrial and construction based products than any other supplier directory.

All of the suppliers on Made In China are verified for quality and you can view a full supplier audit report to get more information about every vendor.

Made In China Pros

  • 3rd largest supplier directory next to Alibaba
  • Quick and easy way to find suppliers online
  • Largest directory of industrial and construction based suppliers in the China

Made In China Cons

  • Made In China is smaller than Alibaba
  • Made In China suppliers tend to be more expensive than Alibaba

Alibaba Alternative #6: ThomasNet

ThomasNet

ThomasNet is an online resource for finding and connecting with manufacturers and suppliers in the United States.

Their website includes a search engine that allows users to search for specific products and services, as well as a directory of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors.

ThomasNet also includes a forum where users can ask questions and share information about their experiences with various suppliers.

To find suppliers on ThomasNet, simply enter your product into the search bar. You can search by keyword, product type, or company name. You can also narrow your results by location, industry, or certified suppliers.

Overall, ThomasNet is a great way to find factories in the US.

ThomasNet Pros

  • Easily find factories in the United States
  • Interact with other sellers on the forum
  • Fast turnaround times with US suppliers
  • No language barrier

ThomasNet Cons

  • Prices are more expensive than China
  • ThomasNet is significantly smaller than Alibaba

Alibaba Alternative #7: AliExpress

What Is AliExpress

AliExpress is an online marketplace owned by the Alibaba Group that sells Chinese products direct to consumers all over the world.

AliExpress is known as the Ebay of China and offers a huge variety of products at extremely low prices.

There are no minimum order quantities and you can use AliExpress products to quickly test products for sale in your online store.

The main downside of AliExpress is that you won’t find factories and wholesale suppliers on the AliExpress marketplace. Unlike Alibaba, AliExpress caters to retail buyers and consumers so there are very few manufacturers on the platform.

However, many online store owners dropship from AliExpress because their prices are significantly lower than the US and EU.

For more information, read this post on Alibaba vs AliExpress.

AliExpress Pros

  • No minimum order quantities on products
  • Buyer protection program insures all purchases
  • Great for dropshipping
  • Huge variety of products to choose from
  • Cheap shipping

AliExpress Cons

Alibaba Alternative #8: DHGate

DHGate

DHate is an online marketplace that connects Chinese manufacturers and wholesalers with buyers from around the world. Dhgate offers a wide range of products, including electronics, clothing, shoes, and more.

Unlike Alibaba, the majority of sellers on DHGate are individual businesses and not factories. As a result, DHGate is not good for finding private label suppliers.

However, DHGate is a great place to source a variety of products at low minimum order quantities to test the market.

DHGate Pros

  • Low minimum order quantities on products
  • Buyer protection program insures all purchases
  • End to end tracking for shipments
  • Large variety of products

DHGate Cons

  • Quality control is poor
  • Merchandise is cheap

Alibaba Alternative #9: TradeKey

TradeKey

Tradekey is a business-to-business marketplace that connects Chinese companies with international buyers and suppliers.

Founded in 2006, TradeKey has over 9.6 million members from 225 countries. They offer a suite of tools and services to help businesses find and connect with international buyers and suppliers, including product and company directories, trade leads, and a secure messaging system.

They also offer a range of value-added services, such as market research, trade show promotion, and web design and development.

TradeKey Pros

  • Quick and easy way to find suppliers online
  • Large directory of Chinese sellers

TradeKey Cons

  • TradeKey is significantly smaller than Alibaba
  • TradeKey’s website looks like it was designed in the 90’s

Alibaba Alternative #10: EC21

EC21

EC21 is a leading global B2B marketplace connecting buyers with suppliers all over the world with over 2.5 million registered users from 190 countries.

They offer a wide range of product categories including chemicals, electronics, food & beverages, health & beauty, minerals & metallurgy, and packaging & paper.

On the EC21 website, you can post trade leads, buying requests, and view supplier company profiles.

Buyers can find products by using the search bar, browsing through product categories, or by creating a “buyer request”. You can also find suppliers by searching through the supplier directory or attending one of EC21’s many trade shows.

EC21 is open to all companies looking for suppliers and the website is free to use.

EC21 Pros

  • Quick and easy way to find suppliers online
  • Large directory of Chinese sellers
  • Can post buying requests and have sellers respond

EC21 Cons

  • EC21 is significantly smaller than Alibaba
  • No vetting process for sellers

Alibaba Alternative #11: Yiwugo

Yiwugo

Yiwugo is the official supplier directory of the Yiwu market, the world’s largest small commodities market, located in Yiwu, Zhejiang, China.

More than 1.8 million different products are sold in the Yiwu market which is divided into five districts with over 10,000 shops generating over $5M in transactions per day.

The Yiwu market was established in the 1980s, and has become a major hub for small commodity trade in China. It is a major destination for domestic and foreign buyers, and is known for its low prices and wide variety of goods.

The market is open all year round, and is busiest during the Chinese New Year and Autumn Fair periods.

Yiwugo specializes in jewelry, toys, clothing, shoes, bags and other products that carry a low dollar value (Think Dollar Store) . The minimum order quantity is low at ~10 pieces and you are responsible for shipping and negotiating with suppliers.

Yiwu Pros

  • Quick and easy way to find suppliers online
  • Directory of 10,000+ Chinese sellers

Yiwu Cons

  • Yiwu is significantly smaller than Alibaba
  • No vetting process for sellers
  • Products are cheap and poor quality
  • Small variety of products

Alibaba Alternative #12: 1688.com

1688

1688.com is an online supplier directory owned by the Alibaba Group that caters to Chinese businesses. In fact, 1688.com is nearly identical to Alibaba.com, but targeted towards Chinese customers.

The site offers a wide range of products, including electronics, machinery, apparel, and more. Everything on 1688.com is in Chinese so you’ll need the help of a translator or Google Translate to understand the website.

Overall, 1688.com is a clone of Alibaba except in Chinese and you’ll find many of the same products and suppliers on the platform. But be careful when using 1688.com because the standards of quality are lower in China compared to the US and EU.

Many suppliers on 1688.com are also not accustomed to exporting products to foreign countries.

1688.com Pros

  • Quick and easy way to find suppliers online
  • Huge directory of Chinese sellers
  • Lower prices than Alibaba

1688.com Cons

  • Website is in Chinese
  • Products are lower quality
  • Suppliers not used to exporting to the US

Alibaba Alternative #13: Chinabrands

Chinabrands

Chinabrands is a leading global drop shipping supplier from China and a light bulk wholesaler for businesses of all sizes.

Chinabrands sources its products from a network of reliable suppliers and employs a team of professional buyers who negotiate the best possible prices.

Because Chinabrands is a dropshipper, they ship merchandise directly to your end customers with your logo which means you don’t have to invest in stock.

Overall, Chinabrands offers over a million products across different categories which include apparel, jewelry, home goods and auto parts.

Chinabrands Pros

  • No minimum order quantities on products
  • Best Chinese supplier for dropshipping
  • Large variety of products
  • Cheap shipping
  • Some products can be customized

Chinabrands Cons

  • Shipping from China is slow
  • Merchandise is unbranded and can be poor quality

Alibaba Alternative #14: Chinavasion

Chinavasion

Chinavasion is a wholesale marketplace that specializes in selling Chinese-made electronics and other consumer goods to international markets.

The company was founded in 2004 with the goal of providing quality goods at competitive prices, and today it offers a wide range of electronic products such as cell phones, tablets, computer accessories, home appliances, and more.

Products can be purchased directly from the Chinavasion website and there is no minimum order. They also carry famous Chinese brands like Huawei and Xiaomi.

Chinavasion Pros

  • No minimum order quantities
  • Large variety of electronic products with real Chinese brands
  • 1 year warranty on products

Chinavasion Cons

  • Shipping is expensive
  • Quality can be poor

Alibaba Alternative #15: Banggood

Banggood

Banggood is an online wholesale supplier that offers a wide variety of gadgets and electronics at competitive prices.

Unlike Alibaba and AliExpress, there are no 3rd party sellers on their platform. Instead, Banggood does all of their own product sourcing and quality control in house.

As a result, the electronics on Banggood tend to be of higher quality than other marketplaces.

Banggood Pros

  • No minimum order quantities
  • Large variety of electronic products
  • Products are higher quality than other Chinese vendors
  • 30 day refund policy

Banggood Cons

  • Shipping is slow and expensive

Alibaba Alternative #16: Gearbest

Gearbest

Gearbest is a Chinese wholesale supplier that specializes in selling electronics, appliances and gadgets.

On their website, you’ll find a wide range of products, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other electronics.

But unlike Alibaba, you’ll find name brand electronic merchandise from top Asian companies like Samsung, Lenovo, Xiaomi and Huawei.

Gearbest Pros

  • No minimum order quantities
  • Large variety of electronic products
  • Name brand electronic merchandise

Gearbest Cons

  • Shipping is slow
  • Poor customer service

Alibaba Alternative #17: Google

google

There are a few different ways that you can find suppliers by using Google.

The simplest way is to type in what you are looking for into the search engine followed by the word “supplier” or “private label”.

For example, if you need a supplier for your restaurant, you can type in “restaurant supplier” or “food supplier.” This should give you a good starting point for your search.

To further refine your search, you’ll want to click on the “Advanced search” link at the bottom of the main Google search page. This will allow you to search for websites that are specifically related to your topic.

For example, you can search for websites that are about “suppliers” or “restaurants.”

Most factories on Google have poor outdated websites so the best way to make contact is through email, phone or chat.

Google Pros

  • Quickly find suppliers all over the world
  • Some suppliers may not be on Alibaba

Google Cons

  • Most factories do not have a website
  • Suppliers on Google are not vetted in any way

There’s More Out There Than Alibaba

While Alibaba is a great place to source products for sale, it’s not the only place to look. And in many cases, it’s not even the best place.

The biggest downside of using Alibaba is that everyone uses Alibaba.

By going down the road less traveled and using the sourcing methods in this post, you can find suppliers that no one else is using which will give you a competitive advantage.

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About Steve Chou

Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com

His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times,  Entrepreneur and MSNBC.  

He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.

In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts

To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.  

Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses. 

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