Alibaba Group Holding Limited is a Chinese multinational e-commerce, retail, internet, AI, and technology conglomerate. It was initially started off as a business-to-business business portal as early as 1999 but has now become one of the biggest names in e-commerce, retail, and other technologies.
However, this business portal has risen to be one of the most valuable and biggest companies in the world. As of January 2018, Alibaba’s market cap stood at US$527 billion. Furthermore, it stands as the leading business-to-business and Customer-to-Customer online marketplace for importing products/materials from China today.
Alibaba is one of the world’s largest Internet companies with operations in over 200 countries. In December 1999, Jack Ma and 17 other founders released their first online marketplace, named “Alibaba Online“. That was the birth of Alibaba.com.
However, as you would expect in a big market area, where there are millions of products and thousands of sellers, it does have a few danger and risks that newer buyers need to be aware of. These few guilds will sure be of great value to you if you haven’t shopped on Alibaba for the first time.
Considerations While Shopping On Alibaba
Effectiveness ( 5 / 5)
I’d give five stars for their effectiveness. The very fact that there are no limitations on the categories of products that can be listed is more enticing. If it can be found under the sun, then Alibaba is definitely the place to get it. With a beginner-friendly interface, sourcing is made easy. Where one can drop a request for any product which allows suppliers to bid with competitive quotes.
Communication ( 3 / 5 )
I would not give all credit to Alibaba on communications. Most of the suppliers on Alibaba are fluent in Chinese and Mandarin. However, when it comes to English, they can only manage basic communications.
Support ( 3 / 5 )
For a business portal as big as Alibaba, is a little slow in communications and support. The customer service reps will obviously respond to your queries, but it is not often swift. It does take a little long. Nevertheless, resolutions are always met and the portal has a good customer service rating among users.
Customer Protection ( 3 / 5 )
Though there is there’s Trade Assurance service on the platform. A platform that protects the buyers from fraudsters. But however, it’s not 100% as safe as you think. Alibaba has a trade assurance service which is aimed to protect buyers from scam and fraudsters. However, despite the best attempts, it still isn’t foolproof. So when dealing with a new seller on Alibaba, always cross your T’s and dot your I’s.
Positives And Negatives Of Alibaba
Alibaba, having been active over the past decade. Many deals have been seen fall through, sellers have been seen disappear and also low-quality products being shipped.
Here are what we can take out as the positives and negatives.
- Alibaba is massive and you will find almost every Chinese manufactured product on it. Currently, it is impossible to find another single online resource this big, for sourcing products from China.
- It is very effective that even a novice can use it effectively without much or any problem at all.
- The user interface and buyer/seller tools are top notches. You are provided with a personalized web-mail, an integrated search engine, a dedicated Trade Manager and Ali Pay, which makes receiving and sending payments swift.
- Sellers can promote and market their products on the portal easily with the built-in promotional tools.
- You might end up with a low-quality product unless you are sure about dealing with the seller.
- Although most sellers offer free shipping, it can take a month or more for the product to reach you.
- International businessmen often find it difficult to bridge the communication barrier.
- The cultural differences in China and say, the west, are stark. This extends to their business practices, which may at times, pose a hindrance to a potential business deal.