’s AliExpress Review, Buyers Tread With Caution

Author xlxmarketing 21.8.2009. | 21:50


Alibaba’s latest China wholesale ecommerce experiment, AliExpress has started on its plans for world domination global expansion on Monday, quietly launching AliExpress – Alibaba’s first entry into the world of ecommerce portals.

While we will talk about buying on Alibaba and how to spot the scammers let’s just take a look at the background behind

Alibaba is perhaps one of the biggest web entities based in China. Alibaba brought in US$440 million revenue last year and claims to have 32 million users on and 8.2 million users on

However, it’s global users that bring in the money, US$84 million in the last quarter, 63% of its earnings.

This perhaps is the reason that the company has started to look offshore a little more for its money.

So far it has pumped US$30 million into international advertising and another US$200 million into global acquisitions.

And while Alibaba is seen as China’s biggest B2B portal it is really an advertising space, no deals actually go on within Alibaba it is all done outside via email or on smaller vendor’s websites.

This is where AliExpress comes in.

In AliExpress, Alibaba holds the payment for the customer in its Escrow Alipay system and only pays the supplier once the item has been delivered.

You can read more of this story here:

This is aimed more at the small to medium retailers sourcing from who may have been scared off by the chance of not receiving their merchandise.

Further evidence of this is in the $10,000 per order credit limit placed on buyers.

So, essentially, AliExpress is the development of a fully working ecommerce website set up on the same domain the main business of advertising takes place.

According to our PR guru, Rose Li, it’s a move that takes a lot of courage:

“AliExpress is an example of a large public-listed company fearlessly diversifying into unfamiliar waters,” said Rose Li.

So while Alibaba’s investors watch on in baited breath what opportunities does this open up for small ecommerce operators and eBay resellers?

While some may look on this development as a great new sourcing opportunity the reality may not be so rosy.

It is true that the use of the Escrow-based Alipay system to manage payments between suppliers and customers may prevent the non delivery of goods — a big concern of smaller customers — but there are problems that it won’t solve.

Problems To Watch Out For

These problems are likely to include:

  • The replacement of items ordered with ‘like’ items (products that are similar to the original specifications but not may not be exact)
  • Differences in perception over acceptable shipping times
  • A lack of quality control carried out on products

This is largely because vendors will still be dealing with the same suppliers they have had problems with in the past. It’s just that the suppliers wont be getting the money until something is in the customers’ hands.

“Will buyers get what they want from AliExpress? Each supplier you find in AliExpress will have their own concepts of acceptable quality and speed. Since the goods are neither sold nor shipped by Alibaba themselves, the burden will still fall to the buyer,” said Rose Li.

“Alibaba will need to provide AliExpress buyers with strong buyer guarantees.”

So with that in mind any potential buyers will have to go into AliExpress with both eyes open and examine any potential vendors carefully.

Dropshippers should be extra vigilant.

These are the top 5 warning signs you should be wary of when examining their site and sending a test email.

Warning Sign 1, They Offer Everything From Baby Shoes To Butt/Bum Massagers

If you go to the seller’s profile page and they have a wide range of products on offer then there is a good chance that you’re dealing with a trading company and won’t get the best deals.

Warning Sign 2, They Don’t Answer, Or Are Slow To Answer Your Pre-Sale Contact

If they don’t answer your questions when you haven’t bought anything imagine how bad it’s going to be when you’ve bought something and are actually trying to solve a problem.

Warning Sign 3, They Are Located In Fujian

While it would be incorrect to say that suppliers from that region are all crooks and thieves it is safe to say that many people who have tried to source from there have come away with a bad taste in their mouths.

Warning Sign 4, They Don’t Use The Same Name Or They Use A Name Without A Location

Chinese companies almost always have a city attached to them and so ones that don’t have one in the title should be treated with a great deal of caution.


  • Back Alley Airfreight (Shanghai) Co LTD tick
  • Back Alley Airfreight Co LTD cross

Even if a location is in the name you still aren’t in the clear. Check their:

  • Alibaba contact address
  • Alibaba showroom name
  • website/email name
  • Proforma Invoice (if you’re getting a price quote)
  • Logo and marketing material

If the same name doesn’t appear twice, walk away.

And, if after contacting them, somebody gets back to you with an email address like mrwang82882882888888, asking you to contact him on his personal mobile or msn… Run.

Warning Sign 5, They Claim To Sell Brand-Name Products

The only way you are going to get brand name products is if you pay brand name prices and go through a few select channels.

It is very unlikely that a small player on AliExpress is likely to have the Apple iPhone or Nintendo Wii you need.

And if they are blatantly ignoring copyright even their non-counterfeit products must be called into question.

Even if warning lights don’t go up over those five things it is still worth going online to review sites and wholesale forums and seeing if anybody has dealt with them in the past before.

So is the launch of AliExpress an opportunity an exciting development in ecommerce in China?

You bet

Is it a fantastic new development that is going to open access to the world of China manufacturing to small and medium sized ecommerce operators?

Quite possibly not. But if you’re going to take the plunge keep both eyes open when you jump.

And don’t forget to check back with the China wholesale products available on Chinavasion so you have a true benchmark of low priced, high quality goods shipped to you in lightening fast time.

Author xlxmarketing 21.8.2009. | 21:50
Write a comment


  1. Jack April 22, 01:03

    Good review on AliExpress, it’s almost identical to DHgate.

  2. John July 8, 15:06

    I wish to warn as many people as possible of the risk of dealing with companies listed on
    Alibaba cannot be trusted, they list bogus companies who offer goods at very low prices, accept payment via TT and do not send the goods. Alibaba is no better than these companies as it makes money from their dishonest activities and lists many of them as Gold Suppliers implying that they are honest traders.
    Alibaba will not help people who have been robbed in the recovery of their money and will not take any responsibility for the loss.
    Please avoid Alibaba and the companies they list. I am speaking from experience; I lost a large sum of money dealing with a Gold Supplier who proved to be a fraud.

  3. MB July 31, 04:14

    If you only pay with paypal, you shouldn’t have a problem.

  4. Angela August 18, 10:14

    I haven’t had any problems so far, but I’m thankfu for the good
    advice. I always use paypal and nothing else.

  5. Kim September 8, 10:38

    I buy from companies on alibaba all the time and have never had a problem. Also, when I purchase something it always under $100.00 that way if I don’t get the mdse I won’t be upset.

  6. Marinus December 30, 02:57

    I also had 2 bad experiences with members of Alibaba. After payment the guys vanished from the web.
    So be carefull and only pay with paypal.

  7. John March 24, 08:43

    I have had nothing but terrible service from Aliexpress who are still telling me they are waiting on evidence from a supplier after I had initially started a dispute about 4-5 months ago. I didn’t receive an order I paid for. They don’t read emails or aren’t interested in me as a customer. Avoid them at all cost. John.

  8. rachael June 6, 05:26

    I agree with John. Aliexpress don’t care whether or not you get your order, or what state it is in. they are still telling me, too, that they are waiting on evidence from a supplier after i started a dispute. All they need have done is check the tracking. It has now been 7 months, and nothing. No refund, no contact, no apologies. I am a single parent, and cannot afford the loss, no matter how large or small.

  9. Jo July 19, 01:56

    I’m worried now, I have just had an excellent transaction via Ali Express, 2 in fact both with differing companies, both went very smoothly and I am really pleased with the products (scarves and jewellery) obviously I checked their feedback first before ordering. However after reading the reviews on this and other sites I am reluctant to order again. One seller (Shanghai Yu Zhi Li Trading Company) has got terrible reviews online yet my transaction was perfect. They have sent me a slip with my order advising me to order direct from their website as they won’t have to pay the fees but I’m not daft enough to do that. I paid via Paypal to be on the safe side and have had no problems.

  10. milford polk August 19, 13:46

    i am trying to start my own business and i was thinking about using ALI express,now i am not so sure about that after reading about these scams.can anyone please tell me about these distributors:Xiaolong-JIA or SHENG YANGS store. i am trying t sell all sorts of electronics and i dont want to get screwed & i dont want my clients to get screwed either. also is there anyone out there that can be trusted to do business with?

  11. xlxmarketing Author August 25, 18:00

    Hi Milford,
    We have no idea of either of the two suppliers you’ve mentioned above. But one thing you can be 100% sure is that you got us. You can trust us as your readily source.

    Let us know if you need any further help.

  12. Andy August 28, 10:11

    We got ripped off using Ali Express, buyer be ware

  13. EC September 6, 13:09

    DO NOT ORDER FROM or 2009SHIVERS or mian0202 or hello_faucet or besthome2008 or on ebay
    Own by DAI WEN MIAN
    Dacheng Building A#202,Baotian,Tangxia Town
    Ruian City,Zhejiang Porvince,325202
    I purchased a 20″ Stainless Steel square LED rain shower head from Mr. Wen Mian Dai or or 2009SHIVERS or mian0202 or hello_faucet or besthome2008 or on ebay. It broke after less than a year and he refused to honor the two years warranty on his product. Avoid doing business with this company with many names but same owner Dai Wen Mian

  14. ken October 19, 21:04

    I thought i would be ok paying by t/t because it has a paper trail…it didnt make any differance the scammers pointe coupee metals exchange closed the web site and did a runner now i have the F.B.I and local police chasing them.
    If they are convicted the will do 20 years for international fraud

  15. jane wangechi gichohi August 31, 03:43

    Ooh please let know one risk their hard earned cash , i lost my money to shoppingmic technology co. ltd listed on aliexpress, where i sent money through western union to a MR. JUSTIN LEI, for 7 months i have not received the items i bought, phones off, site dead email dumb with no response and i curse them to hell with their descendants for screwing my hard earned cash!

  16. chartchecker October 23, 11:03

    Under no circumstances should you buy from AliExpress. They say they have buyer protection, but both the seller (in my case Candy chi) and AliExpress will make you jump through hoops and still not refund you. I was sent a different item than what I ordered. The seller would not refund and wanted me to pay to ship the item back to them! I filed a dispute with AliExpress, but that is just more of the same communication with the seller. Finally, I was able to file a claim with AliExpress, but they denied it, asking for evidence of the wrong item that I received even though the seller was not disputing that she sent the wrong item. In fact, she admitted it over and over again in our dispute. If you think you can always go through buyer protection when something isn’t right, think again. AliExpress will not refund you. I do hope that everyone who has had a bad experience with this website to contact the Better Business Bureau as they have a listed an address in Delaware. Perhaps we can ensure this company is eventually put out of business. Worst online experience ever!

  17. Charbel February 20, 14:20

    Ali express is just a site that a bunch of fraudsters use but do there crimes with the help of their government. With absolute anonymity they completely dupe the customers advertising one thing and sending you something totally different I ADVISE YOU TO SHOP SOMEWHERE ELSE so you won’t be so disappointed save your money and run from this site

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