Products on 1688 and TaoBao are priced cheaper than they are on AliExpress and even Alibaba.
This has resulted into many dropshippers trying to figure out methods to dropship from 1688 or TaoBao.
I’m here to tell you why I think that’s not a good idea.
At the very least, I don’t think it’s a good idea to attempt to dropship from 1688 and treat it exactly like you would AliExpress.
Dropshipping from 1688 is very different from AliExpress dropshipping.
Anyone can easily dropship from AliExpress, 1688 on the other hand brings a lot of complications with it.
Therefore I don’t think anyone should attempt it without the use of a dropshipping agent.
Disadvantages of Dropshipping from 1688 or TaoBao
#1 Major Language Issues
Both 1688 and TaoBao are completely in Chinese. The only way you can navigate their website is by using google translate.
This differs massively from platforms such as AliExpress which come with full English support.
On top of that, sellers most likely won’t speak English since they are used to providing services to the Chinese market and not the international market like AliExpress and Alibaba.
#2 Shipping Issues
The biggest problem you’ll encounter when dropshipping from 1688/TaoBao is shipping and lack thereof.
1688/TaoBao sellers are used to the local Chinese markets and thus are only used or capable of shipping within China.
These sellers have no little to no clue how to ship to EU/US countries and you’ll likely run into serious issues (such as customs) and delays.
#3 Payment Issues
1688 and TaoBao only accept AliPay as a payment method.
In order to setup AliPay, you will need a Chinese bank account (at least to verify your account).
Why 1688 dropshipping is Not Worth it
Clearly, quite a bit of hassle comes with dropshipping from 1688 or TaoBao.
And you have to ask yourself: is it worth it?
Am I going to take all these risks and go through all this trouble just to get cheaper products sent to my end customer?
I for sure wouldn’t.
Now this doesn’t mean I would write 1688 dropshipping off completely.
You can still dropship from 1688 just fine, by using a dropshipping agent in China.
This agent will take care of everything for you and lift all the hassle from your shoulders.
But the thing is, good dropshipping agents won’t work with you unless you actually have 20-30 consistent daily orders.
And that’s really what you need when you’re even considering dropshipping from 1688.
Please don’t go looking for complicated solutions if you aren’t successful at dropshipping yet.
You’ll only complicate the process and delay your success by doing this.
Sourcing cheaper products or a dropshipping agent won’t solve your problems.
I really don’t recommend 1688 dropshipping unless you have vast dropshipping experience and access to a dropshipping agent.
To anyone else, 1688 dropshipping is simply not worth it.
Without an agent you’ll run into many problems such as communication issues, shipping issues, payment issues, product issues, and more.
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Is 1688 dropshipping Cheaper than AliExpress?
Yes products on 1688 are cheaper than they are on AliExpress. But communicating with and using 1688 sellers is a lot harder than using AliExpress sellers for dropshipping.
How Can I Get a 1688 Dropshipping Agent?
You can find 1688 agents in Dropshipping Facebook groups, on forums, on AliExpress, or on UpWork. More info on how to get a 1688 dropshipping agent.
Is 1688 Reliable?
Yes, 1688 is a reliable platform. They are owned by the Alibaba group, one of the biggest e-commerce brands in the world that also owns AliExpress, Taobao, and Alibaba.
How Can I Import 1688 Products to Shopify?
Both Shopmaster and Importify are free apps that can be used to import products from 1688 to Shopify.
CJDropshipping can be used for this as well, but you will have to request sourcing for each individual product.
How to Translate 1688.com to English
You can translate the 1688 webpage by right-clicking anywhere on the page and selecting “translate to English”.