Alibaba Marketplace – Dos and Don’ts of Sourcing from China

Alibaba Marketplace – Dos and Don’ts of Sourcing from China

Alibaba Marketplace – Dos and Don’ts of Sourcing from China

When businesses plan to outsource their product production to China, they approach Alibaba marketplace.

However, it is a vast platform and navigating it can be nerve-wracking for newcomers. To ensure a smooth and successful ordering from Alibaba, it is essential to understand the main dos and don’ts.


1) Cast a wide net

Never limit yourself to the first supplier you find. Alibaba has a massive network of manufacturing and trading companies.

Use search filters, compare product listings, and contact potential partners to evaluate their responsiveness and pricing.

2) Verify

Alibaba offers ‘Verified’ and ‘Gold’ supplier badges, but these are not foolproof gauges for quality. You will have to request licenses, factory certifications and production photos to verify the supplier’s legitimacy.

You can hire third-party services to evaluate the potential supplier for added peace of mind.

3) Ask for samples

Before placing large or bulk orders, it is wise to request a sample. It will allow you to inspect the product’s quality, functionality and adherence to your specifications. It is extremely crucial for complex or detailed products.

4) Communicate clearly

Clear and consistent communication is vital. Outline your project needs carefully, including the materials, dimensions, tolerances, and desired quality standards. Use clear technical drawings and schematics, if necessary.

5) Focus beyond price 

Cost is crucial, but prioritizing quality over price can save you frustration down the line. Partnering with reliable suppliers who prioritize quality will pay off in the long run.

6) Negotiate everything 

On Alibaba, the standard practice is to negotiate prices, terms, lead times, and minimum order quantities [MOQs].

It would be best if you never hesitated to make a counteroffer. Research typical industry pricing to ensure you get a fair deal.

It is wise to hire a sourcing agency in China to boost your product purchasing success and efficiency.

Alibaba only connects buyers and sellers, but a sourcing agency offers personalized help because they work with you closely.


1) Expect to catch the right manufacturer quickly 

Finding the right manufacturer in China on Alibaba is time-consuming. You will find gurus giving mantras on how to get rich quickly on Alibaba.

If it were that easy, they would be the ones with seven figures. So, do your due diligence and keep looking until you feel certain.

2) Try to source branded products

If you try to source Adidas or Nike products from Alibaba, it can be a total disaster. You will receive fake products.

There is zero chance of getting genuine branded products from Alibaba. You will end up wiring cash to scammers even though the photos look like real things; it was photo-shopped, so stay away!

3) Hire new suppliers

Never partner with a new supplier with no proven record, and may run out of business next week. It is wise to work with a supplier who has experience and is recommended by a trustworthy source.

The new supplier also means they are prone to make errors or make promises they are unable to fulfil.


Follow the dos and don’ts to navigate the vast Alibaba network. You can find potential suppliers in China, but procurement agency like Maple Sourcing provides extra value by offering supplier vetting, quality control, negotiation support and more, ultimately leading to a successful sourcing experience.