DHgate or Alibaba? Which One Works Better for You?

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Most people might think about Alibaba only, when it comes to B2B purchases, however DHgate has been gaining lots of momentum as well in recent years. They now prove to be a worthy competitor to Alibaba due to their multitude of flexible offers and incredible features. Are you about to buy goods from e-commerce sites such as Alibaba or DHgate? If so, this article is very helpful to you. Reading through the following paragraphs, we will go into depths and details in order to compare the two B2B giants. This extensive comparison will aid you in deciding which one will be a better fit for your needs and your business. We will show key differences such as payment methods, additional features, flexibility and overall advantages and disadvantages.

DHgate vs Alibaba What Makes Them Important?

Before we go into further details, it is always useful to take a look at how these companies were established. The following quick section will offer you a window into both DHgate and Alibaba’s origins. We will look at how long they have been around, how large they are and what their best selling products are. This will help you understand their significance better.

The History of DHgate and Alibaba

DHgate was established 18 years ago in Beijing by its founder, Diane Wang. Since its start it has, by now, grown to become one of the world’s largest and most dominant services and goods providers. Interesting trivia is that the two letters in its name, DH, refer to the city of Dunhuang city, which was a significant point in the Silk Road. The website too, refers to itself as an online Silk Road. Rightfully so, because the e-commerce giant offers absolutely everything you can think of and more. 

The other giant, Alibaba is enjoying wider recognition and most people think about this place first when it comes to e-commerce. This might be because of the slightly longer history the company has. Founded in 1999 in Hangzhou, China, this world-wide provider of goods also conducts large volumes of B2B sales. Alibaba is absolutely vast. Having millions of suppliers and visitors yearly, this platform has been truly dominating e-commerce for many years. One of its noteworthy features is that they provide secure and traceable payment methods that ensure security among both its sellers and buyers.

Comparing Types of Products Provided

The following section is focusing on the most popular and in-demand items that Alibaba and DHgate sell globally. Of course it would be quite the challenge to list everything they have for sale. Therefore we have decided to pick some of the absolute top sellers from their respective lists:


  • Food & Beverage
  • Games & Accessories
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home & Garden
  • Household Appliances
  • Jewelry
  • Musical Instruments
  • Baby, Kids & Maternity
  • Fashion Accessories
  • Bags & Accessories
  • Bags, Shoes & Accs
  • Cameras & Photo
  • Cell Phones & Accessories
  • Computers & Networking
  • Customized Bags
  • Lights & Lighting
  • Electronics


  • Medical Equipment
  • Agriculture & Food
  • Auto & Transportation
  • Apparel
  • Home, Lights & Construction
  • Machinery, Industrial Parts & Tools
  • Chemicals, Rubber & Plastics
  • Advertising 
  • Office products
  • Textiles & Accessories
  • Bags, Shoes & Accessories
  • Health & Beauty
  • Electronics, Electrical Equipment
  • Components & Telecoms
  • Gifts, Sports & Toys
  • Health & Beauty

Comparing Communication Methods

When you decide to purchase large volumes of goods online from one of these two sellers, it is key to initiate and maintain constant and efficient communication. Both e-commerce platforms have been improving their communication methods throughout the past years. However you may find that you prefer one over the other based on your location, time difference and even how much time you can spare talking with them. Here are the key features Alibaba and DHgate offer as for communication methods.

DHgate doesn’t possess a large variety of methods. You are able to maintain communication by starting a chat via their online channels or simply just via emailing their customer service assistants. As for security, these good old methods are totally safe. Using simply your business email should do the job. Alibaba however, offers four types of communication methods. You can use the “Chat Now”, “start order”, “get latest price” or “contact supplier” options.

Types of Suppliers

As indicated above, both companies possess an incredible amount of suppliers. Though they are not equal. While DHgate has over 2.4 million suppliers, Alibaba has over 3 million. Their respective suppliers can be divided to small, mid and large-scale suppliers. When ordering also take into consideration prices versus quality. Large scale providers might charge you more, but you can also order much larger quantities and feel secure about guaranteed high-quality. As opposed to this, low scale suppliers tend to provide you with lower-quality products. However if you are on a budget and/  or if you operate a smaller store and simply do not need a certain quantity, this might be a better fit for you to begin with.

Comparing Customer Protection Services

Yet another aspect worthy of discussing is how each platform makes sure their customers are protected when it comes to sales and purchases both. These are crucial protocols as they will ensure clients of the e-commerce companies about not getting scammed.
DHgate offers a certain buyer protection plan. This will ensure your safety upon purchasing any goods and will guarantee the tracking and safeguarding of your money. Depending on the exact scenario, incase of something going wrong, you will be entitled to partial or full refunds.

Alibaba provides great protection plans for its buyers as well. They have created well-known trade assurance programmes. These are designed to ensure and strengthen buyer protection. The method consists of Alibaba holding the paid out money in escrow until you, the buyer, is satisfied with the received product and then with the verification button pressed, you allow the payments to be released. The method is now widely used in many business operations such as Airbnb, GoMore and so on.

Additional Features of DHgate and Alibaba

We all enjoy being rewarded with additional features and perks for choosing one provider or another. Both Alibaba and DHgate offer special extras that might help you make your decision about which one to go with.

DHgate’s special offers:

  • Discounts & Coupons
  • Available In Many Languages
  • Dropshipping
  • Convert Prices Into Your Home Currency

Alibaba’s special offers:

  • Free Inspection 
  • Information About Trade Shows
  • One Request, Multiple Quotes Option
  • Sellers’s Discounts/Coupons
  • Ready To Ship Products

DHgate and Alibaba Pros and Cons Lists

In order to make it even easier for you to choose, in the following section we are going to break down major pros and cons to both DHgate and Alibaba. This will show you a clear image of their respective advantages and disadvantages. Based on this list you will be able to determine what suits your business and your demands best.

DHgate Pros & Cons


  • Discounts for New Clients
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Relatively Quick Replies 
  • High Quality For the Cost of Products


  • Replica Products
  • Limited Products

Alibaba Pros & Cons


  • Large Selection Of Products
  • Discounts & Coupons
  • Trade Assurance
  • RFQ Option


  • Relatively Slow Shipping
  • Advertisements Tend To Be Misleading

Comparing Reviews and Features

The following is an overall review comparison of DHgate and Alibaba. The scale is of 1-5 stars. This too is a great way to show which company performs well in which aspects of their operations. The top 8 aspects are crucial among buyers. Therefore they are a great indicator of what you should expect once decide to start conducting business through one or the other:


  • Customer Support – 4.5
  • Return Policies – 4.0
  • Free To Use Features – 3.0
  • Payment Options – 3.5
  • Shipping Method – 4.5
  • Brand Popularity – 4.1
  • Range Of Products – 3.1
  • Product Quality – 3.2

Total average score 3.6



  • Customer Support – 3.4
  • Return Policies – 4.0
  • Free To Use Features – 4.2
  • Payment Options – 4.0
  • Shipping Method – 3.0
  • Brand Popularity – 4.2
  • Range Of Products – 4.4
  • Product Quality – 3.0

Total average score 3.8

Best Sign Up Options

It can be frustrating when you find the right product, the right shape and form, the right quantity, then once you decide to order, the website takes you to the sign-up page requiring you to fill out extra information. Thankfully both sites have the social media linkage options. You can use Google or Facebook to sign up as well. However from this perspective the winner is Alibaba. They have more signup options, as well as more sophisticated authentication systems. 

Product Variety Comparison

From this perspective too, Alibaba takes the win. DHgate also has many products available. However Alibaba truly holds an immense variety of products and many many sub-categories within them. Though it is always wise to look out for reviews, the quality of products and the vendors’ licenses for one’s safety upon buying products.

Comparing Payment Options

DHgate has a wide variety of payment options available. These include, Master Card, American Express and Visa among others. However the availability of the features depends also on the buyer’s location.
Alibaba yet again, performs better. It is well known for its secure payment methods as well as having its very own Alipay payment system. Besides they too accept all sorts of credit card payments, as well as Western Union and other bank transfers. Though here too, your location will be the final determining factor in what your payment options will be.

Best Shipping Method Comparison

DHgate’s Shipping Methods:

  • China Post
  • HK Post
  • Singapore Post
  • DHL
  • EMS
  • FedEx
  • Post Link
  • TNT

Alibaba’s Shipping Methods:

  • DHL
  • UPS
  • FedEx
  • China Post

Best Return Policies

Alibaba is known for having better overall return policies. Though Alibaba’s returns tend to take longer times and not all sellers offer trade assurance from this platform. This might make DHgate the winner here, as they offer buyer protection in every case regardless of supplier.

Customer Support Comparison

This section too is rather important. Any business of this magnitude has to be able to provide efficient customer care. In the long-run this is a worthy investment. DHgate has only chat or email options when it comes to customer service enquiries. However, their response time is fast. Alibaba conducts communication similarly, through your personal account and they might take longer to get back to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are a collection of a few frequently asked questions. In case you have not found all the answers you needed reading through the article, these might help you answer any further questions you might be wondering about:

Does DHgate Offer Replica Items?

Yes, DHgate does sell replicas. Though it discourages selling and buying replicas that have logos imitating their original counterparts.

Do Alibaba or DHgate Have Better Payment Methods?

Alibaba has a better payment method.

How Long Does Shipping Take From DHgate?

Shipping with DHgate is usually 3-15 business days.

Are There Coupons or Discounts Available on Alibaba?

Yes, 2 types. Redeemable coupons at the end of each order and sellers’ discounts. They can go up to 40%

Does DHgate or Alibaba Have Better Chat Support?

If you want quick replies, DHgate will be a better match. Though Alibaba is great when you need to communicate additional requirements to the seller.


We hope that the above comparison will help you in finding the right match for your business and making the right choices. This list sums up the most important aspects to be taken into consideration when one is about to use either Alibaba or DHgate. Both of these e-commerce giants are very well established and they singlehandedly moved forward the world trade and economies by connecting millions upon millions of sellers and buyers each year. Therefore it is just as important to be able to navigate in their oceans of items and services. They are similar in many ways, though depending on your business, budget, time limit and even location, you might be in need of different services. After reading through the above paragraphs, now you are equipped with a handful of tips and tricks as to what to look out for and what might work in your favor when you make your next business decisions. 

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