What is 1688?

1688.com, often referred to as simply “1688,” is a popular online wholesale marketplace based in China. Owned by Alibaba Group, the same company behind Taobao and Alibaba.com, 1688 serves as a platform for connecting buyers and sellers, primarily within the Chinese market.

While Taobao caters more to retail consumers, 1688 focuses on wholesale transactions, allowing businesses to do China product sourcing in bulk at competitive prices. In this essay, we will explore 1688, its features, and how to source products effectively from this platform.

Features and Functions of 1688

  1. Wholesale Marketplace: Unlike Taobao, which primarily targets individual consumers, 1688 is designed for wholesale transactions. It connects buyers with suppliers, manufacturers, and wholesalers who offer products in bulk quantities at wholesale prices.
  2. Wide Range of Products: 1688 features a diverse array of products across various categories, including electronics, apparel, home goods, beauty products, and more. Buyers can find virtually anything they need for their businesses, from raw materials to finished products.
  3. Competitive Pricing: One of the key advantages of sourcing from 1688 is its competitive pricing. Since the platform caters to wholesale buyers, sellers often offer discounted prices for bulk orders, allowing businesses to save money on their procurement costs.
  4. Supplier Verification: To ensure the quality and reliability of suppliers, 1688 implements a verification system that verifies the identity and credentials of sellers on the platform. This helps buyers identify trustworthy suppliers and reduce the risk of fraud or counterfeit products.
  5. Trade Assurance: Similar to Alibaba.com, 1688 offers a Trade Assurance program that provides buyer protection and secure payment options for transactions. This gives buyers peace of mind knowing that their payments are protected and that they can seek recourse in case of any issues with their orders.
  6. Customization and OEM Services: Many suppliers on 1688 offer customization and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) services, allowing buyers to tailor products to their specific requirements or brand preferences. This enables businesses to create unique products and differentiate themselves in the market.

How to Source Products from 1688

Sourcing products from 1688 can be a lucrative opportunity for businesses looking to access a wide range of products at competitive prices. Here’s a step-by-step guide to sourcing products effectively from 1688:

  1. Create an Account: To get started on 1688, you’ll need to create an account using your email address or mobile phone number. Registration is free and straightforward, requiring basic information such as a username, password, and verification code.
  2. Search for Products: Once logged in, you can start searching for products using 1688’s search bar or browsing through various categories and subcategories. Use keywords and filters to narrow down your search and find the products you’re looking for.
  3. Evaluate Suppliers: Before making a purchase, it’s essential to evaluate suppliers’ credibility and reliability on 1688. Look for suppliers with high ratings, positive reviews, and a track record of successful transactions. Consider factors such as product quality, pricing, minimum order quantities (MOQs), and lead times.
  4. Contact Suppliers: If you have any questions or inquiries about a product, don’t hesitate to contact the supplier directly through 1688’s messaging system. Clear communication with suppliers can help clarify product details, pricing, customization options, and other important information.
  5. Negotiate Pricing and Terms: Once you’ve identified potential suppliers, negotiate pricing and terms to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible. Many suppliers on 1688 are open to negotiation, especially for large or repeat orders. Be prepared to discuss pricing, payment terms, shipping options, and other relevant details.
  6. Place an Order: After finalizing negotiations with a supplier, you can proceed to place your order on 1688. Follow the supplier’s instructions for placing orders and making payments, ensuring that you provide accurate information and specify any customization or special requirements.
  7. Arrange Shipping and Logistics: Once your order is confirmed, work with the supplier to arrange shipping and logistics for your products. Depending on your location and the size of your order, you may need to arrange for international shipping, customs clearance, and delivery to your final destination.
  8. Track Your Order: Keep track of your order’s progress through 1688’s order tracking system. Monitor shipping updates, delivery times, and receipt confirmation to ensure that your order arrives safely and on time. Communicate with the supplier if you encounter any issues or delays with your order.
  9. Review Your Purchase: After receiving your order, take the time to review the products and provide feedback to the supplier on 1688’s platform. Your reviews help other buyers make informed purchasing decisions and contribute to the overall transparency and trustworthiness of the marketplace.

Tips for Successful Sourcing on 1688

Sourcing products from 1688 can be a rewarding experience, but it’s essential to keep the following tips in mind to ensure a successful sourcing process:

  1. Research Products and Suppliers: Before making any purchases, thoroughly research both the products you’re interested in and the suppliers offering them on 1688. Look for product specifications, images, and descriptions to ensure they meet your requirements. Additionally, investigate supplier ratings, reviews, and transaction history to gauge their reliability and customer satisfaction levels.
  1. Communicate Clearly with Suppliers: Effective communication with suppliers is crucial for ensuring a smooth sourcing process. Clearly communicate your requirements, specifications, and expectations upfront to avoid misunderstandings or discrepancies later on. Keep the lines of communication open throughout the transaction to address any issues or concerns promptly.
  2. Negotiate Terms and Pricing: Don’t hesitate to negotiate terms and pricing with suppliers to secure the best possible deal for your business. Be prepared to discuss factors such as pricing, MOQs, payment terms, shipping options, and lead times. Negotiating effectively can help you maximize cost savings and value for your purchases.
  3. Verify Product Quality: Request product samples or prototypes from suppliers to verify their quality, functionality, and suitability for your needs. Testing samples allows you to assess product performance, durability, and overall satisfaction before committing to larger orders. Insist on quality assurance measures and certifications where applicable.
  4. Understand Shipping and Import Costs: Factor in shipping costs, import duties, taxes, and other fees when calculating the total cost of your purchases from 1688. Be aware of any customs regulations or restrictions that may apply to your products, especially for international shipments. Consider using freight forwarders or logistics providers to streamline shipping and customs clearance processes.
  5. Ensure Payment Security: Prioritize payment security and use secure payment methods to protect your financial transactions on 1688. Take advantage of payment options such as escrow services or Alibaba’s Trade Assurance program, which provide added protection and recourse in case of disputes or issues with your orders.
  6. Build Long-Term Relationships: Cultivate long-term relationships with reliable suppliers on 1688 to foster trust, loyalty, and mutual benefit. Establishing rapport and goodwill with suppliers can lead to preferential treatment, better pricing, and access to exclusive deals or products. Maintain open communication and collaborate closely with trusted suppliers for ongoing sourcing needs.
  7. Stay Informed About Market Trends: Stay informed about market trends, consumer preferences, and industry developments to make informed sourcing decisions on 1688. Monitor changes in demand, pricing dynamics, and competitor activity to adapt your sourcing strategy accordingly. Remain agile and responsive to market shifts to stay competitive and maximize opportunities.


In conclusion, 1688 serves as a valuable resource for businesses seeking to source products in bulk from China’s vast marketplace. By understanding the platform’s features, functions, and best practices for sourcing, businesses can access a wide range of products at competitive prices and build successful partnerships with reliable suppliers.

Through effective research, communication, negotiation, and collaboration, businesses can navigate the complexities of sourcing from 1688 and leverage its resources to achieve their sourcing goals. By following the tips outlined in this essay and staying proactive in their sourcing efforts, businesses can capitalize on the opportunities presented by 1688 and drive success in their supply chain operations.

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