How to Start 1688 Dropshipping Business

Sharline Shaw

1688 dropshipping is not easy unless you have a 1688 agent to guide you through the domestic market of suppliers. Hiring an agent can significantly favor your entire dropshipping process.

There’s an immense increase in the development of many e-commerce websites. People are now constantly focusing on innovating dropshipping methods.

Dropshipping has become some of the biggest growing businesses in the world. Platforms such as Alibaba, Shopify, AliExpress, etc. These are some of the highlighted ones used for dropshipping.

However, there’s another platform known as 1688 that you can opt for dropshipping, with the arrival of so many competitors, innovation is the prime focus for everyone.

Not only people are investing in dropshipping but they’re searching for new methods to improvise. This guide will show you how to dropship from 1688. com.


What Is 1688 Dropshipping?

Another subsidiary of Alibaba, 1688 is a B2B directory similar to Alibaba itself. Just like its main company, 1688 allows buyers to access factories, trading companies, and wholesalers from China.

You can search for any domain or industry you want, and the site will redirect you to the respective suppliers.

Many people are often baffled by the name of the site being 1688. In Chinese, 1688 reads as “Yao Liu Ba Ba,” which sounds similar to its main directory Alibaba.

It is common for companies in China and Asia to substitute the names of their subsidiaries. The primary difference between Alibaba and 1688 is that the latter has been created only for domestic trades.

For the Chinese, the use of Alibaba or AliExpress isn’t allowed, since both these platforms have been focusing on export from day one. People from China have to deploy different means to buy from these platforms.

However, with manufacturing easy and low cost in China, people are often reluctant to buy from these sites. They can buy these products in their local markets. That is why Alibaba focuses solely on exporting.

1688 is focused on providing goods on a domestic scale. This difference is illuminated with 1688 being in Chinese while Alibaba has translations in several languages.

Since you can get all kinds of suppliers from 1688, dropshipping becomes easier as it takes you on a domestic scale. Below are some pros of cons of dropshipping from 1688:


When it comes to pricing, you can get cheaper products from 1688 as compared with Alibaba or AliExpress.

It is an obvious strategy to provide cheaper goods to your domestic market. That is why opting for 1688 for dropshipping purposes can reduce your costs significantly.

In addition, you can also get an extended goods market in 1688 than AliExpress. As highlighted earlier, you can come across several 1688 agents that are working in the domestic market of China.

Compared to AliExpress, you can dive into numerous domains in any industry. Moreover, these products are available at a cheaper price, effective for any cross-border dropshipping.

The quality of the products is foremost important for a dropshipping business. Getting products from 1688 provides an assurance of quality better than AliExpress.

Although the quality inspection process is similar for both platforms, getting faulty products from AliExpress can prove fatal for your dropshipping business.

AliExpress is known for its poor-quality products delivered by scammers on the site. The products once delivered require an additional shipping fee if returned.

Moreover, the dispute clause can only be opened within 24 hours of the delivery. On the other hand, 1688 provides the option of free return of the goods if found faulty.

In addition, quality inspection reports, images, and videos can be achieved with the help of an agent. This will help you know about the quality of the products prior to shipment.

While AliExpress does offer free shipping for most of its goods, it doesn’t allow multiple orders to be shipped as one. On the other hand, 1688 allows users to get multiple orders consolidated as one with the help of agents.


Language is one of the primary barriers to operating in 1688. The site is offered for the domestic market, which is why it is in Chinese.

Even if your browser offers translation, most of the contents cannot be translated completely. Moreover, the site compresses in size, becoming a mobile version, and not displaying complete content as it does in Chinese.

The payment method for 1688 is a hassle for small businesses that are making their way into the industry. AliExpress offers several payment methods.

From credit cards to WebMoney and PayPal, AliExpress entertains several methods. However, 1688 doesn’t offer this privilege to outsiders.

Even with an Alipay international account, you would still need 1688 agents to help you attain goods.

When it comes to dropshipping costs, AliExpress functions better than 1688. Free shipping costs enable buyers to get products without any hassle.

However, with 1688, you’ll need to pay for the goods, shipping costs, domestic costs, currency fees, etc.

All this adds to your expense. If you’re a small business looking to start the future in dropshipping, then AliExpress is a better option.

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How Does Dropshipping Work On 1688.Com?

Understanding how dropshipping works on 1688 is important. It will help you understand its proceedings, as well as help, regulate your business according to the requirements. However,

Here’s how dropshipping from 1688 works:


The first process is the sourcing of the products to be bought. As highlighted, 1688 provides a vast variety of goods that you can buy for any domain.

However, you’ll need the help of an agent that will guide and aid in getting those products.

Sample Purchasing

When you’ve sourced your products, it’s time to get your samples. Just like traditional dropshipping, you will ask the agent to communicate with the supplier for samples.

The samples should be prepared according to the requirement you provide. In case you’re getting what is being offered, you should prepare your checklist for the sample’s evaluation.

Quality Inspection

The next thing is the quality inspection for the product that you’ve ordered. This part is important. Your entire dropshipping business stands on the inspection of the products.

If the product isn’t up to the mark and gets delivered to the customer, it can ruin your entire reputation. That is why it’s important that you keep track of the quality of the products. You can either ask.


The next step is the bargaining or negotiation for the price of the order. You can find affordable products at 1688 than AliExpress.

However, the agent will negotiate the price of the products you need. In addition, the agent will also help in combining multiple orders as one so that they can be delivered with the same shipment.


Most of the companies working in China use Chinese shipping methods. Since shipping is not free of 1688, you will be required to know the complete cost of the shipment.

In case you want to add your shipment method, you will need to ask the agent to negotiate that with the supplier.

In addition, you can also opt for faster shipping so that the goods may reach the location faster than the usual delivery.


Once the shipment is sent, you need to get international clearance for it. Meanwhile, you will also need to arrange for storage until the customs are cleared.

That is why it is important to have cargo storage at your located address. Upfront storage and staffing allow you to outsource the storage solutions. This allows you to commit business capital for other business processes.


Once the products have arrived at your warehouse, you can get them repacked and labeled according to your need.

This will make it easier to promote your products to your customers. You can get them labeled and ship them domestically or internationally.

These are some processes that occur in dropshipping from 1688. Every process needs competent insight so that it can be completed without any hassle. It is recommended that you hire an agent to help you arrange and buy from China.

Why Sourcing From 1688.Com?

Why Sourcing From 1688.Com?

There are several reasons why sourcing from 1688 is a great option.

Great Number of Suppliers

One of the best perks of using 1688 for sourcing is that you come around a large of suppliers. These suppliers or manufacturers are working with domestic manufacturing.

It makes it easier to locate every product in a different niche. Moreover, since 1688 is operating to benefit the domestic market of China.

You’re most likely to find original products or those with high quality. Sourcing would become easier as you can find multiple suppliers for each product easily.

Easy Purchasing

Another advantage of using 1688 for sourcing is that you can cut expenses on your purchase. As highlighted earlier, 1688 provides more affordable products than Alibaba or AliExpress.

However, the site is reserved for the domestic market only for benefit purposes. But accessing the site with the help of an agent can help get cheaper products.

This would significantly lower your purchasing expenses and you can get multiple products at once.

Better Profit Margins

With the purchase expenses cut short, you have the opportunity to reap better profit margins. However, sourcing from 1688 is only recommended for those that need goods in bulk.

Businesses that need smaller amounts may face expensive shipment charges. This would bring costs close to regular dropshipping.

Suggested reading: How to Make Money With an Online Dropshipping Business

What Products Can Be Purchased From 1688.Com?

Trending Products

1688 provides a wide variety of Chinese products available from numerous domains. Some of which include:

  • Apparel

Apparel is the biggest and most focused niche for dropshipping. Manufacturing is easy in China.

The low labor costs make it easier to produce goods at economical rates. You can easily opt for the apparel domain as many products can be bought at cheaper rates.

  • Textiles & Accessories

Apart from apparel, you can also choose to invest in textiles and accessories. These can comprise nightwear, sportswear, undergarments, etc.

Exploring the domain is important as you can find several suppliers offering the same product at minimal rates.

Apart from that, you can also choose several other products for your dropshipping needs. This can include bow ties, socks, posture correctors, shoe protectors, activewear, etc.

Again, the need for an agent would be required to source these products from reliable suppliers.

  • Bags, Shoes & Accessories

Bags and shoes are other niches to explore. The site features an extensive range of bags, shoes, and accessories from different brands.

One intriguing element is that they not only provide branded products but also offer first copies. Apart from that, you can get a wide range of locally manufactured products too.

  • Electronics

Electronics are a hot cake when it comes to dropshipping. With Chinese cellphones spread in the market, people are often requesting products related to gadgets and accessories.

That is why opting for the electronics market from 1688 will provide a greater profit margin. However, quality inspection should be the prime focus as electronics are fragile. If the customers receive faulty products, they are most likely to never order again.

  • Health & Beauty

Health and beauty products are another niche that you can explore for dropshipping from 1688. However, these products are required to be approved by the FDA to enter the market.

Skincare products and cosmetics tend to attract as well as repel clients by manifolds. If the products are harmful to the skin, it is most likely that the entire service can shut down due to continuous reporting.

Before buying skincare products, acquire compliance certificates from the suppliers.

  • Home, Lights & Construction

Home accessories is another domain that you can dive into for dropshipping from 1688. Several home accessories are manufactured in China.

It makes it easier to attain products that are sold at high rates across the world. With your rates lower than those in the market, customers are more likely to be attracted to your brand.s

  • Machinery, Industrial Parts & Tools

China being the biggest manufacturer has invested in several domains. One of these domains is machinery and industrial parts.

Around the globe, Chinese machinery is regarded for its performance. That is why investing in tools for such kind of machinery can open new ways for your profits.

  • Packaging, Advertising & Office

With affordable rates, you can easily get supply goods for your packaging business. Your customers can ask for custom packaging, which you can get prepared at nominal rates easily.

Looking for the Best 1688 Products?

Leelinesourcing helps you find the Best Products Made in China with high quality at an attractive cost.

Difficulties Of Sourcing From 1688.Com

Even with several benefits that come with 1688, there are some issues that the buyers confront while operating. Some of which are discussed below:

1. Communication

The foremost hassle is communication. Alibaba and AliExpress allow translation of the site into different languages.

However, 1688 is solely focusing on providing goods to the local market. This is the reason that it is based on the Chinese language.

Moreover, similar to Alibaba, you need to locate reliable suppliers that are able to communicate in your language.

That is why you need an effective sourcing agent so that communication can be made seamlessly.

2. Payment

Another reason why operating on 1688 can be difficult is the payment issue. As highlighted earlier, 1688 doesn’t allow outsiders to operate on the site.

It focuses on providing benefits to the domestic market. Foreign buyers even with international Alipay accounts are unable to proceed with the payments.

Additionally, the prices mentioned for the products are in Chinese currency. You would need to convert the total amount, including shipment into your local currency to proceed.

All these issues are time-consuming, which is why many people prefer operating from Alibaba or AliExpress.

3. Collect Orders

The collection of the orders is another hassle. Even if the agent is working for you to source the products, you still need to make seamless communication with the supplier to get the order.

Finding suppliers is one hassle. However, waiting for order collection is another issue that many dropshippers have to face while operating on 1688.

4. Inspect The Items

Quality inspection has always been one of the issues of dropshipping. It is severely important especially if you’re dropshipping from China.

Although buyer protection allows you to send back the products within a limited time frame, getting a foiled shipment can ruin your dropshipping business.

A schedule is maintained which then has to be rescheduled so that goods can be exchanged. Though the refunding process can still take a lot of time.

5. Return And Change Problematic Items


As highlighted before, faulty products are one of the biggest issues in dropshipping from China. AliExpress has a bad repute in this matter.

Many customers have reported faulty products when ordered from the platform. What’s even worse is that you have to pay for the shipment to return the goods.

This is the reason many of the customers don’t bother returning the goods. On the other hand, 1688 facilitates the customers by allowing free shipment of faulty products.

The agent can contact the supplier on your behalf and lead to the opening of the dispute. Once the dispute settles in your favor, you will either get a refund or the supplier will resend goods of the proper quality.

6. Consolidating And Repacking

The products coming from 1688 have to be consolidated and repacked for further shipping. This increases the expenses further, adding to the costs.

The suppliers are only viable to ship the products. The packaging of the goods has to be done at your own or a third-party warehouse.

7. Shipping To International Addresses

Shipping to international addresses is one concern. However, getting your shipment on time is another issue that dropshippers need to worry about.

This is another most common besides poor quality products. Many suppliers scam buyers by asking for money before the shipment. In the end, they never actually send the goods.

On the other hand, you have to calculate the estimated amount for international shipping. The cost of shipping is provided in Chinese currency when ordered from 1688. You have to convert it into the currency for the desired location, which is another hassle.

How To Dropship From 1688 Via Shopify?

In order to dropship form 1688 via Shopify, you need to hire a reliable 1688 agent. The agent will be responsible for the following processes:

1. Sourcing

The sourcing process is important for your dropshipping business. 1688 features numerous products on the site.

You can get a wide variety of products on AliExpress. However, locating a reliable supplier is still an issue.

If you want to buy from 1688, then it is important that you hire the best 1688 agent from the market. The agent will be familiar with the market and know which suppliers are reliable options.

Moreover, these agents often attend trade shows that are conducted annually. They know what kind of suppliers are present in the market, and which ones will be effective for the business’s demand.

Hence hiring a reliable 1688 agent will help you source the products that you need. It will also help you avoid scammers in the market as agents are well-aware of their identities.

2. Quality Inspection

The next process is quality inspection. This is important as your entire business rests upon the quality of the goods that you’re transporting to your clients.

Again, hiring the services of an agent will help you get your products inspected for quality.

Many Chinese companies provide quality inspection services. However, there is a high chance that the inspection report they offer is bogus or doesn’t illuminate details.

Hiring a reliable 1688 agent will help you get over this issue. The products can be inspected in the beginning, during the production, and at the time of the shipment.

A quality inspection should be done before the shipment. Once the products are at your location, faulty products are your liability. The process will take months for recovery if sent for a refund or reshipment.

3. Payment

As explained before, payment is a major issue for those looking to operate via 1688. Businesses that are starting in dropshipping aren’t recommended to use 1688 as it would add to the total costs.

However, a 1688 agent would help communicate with the suppliers as well as proceed with payments.

The important perk of hiring the agent is that they can help negotiate the prices before the order is placed. The payment should be reserved until the products are received and evaluated for quality.

4. Shipping

Many dropshipping businesses often require faster shipping. However, this doesn’t happen due to a lack of communication. Shipping is an important phase for your overall business on Shopify.

Delayed products can result in the cancellation of orders, leading to the downgrading of your market profile. A 1688 agent will help communicate as well as track the shipment.

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FAQs About 1688 Dropshipping

Here are some FAQs about 1688 dropshipping that may help you with your queries:

How Is 1688.Com Related To Alibaba.Com?

Just like AliExpress, 1688 is another subsidiary of Alibaba. Though it is only working on domestic levels and provides B2B services to the customers in China.

Is It Reliable To Buy At 1688.Com?

Yes. 1688 is a reliable platform. However, you would need to hire a 1688 agent to help you with the purchase. As explained earlier, the site’s goal is to facilitate the domestic market of China.

The site itself is featured in the Chinese language, which makes it difficult for foreigners to use the site for their needs.

That is why hiring an agent will help you move across the platform as well as get orders according to your needs.

Are There 1688.Com Buying Agents?

Yes, there are buying agents on 1688. These agents can work for domestic clients as well as foreign clients.

They know how the platform works and are in contact with several suppliers. Moreover, they also attend different trade shows to know what new suppliers and domains are entering the market.

How Do I Open A 1688 Account?

One way is to use the account details that you’ve used to buy from Taobao or AliExpress. This allows you to register your account using the same credentials.

However, if you want, you can register on the site like any other platform. The site features an option for free registration at the top.

You can choose this and continue with the proceedings. In case the language becomes a barrier, you can contact an agent to work this out for you.

How Can I Find The Hot Sales On 1688.Com?

Just like any other e-commerce website, 1688 also features its hot sales with hovering images at the beginning of the site. These images shift with time, showing the trending items on sale.

What Is Cheaper, 1688.Com Or Dhgate.Com?

The choice depends upon the type of business that you own. The shipping costs from 1688 are high for small businesses.

They are accompanied by currency conversions, customs, international shipping costs, domestic shipping costs, and much more.

If you’re a small business and want to ship products internationally, then choosing Dhgate will be a viable choice.

How Do I Place An Order On 1688?

It’s pretty simple. All you need to do is to locate the products that you want to buy from the platform.

Then contact the agent that will source the products for you and will negotiate the price with the supplier.

Once that is done, you’ll need to pay the payment and the agent’s commission as well as the domestic shipping fee. The order will be placed and you can wait for the products to arrive at your warehouse.

Final Thoughts On 1688 Dropshipping

If you wish to operate on 1688 for your dropshipping needs, it is recommended that you take the assistance of a 1688 dropshipping agent.

Hiring an agent will not only get you in the domestic market but will also help in obtaining orders and negotiating with the suppliers.

Working on 1688 is difficult since the site is exclusively for China’s domestic market.

However, an agent such as LeelineSourcing which is an expert in China’s sourcing services will make the entire process easier, hit us a message right now.

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Article by:

Sharline Shaw

Hey I'm Sharline, the founder of Leeline Sourcing. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, we help 2000+ clients import from China,Alibaba,1688 to Amazon FBA or shopify. If you have any questions about sourcing , pls feel free to contact us.