How to Buy Products From A Complete Guide

Posted on 161 Comments

1688 Alibaba is just like, but all in Chinese, and for the domestic market in China.

Some believe that they can find better deals, by going directly to suppliers on, instead of

But is that really true?

Keep reading, and learn if suppliers are really offering lower prices, how to pay them and if they even have export licenses.

What is is a B2B supplier directory owned by Alibaba Group. Just like, is portal were you can find factories, wholesalers and trading companies, in virtually any industry.

So why is it called, and not In Chinese, 1688 reads as “Yao Liu Ba Ba”, which (kind of) sounds like Alibaba.

Substituting words for similar sounding numbers is common in China and all over Asia.

What is the difference between and

The difference between the two is that is exclusively for domestic trade. has been export focused since day 1.

This is why is in Chinese, while is in English, and has translations in French, Spanish and other major languages.

Are for wholesalers or factories?

Both. is not limited to wholesalers or factories. Instead, you can find the same types of suppliers here, as you find on

Many suppliers actually have company pages on both and

One for international buyers, and one for domestic ones.

Can I find cheaper products on

Many importers believe that Chinese suppliers offer lower prices to domestic buyers. This is often true, but not for the reasons you might think.

Suppliers tend to quote higher prices to European and American customers, for quality reasons.

Chinese suppliers know they can’t sell the same quality overseas, as they can to some local customers.

If you submit the same product specification to suppliers on, as you do on, you will not necessarily be quoted a higher price on the former.

As such, you should not assume that you’ll get lower quotes from suppliers.

How do I communicate with the suppliers?

Suppliers go to because they want to sell products on the domestic market. Domestic manufacturers and wholesalers rarely have English speaking employees operating their 1688 account.

If you want to contact 1688 suppliers, you either need an agent, or learn mandarin. suppliers, on the other hand, almost always have English speaking sales reps operating their accounts.

That’s kind of the whole point with

How do I pay suppliers?

One can say that China’s financial system is still in ‘Beta mode’. The standard company bank account in China is only for holding the local currency, Renminbi (RMB).

RMB accounts can receive USD, but this makes it count as a ‘domestic transaction’. Hence, no export rebate, which can deduct 17% to the factory price.

Instead, export focused companies need to open a separate bank account for receiving US dollars. This is the bank account you pay when sending money to your supplier.

But what if the supplier never exported products before?

If so, they likely don’t even have a USD bank account, and can therefore not receive USD.

Do listed suppliers have export licenses?

In China, a company must obtain an export license before they can ship goods overseas. The license is not obtained on an order to order basis, but is valid for several years.

Many suppliers, especially the larger ones, tend to operate both on the domestic market in China, and export to other countries. These suppliers, naturally, have export licenses.

However, these suppliers also tend to be listed on suppliers that are only focused on the domestic market don’t have the need to apply for, and maintain, export licenses.

There are ways to go around the need for an export license.

For example, the 1688 supplier can use an export agent. But I doubt that many ‘domestic suppliers’ are willing to bother with all the extra paperwork for one customer.

Are there buying agents?

If you really want to buy products from 1688, there’s help to get.

There are several ‘ buying agents’ that can help you with the following:

  • Coordinate shipments
  • Manage payments (from USD to RMB)
  • Manage export procedures

Most charge a commission, ranging from 1 to 3%.

However, keep in mind that you should follow up with quality inspections, and make sure you don’t pay everything upfront.


Many Importers are under the impressions that suppliers offer lower prices than everyone else.

And sometimes they do, but not for the same quality.

Further, suppliers are rarely ‘export ready. Without a USD bank account and an export license, the products will not leave the country.

There are workarounds, but most ‘local suppliers’ don’t want to bother with that.

So, if it’s not cheaper and so much more hassle, why go to

There are very few scenarios I think of when makes sense for importers outside of China. Perhaps if you need to source certain materials and components for your export supplier, but that’s about it.

Luckily, there is, and other supplier directories, for exporting manufacturers.

  • Free Webinar

    Free Consultation (30 Min): Ask Questions About the Importing Process

    • 1. Product design and material selection
    • 2. Finding suppliers in Asia
    • 3. Product samples and payments
    • 4. Quality control, lab testing & shipping


  • 161 Responses to “How to Buy Products From A Complete Guide

    1. Akinrinade Janet damilola at 9:36 pm

      Please I need an agent from 1688.
      Am from Nigeria.
      Pls can you help me

      1. Benjamin at 11:47 pm

        Please I need agent to help me

      1. Benjamin at 11:46 pm

        Hie I need a Agent am in south Africa

      1. Almustoph at 3:34 pm

        I can teach you how to import goods from China by yourself.
        Interested should demand because it isn’t Free

        1. Rebecca at 3:39 pm

          Please I need your help how to buy from by my self

    2. Faith at 10:34 pm

      I need an agent…to help me over there in china. I am a Nigeria and I want to start importation

      1. Emmanuel at 9:18 pm

        What exactly you want I can be of help

        1. Chidi at 7:14 pm

          I want to know how to convert the prices of goods. how do i locate the prices. i only see the minimum order quantity and a price. but i din;t know if the price is for a single product or for the minimum order quantity. i need help to start importing right now but how can I know the prices of goods on the site?

    3. Jiangtao at 11:14 am

      Hello,I am a 1688 agent ,you can add my whatsapp +86 13586982541

      1. Angel at 5:32 am

        Hi, please I need an agent to help me. Am in Nigeria

        1. Anselm Mbonu at 6:16 pm

          I need an agent that speaks little English ,I am from Nigeria

      2. Mr Toyin Ogunfunmilade at 8:52 am

        Jiangtao, I am much interested in products. Can you be my guide and agent ?

      3. Anita at 8:54 pm

        Can u be my agent to help me source out goods make payment and ship to Nigeria??

    4. Nafisat Musa Hassan at 5:16 am

      I would love to start importing products from 1688

      1. Blessing at 7:37 am

        I can teach you

        1. Emmanuel at 5:26 am

          Pls I am interested, how do I contact you for this teaching. Thanks

      2. Opeyemi at 4:17 am

        I want to start importing from 1688

    5. JennycRuz Apparels at 9:24 pm

      I’m interested in ordering goods from 1688. I’m a Nigerian and I will need an agent for easy shipping of the goods to Nigeria. Please reply ASAP


    6. JennycRuz Apparels at 9:22 pm

      I’m interested in ordering goods from 1688. I’m a Nigerian and I will need an agent for easy shipping of the goods to Nigeria.


    7. Olasmith at 5:01 am

      Please I need an agent from 1688 company…
      Please help me

    8. Samuel at 12:47 am

      I will like to start ordering goods from 1688.Com

    9. Adedokun Rofiat at 4:15 pm

      I’m interested in ordering goods from 1688. I’m a Nigerian and I will need an agent for easy shipping of the goods to Nigeria.

      1. Sesethu at 5:05 pm

        Hi I’d love to buy hair from but I don’t have an agent
        I’m in South Africa please help me.

      2. David gold at 8:56 pm

        I’m also a digital marketing expert
        And I order directly from 1688

        1. Kach at 4:31 am

          Can you help me out I want to import from

        2. Cassandra Anderson at 3:46 am

          Can you help me on how to order goods on 1688?

    10. Jiangtao at 7:46 pm

      I am a chinese agent ,you can add my whatsapp +86 13586982541

    11. Precious Like at 2:44 pm

      I need an agent please from 1688 please help me.

    12. Young JiangTao at 7:31 pm

      I know, you can add my WhatsApp +86 13586982541

    13. Amy at 6:20 pm

      i am sort of confused here. How is it possible for me to start importing goods from to Nigeria?
      Please is there is any way I can be helped concerning this?

      1. Joseph Tochukwu Kalu at 8:23 am

        Is there anyway I can import goods from 1688 to Nigeria? Please I need your assistance on that.

      2. Young JiangTao at 8:11 am

        I am a chinese agent ,you can contact me anytime

        1. AU_rodent55 at 2:44 pm

          I bought some goods from 1688. But VAT is not paid I believe. I want to send to AU, how do I solve this issue?

      3. Ross P at 3:24 am

        Hi! they advise us in the article, to use Alibaba instead of

    14. ESTHER at 2:26 pm

      Am from Nigeria, I want to know how I can order product from 1688 in China to Nigeria for profitable resale.

    15. Adeyemi Barakat at 7:32 am

      I need someone to put me through on how to order good s form China to Nigeria

      1. Vickky at 7:42 am

        Get yourself an agent, it will solve a issues

        1. Afolabi at 7:34 pm

          How can someone get an agent?

        2. Michela lum at 11:17 pm

          How do u get one?
          Pls for the contact if you have

          1. Sarfoa Georgina at 2:26 am

            Please I’m in Ghana and i want to buy from 1688 factory direct please. How will I get agent both buying and shipping agent please?

        3. Mmesoma at 11:01 pm

          Can u brief me more on this

        4. Aminu Umar shehu at 5:01 pm

          I’m Aminu Umar shehu from Nigeria, I want to start using , can you please help me

      2. Fairdeal at 10:47 am

        If you want to learn how to buy from 1688 we can help you and to make payments on you need ALIPAY account, we help you to get verified ALIPAY account in any country you are and also help you to exchange RMB with your naira or USD to fund your ALIPAY account…. Reach us on or

        1. Yakubu Yula Billa at 2:27 am

          How do I get the account with Alipay for my mini import which I want to start

    16. Refredge at 4:44 am

      I really need an agent for weaves n braids please

    17. Amoo Michael at 11:50 pm

      Please I need someone to put me through on how to buy from 1688 directly with shipping agent I can use for my goods,I heard one can picture search and get contact of seller directly how true is that thanks.

    18. Oshomoba Precious at 10:52 pm

      Please i need orientation because i want to invest my live savings on this business

    19. Akingbade Ebenezer Oluwafisayo at 12:03 pm

      Pleases how do I order goods on 1688 and how do I get an agent

    20. Frequency at 2:49 pm

      Please how do I calculate my payment on 1688. For instance if the cost of the good is ¥80 how much will bring it to Nigeria

      1. at 4:52 pm


    21. judy at 7:05 am

      hi i’m from nigeria i need help on how to import n make payment in 1688. asap pls

    22. rumbi at 6:10 pm

      hi juliana im in zimbabwe can you help me understand the logistics

    23. Michael at 12:54 am

      I can assist you if you don’t mind. I can be reached via email at

    24. Benedicta Etiosa at 5:21 pm

      Good day my dear people, pls if you know you want to order goods for Christmas and new year season, and you know that you won’t be able to learn importation now due to finance but u will want to order goods from China, pls I will be doing procurement for you, from September 1st to September 20th, once it gets to October there will be delay in shipping of goods because of traffic of people that want to buy and the price will also increase, to avoid getting ur goods after the season try to order now, DM me on my watsapp number 09033062449

    25. Richard at 6:23 pm

      I need to know how to pay without agent fee and without China bank account because I’m a Nigerian I don’t have Chinese account. I want to pay directly. And also I need a shipping company from China to Nigeria that ship my goods for 3.5$ per kg

    26. mat at 2:42 am

      how to find items under the 30-day low price program

    27. Ikpekri at 4:03 am

      Pls how do i get an agent on

    28. Wilson stanley at 8:22 pm

      How can I buy products from 1688

    29. Mercy Timothy ajiri at 11:16 pm

      I want to buy from 1688,how can I buy and I need an agent to help me

    30. jumai yakubu at 6:42 pm

      please i am from Nigeria and i want to import how do i go ahead

      1. Benedicta Etiosa at 10:28 pm

        Hello I can help you on how you can be able to import from 1688, if interested DM me on my watsapp number 09033062449

        1. Val at 6:33 am

          Hello am in Kenya can you help get to know to ship products and payment methods please

    31. Onuba Ijeoma Grace at 8:17 pm

      Hi, I’m from Nigeria, I will love to import from, and I need an agent too. How do I go about it?

    32. Carol bon'siwe Thabethe at 4:37 pm
      Hi please help am in South Africa I want to buy things in China help me what to do

    33. Fiddausi at 8:21 pm

      Hi can you help me I want to buy goods from 1688 I need an agent or supply

    34. Zynab at 7:08 pm

      Hi, juliana I already have the app please I need your help with agent that can help me with shipping, thanks hope to here from you soon

    35. Elvinos at 8:09 pm

      nice one for the info…I needed to buy some home appliances from then from what you said it may not be easy for one who is not in China ,to do business here. Pls do you have a reliable sources that can be of help?

    36. Franca at 5:26 am

      Hi Juliana pls help me with ur agent contact cos I wnt to buy product from china

    37. Elizabeth at 3:25 am

      Hi I want buy quality goods from China pls can you me with guide on how source for goods, I also need an agent.

    38. Success at 7:06 pm

      How do I Start importing goods from China?I need an agent to help me.

    39. mary at 5:53 am

      Hi! Am interested in getting goods from Please, I need an agent contact to know how is been down..shipping in to Nigeria

    40. Victor at 11:11 pm

      Please I need an agent or someone to be supplying me goods from China on

    41. Juliana at 2:16 pm is a good site to buy from,I get all my goods from there and get it shipped down to me here in Nigeria (Lagos). If you need any help just let me know. It’s quite easy if u follow the procedures well. Mini importations help our youth these days

      1. Owhonda Simon N. at 9:45 pm

        Juliana, please can you give me your Agent’s number so that he can help me get goods from China

      2. Milan at 5:51 am

        Hi Julia, I’m interested

      3. Amaka Doris at 1:24 am

        Hi, plz I need help. Can you teach me how to import from

      4. Ojbiz at 9:05 pm

        Can I get your agents details

      5. Paul Peter at 7:40 pm

        Julia, please help me out. i am in Lagos and in need of a genuie agent to help me get products into Nigeria from email me on

      6. Kelvin chidera at 7:35 pm

        Hello dear am kelvin pls I will like you to help me on that u can reach me here so we talk about it

      7. Mba Daniel at 1:03 pm

        Hi pls drop ur email for discussion

      8. Joan at 12:55 am

        Hi Juliana give me your social media name and number to chat you up

      9. oyeleye at 6:37 pm

        i need help, Oye_paul is my email. just send me your contact details.

      10. Omogboye Adeyemi at 7:02 pm

        Hi Juliana, I need help about ordering items from Can you message/WhatsApp me on this number +2348102523090 so we can talk.

        I will be very glad if you can help out. Thanks

      11. Gift at 4:47 am

        Hi I’m interested

      12. Emeka at 12:18 am

        Good evening dear… pls how do I get ur contact. I want to start buying from

      13. Ikechukwu Eberendu at 8:30 am

        Hi. Thanks for the info on importation from 1688 to Nigeria.
        I need help on that.

      14. Michael Enendu at 4:25 am

        Hi I’m interested.

      15. Adebowale Emmanuel kolade at 6:43 pm

        Pls how can I source for goods find trustworthy agent and ship them down to my country thanks any assistance will be appreciated

      16. Oluwaseun at 9:11 pm

        I need help on how to import goods, i noticed the prices are friendly but the shipping fee is not. it is much more higher than the goods you are buying…. Is there any advice you can give me on that?

      17. ani mercy at 11:02 pm

        Pls I need help on how to do the businesses

      18. Basma at 10:23 am

        Would you please tell us how to reach you so you can help pit us through?

      19. HUNDO David at 3:20 am

        Thanks could you share your contact please?

      20. Eromadstores at 5:00 pm

        I’am interested pls

    42. Kingsley at 12:51 pm

      You’ve got one. What will you like to know or do Isichei Foster

    43. Tj at 9:43 pm

      Needs good agent to do business with please drop your email address,phone number for proper reaching out

    44. Daniel at 12:38 pm

      I’m trying to purchase things but I’m having problems with my region and I’m trying to import to Nigeria.. Nigeria isn’t showing in the region section

    45. Araba at 4:28 pm

      Hello, how can i check out the quality of products when buying from or
      Any tips to look out for?

      1. Ivan Malloci at 2:43 am

        Hello Araba,

        what do you mean for “quality”? If you just want to check, for instance, the consistence of a textile, the best way is to get a sample. However, if you mean that the product comply with regulation in your country, etc, then the procedure would be quite different

        1. Pedro at 8:38 am

          Please how can I get a trusted agent

          1. Felicia at 5:26 am

            Please I need assistance too on how to buy and ship goods from 1688 to Nigeria

      2. Sadiq at 7:17 pm

        Your agent will help you with quality assurance if you ask him give him the specification.

    46. chief bala at 9:44 am

      i need an agent to help ship my items to my country

    47. SalimSojay at 6:35 pm

      Please be careful when dealing with anyone that claim to be agent of 1688
      Simply buy your bulk products from Alibaba & units from Aliexpress and pay with your Credit/Debit card then it will be shipped to your country (Nigeria or anywhere)
      If you’ll use an agent, ensure it’s a verified one

      1. Mina at 6:56 am

        How will you know a verified agent

      2. Eromadstores at 4:56 pm

        How do i know a verified agent

    48. Somto at 6:20 am

      Thank you so much. I will contact you.

    49. Daniel at 12:50 am

      Can someone help me with the method of payment on 1688 via wechat.

    50. bonani at 10:58 am

      I ORDERED sme goods with other compy i paid every thing and was told i will recive my goods in 5 days its more than a month they gave me wrong tracking nmber

    51. Henry at 10:41 am

      can 1688 agent help me buy something from alibaba

    52. babalola mahmood at 9:46 am

      hello Fredrik, thanks for the clarification in the write-up, Can you help me get an agent who can help me in getting those transactions and shipping done?, or if you can, it will be a blessing.

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 10:48 am


        We don’t work with any agents

      2. john willson at 4:15 am

        I can help you

      3. SARAH GOLDEN at 8:45 pm

        I can help with that

    53. Leon at 6:44 am

      I can help you to buy it from

      1. David at 3:26 pm

        Lyon,could you please drop your email address for discussion?

      2. Anne at 1:48 pm

        Good day Leon . please send me your email address I need help on how to buy from

      3. Omowunmi at 6:23 am

        I also want to ship to Nigeria

        1. Otee at 7:21 pm

          Leon please I’m also interested in buying from 1688

      4. Raheem Wasiu at 8:48 pm

        Leon could you please drop your email or your contact for more discussion

    54. Uzoma at 11:53 am

      Hi I’d like to import from 1688 to Nigeria

    55. Verdial at 9:21 am

      Hi Alibaba express… I’m interesting in your product, but I was woried about Quality. Becouse in my country we have a lot of investor from china they were selled the same goods as alibaba selling but quality are low. Thanks.

    56. emmanuel s.g at 8:50 pm

      i want to buy and import product from
      pls how can u assist me
      i need an assistant for quality product

    57. Victory at 8:44 am

      Hi, how can i contact agent? i want to buy from so he can help to ship to Nigeria.

      1. Emil at 4:59 pm

        Hi i can help you

        1. Rudo Gonda at 1:42 pm

          Emil I would like to purchase, how do i go about it

        2. qween at 9:19 pm

          hello… emil, i am also interested. kindly drop your email address, so we discuss please.

        3. stan at 10:17 am

          hi, i need help too. please contact me

        4. Pathie at 8:10 am

          Emil can you please drop your contact so that we can chat? Also in need of an agent.

          1. Dorcas at 9:38 am

            Hi Emil,
            I will be glad if you can help. I need an agent to help me cos I’m buying from 1688. Can I Have Your Contact.

        5. luchy at 4:55 pm

          hello Emil, please drop your contact

        6. Succi at 4:03 am

          Hi I’m also in need of an agent from

          1. Mary Chisenga at 5:00 am

            I need an agent please

        7. Favour at 2:36 am

          Please am in need of an agent that can help me buy from and ship to Nigeria

      2. Marion at 8:44 pm

        I need a buying agent too. I already have the app and can use it. Problem is making payments

    58. Kareem Afeez at 11:46 pm

      Hi,I am from Nigeria and I would Love to import from u help in buying from and ship to my Nigeria?

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 10:56 am

        Hi Kareem,

        No, we don’t act as agents

        1. Salmat Farouk at 8:39 pm

          Most times, the same items you see on Ali baba ,you still find them 1688 but cheaper.

          So is it that those items on Ali baba are of higher quality than those in 1688?

          1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 5:00 pm

            Hi Salmat,

            What you see is at best “demo products”. The quality and price depends on the product specification – not which website it’s listed on. If the price is different then there’s a reason for that.

            1. Agboola Abisola at 6:05 am

              I want to start my importation business please be my agent

      2. Dorcas at 5:30 am

        Hello Karen please contact me. I I’m in Nigeria as well

        1. Blessing at 11:37 pm

          Hi, I am a Nigerian, I am also interested in buying from 1688

    59. filip at 6:24 pm

      how ot benefit from 17% vat deduction ? I sent you email please reply

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 10:13 am

        Hi Filip,

        You benefit as long as you buy from a supplier with an export license

        Export prices don’t include the VAT, which is the case for domestic transactions.

        However, you cannot receive this money as an Importer, from the Chinese government. It doesn’t work like that.

        1. Mickey at 12:05 am

          Hi, I need services for Ali baba. Can you please send me your contact details

          1. Thabang Lesetsa at 7:38 pm

            I interested to buy stock from china wat im suppose todo cz im in south africa

          2. Marian at 10:57 pm

            Please I need an agent frm 1688 company please help me

            1. Asdria at 6:18 pm

              you find in

            2. Nifemi at 5:26 am

              Please I need an agent from 1688
              Help me

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