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1688

The 1688.com is a subsidiary of Alibaba founded in 1999 to promote an online marketplace for business to business (B2B). Although 1688.com was primarily designed for the Chinese domestic market, it slowly expanded its cross-borders by bringing global suppliers into the platform. 1688.com also has a new marketplace for manufacturers and retailers interested in sourcing their products worldwide to reach a large market.

As of 2021, 1688.com had over 50 000 legitimate companies and 120 million users. In the quarter ended December 2020, 1688.com registered RMB3 831 million in revenue. 14% higher than RMB3, 365 million collected same time in 2019.

As of June 2020, the 1688.com website had 41 million active buyers

About 920 000 of these buyers are paying members. Addionally, the platform has over 10 million enterprise storefronts, and approximately 150 million users visit the website each day. Businesses selling on Alibaba.com and other platforms like Tmall.com directly outsource their products from the 1688.com platform.

The 1688 shopping site
The 1688.com operates in the model of B2B, wholesale, and product manufacturing. Hence, most businesses in the platform are trustworthy manufacturers who sell products at relatively competitive prices. Many Chinese businesses use 1688.com to locate products and other businesses for interactions and purchases. In August 2017, 1688.com introduced an Industrial Mall dedicated solely to large industrial brands and official distributors. Since its launch in August 2017, the Industrial Mall has had over 3000 big-name manufacturing brands like Dow, BASF, 3M, Henkel, and Evonik. The 1688.com platform seeks to assist brands to realize efficiency in all their processing activities, from supply chain management to product design through digitalization. Due to the popularity and transparency of 1688.com, many businesses in the platform have started to provide low minimum order quality (MOQ) to end consumers in China. The 1688.com intends to close the gap between companies, the market, and the end consumers by helping them realize a consumer-to-business model (C2B). In a C2B model, the manufacturers’ strategies are dictated by the consumers’ demands in a bottom-up approach. By adopting a bottom-up approach in a C2B business model, 1688.com intends to encourange manaufacturers in the platform to develop products based on the end customers’ demands, tastes, and preferences. The 1688.com provides a quick messaging response to its customers. Suppliers have their salespersons on high alert to respond to customer inquiries within seconds. However, the platform does not have an English customer support system. If one cannot understand the Chinese language used in the forum, they can find a sourcing agent or a translator to help them close the transactions successfully. Domestic suppliers and manufacturers are paid using WeChat, Alipay, cash, and domestic banks. For manufacturers and suppliers to be accepted in the 1688.com platform, they must first get a government business license. This is to certify that all the sellers and suppliers on the forum are genuine and not scammers. To assure customers that the supplier is legit, their details, including date of incorporation, company addresses, scope, and registered capital, are clearly shown on the website.

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