1688 Dropshipping Guide (What Beginners Need To Know Before Using The Platform)

May 12, 2023

A comprehensive 1688 dropshipping guide can help newbie dropshippers thinking of using the platform. This wholesale and sourcing website is one of the largest in China, attracting an average of 36.6 million visits each month. Dropshippers local and abroad use the site for their businesses, specifically because of the cheap products available in their massive inventory.

Dropshipping can be an excellent online business model. However, using 1688 for product sourcing is not as easy as Amazon, eBay, or Walmart. There are certain challenges (such as language barrier and limited payment methods) that you’ll need to overcome before you can use 1688 for your dropshipping company.

I also ran a dropshipping business years ago. While it was profitable, I later switched to lead generation because it brings me a bigger ROI. In many ways, ranking local business websites can be way easier and more rewarding than selling products online and competing with thousands of sellers.

How to do 1688 dropshipping

To do 1688 dropshipping, use the following steps:

  • Register for a 1688.com account
  • Find products for your dropshipping business
  • Start purchasing products

1. Register for a 1688.com account

Before you can begin dropshipping with 1688, you need to create an account on their website. Of course, you will have to translate the language because the site is in Chinese. Use your preferred browser’s language translation tools (i.e. Google Translate, IM Translator, Reverso, and others) to make sure you understand the site’s content.

Next, click the Register button and the Correct Mode. Take note that you will need to register with a 1688 Personal Account, not an Enterprise Account which requires a business license in China. 

Fill in all the needed information, such as your account name, password, and contact number. Once you’re done with everything, wait for the verification code on your phone and enter it on the website.

2. Find products for your dropshipping business

After creating your 1688 account, you can start checking out available products for your dropshipping business.

Product search can be done two ways in 1688: via keyword search or image search. For keyword search, you’ll only have to type keywords of the products on the search bar. This is the most basic type of search but in some cases, the language barrier may get in the way. Some words may not be translated perfectly and may lead to inaccurate results. For image search, look for the camera icon and upload a product image. This can yield better results.

3. Start purchasing products

Next, you can begin adding products to your cart and then checking them out through direct purchase or bulk purchase. Dropshippers buying products directly for their customers may use the direct purchase option. Meanwhile, bulk purchase is recommended for buying goods in large quantities. This is usually ideal for business owners in the wholesale industry.

Does 1688 ship outside China?

Most 1688 suppliers do not ship outside China. These sellers typically focus on serving local clients and only use domestic shipping networks. However, there are some that accommodate international orders and the best way to find out is to communicate with them.

Using translation tools, you can send them a message by looking up their mobile number and WeChat details on their page. Ask them about international shipping to know if they can be your possible dropshipping source. For additional fees, some vendors would be more than happy to arrange for international shipping.

Is it safe to buy from 1688?

It is safe to buy from 1688.com. Currently, 1688 is considered as China’s largest B2B wholesale website. It is a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, a major ecommerce company founded by Jack Ma in 1999. 

As mentioned earlier, only sellers that have a Chinese business license can register for a 1688 Enterprise Account. Supplier details may also be viewed online. By visiting their 1688 store, you can easily access significant seller information such as their address, business registration, and more.

All these factors contribute to helping buyers have peace of mind as they use the platform. However, there are several challenges that buyers may encounter along the way.

Common challenges of buying from 1688

1. Limited payment options

A common problem among international dropshippers is that 1688 only offers limited payment options for buyers. In fact, the platform only accepts payments from Chinese bank accounts, Alipay, and cross-border pay.

As you enter 1688’s payment page, you will be redirected to Alipay’s page and see the three available payment methods. This is where it gets tricky, since activating the Alipay balance feature also requires a bank card from mainland China.

While cross-border pay was designed as a new solution for international customers, it is only available for users in Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Virgin Island British.

2. The language barrier

It’s always best to exercise caution, especially since you will be dealing with vendors from a foreign country. Most 1688 suppliers do not speak English and so relaying your orders and instructions to sellers may sometimes be difficult. While there are software tools to help overcome language barrier, some details may end up getting lost in translation plus some parts of the website may still continue to show Chinese characters. This can be frustrating on your end as a dropshipping business owner.

What are the pros and cons of 1688 dropshipping?


Cheaper price. Of course, the primary reason international dropshippers use 1688 is to avail of cheaper options within the platform. Compared with Alibaba and other Chinese suppliers, most 1688 products are usually more affordable.

Higher profit margins. Because of the cheaper cost, dropshippers can increase the markup for their products. This can lead to a bigger profit margin of up to 20% to 30%.

Lesser worries about scammers. All 1688 suppliers are required to submit their business license information. For the most part, you won’t have much to worry about regarding shady deals, especially if you’re working with a legitimate dropshipping agent.


Navigating the site can be hard. The entire site is in the Chinese language. While you can use translation tools, some information (such as portions of product description) may still be in Chinese text.

Fewer suppliers (and some may not have export licenses). 1688 has a lesser number of suppliers than other major dropshipping sources, such as Alibaba. Your product and supplier choices may be limited. In addition, some suppliers may not even have licenses to export, which can be a hassle for international dropshippers. You may need patience as you browse available options before you can find suppliers willing to ship internationally.

Quality issues. Product quality can be a problem. Since most products on 1688 are cheap, you can’t really expect them to deliver high quality, as with, say, Amazon or eBay (which implement strict quality control standards). As a result, some of your dropshipping customers may end up feeling disappointed after receiving their orders. This can reflect negatively on your dropshipping business.

How to choose a reliable supplier for 1688 dropshipping

Choosing a reliable supplier for 1688 dropshipping requires research. You’ll have to consider important factors before deciding to choose a supplier. The company’s industry experience, product quality, customer service, and logistics performance should be checked.

Alternatively, you can choose to work with reputable drop shipping agents. These companies can simplify the entire dropshipping process for you. Plus they can help your company cross the language barrier as you communicate with Chinese 1688 suppliers.

Top three 1688 dropshipping agents

Some excellent options for 1688 dropshipping agents are:

  • BestFulfill
  • LeeLine Sourcing
  • Supplyia

1. BestFulfill

BestFulfill is a dropshipping agent that provides order fulfillment services, such as product sourcing, shipping, branding, and customized packaging services.

Based in Guangdong, China, BestFulfill is one of the country’s top-ranked dropshipping service companies, catering to international e-commerce sellers. One customer left a 5-star review for the brand on Trust Pilot, mentioning that BestFulfill “provides service in a punctual matter” and “addresses issues with urgency.”

2. LeeLine Sourcing

A company that has been in business since 2009, LeeLine Sourcing helps connect dropshipping business owners with verified 1688 suppliers that offer the best deals. “We locate factories with the lowest prices possible, follow up on the production, and ship your products,” their site declares. “You’ll receive a detailed real-time report in less than 48 hours on your quotation.”

3. Supplyia

According to their website, Supplyia is also a company that provides product sourcing and supply chain assistance management. The company has been in the export industry since 2013 as Huasong. In 2020, they rebranded into Supplyia and now continues to offer 1688 sourcing services for international dropshippers.

In a Trust Pilot review, one customer described Supplyia as “the best China sourcing agent.”

The person also wrote, “My order's small but complicated with custom packaging, insert card, etc. My customer representative is very nice and patient. It makes my business easy with a reliable agent in China.”

Is dropshipping from China worth it?

Dropshipping from China is worth it if you can find a reputable dropshipping supplier based in the country. Today, China’s dropshipping industry continues to grow and now ranks second across the world, just behind the United States. Experts estimate that the country’s dropshipping market is expected to reach $136.7 billion with a compound annual growth (CAGR) rate of 30.1% by 2027. Meanwhile, a Forbes feature also reports that e-commerce in China could represent up to 64% of the total retail sales market this year.

So, can dropshipping make you rich? When done right, dropshipping from China can be profitable. Working with the right Chinese supplier is important and can determine whether or not your dropshipping venture will succeed. So proceed with caution as you choose a supplier from 1688 or any other platform. Hiring a competent sourcing agent may also be considered if you want to have a smooth experience, although this means additional cost on your end. 

Other profitable online business models

Aside from dropshipping, other profitable online business models include:

  • Local lead generation
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Amazon FBA
  • YouTube automation
  • Social media marketing
  • App development
  • Blogging
  • Podcasting
  • Print on demand

Related Articles on Dropshipping


Being a 1688 dropshipper can truly be worth it. As long as you devote time in learning the process and tapping the assistance of trusted agents, you can grow your dropshipping business.

Meanwhile, those interested to know more about lead generation may check out our coaching program. We can help you learn the skills needed to establish your lead gen business from scratch. With that, you can rank business websites and boost your earnings at the same time.

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