AliExpress (Chinese: 全球速卖通) is an online retail service based in China and owned by the Alibaba Group. Launched in 2010, it comprises small businesses in China and other locations, such as Singapore, that offer products to international online buyers. It is the most visited e-commerce website in Russia and was the 10th most popular website in Brazil. It facilitates small businesses to sell to customers all over the world. It has drawn a comparison to eBay, as sellers are independent and use the platform to offer products to buyers.
AliExpress started as a business-to-business buying and selling portal. It has since expanded to business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer, cloud computing, and payment services. As of 2016, it ran websites in English, Spanish, Dutch, French, Italian, German, Polish, Turkish, Portuguese, Indonesian, and Russian. Customers outside the countries for these languages are automatically served the English version of the service. It is often used by e-commerce stores that use a dropship business model.
Sellers on AliExpress can be either companies or individuals. It is different from Amazon because it acts only as an e-commerce platform and does not itself sell products directly to consumers. It directly connects Chinese businesses with buyers.
Although most retailers are Chinese, AliExpress is aimed at international buyers and does not sell to customers in mainland China. Customers in China use fellow Alibaba-subsidiary Taobao because of its convenience in delivery and service, especially Alipay’s payment method. The site offers a popular affiliate marketing program where partners are rewarded with a commission on sales for sending visitors to the site.