It's a real pity as I'm sure if there was a way of really knowing the quality of what you were getting (other than getting samples, which I've done and had issues with several of them) then it would be a great place to buy either for personal consumption or for a business opportunity. At times like today I spend a while browsing and see things I would be interested in if I wasn't concerned they would be 'China quality'.
Am I missing something here? Is there a better way of sorting the wheat from the chaff? Or is it just a case of a lot of hit and miss and hopefully building a relationship with a decent supplier at some point?
A good friend of me who used to be a manager of the repair department of a big computer manufacturer always told to switch a device on (laptop for instance) and have it run a something heavy (like a benchmark) for 24 hours to rule out factory issues. I never had any from Alibaba: I did have one from lightinabox who sent a laptop which caught fire during the test. They said I should not have done the benchmark and refused to refund so never bought anything there again.
To be honest I had more issues with Amazon (seller) products, but those also were quickly refunded or replaced.
Anecdotal ofcourse. Might be totally different when my next order arrives.
For example, butane torches. You can go to Bed Bath and Beyond and buy a chinese made creme brûlée torch for $30 that lights well, smells clean, feels tight, doesn't leak butane and has a lifeime guatantee. Or you can go down the street to 'smoke shop' and pay $30 for a chinese made torch that leaks butane, has problems with the venturi lever, smells like vinegar, and lights on 3 out of 5 attempts.
The difference is that the second one is sold at the manufacturer level for a much lower price and has gone through more distributors and markup. When you order a random product online it's hard to know what tier you are receiving.
I'd think the higher voltage would have fewer problems since there's less current and voltage drop... covering up for less-than-spec wire gauges.
Once you want anything custom-looking, it quickly stops being mandatory. In the end, I have one ceiling light and one bathroom shelf from China.
Of course this would vary by locale, I guess.
on amazon if something is not described ( i ordered anker dongle for my macbook that did not work on the 2016 model)
i get a refund right away and the shipping covered.
Err, that proves the parent's point -- if Amazon did some quality control they wouldn't sell it.
With other, no brand stuff you can expect to get what you pay for. As always.
Which doesn't mean much ("China quality" that is) since iPhones are also made in China -- as are expensive clothes for the likes of Armani and co and tons of other high-end stuff. And of course lots of Chinese designed and made products that are of high quality.
Of course tons of cheap stuff is made there too -- almost all the world's manufacturing of cheapo stuff. Heck, almost anything you can get on a place like Walmart is probably made in China too, but sold for 2-5 times as much as in Chinese sites.
If someone buys some $80 "laptop" off of Alibaba, or some "leather jacket" for $30, or some no-brand el-cheapo "camera drone", of course they're gonna get subpar quality. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably ain't, and if there are no reviews (on third party sites) or nobody knows the brand name, well, those things don't point to getting a good buying experience.
As well as getting really cheap stuff, AE is really handy for getting hard to find things. Especially if you live in a small town as I do.
Put, yes, different countries have different sizing standards and you can't blindly assume US sizing when buying from elsewhere.
Same is true in the US though: American L translates to XL on shirts and XXL on boxers and the like in my country.
Watch the shipping prices and times to be sure you know what to expect. But we have never had any issues with quality or reliability.
edit: sp, silly auto-correct :)
I've purchased things from AliExpress that were useful products, but everything was fragile or had substantial bugs I had to work around. Always was happy for the price, but would rather find something in between the AliExpress price and the western price if I could get non-brittle plastic.
If anyone in the US wants to partake in the frenzy, I believe aliexpress is doing a Singles Day thing (using US timezone, so it hasn't started yet as of this writing), but be careful with the shipping timelines on the products. I've had situations where items didn't arrive until weeks later and I had already forgotten that I'd bought anything.
(it's currently between ¼ and ⅕ of the global economy)
That will probably happen once corruption in China becomes manageable, the Chinese stop moving their assets offshore and the US has no industrial technological advantage any more (i.e. once China can make equivalently good airplanes and microprocessors).
That isn't likely to happen soon even though other governments want them to float freely rather than in a price band.
China doesn't hold enough USD to hurt the US economy without hurting themselves even more seeing as the bonds are non-callable by the buyer.
Right. Exactly like the US does right now.
>China doesn't hold enough USD to hurt the US economy
It isn't about who holds the little green bits of paper. It's about who can turn off the wealth spigot.
The US would experience a huge bout of inflation right now if China decided to just float, it's just that China would probably suffer too. Once the US has nothing China wants (soon) they will have no reason to keep giving us a bargain on their imports.
Now they're not far off parity - maybe 5-7 years before they can manufacture anything the US can.
Trends that continue for a long time do not continue forever. That goes double for things that look like a free lunch.
For the last two years, their problem was the opposite. They went quite draconian on people selling RMB to keep currency strong.
The main motivation is to allow CCP keep throwing money around the globe, buying allies
China has great same day logistics using poorly paid guys on electric bikes (so food and soft good delivery is very reasonable), but everything else is equivalent or a bit worse than the states.
Sorry your amazon experience has been so horrible. We live in Bellevue and it has worked out well for us. Sometimes we have to use the amazon delivery lockers at the 7-11 across the street, though.
Still...it's definitely not a non-starter. And with the exception of shipping updates which were non-existent once Thai post got their hands on the package, everything worked surprisingly well. All told, it took 7 days to arrive, shipping was ~$50 and customs was ~$65 on a ~$300 order that would have cost over $500 locally where the selection would've meant getting something that wasn't exactly what I wanted.
Not Amazon, but a recent experience I had. I wanted to order a kit from Vex Robotics. Cost of the kit was $80. Shipping from the US was $150. Supposedly it's available from a Vex reseller in Thailand so I contacted them and they quoted $190 for the $80 kit with a one month delivery time. So they are just ordering it from the US and having it shipped at a somewhat lower cost. I am not desperate for the kit so its a nonstarter for me. I can almost certainly find a serviceable substitute from a Chinese supplier who will ship to Thailand at a fraction of the cost.
It would be the same as everyone in the US spending $100 on the same day or $32B in a single day (which is almost half of US online spending for a year).
China's GDP is $11.x trillion for 2017.
Comparing apples to apples would mean comparing the amount spent online in the U.S. with a single company. Even comparing apples to pears would mean comparing all online sales in the U.S. to Alibaba 11.11 sales.
Comparing all "consumer spending" in the U.S. with Alibaba 11.11 sales is, well, it's misleading.
This might be a good litmus test for whether you actually need what you're buying :-)
I love that! It's like getting a present from myself.
(Depending on how important the item was, of course...)
An easy solution is to look for the ones with ePacket shipping. It is tracked and you'd normally expect it in two weeks. Some give it for free, some charge about a dollar for it.
HC-06: Dealextreme $5.50, Banggood $5.99, Gearbest $6.57, Aliexpress $2.58
Arduino Nano v3.0: Dealextreme $3.46, Banggood $2.77, Gearbest $4.27, Aliexpress $1.66
Ebay has a pretty good return/refund policy. And then you can fall-back on Paypal too.
Anecdotal evidence, but I have had far more success with AliExpress' dispute/buyer protection system than eBay's.
eBay is laughably bad at disputes. I have received several items from eBay which were DOA, and my options were to take a very reduced refund, or ship the item back to the seller at my expense.
Same issue with AliExpress, upload evidence (pictures/video) of the DOA item, full refund no further questions.
PayPal is another nightmare in of itself.
The thing is, on Aliexpress there are many, many sellers of each of those items and there is often a significant price difference among them. If that is due to quality or delivery times I have not figured it out yet. So I usually buy from the cheapest who has a fair number of sales and few if any complaints in the reviews.
KY-008 laser transmitter module $0.32
5V stepper motor with driver board $1.82
LCD1602 I2C board $1.68
4X3 membrane switch keypad $0.52
STM32F103C8T6 dev board $1.58
K975 Micro 130 Vibration Motor (2 pcs) $1.48
Tilt sensor module $0.37
KY-013 temp sensor module $0.29
GY-521 gyro/accel module $0.99
WS2812 RGB LED 12 bit ring $1.40
RF receiver & transmitter module pair $0.82
IR obstacle avoidance sensor module $0.69
HC-SR502 PIR motion sensor module $0.72
Some friends of ours chose today to go to Ikea, figuring they'd be free from the usual massive crowds, as people would be at home doing online shopping, or sleeping in after staying up late last night. It turned out they were right.
Now the US has a U6 unemployment rate near 20 year lows and has added $45 trillion to its household wealth number in the last seven years, while incomes have also been rising modestly well the last several years. The need for substantial deals to move most merchandise is vastly reduced accordingly.
= free auto-gas supplement.
Or home heating.
That's all aliexpress. Alibaba is more industrial, negotiate for pricing; Aliexpress is a pure marketplace. With the subsidized shipping, I can often get something for <$2 that would be $8 on Amazon and $25 at Staples/BestBuy.
I needed a 1/8" stereo mini to 2 RCA male cable.
Staples: $15.59 - https://www.staples.com/Staples-7-3-5mm-to-Dual-RCA-Y-Adapte...
BestBuy: $9.99 - https://www.bestbuy.com/site/insignia-6-3-5mm-mini-to-rca-st...
Amazon: $4.76 - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IE7Z628
Aliexpress: $0.56 / $0.82 - https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1-Mini-Plug-3-5mm-Plug-Jack-...
US name brand stuff like this is particular troublesome for me because I am not living in the US. So I pay big shipping costs and then risk corrupt and extortionate customs actions. If I buy local the cost is just as high.
Also, have you seen anything that looks like Vex Robotics knockoffs? Same story - I have a Vex IQ kit and want to buy more but shipping costs are way more than the price of the item I want to buy.
If you want to buy LEGO knockoffs that's fine, but there are plenty of brands that are almost as cheap as Lepin and produce original (non-stolen) designs.
Lepin does as well, just under the XingBao name.
But the joke's on the both of them—I just buy them for the pieces, not for the set designs.
Honestly if Lego just sold big boxes of bulk technic pieces (like they do for their normal blocks), I'd probably just buy those instead.
Singles Day sales is a few times bigger than Black Friday or anything Amazon has. Kind of strange to ask if Alibaba Cloud can scale as AWS.
OzBargain.com.au also seems to like Lightinthebox, Rosegal and Zapals.
I do wonder if there's a way to go "one level up" - who supplies all these Chinese stores?
Is one of these numbers incorrect?
They're frequently incorrectly portrayed as a traditional retailer, akin to Amazon (which itself is increasingly not a retailer).
They're a retailer in the sense that eBay is. They own no merchandise, they sell no merchandise. They're a platform that other people sell on/through. They don't primarily make money from listing fees though (as eBay does), in their case it's from ads and equivalent. Alibaba has a lot more in common with Google than Walmart (which is also why their profit margins are so high, versus eg JD.com).
Incredibly, when Alibaba was founded, China's GDP was ~1/11th what it is today. Which is another way of saying, they were dramatically poorer just 18 years ago. That factor combined with non-existent online micro charging capabilities circa 1999, no smartphones, etc. meant that Jack Ma couldn't easily charge traditional listing/selling fees to be on their platform. So they went with a mostly free platform that made money via ads. That is also a big reason eBay failed in China despite being there semi-early:
(story from 2010 about what happened to eBay in China)
Every year the media makes a big deal about Alibaba's merchandise volume. It's a cute soundbite, and it's certainly a large number, but it's not how they make money at all. Their own revenue can technically grow far faster or slower than the merchandise volume (I would expect them to outperform their merchandise volume growth rate in the coming years, as they increase ad rates as China's economy scales the value ladder & GDP per capita keeps climbing, while their manufacturing and exports grow very modestly if at all).
I sort of imagine that to a caricature of an old americana businessman, this sale is a significant event. The quantity of the chinese market (even per capita, by the satisfyingly physical measure of "biggest sale ever" and it's easily visualised as a mountain of packaged goods), is a quality of its own^. At least, that is what my caricatured character believes intrinsically.
^This is a made up quote attributed to Stalin. I love how american sounding it is, in retrospect.
> quote attributed to Stalin
Actually, that was comrade Hegel at the source of the idea, but the marxists did run a lot with it, mostly into the ground ...
"[...] a basic law of materialist dialectics, according to which a change in the quality of an object occurs when the accumulation of quantitative changes reaches a certain limit."
Processing over 1/4-million transactions per second.
Can anyone tell me more about that?
Other things being equal, we'll prefer a non-paywalled URL as in  from earlier today, but in the present case there was a clear quality difference.