WorldFirst and 1688.com: all you need for wholesale sourcing

WorldFirst and 1688.com: all you need for wholesale sourcing

From highly-competitive prices to low minimum orders, it’s not hard to see why 1688 is fast becoming a goods-sourcing favourite outside of China
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You might have heard of Alibaba.com – the global marketplace for people who want to buy and sell across the world. But have you heard of 1688.com? Both are owned by the Alibaba Group but, where Alibaba focuses on international trade, 1688 was originally created for the Chinese market.

Launched in 1999, 1688 is China’s leading B2B marketplace for wholesale, sourcing and dropshipping. According to Analysys, it was China’s largest integrated domestic wholesale marketplace in 2021 by net revenue. It’s not as widely known outside of China because of its target market and the difficulty in paying suppliers. Here’s why.

China has a two currency system, one for domestic transactions within mainland China and another for international trade coming in and out of the country. Both are known as renminbi (or RMB, literally ‘the people’s money’) but they have two ISO currency codes: CNY for domestic transactions and CNH for international trade.

Both use the same bank notes and, in China, are equivalent in value when exchanging the two. However, there are restrictions on transactions in CNY and its value is dictated by the People’s Bank of China. Because of the restrictions on CNY, it was incredibly difficult for cross-border businesses to buy from 1688, which catered to the domestic market.

Until now. WorldFirst is the exclusive payments provider that allows you to pay your 1688 suppliers in CNH. This means that when you source your goods on 1688, you can now pay suppliers faster and avoid the extra currency exchange fees of paying in USD. That’s big news for small and micro businesses because of the low minimum order quantities, range of choice and highly-competitive prices.

Why you should source from 1688.com

Save money
Make savings of anywhere from 4% to 40% when sourcing goods
Search 50+ industries
Find raw materials, apparel, household goods, electronics, food, and more
Discover 1,700+ subcategories
Browse a huge amount of products, all from licensed Chinese suppliers
Go direct
With 1688, you cut out the middleman and deal directly with the manufacturer or supplier
Order minimal amounts
Many sellers allow you to buy as little as one or two items at a time, helping with cash flow and letting you try before you buy a larger amount
Meet 10+ million suppliers
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to who you want to do business with

All of the benefits of sourcing from 1688 come with the knowledge of a name that’s backed by an internationally-recognised brand. It’s also good to know that 1688 has over 120 million registered users and over 31 million monthly visitors to their site. So, it’s far from a small player.

By opening a World Account with WorldFirst, you’re taking the first step to connecting your business to all the benefits of sourcing on 1688.com. But that’s not all you get from your World Account.

Perks of a World Account

Pay like a local
Open local currency  accounts in 10+ currencies for free
Fast and easy payments to China
Pay suppliers in China in CNH, or those in Hong Kong in USD or HKD on the same day
Manage currency risk
Convert at today’s rate, a targeted one, or lock it in for up to 24 months
Team up but stay in charge
Add unlimited team members and customise the level of access for each person
A world of opportunity
Connect to 100+ global marketplaces and payment gateways
More time, less work
Integrate your World Account with Xero or Netsuite and let them do the accounting and reports for you

How to shop on 1688.com

In order to start sourcing from 1688.com, you need to create an account with:

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Alipay
To verify your identity when registering for a 1688.com account
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1688.com
To source from manufacturers and suppliers
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WorldFirst
To pay suppliers instantly

You can open a World Account here.

Then there are two ways to set up an Alipay account:

On your mobile:

  1. Open Alipay mobile app (iOS and Android) and click 'Register'
  2. Select your country code and your mobile number
  3. Enter the verification code sent to your mobile number

On your desktop:

  1. Log into www.alipay.com and select 'Register'
  2. Next, click 'Personal Account' and select your nationality/region
  3. Fill in your mobile number and enter the verification code sent to your mobile number

How to open a 1688.com account

All users must register for an account on 1688.com in order to begin purchasing.

Go to www.1688.com and click on the highlighted tab (in the diagram, below) which translates to ‘Sign up for free’.

Or, if you already have a Taobao account, you can use those details to log into 1688.com. Both Taobao and 1688 are subsidiaries of Alibaba Group, so they share the same details.

                                       

Top tip: If you can’t read Mandarin, use Google Translate to convert the page into English. Make sure you’re using Chrome as your browser, right click and select ‘Translate into English’.

A pop-up will appear with a User Agreement. Select to register as an individual. (Again, Google Translate is your friend here if you can’t read Mandarin.)

Important: Registering for a company account on 1688.com is for Chinese suppliers and sellers only. Foreign companies or non-local individuals need to register as an individual, even if doing so on behalf of a company.

Fill in your information on the registration page and click the highlighted button (in the diagram, below) and click on the button which translates to ‘Agree and register’.

You’ll receive a one-time verification code on the mobile number you gave on the form. Enter the code and click the button to submit.

To activate your 1688 account, tick the check box to accept the agreement and click ‘Confirm’.

On the following page, 1688.com will request that you complete your account profile, but this is optional.

How to verify your 1688.com account                                                         

After registering for your 1688 account, you can choose to verify your account. While it’s not mandatory, if you’d like to use the 1688 Cross-border Pay solution, a verified 1688 account is necessary.

Other benefits of a verified 1688 account include the ability to unfreeze or restore your account in the event it is frozen or restricted.

What’s the 1688 or Cross-border Pay solution?

Cross-border Pay is the official payment method provided by WorldFirst and 1688.com that lets foreign companies pay suppliers instantly and directly.

For 1688 accounts opened by individuals based outside of China, the verification process requires you to connect with a verified personal Alipay account.

On your 1688 account, click on your account name and navigate to ‘account management’. Then, under ‘my verification’ go to ‘verify using personal details’.

You’ll be redirected to the quick verification page. Enter your Alipay login ID and password, then click the orange button ‘link to Alipay account’.

Congratulations, you’re now verified and your Alipay account is connected to your 1688.com account!

Setting these accounts up doesn’t take too long and it’s time well spent in the long run. In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more about how to grow your e-commerce business, check out the rest of our guides here.                     

                                                   

Open a World Account for free
  • Open 10+ local currency accounts with local account details
  • Direct CNH payments to 1688.com
  • Pay suppliers, partners and staff in 40+ currencies and 130+ destinations
  • Collect secure payments from 100+ marketplaces and payment gateways, including Amazon, AliExpress, Paypal and Shopify
  • Lock in currency conversion rates for up to 24 months
Get started
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