Which is the best wish or AliExpress

Online shopping in China: cheap shopping at Alibaba & Co

trend.at ›› published on by Anneliese Proissl

Shopping at Alibaba, AliExpress or Wish: What the portals offer, what risks exist, what the marketplaces do for the secure processing of purchases and what needs to be considered with taxes and customs duties.

When it comes to online shopping, most people think of Amazon. There is nowhere a wider range. The US group has an annual turnover of 200 billion euros. But there are competitors who challenge the shopping giant. The Asians are big in business. One of the biggest challengers is Alibaba.com, the Chinese trading platform with annual sales of 50 billion euros, and is now pushing its way to Europe with its subsidiary AliExpress.com, which specializes in private customers. Alibaba itself is big in the B2B business, but now also offers goods for end customers. Another provider that is expanding into Europe is Wish.com. Although the company operates from the USA, most of the dealers who sell their goods on it come from China. Like Wish, the online retailers Alibaba and AliExpress, like eBay, are intermediaries between retailers and customers.

According to the Consumer Check trade association, around 60 percent of Austrians already buy from Chinese online retailers, and over 70 percent of those under 39 years of age. According to the association, 560 million parcels were sent from China to Austria in just one year. Payment is made in dollars.

Like Amazon, the range of AliExpress offers practically everything across the vegetable garden. From apparel, cell phones, computers, home & garden, sportswear & equipment, and home improvement. Everything ready to be shipped to Europe.

AliExpress: Mix of dirt cheap China goods and western brands
What they all have in common is a huge selection of dirt cheap Chinese products. Some branded items such as Nike shoes can cost almost $ 200 for men. A bikini for five dollars, or just over ten dollars when things get going, is worth considering. Cell phone accessories such as a glass protector for the iPhone, for example, cost less than two dollars. A 'Made in China' evening dress is estimated at between $ 23 and $ 140.

When it comes to electronic accessories, AliExpress has a lot to offer. For example, GPS trackers, alarm systems, dash cameras or lamps in all variations are offered. A digital alcohol tester for $ 6.99 or an electric LED air pump for car tires is available for $ 23. Amazingly cheap items can also be found in the virtual health department. Hearing aids are available for as little as 25 euros each. A watch that counts blood pressure and steps and also creates an EKG and shows the calorie intake can be had for around 40 euros.

But branded goods such as Nike & Co can also be found on AliExpress.com. However, laypeople cannot guess whether the products are fake or not. Buying Western branded goods on Chinese portals is only a limited temptation anyway, as the prices are often not cheaper than in this country. Whether the articles are suitable or perhaps not branded goods can be instructive to give the customer ratings. The advantage with Alibaba: If you have questions about the product to the dealer, you can contact them directly by email with one click.

Wish.com: For a handful of goldfish
However, the most famous and popular in Europe is Wish.com. The online platform is advertised on social media and attracts with extremely low prices. It is advertised with discounts of up to 90 percent. This is because the articles often come from China. You shouldn't expect high product quality for little money. But there are all sorts of unusual things to buy, generally a specialty of the Asian online portals. Wish.com offers washable sofa covers that protect against dogs and cats, creatively designed plant pots or, for example, wall aquariums that offer space for a handful of goldfish.

Alibaba: From the crane to the chicken farm to bikes and lace panties
Alibaba.com cannot be surpassed in terms of breadth of offerings. That's because it's a hodgepodge of goods for businesses and private customers. You can tell, however, that the trading platform is primarily designed for business customers, as it is the largest online business-to-business marketplace in the world. You can buy an excavator there for $ 100,000, an industrial laser for $ 250 or a fancy titanium mountain bike for $ 500. If you want to open or expand a chicken farm, you can start at $ 18,000. For this there is the latest development at the chicken farm equipment with the latest automatic feeding and drinking mechanisms and fans. For the do-it-yourselfer: A sewing machine for around $ 30.

Alibaba: Many items with minimum quantities
As a private buyer or as a bulk buyer, one can stand on the portal for lace panties, curlers, razors and other merchandise, even if a minimum purchase is often required for the pieces. In the best case, two pieces are enough, but usually the purchase of at least ten pieces of the same item or more is necessary. The selection is large and many items of clothing are also visually appealing for Western tastes and, if they are Chinese goods, also quite cheap. A soccer dress from shirt to socks costs $ 12.50 each, provided you have at least five dresses.

Alibaba also has a lot to offer in the area of ​​party equipment, for example. LED party glasses sell for $ 1.90 if you are willing to order at least 100 of them. If you buy clothes from Asia, you risk buying the wrong size. It is not uncommon for our "M" to only correspond to size "S".

If you don't know what to buy, you can use the bestsellers that are shown for each segment as a guide. Just one of the bestsellers: A bagless vacuum cleaner from the Tinton Life brand for $ 93.81. Depending on the provider and the product or quantity purchased, delivery is sometimes free.

What to look for when shopping online in Asia

When shopping online in China, however, the rules of the game differ from those when shopping in Western online shops. and one should be aware of the risks. Then it is not easy to fall into the trap. Trend.at tells you what to look out for when shopping online on Chinese sites, which tricks to expect and what to consider for tax purposes.

Popular scams by scammers

1. Counterfeit goods If there are problems, the reasons are usually that the product ordered is counterfeit. In China, lawmakers are already much more relaxed about copyrights than in the West. Counterfeit items can therefore be found again and again in China, and online trading is no exception.
2. Prepayment as a trap. To lure the customer into a prepayment. However, the goods are never delivered.
3. Goods are offered at bargain prices . If the customer pays, he will only receive the goods when he is ready to transfer more than was originally agreed.
2. Dealer goes underground. . When doing business on the Internet, however, there is an additional risk that the dealer will go underground or have never officially existed. AliExpress tries to get this problem under control and therefore offers well thought-out buyer protection. The weak point is the verification of the dealers. In the AliExpress Security Center section, there are even tips on how to avoid getting caught up in scammers.

How to protect yourself

Extremely cheap, is can also be extremely risky. Distinguishing cheap goods from offers that are too cheap to be true is no easy matter, especially when it comes to goods from Asia. The best thing to do is still to go inside and ask yourself whether the price is really realistic, if price comparisons of some special products are not so easy.
Read reviews. If a dealer receives a lot of good reviews, that can be a good indication of whether he is working seriously. Of course, it is not a guarantee either. Finally, dealer accounts can also be cracked. After all, faked evaluations are also possible in China.
Avoid goods that can be easily counterfeited. It is better not to order electronic devices such as memory cards from Asia in the first place. With the best will in the world, the storage capacity cannot be checked in advance. The same goes for batteries. That also counts
Don't buy branded items. Too many crooks rush into this lucrative business in Asia. Don't just refrain from buying because of the relatively high prices that are sometimes charged for them, but also because of the high risk of buying a fake. Products from Nike, Apple or Samsung are often offered.
Paying by app is risky. Consumer advocates warn on the wish.com platform to pay via app. Although the payment service provider is reputable, there is no guarantee of delivery and quality of the goods.
High shipping costs threaten. Each shop has its own shipping costs. If you order from several retailers, you have to expect to pay high shipping costs.
At Wish, all complaints go through the portal, not through the retailer. That can make things tedious. Complaints and exchanges can be difficult. According to the German consumer advice center, complaints are not that rare. The goods are often damaged or do not arrive at all. Reminders are sent even before the goods are delivered.
Wish has access to contacts, pictures and videos. Think twice about installing the Wish.com app. This gives the mobile online shop access to your personal data such as contact and pictures. Authorization that is not required for online shopping and whose company is based in the USA. Not exactly reassuring.

Online retailer as a trustee
However, if all these points are observed, the risk is again limited. On the other hand, some online marketplaces also do something to ensure the security of their customers' payments. For example, AliExpress manages the money of its customers in trust until the ordered item has been received by the customer and found to be good. As soon as the online platform gives the OK, the money will be forwarded to the dealer. Customers do not have to pay with PayPal in order to protect themselves in this way, a classic credit card is sufficient for the money transfer.

AliExpress gives buyers a money-back guarantee
AliExpress also offers a guarantee that sellers give for each and every product sold. If it is not as described or is defective, the buyer can claim the money back or they can keep the item and get part of the money back. However, the request for a refund must be submitted no later than 15 days after receipt of the order. If the product ordered does not match the information on the website or is defective, the customers must first contact the retailer directly in the chat - if this exists. The fee for ship or air transport can also be recovered if you have a complaint about the goods.

Alibaba: Free insurance of the goods
In such cases, the B2B and B2C specialist Alibaba is also responsible for paying its customers to dealers in an emergency. However, if the suppliers do not deliver on time or the product quality is not right, the online broker recommends that you first contact the retailer directly. If these discussions are unsuccessful, Alibaba will pay the buyer's expenses.

Overall, the protection of buyers with all these security measures is already quite sophisticated.

Duties and Taxes

When ordering goods on the Internet from third countries (that is, all non-EU countries) customs and import sales tax (in certain cases also consumption taxes) may apply to the consumer as the end user. These costs or fees are rarely found on the websites of Aliexpress & Co.

The tax experts at TPA have summarized the most important points on tax issues:
Sales tax liability from 22 euros. Goods from third countries such as China Asia, which are bought over the Internet, are subject to import sales tax from a goods value of 22 euros. If the value of the order is between 22 and 150 euros, the import is duty-free, but not exempt from sales tax.
Customs duty from 150 euros. In addition, customs duties apply from a goods value of 150 euros, whereby the amount of customs duties depends on the product, the value and the country of origin.
Customs value is based on the purchase price including taxes. The value of the goods on which the customs are measured relates to the purchase price. That is the price including shipping costs, any insurance and plus foreign taxes.
Customs is based on the customs value. However, the assessment basis for customs is subsequently the customs value. That is the purchase price including shipping costs and any costs for insurance.
Necessary documents. Since the documents required for customs clearance of the shipments are often missing when ordering via Alibaba or Aliexpress, the data required for this are regularly requested from the recipient of the order. This must then provide proof of the purchase price and the shipping costs to the post office customs office with appropriate receipts. The private customer does not need to register himself. However, if a company orders something in a third country, registration and submission of an EORI number (Economic Operators' Registration and Identification number) is required under certain circumstances. The number is valid throughout the EU. The specification of such a number is mandatory from the first export or import. The customs office then determines the duties and prescribes them to the recipient who receives the shipment after the duties have been paid.

The risk that goods that have been paid for but not cleared through customs will be confiscated lies with the buyer
Private buyers should find out before buying whether they or the retailer will pay the duties and taxes. To be on the safe side, it is best to clarify whether the desired item can also be imported into Austria. Unfortunately, some retailers "forget" to pay customs and import sales tax, while others don't even know, as a TV interview with small retailers showed they don't know anything about it.

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