Temu Vs. Alibaba: What Is The Difference and Which Is Better? Are you finding the similarities between Temu and Alibaba extremely suspicious and wondering if they are the same company? Looking at the logo colors and the products that they sell will make you raise an eyebrow. Therefore, I’ve gathered expert insight to answer all your questions regarding these two Chinese marketplaces. So, if you are planning to buy from either of them, this page is for you!
Ok, I know these two Chinese marketplaces might look similar, but after I did deep research and analyzed their features and offerings, I have to say that they are totally different companies. And no, Temu is not owned by Alibaba or vice-versa. Therefore, to clear all the doubts, you will want to explore the following analysis of these two e-commerce companies, and then you might come to a better conclusion of where is best to shop.
Temu Vs. Alibaba: What Is The Difference and Which Is Better?
While Alibaba has held the position of one of the biggest online shopping platforms in the world for years, Temu has come to give it a run for the money. Temu seemingly sprung up overnight, but due to a fantastic discount strategy, it has appealed to thousands of online shoppers and now sits amongst the top companies. So the big question has become: which sites provide customers more benefits?
The older online platform that has reigned for long because it knows how to keep its customers satisfied? Or is the newer platform hungry for success and will provide outstanding services to achieve it? Let’s determine the answer by dissecting the prime features of both sites!
First, let’s take a quick look at what both online sites are about.
What is Temu?
Temu is an online shopping platform that came into popularity in 2022. Shocking? Well, it’s true! However, a vigorous marketing strategy and the constant comparison to the big dogs in e-commerce, such as Alibaba, Shein, Amazon, and Aliexpress, have put it on the lips of everyone.
Its availability in multiple countries also helped to fast-track its growth. Temu currently has branches in the US, UK, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Austria, and Mexico. The founders are also working to expand it to support more countries worldwide.
Apart from the marketing strategy, the brand grew fast because of the affordable costs. Temu doesn’t have stores or warehouses in America to store bulk items. Their platform enables direct shipping from the wholesalers in China to the buyers, and the process keeps each product found on the site very cheap. The affordability of the products, especially for people with tight budgets, has made it one of the most used online shopping platforms in the US. In just over a year, over nineteen million people have downloaded the Temu app.
What is Alibaba?
Alibaba is another online shopping platform that has a wide reach across countries. The company started decades ago and has since grown into a household name. The brand stands amongst some of the global online giants, proving it is a reliable source of purchase. Unlike Temu, however, Alibaba does not just provide a buyer-to-customer type of service but focuses on a buyer-to-buyer service.
This means that the site is accommodating for business owners but isn’t very much so for customers who like to buy individual items. The Alibaba sellers note on their pages the least number of items they sell to customers. Buyers can see if the seller sells only 10-100 items per order or if they sell less.
Despite this preference for bulk orders, some sellers on Alibaba are open to selling in small quantities. This means the prices for individual items will be on the higher side in comparison to customers who buy in bulk.
Now that we know what these two companies are and the basics of what they offer let us delve into the differences!
The Differences Between Temu and Alibaba
Temu product range
Temu has a wide range of products to meet every shopper’s basic needs. It isn’t like websites that focus on a single type of product e.g. women’s wear or shoes. When you visit the site or open the app, you’ll be greeted with a whooping twenty-nine categories of products. These include women’s items, men’s, home decor, jewelry, sports gear, toys, electronics, crafts, bags, beauty, office, garden, health, pets, appliances, and more. Under these categories are over two hundred and fifty subcategories.
Search further to find pretty and affordable clothes, adorable wall decorations and ornaments, blenders, pet food, and other valuable things. Chances are that whatever basic item you are looking for, you’ll find right here at cheap costs.
In addition to an existing variety, the website stays updated and provides new items. This means that if you search for a tool today and don’t find it by the next day or the next week, you might. This is a great feature for customers who love to be presented with several options.
The wide range is also beneficial for people who wish to purchase several things at a go. You won’t have to move from one website to another to buy your clothes and home décor items. You can find both right here.
The downside of this feature is that if you don’t buy an item immediately, you might not find it listed by next week. Also, due to the cheap prices of products, their qualities aren’t always the best. Many goods have a hollow and thin feel and hence look better in pictures–although, if you’re lucky, you can run into items of sound quality! You also won’t find big brands in Temu. Most of the producers are unknown names, both in clothing and craft.
Alibaba product range
Alibaba also has a wide range of products and categories. The basic categories on the site are beauty, apparel, accessories, jewelry, consumer electronics, home and garden, luggage, children’s items, footwear, and sports gear.
The site also has an aspect named ‘Hot Categories’ where you’ll find the most frequented areas of other buyers. This is helpful for business owners who want inspiration on what business aspects to start with or branch out to.
For instance, seeing that sunglasses are the first items on the ‘Hot Categories’ will show you that there is a market for sunglasses. The subcategories are mixed and include items like phone cases, fabrics, paper boxes, secondhand clothes, wigs, and earphones.
Alibaba goes beyond providing basic, day-to-day items and lists specific ones such as car parts and canoes.
Similar to Temu, new items are made available daily; hence it is highly convenient for customers. A business owner or bulk buyer who retails different goods will find shopping easy on Alibaba.
The downside is that Alibaba does not get all its goods from one vetted source. Their products come in from different manufacturers, and so some of these products have poor quality.
Temu price range
As mentioned above, Temu products are on the cheap side. Some might say it is suspiciously cheap. But the prices are real! Most of Temu’s products are under $20, and while shopping, you’ll find items that are even way lower than $20. Many tools come at $10 and below.
Temu is a great site to shop for people working under a tight budget. It is also great for entrepreneurs who are only just starting up. You won’t need huge capital to buy and resell from Temu. With a few hundred dollars, you can start up your business. Besides the affordable price, the site also hosts many sales and discounts. This is another feature that helps them pull customers in!
One reason the price can be this cheap is because the items are transferred directly from the manufacturers in China to the buyer. This reduces the shipping costs and doesn’t include warehouse storage. The downside is that shipping periods can stretch as long as months, so customers have to place orders very, very early.
Note that Temu’s discount numbers aren’t always accurate. Some discounts can be said to run at 80% but actually are 40%. Do your research before placing orders!
Alibaba price range
Alibaba’s prices are more substantial, especially in comparison to Temu’s. The prices are set up according to the size and the quality of products. For little items like pens, for instance, the prices are small. For bigger items such as blenders, the prices are higher. Also, if you select secondhand clothes, the price will be less than that of new clothes.
The costs vary and can’t be generalized. The quote, however, will be cheaper for buyers placing orders in bulk since Alibaba mostly caters to bulk buyers.
Despite this, it’s important to note that Alibaba is still cheap compared to brick-and-mortar stores or real-life purchases. The e-commerce site also presents cheaper prices than many other online platforms.
Temu Platform Accessibility
The Temu website and app are easy to use. Once you go on the site, you’ll instantly find all the available categories. When you click on a category, you’ll be taken to the subcategories, etc. Anyone can operate the site. There is also a search bar to make your shopping process faster and easier.
The issue Temu presents is that it sometimes requires you to sign up before you can access the website. During the first few visits, you may get access, but soon, you’ll be asked to open an account before you use the site. This is a downside as some people don’t like to input their personal details. Not until they are certain they’ll make a purchase. If you are one of these people, Temu might not be the best shopping platform for you.
Alibaba Platform Accessibility
The Alibaba website is simple to access and navigate. Each category or subcategory is boldly labeled and has visuals to increase ease. Apart from the main categories, aspects like ‘Most Popular’ also show visitors what is trending. There is a section to reach out and request quotes. At the base of the mobile page is a messenger option allowing you to speak to customer care.
The item prices are converted to your local currencies. For people who don’t reside in the US, you won’t have to work conversation-rate math to determine the costs of each item! On this aspect, Alibaba takes the cake.
Temu Countries Available
Although the Americas and European countries are the main target audience of online marketplaces like Temu, people worldwide love using these platforms. For instance, African countries are big on e-commerce sites but only have access to a few. This is one aspect where Temu falls behind Alibaba.
While Temu is dedicated to expanding worldwide, it currently only supports multiple countries. This includes the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Austria, Germany, France, Mexico, Ireland, Italy, Poland, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and Portugal. As you can see, no African country is listed here.
With Temu’s determination to reach more countries, however, they might spread to other continents soon. So stay on the lookout!
Alibaba Countries Available
Other than America, the United Kingdom, and Europe, Alibaba provides services to dozens of other places. So, regardless of where you live, you can buy from Alibaba. If you are a small business owner who would like to sell foreign items but don’t have access to them due to location, Alibaba will be highly favorable for your business. In this aspect of country reach, Alibaba also wins the prize as the better option.
One aspect that makes a tiebreaker for people is a company’s ethical practices. Neither Temu nor Alibaba are innocent of misdemeanors, and this is quite common for companies like these. Looking at the ethical practices can help you determine which of these companies you want to patronize or stick with.
Despite being new in the e-commerce space, Temu has received backlash and warnings for adding to a major issue in China—unpaid, forced labor. Many workers in Chinese factories are known to work overtime and excessively while being paid little. Temu’s collaboration with Chinese manufacturers has been said to encourage this unethical labor practice. The company has also been queried for lack of complete transparency. Without full transparency, the right bodies cannot inspect and hold their practices accountable.
On the flip side, Temu has put in efforts to sustainable practices. According to their site, Temu encourages social responsibility by offsetting the carbon emissions of their orders and urging shoppers to buy multiple items at a go instead of in bits to preserve materials.
Alibaba has been in existence for much longer than Temu, and in this time, it has been flagged for a number of unethical practices. The good news is that the company tries to address and solve these issues once they arrive to ensure their customers continue to have positive experiences. Some of these issues include complaints that the site sold counterfeit goods. While the site has been trying to fix this issue in that time, it is important to check out the manufacturer and site reviews before making purchases.
Another ethical complaint slammed Alibaba for trying to monopolize the e-commerce space. There have been queries over their supply chains as well. The company has been doing a fair job of addressing these complaints instead of ignoring them.
On the issue of sustainability, Alibaba has initiated measures to promote eco-friendly processes. Their sustainable actions are actually more transparent and noticeable than Temu’s!
Shipping and delivery timeframe
Since Temu delivers goods to America, the UK, and Europe, the shipping process is organized. To ship a product, you can choose between express shipping and standard shipping. Keeping up with its theme of affordability, the standard shipping is free. The only cost of this free shipping is that it takes time to arrive. Your goods will arrive at any time from two weeks and can stretch longer. For express shipping, you’ll be required to pay at least $13 to have your goods delivered within a faster timeframe.
Note that if you purchase goods worth more than $130, your express shipping will be free but at the same quick pace.
The company works with the manufacturers to send the goods to the US, then hires delivery services like UPS and FedEx to take the goods to the customers. This longer delivery time means items should always be ordered in advance to receive them in time. If you are dissatisfied with an order, you can return it within ninety days.
Since Alibaba has customers around the globe, they also offer worldwide shipping. To purchase from Alibaba, you have to choose between ocean shipping and express shipping. Both of these come at a fee. Alibaba does not offer free shipping unless for certain sales. The company uses worldwide delivery services such as UPS, DHL, and DPD, so whether you live in Europe or Asia, you can get your goods.
Alibaba also doesn’t have a fixed delivery time. The timing differs from place to place, so when placing your order, fill in your location and see when you can expect your goods. Also, during this process, you can select the shipping method of your choice. If the goods are unfavorable, you can return them within thirty days.
Temu vs. Alibaba: Which is better?
After comparing the pros and cons of each of these Chinese e-commerce platforms, is quite easy to conclude who is the winner here. Temu is ideal if you are looking for very affordable items, with fast shipping and the option to buy in small quantities, while Alibaba is a company aimed at B2B.
Both marketplaces are great, but they are not the same company, and their business model is entirely different. With the speed of development that Temu has, there is no surprise that this marketplace will surpass Alibaba or why not Amazon.
Ok, now the final conclusion… I know I went into a bit of detail about these companies, but I tried to show their features and offerings. So, did I answer all your questions about Temu and Alibaba? Did I miss anything? If so, drop a comment below or email me, and I will do my best to update this page quickly. Meanwhile, you might want to explore more blog posts.