Aliexpress vs Taobao

by aliexpert

Chinese-made products are enjoyed all around the world for their affordability and decent quality. China has long mastered the science behind mass manufacturing, and the size of their economy allows them to manufacture products en masse, cutting their overheads by a significant margin, and allowing them to put out high-quality products at a fraction of the price you’d usually find in the West.

Chinese-made products are available all over the world – in fact, many of the branded items people enjoy even in the West are likely to be made in China – but lately, Chinese brands are flooding international markets with their affordable prices and high-value offerings.

There are plenty of places to get China-made products online, but we’re here to talk about the two biggest ones to date: AliExpress and Taobao.

In the Chinese-speaking community, the battle between AliExpress and Taobao has garnered global attention. On one hand, you have AliExpress – the international arm of retail and wholesale giant Alibaba – whose prices, products, and policies have made them one of the biggest global online shopping platforms ever.

On the other hand, you have Taobao, a Chinese-only online shopping platform that’s even bigger, has even better prices, but caters primarily to China. The funny thing is that these two online shopping giants are both owned by the Alibaba Group, and while competition isn’t really a problem for either of these platforms, consumers tend to think otherwise.

In this guide, we’ll be walking you through the ins and outs of both AliExpress and Taobao, so you can decide for yourself which one is the best place to spend your hard-earned money.

AliExpress vs Taobao Comparison Table





AliExpress offers some of the best deals and cheapest prices you’re likely to find online, or elsewhere.

Taobao offers the lowest prices and best deals on Chinese-branded and unbranded products.

Product Selection

Wide range of products that include everything from home appliances, to clothing, to food and health products, with one of the biggest selections of electronics available online.

Wide range of products including home décor, clothing and apparel, jewelry, tech products, and more.

Buyer Protection

Comprehensive buyer protection policy that offers refunds and returns.

Standard buyer protection policies for safety against scams.

Payment Methods

Secure payment channels including Wire Transfer, Credit Card via Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, and American Express, as well as a number of digital payment platforms.

Secure payment channels including Credit/Debit Card, as well as a number of Chinese payment channels like Alipay, Webmoney, and more.

Delivery Time

Products are shipped from China. International shipping times vary between 15 and 25 days.

Products are shipped from China. International shipping times can take as little as 3 to 7 days.

Shipping Costs

Products are shipped from China. Shipping costs vary depending on your location.

Products are shipped from China. Shipping costs vary depending on location.

Refund Processing Time

5 to 10 days

2 days

Seller Contact



Customer Service

AliExpress Dispute system handles all returns, refunds, and requests via a Ticket system.

Taobao Customer Service available via telephone every day at usual office hours.

App Support

App available on iOS and Android.

App available on iOS and Android.

AliExpress vs Taobao Price Comparison

Since AliExpress and Taobao are both under the Alibaba Group, we can expect the prices on both platforms to be more or less the same. However, Taobao does have the added benefit of being more China-centric, and since all of their products – AliExpress and Taobao, included – ship from China, Taobao offers unbeatable prices, although at a not so significant margin.

aliexpress vs taobao price
compare aliexpress taobao

In the case above, we compare a pair of Redmi AirDots from Taobao to a pair we found on AliExpress. On Taobao, the Redmi AirDots cost 112 Yuan, roughly converted to $23 SGD. However, on AliExpress we see that the Redmi AirDots are listed at around $46 SGD – a higher price than the one on Taobao – but that they’re available for under $20 SGD thanks to the AliExpress discount.

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Verdict: Taobao usually offers lower prices than AliExpress, but both platforms are known for their deals and discounts so if you keep an eye out, you might be able to find a better deal on either of these shopping platforms.

AliExpress vs Taobao Product Selection Comparison

AliExpress and Taobao offer pretty much the same kind of products, since they share many wholesale suppliers in China. However, while AliExpress is better known for its orientation towards consumer tech products and electronics, Taobao is more popular for other kinds of consumer goods. To illustrate the product selection available on both AliExpress and Taobao, here’s a table showing the most popular product categories on each platform:



Phone Accessories

Home Décor

Portable Chargers

Clothing and Apparel

Wireless Earphones

Jewelry and Accessories


Baby Products

Clothing and Apparel

Consumer Robotics

Verdict: AliExpress and Taobao have similar products available on their catalog, but while AliExpress is more tech-oriented, Taobao is more widely-used for miscellaneous consumer goods.

AliExpress vs Taobao Buyer Protection Comparison

AliExpress has a superb Buyer Protection program that makes it one of the best and safest places to shop online. On AliExpress, an AI-powered Dispute system effectively manages refunds and returns. On Taobao, you’re also getting a comprehensive Consumer Protection program that keeps buyers safe from scams and non-genuine products.

Verdict: Both AliExpress and Taobao afford their plenty of protection against scammers and other unsavory activities operating on online shopping platforms around the world.

AliExpress vs Taobao Payment Methods Comparison

Since AliExpress caters to an international market, it has a wider selection of payment methods available to users including Credit/Debit Card, PayPal, Wire Transfer, and numerous mobile payment channels. In contrast, Taobao caters to a primarily Chinese market, and while it accepts major credit cards like Visa and MasterCard, it also accepts China-based payment platforms like Alipay, Webmoney, and China bank wire transfer.

Verdict: AliExpress offers more payment methods for international customers, while Taobao has more China-centric payment methods available.

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AliExpress vs Taobao Delivery Time Comparison

AliExpress and Taobao both ship all of their products from China. However, despite this similarity, Taobao boasts much faster delivery times than its international counterpart, AliExpress. Taobao used to only serve the Chinese market, but has since expanded to international shipping. Also, despite being under the Alibaba Group, users find that Taobao has much faster shipping times, probably because of the lower volume of international orders being placed on the Chinese platform.

Verdict: Customers report much faster shipping times (3 to 7 days) on Taobao compared to AliExpress (15 to 25 days).

AliExpress vs Taobao Shipping Costs Comparison

Since AliExpress and Taobao both ship their products from China, international shipping costs should remain standard.

Verdict: AliExpress and Taobao offer more or less the same shipping costs.

AliExpress vs Taobao Refund Processing Time Comparison

When it comes to refunds, there is no doubt that Taobao’s system is the most beneficial to customers. While AliExpress does a good job of keeping refunds and returns as smooth and straightforward as possible – with an average processing time of 5 to 10 days – Taobao sets the gold standard for refunds with its own policy. On Taobao, refunds take no more than 48 hours – once a buyer requests a refund for a product, a seller has 48 hours to respond before the refund is automatically given to the buyer.

Verdict: Taobao offers a superior buyer-friendly refund policy that takes only 48 hours to process.

AliExpress vs Taobao Seller Contact Comparison

Both Taobao and AliExpress allow users to chat with sellers to give special instructions, find out more about product specifications, or even settle disputes. However, on AliExpress, the seller contact feature is built into the platform and the mobile app. On Taobao, however, you have to download a separate app to speak to sellers directly.

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Verdict: AliExpress makes it more convenient and accessible to speak to sellers directly, but it’s also possible on the Taobao platform.

AliExpress vs Taobao App Support Comparison

Both Taobao and AliExpress have a native mobile app available on Android and iOS. Features and functions are standard across the board, with both apps offering a polished user experience. However, it is important to note that the Taobao app – just like the rest of the Taobao platform – is only available in the Chinese language.

Verdict: Both AliExpress and Taobao have great mobile apps, but Taobao app is Chinese only.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying from AliExpress

+ Comprehensive Buyer Protection program
+ Cheaper prices and frequent deals and discounts
+ Best for bulk purchases and wholesale

– Product quality can be hit or miss
– Delivery times are quite high
– Very few Western branded items

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying from Taobao

+ Chinese-centric shopping platform is a favorite of the Chinese community
+ Best deals and discounts on Chinese products
+ Refunds processed in 48 hours

– Platform is in Chinese, and doesn’t cater to an international market
– Product quality can be hit or miss

AliExpress vs Taobao Final Verdict

When it comes to choosing between AliExpress and Taobao, the biggest factor that’ll sway your choice is whether or not you speak and read Chinese. Both platforms offer international shipping, low prices, and quality products, but Taobao is decidedly cheaper. The only downside is that while AliExpress is a tailored, polished shopping experience designed for international users, Taobao is especially designed for the Chinese community. If you can figure out a way to bridge that gap, then Taobao is ideal. If not, AliExpress still offers one of the best shopping experiences around: low prices and excellent buyer protection.

Read also:

Aliexpress vs Wish

Aliexpress vs DHGate


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