Which AliExpress products are worth it

The Chinese trading platform Alibaba is the largest online business-to-business marketplace in the world. Alibaba.com works in a similar way to eBay, as an intermediary between seller and buyer. The range of products on offer is very large and ranges from electronic and mechanical components to textiles, jewelry and personal care products. Alibaba can be a good and inexpensive source of purchasing for products from predominantly Chinese suppliers for companies of all sizes.

But what should you watch out for when shopping on Alibaba.com?

We provide valuable information and tips on what to look out for when sourcing from Alibaba and how orders can be processed easily and securely.

It’s not possible without an EORI number

In order for traders to be able to purchase goods from outside the European Community, economic operators need the so-called EORI number (“Economic Operators Registration and Identification” number for registering and identifying economic operators). This number replaces the previously common seven-digit customs number and is valid throughout the EU. It can be used to clearly register and identify companies vis-à-vis the customs administration. It consists of 17 digits with a total of 15 digits and a country code. The country code for Germany consists of the two letters "DE". The specification of an EORI number is mandatory from the first export or import process. It can be requested free of charge from the General Customs Directorate.

Observe customs regulations

When ordering via Alibaba.com, the question of customs always arises, of course. In general, retailers have to take into account import sales tax and possible customs duties when importing goods from non-EU countries.

The total value of the imported goods is used to determine whether the defined goods value limits are being adhered to. The decisive factor for the total value is the invoice amount, including the shipping costs incurred. For orders that do not exceed a value of 22 euros, there are no customs and import sales tax. Strictly speaking, the customs exemption regulation states that shipments of goods with a total value of a maximum of 22 euros are exempt from import sales tax. If this value is exceeded, most goods are subject to import sales tax at the standard tax rate of 19%. For certain goods, such as books and newspapers, the reduced tax rate is 7% of the assessment base. Goods that can be imported at the reduced tax rate are only subject to import sales tax from a goods value of 71 euros.

If the value of an order is between 22 and 150 euros, the import of goods is duty-free, but not exempt from import sales tax.

If the value of the imported goods exceeds 150 euros, duties will be charged according to the customs tariff. The resulting customs amount is made up of the customs value of the goods and the corresponding customs duty.

How to find the right manufacturer

Finding the right manufacturer and the right product is a fundamentally important process. There may also be unreliable dealers among the many providers. That is why it is necessary for buyers to look out for a good seller right from the start.

Beware of dubious sellers

The Chinese market in particular is known for its many imitations, and the Chinese platform is also a popular online marketplace for selling counterfeits. Nowadays it is often difficult to tell whether a product is counterfeit or genuine. Branded items that are offered at outrageously low prices should be avoided, as they are a common indication that they are counterfeits. In such a case, it makes sense to contact the seller, as he usually provides information on whether the doubts are justified. Reputable sellers can confirm the authenticity of the goods. Also take a look at the ratings of the individual dealers, which can often give you information about their seriousness. If a seller profile has only a small number of ratings or if the seller has received many negative ratings in the past, you should avoid this seller and not be influenced by the price alone.

Alibaba buyer protection

Due to the large number of suppliers and the almost innumerable range of products on Alibaba.com, you should always select the available filter options "Gold Supplier", "Assessed Supplier" and "Trade Assurance" when looking for the right supplier. Alibaba uses this to ensure that the quality and reliability of the providers is guaranteed. If the buyer ticks "Gold Supplier", only verified premium accounts will be displayed in the search results. All presumably dubious sellers can easily be filtered out and removed from the search results. Alibaba only awards such certification to manufacturers and suppliers who meet special criteria.

Manufacturers or products that can be filtered out with the "Trade Assurance" filter offer insurance protection for the goods along the entire transport route. Buyers are protected from payment through to delivery directly by Alibaba and the sender is liable for any damage, for example.

The third filter option, "Assessed Supplier", guarantees the buyer that goods have been produced and checked in compliance with the national guidelines for work, hygiene and environmental regulations. Such controls are carried out by both Bureau Veritas and TÜV Rheinland.


Sourcing through Alibaba offers numerous possibilities and opportunities, but you should take it slowly and start with small test orders. This is the only way to ensure that you find the right supplier with quality goods and the level of service you need. If you do not have any experience with shopping on a Chinese trading platform, take a look around here and dare to make one or two inquiries. Perhaps this will lead to an exciting new source of shopping for you?

What are your experiences with Alibaba? We look forward to your comments!