It is a huge B2B portal similar to Alibaba, Made in China, intended only for the Chinese market. It's a kind of wholesaler for the Chinese, or as some call it "Alibaba for the Chinese".
It is there that 90% of intermediaries from Chinese B2B portals look for goods in order to create themselves as factories, prepare offers in English and finally offer them to you with a higher margin.
There are the largest suppliers from allegro, ebay, amazon and wholesalers who supply smaller suppliers.
Even real factories from Alibaba.com and similar portals, which are present on 1688.com almost always have a lower price "for their own" ... Chinese than the one offered to foreigners.
Alibaba, Made in China or other B2B portals are made for the "west". Nice pages, good English, access for everyone. Unfortunately, in business, the easier it is and the more accessible something is, the less profitable it is. Those who put in more work, knowledge and experience earn more. Orders from 1688.com are more complicated than the English-language portals, and therefore more profitable.
Sellers on Alibaba are largely middlemen. They take their goods from smaller factories where no one speaks English, and they find their suppliers at 1688.com. Just by buying directly there, the unnecessary link in the form of an intermediary is omitted. In addition, it is very easy to check who is an intermediary and which supplier is a factory on this portal.
At 1688.com you will find probably every everyday product that is anywhere in the world - a matter of good research. You have everything you want in one place. When you look for one, you will find 100 other things from the industry you are interested in, after seeing them you will say one big one: wooow! You will get nystagmus and you will find what is not yet available in your markets.
The huge advantage of 1688.com is the immediately visible price. For example, on Alibaba and other similar portals, these prices are "captured". You see the goods for $ 20, you say "wow god on Amazon is for $ 100, I'm a millionaire";) Only if you write to them and get a quote, it turns out that from $ 20 it turned to $ 50, and the officially quoted price was a bait only after to interest and attract you.
If you order an item for, say, USD 15,000, it could easily be 5-10 items on the invoice. Diverse, unrelated goods (more professionally speaking –with different customs codes).
If, on the other hand, with the amount of USD 15,000, you send us 100 links, up to 100 different products. completely unrelated, where each will cost an average of PLN 500, we will not accept such an order. The labor costs associated with its implementation will exceed our commission.
We have an individual approach to the quantity and value of goods. It depends on many factors. It is impossible to give hard quantities for a particular customs code and for each order.