AliExpress is an online retail service based in China owned by the Alibaba Group. Launched in 2010, it is made up of small businesses in China and other locations, such as Singapore, that offer products to international online buyers. It is the most visited e-commerce website in Russia and was the 10th most popular website in Brazil. It facilitates small businesses to sell to customers all over the world. AliExpress has drawn comparison to eBay, as sellers are independent and use the platform to offer products to buyers.
AliExpress started as a business-to-business buying and selling portal. It has since expanded to business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer, cloud computing, and payment services, as well. AliExpress currently (2016) runs websites in English, Spanish, Dutch, French, Italian, German, Polish, Turkish, Portuguese, Indonesian and Russian languages. Customers outside of the country boundaries for these languages are automatically served the English version of the service. AliExpress is often used by e-commerce stores that use a dropship business model.
Sellers on AliExpress can be either companies or individuals. AliExpress is different from other marketplaces because it acts only as an e-commerce platform and does not sell products directly to consumers. It directly connects Chinese businesses with buyers. AliExpress differs from fellow Alibaba-subsidiary Taobao in that AliExpress is primarily aimed at international buyers.
AliExpress does not sell to customers in mainland China, though most retailers are Chinese themselves. Customers in China use its twin-website Taobao because of its convenience in delivery and service, especially the payment method Alipay. The website offers a popular affiliate marketing program where partners are rewarded for sending visitors to the site with a commission on sales.