E-commerce powerhouse Alibaba.com today formally launched AliExpress, a platform offering smaller-quantity orders, instant online transactions, and an escrow service to protect buyers and sellers. Consider this a significant development in the e-commerce realm. AliExpress has been in beta since late 2009.
Alibaba launched the service as a tool to serve its small business customer base as it has historically focused exclusively on larger quantity orders including prototype and custom manufacturing. That all changes with the introduction of AliExpress as the company will be able to directly addresses the needs of businesses that need smaller quantities available for immediate shipment.
"AliExpress is designed to help even the smallest businesses to be more competitive because they can offer customers more unique products, at better prices through the benefits to global trade,” said David Wei, CEO of Alibaba.com. "As we previously announced, we believe that small businesses are the key drivers to economic growth and stability as well as job growth. AliExpress is one of many offerings planned to help small businesses grow and create jobs in their communities all over the world.”
One of the interesting features of AliExpress is the escrow service which can protects AliExpress users by holding the buyer’s payment in a separate account and alerting the supplier that payment has been made so they can safely ship the goods. Once the buyer has received the goods, the payment is released to the supplier.