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5 Global B2B Marketplaces That Can Help You Grow Your Business

David Gadsden | February 24, 2014 |

Are you fed up with your business being undiscovered? Online Global Marketplaces might be your solution.

Many medium sized B2B companies are finding their local business stagnant, but have no idea how to globalise their operations. Why are so many struggling to find new business?

Growing your business and going global can be easy, no matter where you are located.

There are a growing number of large, successful and reputable online B2B marketplaces, where sellers can easily create their own homepage to showcase products and services online, locate and liaise with global buyers, reply to ‘buying leads’ and post ‘offers to sell’.

Maistro is unique and distinguishes itself from this list of five because we are the only one who handles payment, shortlists top pitches on the buyer’s behalf and thoroughly vets all members.

Here are our top picks for the biggest and most successful global B2B marketplaces:

1. Alibaba

Chinese owned and launched in 1999, Alibaba.com is the world’s largest global e-commerce platform for small and medium sized businesses around the world.

The platform, which serves more than 18 million buyers and sellers from more than 240 countries and regions, showcases products ranging from raw materials to finished goods in more than 40 industry categories.

Like all these marketplaces, Alibaba doesn’t sell products and services itself, instead, it runs a platform that connects B2B buyers and sellers. Alibaba.com is free to join and makes most of its sales from commissions and advertising.

It is the go-to English-language platform for cross-border trade of goods and helps small/medium businesses worldwide expand to overseas markets.

The platform, which serves more than 18 million buyers and sellers from more than 240 countries and regions, showcases products ranging from raw materials to finished goods in more than 40 industry categories.

If you are a seller, you can display up to 50 products/services for free or if you get the Gold membership you get a really nice mini-site to display unlimited products or services. If you are a buyer, post what you need in a ‘Request for Quote’ and let sellers come to you.

Alibaba Group, the parent company is expected to go public later this year in the world’s biggest listing since Facebook inc’s debut in 2012. A recent Reuters poll put Alibaba’s market value at around $140 billion and the value of the IPO at $15 billion.

Simply put, this business is huge!

2. ThomasNet.com

Previously called ‘The Thomas Register of American Manufacturers’ ThomasNet.com is a leading online platform for B2B seller discovery and product sourcing, and is visited by more than 1.8 million buyers every month. For over a century, Thomas have connected manufacturing and industrial buyers and sellers.

Today buyers worldwide including engineers, purchasing agents, facilities managers and more, come online and use ThomasNet for product sourcing and supplier discovery, mainly in the USA.

This free online platform combines semantic product search technology with information rich company profiles enabling educated supplier selection. It is a large and increasingly global marketplace that promotes 650,000 distributors, manufacturers and service companies within 67,000 industrial categories.

Thomas.net is more than a directory, allowing you to individually ask companies for quotes. Unlike Alibaba.com it doesn’t allow you to publish a general “Request for Quote” from everyone, but it is still very useful. The domain authority of this site speaks for itself.

3. IndiaMART

IndiaMart is India’s largest B2B marketplace with a 60 percent market share according to IAMAI.

IndiaMART has 1.5 million sellers and attracts 1.6 million daily visitors, which compared to ThomasNet’s 1.6 million monthly visitors, is huge. Never underestimate how big the Indian market is.

Like Alibaba, IndiaMART provides Basic and Premium membership services in which sellers can create their own homepage. showcase products online, source and contact global buyers, reply to buying leads and post offers to sell.

The model and functionality is almost identical to that of Alibaba.com and like Alibaba, IndiaMART allows sellers outside of India to promote themselves.

4. Trade India

Trade India is very similar to IndiaMart and is the second largest B2B marketplace for small and medium sized companies in India.

TradeIndia launched in 1996 and is headquartered in New Delhi and claims to be the first Indian B2B marketplace to have more than 2 million registered users, of which 1.3 million are SMEs.

Like Alibaba, TradeIndia provides Basic and Premium membership services in which sellers can create their own mini-site to showcase products and locate and global buyers.

5. EC21

Established in 1997 in Korea, EC21 is one of the world’s top 10 largest online B2B marketplaces. Like Alibaba it is truly global and has one million buyers and over 600,000 enquiries are exchanged every month. It started as an online trade board of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) and in 2000, EC21 Inc. was spun off.

EC21 currently operates 3 different B2B marketplaces, EC21 Chinese, EC21 Korean, and EC21 Global which has 8 different linguistic user interfaces.

EC21 is headquartered in Seoul and has 8 regional sales offices throughout mainland China along with offices in Vietnam, Turkey, India, Italy, Russia and Pakistan

Like Alibaba, EC21 provides Basic and Premium membership services in which sellers can easily create their own homepage, showcase products, reply to request for quotes and locate and contact buyers.

Top Tips for doing Business on B2B Global Marketplaces

  • Treat accounts on these portals as you would your own website.
  • Make sure all your company information is complete, your logo and branding is looking consistent and all your products and services are displayed clearly and accurately.
  • Keep your account fully up to date at all times and deal with buyers and sellers in a timely and professional manner.
  • Make sure that you read each site’s terms and conditions fully and also their tips for recognising fake accounts.
  • Use the knowledge of your account manager at this companies, especially when you are starting out and always be fully informed of import and export laws and terms of payment.

Maistro is the ultimate B2B Global Marketplace

Maistro helps businesses bypass the effort of sourcing and choosing suppliers. Tell us what you want to achieve and we will shortlist the best from our base of over 65,000 vetted suppliers. Forget Google Searching and list creation, let us help and save up to 30% as well.

You buy everything else online, why not business services? See how the Maistro accelerated procurement & managed services platform works.

What services does your business need? Simply fill in your requirements below and we’ll be in touch to discuss how we can help. Alternatively, contact us to learn more about how Maistro can help you to grow your business.

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