A deal between Australian e-selling platform Bigcommerce and giant online seller Alibaba could make it simple for anyone to start reselling budget Chinese electronics.
Billed as way to "simplify cross-border trading", any of the 70,000 companies that have online stores on the Bigcommerce platform can now download an Alibaba app, giving them direct access to more than 30,000 products from 300 vetted Alibaba 'Gold Suppliers'.
There is scope to expand the partnership to include more than three million products from thousands of Gold Suppliers.
The Alibaba app gives online merchants the ability to access wholesale suppliers in China as "an integrated component of an e-commerce platform".
"Jointly developed by Alibaba.com and Bigcommerce, the custom-built application provides a unique catalogue of wholesale suppliers in a secure and familiar interface so merchants can quickly find and select new products to sell online," according to a statement.
BIgCommerce first announced a partnership with Alibaba in October last year, but details of how the integration would work, as well as access to products from the 300 Alibaba Gold Suppliers, weren't available until now.
Advantages of Bigcommerce's Alibaba portal include integrated search, transparent purchasing, customised pricing with lower order minimums and payment protection backed by Alibaba.com’s Secure Payment services.
Michael Lee, international business development and marketing director for Alibaba.com, said: "Small businesses are the backbone of the global economy and it’s important that we help them to grow and stay competitive.
"This new application provides Bigcommerce merchants with direct access to Alibaba.com wholesale suppliers, offering competitive prices to realise better profit margins."
All of this could further disrupt the traditional ICT channel by making it so easy to buy and sell cheap consumer electronics from China.
By installing the Alibaba app within a Bigcommerce online store, it is easy to search for dirt-cheap computers, such as a 9-inch Android netbook for US$61 or a mini PC with 3.5Ghz Intel Core i3 processor and 8GB of memory for US$389.
The pair have said there is "scope to expand" the partnership – there are thousands more products on the full Alibaba Wholesale e-store, including more than 150,000 products in the "Computer Hardware and Software" section, such as all-in-one PCs, desktops and laptops.
The wholesale store currently lists 1,230 all-in-one PCs, with prices and specs ranging from a 7-inch touch screen panel PC from manufacturer FeelWorld, for US$165, up to an 84-inch touch-screen LED TV for US$5800 from vendor iTech Solutions.
The e-store includes products such as the creatively named "Cheap Desktop Computer", which comes in sizes from 15.6-inch to 21.5-inch, starts at US$290 and boasts a 1.8Ghz processor, 2GB memory and a 500GB hard drive.
Laptops range from sub-$50 mini-laptops running Android up to ruggedised devices, such as the $3,000 Geshem with an Intel Atom processor, 4GB memory and 500GB storage.
Much of the electronics range comes out of Guangdong province, a region known as the manufacturing Mecca of China and home to Foxconn.
Bigcommerce was founded in 2009 in Australia and has its headquarters in Sydney, with United States offices in San Francisco and Austin.