China Justice Observer


EnglishArabicChinese (Simplified)DutchFrenchGermanHindiItalianJapaneseKoreanPortugueseRussianSpanishSwedishHebrewIndonesianVietnameseThaiTurkishMalay

How Does Alibaba Dispute Work: Alibaba’s Role and Its Impartiality - CTD 101 Series

Fri, 05 Nov 2021
Contributors: Meng Yu 余萌


If you want to resolve disputes through Alibaba, you need to know what role Alibaba will play and what position it will take.

Alibaba provides dispute resolution services for both buyers and sellers. In this dispute resolution system, Alibaba plays two roles in fact: service provider and judge.

For more information, you may read 4 Things You Have to Know on How to File a Dispute on Alibaba.

Role 1: Service Provider

Although Alibaba provides trading platform services to both buyers and sellers, it obtains its service revenue mainly from sellers. In fact, Alibaba’s business model is to attract more buyers and then provide buyers to sellers, so as to earn its service fee therefrom.

In this sense, Alibaba mainly serves sellers, providing buyers as “products” to sellers.

Therefore, Alibaba won’t be too harsh on sellers, but only wants to guide them to fulfill the contract honestly.

Role 2: Judge

At the same time, Alibaba is also the judge making decisions in Online Dispute Resolution between buyers and sellers. Alibaba will determine the breaching party and pertinent obligations impartially based on the evidence and facts provided by both parties.

This requires Alibaba not to favor either party to the transaction.

Apparently, there are some conflicts between the two roles. As a service provider, Alibaba tends to favor its paying customers, i.e., the sellers; as a judge, it can’t favor either side.

In this situation, Alibaba would 1) render its decision impartially if clear facts and conclusive evidence are available, and 2) favor sellers if it is difficult to determine the liabilities between buyers and sellers due to the lack of clear facts and conclusive evidence.

Therefore, if buyers want to make effective use of Alibaba’s online mediation system, they should sign clear sales contracts with sellers and preserve evidence properly.



The Cross-border Trade Dispute 101 Series (‘CTD 101 Series’) provides an introduction to China-related cross-border trade dispute, and covers the knowledge essential to cross-border trade dispute resolution and debt collection.


* * *

Do you need support in cross-border trade and debt collection?

CJO Global's team can provide you with China-related cross-border trade risk management and debt collection services, including: 
(1) Trade Dispute Resolution
(2) Debt Collection
(3) Judgments and Awards Collection
(4) Anti-Counterfeiting & IP Protection
(5) Company Verification and Due Diligence
(6) Trade Contract Drafting and Review

If you need our services, or if you wish to share your story, you can contact our Client Manager Susan Li (

If you want to know more about CJO Global, please click here.

If you want to know more about CJO Global services, please click here.

If you wish to read more CJO Global posts, please click here.


Photo by Bobbi Wu on Unsplash

Contributors: Meng Yu 余萌

Save as PDF

You might also like

China’s Wenzhou Court Recognizes a Singapore Monetary Judgment

In 2022, a local Chinese court in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, ruled to recognize and enforce a monetary judgment made by the Singapore State Courts, as highlighted in one of the typical cases related to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) recently released by China’s Supreme People’s Court (Shuang Lin Construction Pte. Ltd. v. Pan (2022) Zhe 03 Xie Wai Ren No.4).

SPC Issues Judicial Interpretation on Ascertainment of Foreign Law

In December 2023, China’s Supreme People’s Court issued a judicial interpretation on the ascertainment of foreign law, providing comprehensive rules and procedures for Chinese courts, aiming to address difficulties faced in foreign-related trials and improve efficiency.