I have been threatening to buy something on Alibaba for years now. I think my account was registered in 2009. And still not bought anything! 😀
I think the whole transaction process at these kinds of distances, the language difference and more, all makes you very apprehensive to hand over your money in the hope you get a good deal!
i think the key factor is after-sales support which will be very limited if any at all. and as quality is often a gamble, where do you source parts from?
John Thomson who was one of the first UKSB members, buys machines via Alibaba and I don’t think he has been stung yet, (touch wood) so he would be the best bet to advise you if he sees your post. I am sure he won’t be the only one but is certainly the only one I know to have done it multiple times.