As a regular visitor of Gadget-Freakz, you probably notice we used and tested a lot of products that we bought at Gearbest. And yes, we also had an affiliate partnership with them. However, when you go to the URL, you will get a nasty error message. And the latest messages on their social channels like Twitter and Facebook are also over a year old. What is wrong and what happened to Gearbest? Is it the start of the end of online ordering products in China? And what to do if you still have a pending order?
Parent company filed for bankruptcy
This is what happend: the parent company of GearBest filed for bankruptcy. This company, called the Globalegrow Ecommerce group, has been around for almost 15 years, employed over 3000 people and was even a listed company. So definitely not a small player. It owned a number of brand companies (like MPOW) and webshops in their portfolio. Typically, they sold the MPOW and Zaful subsidiaries earlier this year.
Gearbest: from top 3 online store to unknown URL
Since the start of september, the official site of GearBest has been offline. This is especially unfortunate for the persons who bought products that had not been been shipped yet. There is nothing much you can do other than see if your payment method offers some protection or insurance against this type of situations. For warranty cases you can give it a try by finding and contacting the brand directly, in some cases they have local representation or a service center.
Could we see it coming? Probably. A while ago, some of the GearBest affiliate marketers started to complain publicly that GearBest stopped payment of their affiliate earnings. Next to that, the global crisis also had a huge impact on the global supply chains and also changes in local import regulations probably had a big effect on webshops in China.
How to move on beyond Gearbest?
How can you protect yourself from this affecting you? As we wrote earlier: check if your method of payment includes insurance for these situations. You can also buy locally, more smart home products become available through local channels. Sometimes you pay a little bit more, but we have to be honest: the prices have been increasing in the lasts couple of years. We will keep buying our gadgets at Banggood and Aliexpress, knowing that every company you buy something has the small risk of filing for bankruptcy before the bought product is delivery to you. They still offer a larger assortment than many of the local stores and often at a fraction of the price. It is a risk we are therefore willing to take.