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Globalization of Trade Markets

I'm starting up a KickStarter project and I was about to source locally some of the manufacturing products I'll need. Then I found the site Alibaba.com and had my eyes opened to how easy it seems to do business with better equipped industrial nations than the U.S. Something I was ready to pay $20 per unit for is $2 bucks outsourced.

So two questions, first I was wondering if any TEDers had any suggestions for connecting to global markets? (my project deals with making guitar pedals, and encouraging electronics learning for youth). Is alibaba a reputable site? Is there better?

And second, how cool is it that global markets are available to small startups with just a computer? It costs jobs at home, but forces us to compete creatively while in the meantime getting us products we want for way cheaper.

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