As an independent seller, finding good quality products from reliable suppliers is half the battle – but it’s often not as easy as it sounds.
Finding the right Chinese manufacturers for your business is incredibly important. In this article, I’ll take you through everything you need to know in order to get started – including what to look out for and, what to avoid.
Sourcing products from Chinese manufacturers is increasingly popular among sellers – and for good reason.
China’s manufacturing industry has got a lot going for it, including:
Supplier Base – China has an impressively large supplier base with an increasingly sophisticated methodology. Although China does import some materials, most of the assembly work is done in the country itself to an incredibly high standard.
Cost – The cost of parts and labor is considerably lower in China than in many other countries – which means that the cost of products is kept equally low.
Transport infrastructure – China’s intricate transport infrastructure includes roads, ports, and airports to allow for fast and efficient transportation of raw materials and finished products.
Of course, as with anything in business, there are advantages and disadvantages to sourcing manufacturers in China and, here, we’ll take a look at some of them:
For businesses selling physical products, sourcing manufacturing in China can result in some incredible cost savings as long as you make sure that you offset these savings against shipping and handling costs.
Quality is extremely important for a seller’s reputation and so, I would advise that you always request samples before committing to a Chinese manufacturer.
We’ve looked at the benefits of sourcing a Chinese manufacturer but, how do you go about finding one?
The good news is that there are plenty of ways of doing this and, we’ll take a look at some of them here:
The most basic way to source Chinese manufacturers is to conduct an internet search.
Simply type what you’re looking for into the search engine, for example, electronics manufacturers in China and to view a very long list of available manufacturers.
Although this will give you lots of options, it is a little bit of a scattergun approach and, it may take you some time to research the options to find one which is a good fit.
As with most things in life, you can usually rely on social media for recommendations.
Try joining business and seller groups in order to gain recommendations for trusted Chinese manufacturers.
Or try to search for some keywords on Facebook, and you will find some related business pages or supplier contacts.
Trade fairs and exhibitions
As a seller or business owner, you probably already attend a number of events every year.
These can be a really useful resource when it comes to finding tried and tested Chinese manufacturers amongst your peers.
There are all kinds of different fairs will be held in different time based on different industries. Such as one of the biggest fairs in Guangdong, China: The China Export Commodities Fair.
Directories, both online and in hard copy, are a great source of contacts in the manufacturing industry.
Specialist sourcing agencies
If you don’t have the time or confidence to source a manufacturer yourself, you can hire the services of a specialist agency to this for you.
Although this is an efficient way of finding a manufacturer, you will be charged a fee by the agency. Some of these agencies include:
It’s absolutely possible to source a Chinese manufacturer yourself – as long as you know where to look.
Lucky for you, I’ve put together the following list of some of the most popular – and most reliable Chinese manufacturers currently operating:
Known as the world’s largest trading platform, Alibaba was founded in 1999 in Hangzhou, China. Started as a B2B marketplace with just 500,000 yen (around $4639), the business now has over two million suppliers.
Alibaba supplies a huge range of products including clothing, electronics and homewares and maintains a consistent 4.5 star average in its reviews.
It is the best place for you to source for wholesale products at low costs. Most of the suppliers will have a MOQ(minimum order quantity) but you can always request a sample first.
Aliexpress is owned by the parent company, Alibaba and, has over 79 million users worldwide with 100 million products on site.
In 2019, AliExpress’s best selling products were cell phone accessories including chargers, replacement glass, cables and headphones.
Prolific manufacturer of production parts and finished products, Aliexpress has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2010.
A trusted supplier for brands worldwide, Aliexpress offers a huge number of products at low prices and has a perfect five-star reputation through its reviews.
Products include materials such as fabrics, fastenings, and tools as well as finished products such as clothing and household goods.
It is a B2C retail selling site but you can also get direct contact with the sellers and request wholesale orders at low costs.
Also, it has a dropshipping center which allows dropshippers to start an online business with holding inventory.
Launched in 1995 by Richard Liu, Etradeasia has a staggering 648,643 on its books including industrial supplies, agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, automotive products and more.
Although there are few reviews available for Etradeasia, the company is marked as a safe business.
Etradeasia is an increasingly important resource for medium to large companies looking to buy industrial machinery and equipment and, products available include agricultural equipment such as meat slaughter and processing machines, printing presses, recycling machines and mold making machines.
Primarily a B2B supplier, Etradeasia does also sells equipment for the home and the home office.
Founded in 1998, Made In China is a third party B2B platform and supplies a massive amount of goods including production parts, PPE and a wide range of custom products.
Made In China’s website is available in 11 different languages and the company has a review rating of three stars on Trustpilot.
For added convenience, Made In China also has a mobile phone app for buyers and sellers.
Made In China is the third-largest B2B sourcing company in Asia and, popular products include solar power panels, mould making machinery and furniture and equipment for the hotel industry.
As a business which has been operating for almost 50 years, Global Sources is an incredibly reliable manufacturer of a wide range of items including luggage, electronic equipment, and household goods.
Global Sources has a huge presence at trade shows around the world and harnesses the power of advanced analytics and data to target its 1.5 million customers around the world.
Global Sources is a major shareholder in SIMM – the Shenzhen International Machine Industry Exhibition in Southern China.
It has a Trust Pilot rating of 3.5.
With an almost perfect 4.5-star review rating, 1688 is a comprehensive supplier of a large number of good quality products including children’s toys, clothing, homewares and more.
Based in China, 1688.com delivers worldwide. Here you can find almost all Chinese factories that produce all kinds of items, and you can ask for manufacturing your own design products.
1688 is the largest wholesale and sourcing site in China and caters almost exclusively to wholesale and manufacturing customers.
Before you head off to 1688, you need to be aware that you need a Government business license to sell on the site.
Founded in Beijing in 2004, Dhgate.com is a reliable supplier of sporting equipment, clothing, childrenswear and toys and electrical equipment. Fast shipping is available and, Dhgate.com has a Trustpilot rating of 3 stars.
DHgate is available to both personal and business users and takes pride in its many trusted brands which include Yakuda, ZTE, Lumens and Huawei. DHgate’s most popular sections are cell phones and equipment, fashion and home electronics.
Cantonfair.com is a great place to source manufacturing in China. E-cantonfair.com is an official website that holds fairs to connect buyers and suppliers in different kinds of industries including clothing, devices and electrical equipment, fitness equipment and more.
Canton Fair prides itself on being an extremely effective platform for companies looking to develop into Europe, Australia or the USA and, the fair takes place in October (check for details regarding current travel restrictions due to the coronavirus crisis).
Also, you can download its app from Google and get in touch with the latest fairs, product trends, and easily manage your business with qualified Chinese suppliers.
Primarily a B2B operation, ECPlaza boasts that it is a Number 1 trade leader with the largest range of B2B online products.
Founded in 1996 in Korea, ECPlaza now has over a million members. A trusted supplier of agricultural equipment, chemicals and machinery, Seoul based ecplaza.net has thousands of customers around the world and it has a review rating of 4.0.
Before committing to a Chinese manufacturer, it’s important to check that the company is legitimate and trustworthy.
Whilst a Chinese manufacturer may look good on paper, you need to know that they will deliver on their promises.
Before hiring a Chinese manufacturer, you’ll need to ask a few questions, including:
- What does the company manufacture?
- Which businesses use the company?
- How will the company benefit your business?
- What are the charges – including shipping and handling?
- What are the transport times?
- What is the process?
- How will they communicate with you?
The intent to check certificates of a Chinese company can be quite challenging as you won’t be able to visit its places and ask for info face to face. Thus, hiring an expert to finish the can be invaluable and save from troubles and risks.
You can verify a Chinese manufacturer in a number of ways, including checking it out on GuruEagle.
Founded by Guru Eagle Team in 2018, it has been created specifically for those looking to check on the credentials of business in China, including manufacturers.
This is really a simple website but useful to give you all the information that you need in order to make an informed decision on a manufacturer.
According to the report, you will be able to clearly know a company’s background info and history.
Depending on the depth of information that you require, verification reports on a Chinese business cost $129, $199 or $399. The report will usually be delivered to you on PDF within one to four days.
If you want to build a long-term relationship with Chinese companies. It is important to do a company license lookup to verify that they are a legitimate and credible company.
If you want to verify a company on your own, there are lots of forums and social media groups out there that can help you to verify a manufacturer.
The great thing about this method is that it’s completely free and, allows you to speak directly with people who have actually used a company, in order to find out what their experience was like and, whether or not they would recommend the business to others.
Some of these are:
If this is your first time working with a Chinese company, you’ll quickly discover that the working relationship is a little different to the one that you’re used to.
China has a very strong culture and customs are incredibly important. The following guide will help you to build a strong relationship with your Chinese manufacturer and avoid inadvertently causing offense:
Communication is, of course, important in every part of your business and, even more so with your relationship with your manufacturer.
Although different time zones and the language barrier may tempt you to communicate strictly by email, the relationship will be strengthened if you also communicate by telephone or video call.
When yes means maybe
In Chinese culture, there is a level of shame in admitting that you are unable to do something or, have not manufactured a certain product at all.
For this reason, some suppliers may say yes only to save face. As this is your business, try to sidestep this by asking for examples of previous work.
In some cases, a business which appears to be a manufacturer will, in fact, be a broker. When contacting your Chinese manufacturer, ask for full disclosure on exactly who will be carrying out the work.
Strong emotion, for example, losing your temper, is very much considered a faux pas in Chinese business and, could see the business relationship terminated. It’s only natural to feel angry if a company has caused you delays or sent you sub-standard products but, make sure that you are calm before speaking with your Chinese representative about this.
The name game
In the Western world, it’s very common (and perfectly acceptable) to use a business contact’s first name, however, this is not the case in China. You should always refer to a Chinese contact by title and surname, for example, Mr Zhang, as not doing so is considered disrespectful.
Before doing business with Chinese suppliers, you should consider if you want to work with trading factories or trading companies. Both of them have their pros and cons.
Factories are more focus on producing products based on different clients’ needs, but lack of foreign trade experience.
They specifically focus on one product type in their industry, and can offer your free samples and stable inventory at lower costs.
While trading companies are more professional in dealing with cross-border business and understand what clients needs. They can help you find what you need in different industries.
And what they do is getting your order and then find a factory that can help them produce the products. Thus, they must increase the prices on your side and make a profits from the price differences.
What you need to know about Chinese manufacturers?
The International Competitiveness Of China Manufacturing is increasing and makes it become the ”World Factory”. Manufacturing in China specializes in all kinds of items:
- Automobile parts
- Electrical equipment
- Furniture and lighting
In addition to the price of the products to be manufactured, you will be subject to the following costs:
It is, therefore, important that you factor these charges in when calculating the cost of your order.
Legitimate businesses in China are required to hold a valid business license so, always ask to see this before making the decision to work with a company.
Finding the right Chinese manufacturer is like finding the right home – get it right and your business will flourish; get it wrong and you could stand to lose a lot of cash.
Do your research and, ask for as many recommendations as you possibly can.
Manufacturing in China is growing exponentially each year and offers high quality, low priced alternative to expensive Western options.
When you find the right manufacturer for your products, be sure to work on the relationship – an investment that will serve you well for many years to come!
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