Finding Chinese suppliers could seem like quite a challenging task, especially when you are doing it for the first time.
However, if you can break up your task into little steps and focus on each one of them at a time, you will be importing your first shipment from China easily.
In this article, we’ll cover the advantages you’ll receive when working with Chinese suppliers and our top ten of them.
Why Should We Import Products From China?
China is fast becoming a manufacturing superpower, producing a hefty proportion of the world’s consumer products, particularly in the technology sector.
Plus the economy of China is in a growth period, the costs of manufacturing are very low compared to elsewhere in the world.
As a seller, you can get a fantastic opportunity.
By sourcing your merchandise directly from China, you’re able to get extremely low prices per unit and turn them around for a high profit in your own country.
We take Apple for instance.
Apple was originally making iPhones at a cost of $40 USD in assembly plants around the USA. However, they were dealing with efficiency problems which caused them to lose money.
They realized that they needed to do something different and fast not only to meet the demand from customers but also to remain profit of the company.
Therefore, they partnered with Chinese manufacturers because the Chinese had the infrastructure to produce what Apple wanted.
Importantly, Apple could produce iPhones there at a manufacturing cost of only $8 per unit. ?
From $40 to $8. That’s crazy!
You may be wondering how China is able to price and manufacture items so low. ?
✔️ Easily accessible materials
✔️ Cheap wages
✔️ Master in mass production
✔️ Refined and organized production lines
Type of Chinese Suppliers
Before you know how to find trusted Chinese suppliers, it is important to understand the classification of them
A manufacturer is a company that produces items for use or resale.
Because manufacturers are the first process in the chain of supply, they can offer very low prices on items, but their minimum orders are often very high.
Usually, manufacturers sell directly to suppliers. Therefore, most retailers find that manufacturers are unreachable.
Keep in mind that some smaller manufacturers will work directly with retailers.
Buying wholesale means you are buying in volume (bulk) and can get products at a discount price.
This means that the more you buy, the better the price
Obviously, that’s the benefit of wholesale. The downsides are just needing lots of capital and storage space.
A dropshipping model is when you’re not paying for the product until it is sold.
The disadvantage of dropshipping is the price. Because you don’t pay upfront for your product, you can’t get the best price for the product.
However, you don’t need an inventory, shipping or packing
How To Find Reliable Suppliers In China?
Choosing a supplier for your business is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.
This is one of the most complex steps of all because you’ll want to find a highly reputable Chinese supplier with reasonable price and clear policy.
If your supplier screws up, it’s your responsibility to solve any issue to your customer, not theirs. You have to make sure you choose someone who will be your partner.
When it comes to finding suppliers from China, you need a good strategy that includes awareness, knowledge, and a decent amount of practice.
There are some of the most popular ways to find a Chinese supplier.
1️⃣ Online supplier directories
Using online supplier directories may be the safest way to find suppliers.
Online directory websites have played a critical role to turn startup to profitable businesses.
We have created a best-of list containing some of the most trusted directories, helping you find the best distributors and manufacturers.
The pros when you use these online suppliers directories are
✔️ Lower risk. All the suppliers are thoroughly investigated before adding them to the categorized list.
✔️ Easier searches. You can easily filter search results based on the exact specs you require
✔️ Faster research. You quickly find suppliers’ product offerings and contact information
We always use Google when needing to find information arises by searching “[Product] + dropshipper.”
Google is a fast way to find wholesale dropshipping companies, but it also comes with its own risks and downfalls.
How do you choose among 1.6 million results? ?
You have no idea how trustworthy any of these sources are. You’ll have to put each one of them through a strict vetting process.
You can’t expect to find a good supplier through Google. All you do is to do research in-depth and make sure that you read very carefully their program.
3️⃣ Trade shows – Trade fairs
When you attend trade shows (and trade fairs), you’re able to talk face to face with potential suppliers about
✔️ Company values
✔️ Production capacity
✔️ Quality-control procedures
There are two highly popular trade shows/fairs located in China each year
The Canton Fair is the largest trade fair in China and is held twice a year in Guangzhou (near Hong Kong in southern China).
This fair attracts thousands of attendees with a large variety of products.
- The East China Fair.
The East China Fair is the largest regional trade fair in China, which is held once a year in Shanghai.
This fair is usually the one with the most traders, a great variety of exhibits and the most onsite deals. In other words, this fair has the highest turnover.
Besides trade shows in China, we have many other ones all around the world.
The International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has many Chinese participants
The disadvantage of trade shows, however, is that there is a limitation of potential Chinese suppliers because many of them don’t attend these trade fairs.
4️⃣ Chinese marketplaces
- Alibaba is not easy to use if you’re a beginner
Most of the listings are created by manufacturers, not suppliers.
It means that they usually don’t have a website, neither speak good English. Orders have to be paid with a wire transfer rather than credit cards. There is no guarantee you’ll get the items you want
- AliExpress is a family member of Alibaba
AliExpress is considered a Chinese version of Amazon. It allows Chinese sellers to sell the goods made by manufacturers to customers all over the world with the lowest wholesale price. The shipping time may take 14-20 business days to arrive at the final location.
Founded in 1998, Made-in-China.com is a leading comprehensive third-party B2B e-commerce platform in China developed and operated by Focus Technology Co., Ltd.
Nowadays, Made-in-China.com is known as a world-leading B2B portal, specializing in bridging the gap between global buyers and quality Chinese suppliers.
5️⃣ Outsource to a sourcing agency
Finding a sourcing agency is not easy work. You don’t know whether you could deal with a truly valuable partner or a shoddy middleman who only seems to offer higher unit prices.
There are some highly reputable sourcing agencies you could work with
The 80/20 sourcing company is mostly known for its courses and high-quality coaching material.
In addition, the owner, Gary Huang works as a sourcing agent for Amazon sellers to help them source products from China.
Owned by Manuel Becvar, Importdojo currently has a network of more than 2500 suppliers in nearly all industries, allowing you to source almost any product you want.
You have an option to choose between multiple price packages with different features.
In addition, you can also hire a dedicated monthly sourcing agent, which is a good option for you if you’re looking for a full-time employee in China.
Owned by Adam Gilbourne, Easy Imex acts as a one-stop import service while offering a wide range of services that are about
✔️ Product sourcing
✔️ Shipping and logistics
✔️ Quality control
✔️ Factory audits
Moreover, Easy Imex also provides clients with access to an online portal where they can keep track of the process.
Make a Shortlist of Suppliers
Your initial searches will throw up a number of potential suppliers and you will need to cut this list down further.
You can do this by contacting each of them, telling them your requirements such as:
- Details of the components you expect to manufacture
- Minimum order quantity (MOQ).
- Whether you need a prototype to be developed, need the manufacturer to help develop your design further or have a mold already.
- The material you expect to be used for the manufacture of your component.
- The price per item.
You could also ask them for more information about themselves, which will help you with the verification process (more on that later). This could be details such as:
- Whether they specialize in manufacturing the component you require.
- How long they have been in business.
- Whether they already export to the US or other western countries.
- Their minimum order quantity or MOQ.
- Their business licenses.
- Any certifications that they have related to their production capability
When you contact suppliers in order to draw up a shortlist, do create a separate email to send out these enquiries as your inbox is likely to be be clogged by the responses many months after you first send them out.
You can shortlist potential manufacturers based on the responses you get depending your demands.
For example, pick manufacturers who focus on making the kind of component you are looking for instead of a cornucopia of components,
You could also give preference to manufacturers in China who already supply to clients abroad because they would be acquainted with western quality expectations, the difficulty of customs requirements and the complicated logistics of international shipping.
Verify Chinese Suppliers
You now need to verify their credentials.
While some obvious information is available online and they may have supplied you with some information too. However, you have to clarify all the information if you don’t want to lose your money.
You can check their background on Google to see if there is other available information out there.
The best test to do is to order some product samples.
By ordering products and having them shipped to you, you accomplish three things:
- You see how long shipping times are (compared to the estimated time listed on their website).
- You’re able to get an idea of their packaging quality. Will you feel comfortable with your customers receiving the package?
- You see the product quality. How well does it hold up? Product quality is very important for long-term success.
Generally, you had better place order samples from at least 3-4 companies to give yourself options to compare shipping times, product quality, communication, and price.
Furthermore, you should consider customer service. If the supplier you choose can perform good take care of you, you can go with them. In contrast, choose another one.
You can check the opinion with the previous customers via reviews, feedback before committing.
Good wholesale suppliers will have no problem giving you testimonials from previous customers. In fact, they’ll most likely display them directly on their website!
Negotiate with Chinese Suppliers
Your ultimate goal when searching for suppliers should be to find one that will not only supply your product to the desired quality specifications but one that you can build a long-lasting relationship.
Remember that price negotiations must be done at the right time.
When your business is flourishing and you need to order more products in order to keep customers happy, it may be a good time to negotiate.
Here are our tips
First of all, whenever you ever feel like you feel uncertain about the price or quality of a product, bring it up to your supplier.
Never keep your feelings hidden from your supplier. If you bring it up early, they can answer your questions.
Next, you shouldn’t over-negotiate
If you try to bargain with them for rock-bottom prices, chances are high they’ll cut corners and send you low-quality products when they ship your orders.
You’ll get what you pay for!
Whenever discussing with Chinese suppliers, you have to be polite and professional.
Lastly, email template for Chines suppliers.
Unfortunately, when working with Chinese suppliers, there will always be a language barrier that you need to go through.
You need to be patient with them.
You’ll do fine if you keep these tips in mind when emailing your Chinese supplier:
✔️ Use plain, clear language when reaching out to them. Apps like Hemingway allow you to get your message across while keeping your reading (and comprehensive) level low.
✔️ When you need to send a longer message, try to keep it to as few questions as possible. Break up your paragraphs so your suppliers have a clear distinction between questions.
My name is [your name]. I am the product manager of [your company].
I am very interested in your [product you’re interested in], and would like to have a few questions:
- How much would it cost to order 50 items?
- Do you have a minimum order quantity?
- How many could you produce in one week?
Thanks for your time,
However, don’t assume the email is the best way to get in touch with suppliers.
You can try to get their SkypeID for quicker response.
Finding suppliers from China isn’t easy. Hence, every step needs to be done carefully because it can affect your business.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave your comments. We’ll answer one by one.