How to find a reliable supplier in China without a mediator? Instructions and tips for choosing partners. Practical examples of how to find and verify a supplier and rules for auditing goods.
For a very long time now, China has established itself as a country that produces and exports absolutely everything. There is a huge range of Chinese products in the market. How to find a supplier from China is discussed in detail in this article.
Where to start looking for a supplier in China
Chinese products are renowned for their low wholesale prices. Every entrepreneur wants a direct supplier from China to be a reliable partner. After all, many start-ups end up in failure before even starting their business due to the wrong strategy. To make it easier, check out the following points.
- Decide exactly what you are interested in
- Make a spreadsheet of sorts and record contacts and information about suppliers in it. This will help to avoid repeated "visits" to the same person.
- Contact potential partners personally. In this way, suppliers from China who do not meet your business criteria will be screened out, making it easier to find them.
- Use the online catalogues to find the contact details of the suppliers from the same category you are interested in.
How to find a supplier from China - all the ways
There are several ways. The simplest one is to type "wholesale supplier from China" on Google. A lot of information will appear on the screen and you will need to filter it.
But this is the easiest and not the most effective way, because the best and most profitable offer is always hidden from a thousand eyes. That's why we recommend not looking for a supplier in just one way, here you need to do a comparative analysis of your niche products and their suppliers.
Study the supplier's information on the packaging of the goods.
The easiest and most reliable way for those who don't trust marketplaces. Visit shops that sell the product you are interested in. Packaging and labels always show the manufacturer and his contact details.
Once you have this information, you are free to find the supplier online and contact them.
Finding a supplier through wholesalers
This type of search will lead you not to a direct supplier, but to an intermediary, it might be a wholesaler buying in China. There are many such shops. You have to choose the one which makes a minimum margin.
Some of the best and proven products which can get you good profit are:
- Construction tools and electrical goods
- Children's and adult clothing and footwear
- Costume jewellery and souvenirs
- Household appliances
- Products for children
By trading through large wholesalers who sell products with minimal margins and cooperate only with reliable suppliers, you have the opportunity to build a successful business.
Visiting trade fairs
China has been exceeding all production targets for all kinds of goods in recent years. That is why manufacturers themselves are eager to find buyers and spare no expense to hold exhibitions, both in China and in other countries.
By attending such events you have an opportunity to see the products you are interested in and to find out which companies are already cooperating in your region, which will allow you to avoid competition.
And the most important point is that at exhibitions the suppliers of goods from China are present in person. For start-up entrepreneurs, this is the best opportunity to get acquainted with potential partners, to clarify all the details and to conclude an agreement on the spot.
A win-win option would be to visit exhibitions in China itself. Here are the biggest and most famous ones of them:
- Canton Fair (Guangzhou)
- East China Fair (Shanghai)
- Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Hong Kong)
- Yiwu International Fine Goods Fair (held in different locations)
- China Electronics Fair (held in autumn in Shanghai, spring in Shenzhen, summer in Chengdu)
Taking masterclasses and webinars
The internet offers a wide variety of workshops and webinars on trading with China. In the course of training, they tell you where to start looking, what mistakes are often made and how to avoid them. What brilliant business idea to come up with, how to sell, and how to make sure that the supplier of brands from China subsequently comes out to you themselves.
Why do you need a supplier pre-audit?
Sometimes a start-up entrepreneur, having seen samples at an exhibition, signs a contract with a supplier because the quality and price policy of the goods on offer suits him or her best. This is where the entrepreneur might run into pitfalls.
It is important to understand that visiting trade fairs to find a supplier is only the start of an entrepreneur's journey, not the endpoint.
Suppliers who present their products at trade fairs pay a lot of money for their participation. Therefore, the organisers have no doubts about the reliability of information about volumes and quality of goods.
But paid participation does not mean anything, before signing the contract it is necessary to audit the company with which you plan to cooperate. It is easy to do, ask for available licenses and certificates for the goods, ask with whom the supplier already cooperates, contact the government agencies that regulate exports from China to get official information about the company.
Why do you have to make a trial order?
When starting to work with unfamiliar suppliers you should always place a small sample order. This will minimise financial losses if you run into a fraudster.
You should select about 10 potential partners, do a pre-audit, after which the list may be halved, and place a trial order.
Monitor the following points carefully:
- Whether the provider is communication-friendly
- How quickly the supplier responds to your messages
- Whether the manufacturer takes your requests into account
- Whether the agreed delivery dates are being complied with
Pro Tip-When starting a business, it is advisable to always have a backup in case delivery dates or goods turn out to be of poor quality.
How To Improve Relationships With Suppliers From China
The most reliable way is to visit the supplier's office in person and familiarise yourself with the production details. If it is not possible, the contract can be concluded online.
A supplier who values his reputation and is eager to cooperate will provide a personal interpreter for the whole period of communication. He will also provide all the necessary quality certificates, production and trade permits, and a complete package of the necessary documentation.
When choosing a supplier and signing a co-operation agreement with them, a Chinese entrepreneur who is involved in trade in your country can give you great reassurance.
He can tell you who you should negotiate with, what kind of documents are needed for the deal, what kind of difficulties you might encounter, what you should pay attention to, how much money you need to invest, etc.
To be on the safe side, you should make a small trial order. This will allow you to check the accuracy of the delivery dates stated in the contract also the prices and the quality of the goods.
How to co-operate with Chinese suppliers?
To start cooperation with Chinese suppliers, you must follow certain instructions.
- Decide what level of business you want to do. If you are planning large-scale purchases, you need to go through a direct supplier. If you are interested in goods in small batches or a few brands, it is better to work with a middleman.
- Communicate directly with suppliers using the feedback form. Registered users of Chinese online marketplaces have access to contacts of manufacturers and receive regular newsletters with partnership offers.
- Research information about suppliers in the press and on forums. If the vendor has a bad reputation, he will definitely be on blacklists.
- It is important to know that not all manufacturers are licensed to export their products. In this case, a reliable intermediary can cooperate with factories which charge the lowest prices for the goods.
- Manufacturers who are just starting may not yet be known to anyone, so they actively organise trade fairs. At such events, you can study the products, receive catalogues, meet suppliers in person.
Use all possible contacts: friends, colleagues, relatives. They may have information about a trusted, reliable supplier. Initially, try out a small batch. This will ensure that you are not running into a scammer. Sign up for newsletters that will inform you about seminars, training and exhibitions.
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