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How to find Reliable Suppliers in China

By Jesus David Cano Romano
October 19, 2015

Sourcing from the Far East can be a risky business. Finding reliable Suppliers in China is the first problem, with only a website to look at, it is impossible to know if you are dealing with a state of the art factory or a back street sweat shop.

Finding a supplier in China might seem easy, due all the resources and databases available now days, but finding a reliable one, might require bit more of work and some expertise. Here we enlist the better ways when finding a reliable supplier is needed:

The Internet and the vast number of Trade shows have broaden the specter of China Based Suppliers, but having more suppliers doesn’t mean that all of them are trustable or capable to fulfill your business needs.

1. Do it yourself, from home.

Use a manufacturers directory website (such as Global Sources or Alibaba). Since they list thousands of Chinese manufacturers and you want to filter out the bad actors.

There’s a bunch of examples of people that have outsourced production to China and have found a reliable supplier through these sites, but on the other hand also some horrible stories about people who have been scammed. Generally speaking, the websites work better the simpler and the more standardized the product is and when neither quality nor customization are the primary factors.

Now days is really easy to find some traders or wholesalers masked as Manufacturers, it doesn’t mean that they are not reliable, but if what you’re looking for is a Factory then figuring out that your partner is just a commission based seller can result into a disappointment for you and potentially represent a problem for you project.

2. Do it yourself, fly to China.

After doing some research in websites like Global Sources or Alibaba, break the suppliers down into the 1-10 most promising suppliers and hop on an airplane to get an idea of the factory yourself.

This visit has three main purposes: firstly it allows you to check the factory’s capabilities in person, secondly you can personally meet your potential manufacturing partner and lastly confirm whether or not the factory is suitable for manufacturing your goods.

3. Attend to Trade shows and conventions

By visiting specialized trade shows you’ll have the opportunity to get to know hundreds of suppliers that have the expertise in manufacturing that product that you are planning to outsource. Also it in enables you to talk directly to some of the representatives of the factory and see some of the product samples that they already produce. Finally it is a good opportunity to take a look at multiple competitors and evaluate the different possibilities before choosing a manufacturing facility.

4. Engage an intermediary

Hire a 3rd Party, for example trading company, sourcing agent or factory representative to conduct research on your behalf. This is related to extra cost but it often comes with the great benefit of having eyes and ears on the ground and it may pay back over the long run. If you choose to work with an intermediary it’s very important that you pick the person or company very carefully.

As we’ve reviewed finding a reliable supplier can be more daunting than it seems. In C2W we offer supplier sourcing services; our sourcing team will select and assess the most suitable supplier to meet your needs. We ensure your requirements are understood and weed out the unsuitable or incapable. We will then monitor and inspect to ensure that the quality of production items actually matches samples!

We have a database of established suppliers we know to be reliable and will use the information you provide to find which company best suits the criteria you have set. Within a short space of time we are usually able to tell you the ability of suppliers to meet your needs and will send photos and samples for your evaluation.

Once samples have been approved we are able to arrange production and ensure quality control throughout the manufacturing process. Our ability to provide a constant presence on the ground provides an incentive to the manufacturer that is impossible to achieve from your home-base.

If you would like to completely run the manufacturing management in China yourself, that we don’t recommend, but need a facility, we can assist in finding and verifying a list of potential supply sources for you. For this and other tailored solutions please get in touch.