Product Sourcing from China - Mistakes to Avoid



China has a massive manufacturing base, and the infrastructure required to manufacture and transport goods is well established, making it easy for product sourcing. China is rich in natural resources and has abundant supplies of raw materials such as steel, aluminium, and plastic, which are required for manufacturing. Chinese government has implemented policies to support the manufacturing sector and encourage foreign investment, which makes it easier for product sourcing from China.

Mistakes to avoid while sourcing from China

Sourcing products from China can be a lucrative opportunity, but it is essential to avoid some common mistakes that can lead to costly errors. Here are ten mistakes in detail that you should avoid while sourcing directly in China:

1. Choosing the wrong supplier

It is essential to research and choose the right supplier before placing an order. There are several potential drawbacks to hiring the wrong Chinese supplier:

  • Poor quality: One of the main risks of hiring the wrong supplier is that you may end up with a product that does not meet your quality standards. This could result in customer complaints, returns, and damage to your brand reputation.

  • Delayed deliveries: Working with the wrong supplier could also lead to delays in product deliveries. This could be due to various reasons such as inefficient production processes, lack of raw materials, or poor communication.

Overall, hiring the wrong Chinese supplier can be a costly mistake that could impact your business's success in the long run. It is essential to do your due diligence and choose a reliable and trustworthy supplier that can meet your quality standards, deadlines, and business needs.


2. Not performing a factory audit

A factory audit in China helps to ensure that the supplier you choose is reliable and meets your quality requirements. Failing to perform a factory audit can result in:

  • Quality control issues: Without a factory audit, it can be challenging to ensure that the products being produced meet the required quality standards. This can lead to quality control issues, defective products, and potential product recalls, which can damage the reputation of the brand and lead to financial losses.

  • Ethical concerns: A factory audit can help to identify potential ethical concerns such as worker exploitation, poor working conditions, and child labor. Without an audit, there is a risk that these issues may go unnoticed, and companies may unwittingly be supporting unethical practices, which can harm the reputation of the brand and lead to legal and financial consequences.

3. Not specifying your requirements:

Without clear instructions, the supplier may not meet your expectations.

  • Miscommunication and misunderstanding: If you don't clearly specify your product requirements with Chinese OEM manufacturers, there is a higher likelihood of miscommunication and misunderstanding. This can result in the manufacturer producing a product that does not meet your needs or expectations, which can lead to quality issues, delays, and additional costs.

  • Lack of legal protection: If you don't have clear product requirements in writing, you may not have legal protection if there are issues with the product or the manufacturer fails to meet your expectations. Without clear product requirements, it can be difficult to prove that the manufacturer did not deliver what you requested or that they were responsible for any defects or quality issues. This can make it difficult to seek compensation or take legal action if necessary.

It is important to specify your requirements, such as product specifications, packaging, labelling, and delivery terms.

4. Not negotiating the price

It is crucial to negotiate the price with the supplier to ensure you get the best deal possible. Failing to negotiate can result in:

  • Higher cost

  • Reducing your profit margin 

5. Not confirming production timeline

Confirming the production timeline with the supplier is crucial to ensure timely delivery of your products. Not doing so can lead to:

  • Missed deadlines

  • Delaying your product launch

6. Not having a quality control plan

The cons of not have quality control plan for items purchased from China.

  • Inconsistent product quality: Without a quality control plan, the product quality can vary significantly from one batch to another, leading to inconsistent quality standards. This can be especially problematic if the product is intended for use in a critical application or if it is sold to customers who demand a high level of quality.

  • Increased risk of defective products: There is a higher risk of receiving defective products without quality control plan to buy from Chinese factories.  These defects may not be immediately apparent, leading to costly returns, recalls, and damage to your brand reputation. Without a quality control plan in place, you may also be at risk of receiving counterfeit products or products that do not meet the necessary safety standards.


Having a quality control plan in place helps to identify and resolve any quality issues before the products are shipped.

7. Not considering intellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights are crucial when sourcing products from China. It is essential to ensure that the products you source do not infringe on any intellectual property rights.

8. Not factoring in import duties and taxes

Import duties and taxes can significantly increase the cost of importing products from China. Failing to factor in these costs can result in:

  • Unexpected expenses

  • Reduced profitability

9. Not building a relationship with the supplier

Failing to build a relationship can result in subpar service and quality.

  • Missed business opportunities: Failing to build a relationship with a Chinese supplier can result in missed business opportunities, as the supplier may not prioritize your company's needs or offer favourable terms and pricing. Additionally, without a strong relationship, the supplier may not provide your company with access to their latest product offerings or innovations.

  • Quality and communication issues: Without a strong relationship, there may be a lack of clear communication between your company and the supplier, which can result in quality issues, delays, and misunderstandings. Additionally, without a strong relationship, the supplier may not prioritize quality control measures or provide the necessary support and resources to resolve issues that arise.

Building a relationship with the supplier can help to ensure that they prioritize your orders and provide you with better service.

Product sourcing from China has its challenges and drawback, but is still a potential option to be lucrative. You need due diligence and ample research to avoid sourcing mistakes.

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