Finding a reliable supplier in China especially when you know precious little about the market in China is a herculean task. You might end up getting conned. Ask anyone and you will get to know the risks of getting stuck with a bad supplier.
Some of them give poor-quality shipments while others delay their shipments a lot. To save you from the hassle, we will share some tips so that you won't regret it later.
Tips to get the best supplier in China
1. The Canton Fair
It is the biggest import and export convention in China, which is organized twice every year. The phase is so diverse that it covers almost every company, which makes some tangible products. The convention is so huge that it is organized into three phases:
Phase one- this phase is for electronics and machinery. It also covers the building materials, chemical predicts, etc.
Phase two- this phase is for the consumer goods and home products.
Phase three- the final phase is for textiles, office-related items, health products, shoes and medicinal products, etc.
To give you a brief idea of what you can expect from the fair here are a few keynotes:
The sales representatives communicate in English. Many of them are hired for the fair and do not work or represent the company. It is a great time to learn about the MOQ and product details.
You can even hire an interpreter for a minimal cost of 60-75$ a day. The charges however skyrocket for minority languages.
Almost all of the suppliers bring with them the samples. This allows you to touch and feel the quality of the goods that you can expect in the shipments.
The prices are low, but if you are not willing to sacrifice the quality, then you will have to be willing to pay more money. You will get some very good Chinese suppliers online. Once you are done speaking with the supplier, it is a good idea to give them your business card. However, a note of caution here is that give the business card to only those vendors in whom you are genuinely interested. Some vendors even sell the details of the buyers, hence you must be aware.
In conclusion, the canton fair is a huge trading event. It is perhaps wise to find out the location of the exhibitors in whom you are interested in accessing the website of the event.
The Yiwu wholesalers are not manufacturers, but they are the traders of the company. This market is located in Zhejiang. The peculiar thing about this market is that it is open all year round. This market has a large number of shops. Almost 40,000 shops are present in this market.
However, you should target this market only if you are aiming for bags, shoes, textiles, watches and accessories at low prices. The reason for this is that this market is particularly titled towards buyers coming from India, South Africa and the Middle East. Thus, this market shows no adherence to the safety standards of the USA and EU.
If you are looking for medical devices, toys and cosmetics, then you will find them somewhere else. You can also find some good Chinese suppliers online. The prices in this market can go unimaginably low, but with that, the quality of the products will also stoop unimaginably.
If the market of your target is highly segmented, then you can consider the Yiwu market as a good option to source goods.
Many sellers consider the Yiwu market only as a complimentary market to their existing suppliers in cases of emergency when their stores go empty and they need to fill the warehouse with filler products. The suppliers in the Yiwu market work in collaboration with the factories in Zhejiang and Jiangsu.
The perk of trading in this market is that you can get off-the-shelf products on the spot. If you wish, then you can get them shipped to your location also.
If the goods that you have finalized are not ready for sale, then you must make sure that the priorities about the quality of the goods are delivered to the supplier.
The supplier will then communicate the same to the matching factory. Negotiating on the price will only cause the factory to use cheap quality goods. One of the good ideas is to hire a local sourcing consultant so that your sourcing is simplified. The sourcing services in the Yiwu market include picking-up and drop services.
Further, the agent will also drive you around the market, introduce you to the wholesalers, help in negotiating the price and reach some common ground in terms of the order, etc.
3. B2B marketplaces
You can even start searching for Chinese suppliers online. There are many platforms like Alibaba, Made in China, etc. However, there are a few things that you must be cautious about:
Many resellers pose themselves as manufacturers. Although this is not a big issue if you are sourcing things like toys, clothing, accessories and cheap electronic items only a manufacturer can make an item which has specific technical requirements.
Therefore, if you are going for a product, which needs special processes to manufacture like metal stamping and plastic injection models, then you must verify that the person you are dealing with is a manufacturer.
Although these websites rate their suppliers, not everything is 100% trustworthy. To give you an instance, any supplier who purchases a prime membership of Alibaba and pays annual fees can easily get a gold supplier status which leads to increased visibility on the website. However, that is not a testament to his quality.
Once you have contacted the supplier, you must request the samples before you place an order. The process of contacting the supplier to get the samples can be lengthy ranging from weeks to months.
Communication plays a very important role to ascribe the quality of products that you want. This communication gets difficult when the language that you speak is different from that of the seller.
Finding the best and most trustworthy B2B supplier is a difficult task in itself. You must vet each supplier separately and also visit the factories so that you get a better idea.
Sourcing agents are ideal in China when you need products with the exact technical specifications. Reaching out to sourcing agents is quite helpful for identifying, short-listing, connecting, and auditing the suppliers and factories. Global importers seldom even have to visit China or set up any office there to manufacture and import goods from China, if they work with a sourcing agent, who can also take care of other things like product designing, in-process quality inspection, warehousing, consolidating products from multiple factories, shipping, legal matters, licenses, etc.
These agents act as a proxy and drop visits in the factories. They inspect the quality of the product manufactured. Once you have permitted mass production, they will inspect the raw material used and inspect the first few batches made.
These agents act as your foot soldiers as they are well-versed in Mandarin. This breaks the language barrier and all your priorities will be communicated easily. The suppliers in China are cautious about what information they share. This is where the sourcing agents come to rescue you. They will ensure that the supplier is adhering to the conditions that you posed.
Once you have partnered with an agent, you will get full-fledged support in the sourcing process.
If you are looking for the best Chinese suppliers online, then you must consider the services of reputed suppliers like Maple Sourcing.
5. Google search
A simple Google search seems the logical move towards finding the right Chinese suppliers online. Today, almost all Chinese suppliers have business websites and they are pretty active on their social media. Usually, the sellers use pretty simple names on social media platforms.
Once you land on a website, which appears to be genuine, you must proceed and make some inquiries.
You must trade with caution in China. Getting a reliable supplier, especially without an agent is an extremely difficult task, which will involve a great level of risk. If you do not want to run the risk of getting duped or are short of time, then the most advisable thing is to get an agent for you.
This is an acritical decision and thus, you must take your own sweet time in making the right decision. Your goal should be to build a long-term relationship with the supplier, which serves you the right quality of products at a favourable price.