China has emerged as the manufacturer of various goods all over the world as now they are manufacturing and selling more goods as compared to any other countries of the world. Therefore, China is often called the ‘World’s Factory,’ and this manufacturing sector is now driving China’s economy.
China has turned into the most important manufacturing hub of various industrial products because of its ability to produce at a very low cost. As global sourcing challenges become increasingly difficult, sourcing from China became a most popular method.
However, language barriers existing in China and also the mixed business practices are a big hurdle for most foreign buyers, despite the availability of a huge product variety. It is here you will realize the need for any best China sourcing agent, who can immensely benefit you.
For many, the concept of having any sourcing agents may be a little new and hence we will try to explain that, in this article. The sourcing agent is a third party between you and the Chinese supplier, who helps you find the right suppliers in China.
Generally, these Chinese sourcing agents will be more familiar with the various business practices, languages, and various customs of China and they will be very much knowledgeable about various manufacturing companies existing in China.
Advantages of sourcing agents in China
Time saver - You can save lots of your precious time if you have a trustworthy sourcing agent available on your side.
Effective communication link - As you know language is a major issue while dealing with Chinese companies. Your sourcing agent can be your useful link.
Help with negotiations - Your sourcing agent can be very useful when negotiating price with suppliers. He can provide you a very useful input so that you can always have an upper hand during negotiation with any Chinese company.
Verify credentials - Your sourcing agent can offer you correct input about Chinese manufacturers.
Good network - An experienced sourcing agent in China will have a good network and contacts in China who can be very useful for you doing business with China.
Things to consider while selecting any China sourcing agent
If you try to Google search for export agents in China then you may come across the names of many such agents, but how can you find one who will be the right fit for you? While selecting any sourcing agent, particularly in China, the following are some of the things that you must keep in mind for making the right choice.
Location of your sourcing agent
While going through your Google search list of different sourcing agents available in China, the first thing to check for is the location of your sourcing agent.
Whether they are Chinese, or any foreign company having an office available in China? To do business with a foreign company, as that will be much easier as compared to any native Chinese agent.
Also, Chinese internet policies are quite strict, where checking on the credentials of any Chinese sourcing agent can be difficult.
If you select any foreign sourcing agent, then you must ensure that the company has got a very well-staffed office in China.
You must also check out how long the Chinese office has been in operation in China. Prefer a certain sourcing agent who has a very well-proven past track record.
You will soon realize that the way business operates in China and in various western countries, there is going to be a huge difference. It will be great learning for you by knowing the way all Chinese businesses operate.
All these differences are mainly because of cultural differences. Their customs and mind sets are entirely different from that of western countries.
Therefore, it will be better to appoint a certain sourcing agent who has experience of several years in this field in China. A best China sourcing agent will have a wide network of many reliable contacts and the ability to manage your China supply chain, which is very important to your business too.
Check for references
Prefer to select an agent, who can give you a few authentic references from many other businesses. You must surely take your time to discuss with these references to check their websites.
Try to find out when they have started dealing with that particular sourcing agent and what their quality of service is. Also, ask them whether they would recommend this sourcing agent to anyone.
Get the necessary documentation
You must demand the sourcing agent to provide you with all the necessary documentation to prove the credentials. The language of those documents will offer you a good idea to know how well-versed your agent is with this process.
Typically, the sourcing agent must provide the following documents:
· Bill of Lading
· Certificate of Origin
· Detailed packing list
· Fumigation Certificate
Check how they generally deal with various quality issues
While sourcing any products from China, product quality will be your topmost concern. Therefore, you must check with your prospective sourcing agent what kind of measures they generally take while dealing with any quality issues.
You must make it sufficiently clear right from the beginning that you cannot accept products of poor quality.
Check the necessary license
Every business in China will need a certain license for trading. So far as the laws are concerned, Chinese laws are very strict, and any agent is permitted to conduct only a particular kind of business under a specific license.
While initiating any discussion with your prospective sourcing agent, you must never forget to check necessary license.
Check the proficiency in both English and Chinese language
A best China sourcing agent must be proficient in both Mandarin and English language. You must make sure that during your first email communication, you could see a well-written email letter and also while conversing you find that the agent speaks excellent English.
Also, all the staff members of the company must be proficient in both written and spoken English.
Expertise in the particular product that you are looking for
Every sourcing agent must be having a certain specialized area where he has worked and has enough knowledge. Therefore, you must check whether your prospective sourcing agent has any prior experience of sourcing those products that you want to import.
You may also ask your agent to show records of their previous orders, or at least give you any buyer references. Of course, no sourcing agent will deal with only a single product.
Therefore, you must ask for any document that shows that the agent has dealt with those products in which you are interested.
Choose a certain sourcing agent having good ethics
There is a very strong rumour in the industry that many sourcing agents often accept certain kickbacks from different Chinese companies to promote their business.
Such types of agents will surely help you to locate any supplier very quickly, however, the quality of those products may be suspected. Therefore, you must deal with only those agents who are ready to follow all your quality norms.
Whether hiring any sourcing agent is really a big deal?
Of course, finding any best China sourcing agent may not be a cakewalk. If you discuss it with any of your business colleagues then you will come to know how difficult it is.
However, we have offered you sufficient information in this article that can be of immense help when you will actually start looking for any sourcing agent in China.
If you are in such a business where you will need several items that you would like to import from China. Here it will make good sense for your company to hire any full-time dedicated company to source a good quality of products so that your production goes unhindered.
Let us do a little brainstorming here to list out all your expectations from any best China sourcing agent that you are looking for.
1. Your sourcing agent must have good managerial as well as technical capability to understand the complexity of the product or products that you are looking for.
2. Your sourcing agent must have a team of people having sufficient experience with the products and also various commerce involved in locating and shipping the product to overseas countries.
3. Your sourcing agent must have a dedicated team of people who are fluent in speaking both in English and Mandarin languages and able to communicate in both speaking and writing as well.
4. Your sourcing agent must be aware of Chinese customs and cultures and know very well how the industry and the various business in China works.
5. Your sourcing agent must be quite resourceful and in case of any urgency, he can quickly find a certain alternate source so that you may not go into a short supply situation.
6. Your sourcing agent must be knowledgeable enough to solve any unforeseen problem that develops in the shipping of your product and work with an entrepreneurial spirit.
7. Your sourcing agent must have very good networking with most of the relevant companies in China so that he can create multiple sources for your items that you want to source from China.
8. Your sourcing agent must have manpower who can check the quality of your product that you are sourcing from the production stage so that you will be assured of the right quality from the manufacturer’s end.
Lastly, which is most important is that your agent must be honest and whom you can easily trust and offer you honest advice and quite ethical and smart too. If your agent is not trustworthy and honest then all the above attributes will be totally meaningless.
Ask a few good questions to your prospective sourcing agents
The following are a few good questions that you must ask your prospective sourcing agents:
Do you know the manufacturing process involved in my required product?
It will be nice if your sourcing agent happens to be technically qualified and able to evaluate properly the basic quality of the product that you like to import.
How do you generally communicate with various Chinese suppliers?
It will be important to know if your sourcing agent judges any company only based on email and telephone communication or he also personally visits and does enough personal interaction.
Can you offer at least three references who were or still are your customers?
Any good sourcing agent will always offer references immediately.
Since when have you started this business?
It will always be better to choose an agent who has worked in this line for several years and have enough maturity rather than any newbie.
Whether you are operating as an individual or a company?
Most sourcing agents who work as an individual cannot be trusted as they are more likely to recommend you a certain supplier based on what kickback has been received and hence it is better to select any company.
How do you generally qualify any company by terming it as a very good source?
You must know what criteria are adopted by your sourcing agent while recommending any company.
Whether you are quite conversant with quality checking of my products
Prefer such sourcing agents who can also help you to control the quality of your sourced product from the manufacturer’s end.
Can you make arrangements for any third-party inspection?
It will always be preferable to hire a sourcing agent who can make arrangements for third-party inspection.
How are you going to charge your fee?
In such a business, there is too much competition and hence it is quite interesting to see whether he will charge as per the current market rates.
Finding the correct China sourcing agent is critical if you are considering sourcing Chinese products. Getting high-quality products on time and at the appropriate price can certainly help your company develop tremendously. Take your time when selecting a sourcing agency. It is critical to your company's long-term success.