Why Do You Need a Sourcing Agent in China?
A good Sourcing Agent plays a very important role in doing business in China, especially when you're placing a large order: Sourcing and Verifying suppliers, Quality Control, Loading Process Supervision, Goods Consolidation, Shipping Coordination, Business Risk Control, Legal Contract Support and After-sale service etc.
What is a sourcing agent and why do you need one?
A sourcing agent could be an individual, a group of team or a company, helping companies overseas to import from China. Usually it will be supported by a team of experts in each field: sourcing, verification, order processing, quality control, etc. A good agent can be an extremely valuable asset in your overall product procurement strategy. Here are the main services offered by your qualified sourcing agent in China:
I. Keep finding new products and suppliers.
II. Verify, inspect or audit existing suppliers.
III. Price negotiations and Supply Chain Management.
IV. Order processing.
V. Quality Control.
VI. Loading Supervision.
VII. Shipping Coordination and Customs Clearance Support.
Any other service, say, legal contract support, after-sale service support, etc, can be available upon request.
Dealing with Chinese suppliers is very time consuming. Working with a qualified Sourcing Agent can save you much time, cost and energy in China. For example, 90% of the suppliers you met online or at local trade fairs could be trade companies, while the local sourcing specialists can go to the real manufacturing bases to find out qualified factories for you. Apparently the factory price is much more competitive than that of the trader’s anywhere on the globe, by this way you can save more cost in the business.
How to choose a right sourcing agent from China?
I. Ask them for at least 3 client references from your country.
Check them out before any cooperation. Trust is very important, especially for long term cooperation.
II. Choose a right sourcing agent who is near to the manufacturing base of your industry.
In China, almost every city has their pillar industry and each product has one or several manufacturing bases. For example, if you're buying Fireworks, you can simply go to Liuyang city, which is called 'Home of Fireworks' or 'Capital of Fireworks', where there are more than 400,000 people directly or indirectly engaging in this business in China. 'Liuyang-made' fireworks account for 70% of China market and 50% of global market at present. Another two famous manufacturing bases for this product is Liling, Hunan and Wanzai, Jiangxi, these three manufacturing bases are near to each other. This is the same situation to most of the other products in China. Your agent’s proximity to a certain industrial cluster can certainly help out when things go wrong during production. It may also cut traveling and transportation costs.
III. Ask them for their Business License in China, check them out with local officials or third-party verification service company first before formal cooperation.
IV. Ask them enough professional questions regarding the coming orders in China. Many sourcing agents are lacking expertise about product safety regulations in overseas markets. Keep in mind that in the end, you are going to be hold financially responsible if your products turn out to be non-compliant with the relevant standards.
Importing from China can be a completely different story depending on the product. Certain products are very complicated (i.e. machinery) while others are a fairly easy to get right (i.e. indoor furniture). Hiring a sourcing agent with the right product knowledge is critical and can make the difference between a successful business transaction and a complete disaster.