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Valuable Tips on How to Find Chinese Suppliers Online

2024-05-15
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A valid product sourcing strategy is dependent upon your approach to finding the right suppliers in China. Most of you are not based in China but have realized that this is an emerging market for nearly all consumer goods. It is no secret that China is emerged as one of the top sourcing destinations in the world.

If you are new to the importing business and are looking for Chinese suppliers, then you might be confused about how to search for genuine ones. If you search online, you will be flooded with a lot of options, making it difficult for you to make a choice. With so many suppliers available in the market, it may seem daunting and complex to know which supplier to go to and whether they are the right choice for the type of product that you want to source.

It is quite a famous saying that you don't trust what you see online, but you would be creating your entire business model based on Chinese suppliers you find online. This realization can make you hesitate and perhaps even give up on the idea of using the online medium to look for Chinese suppliers. If you look for advice, you might find other people telling you that sourcing from Chinese suppliers online is a huge risk for the order quality and standards. Nonetheless, some people have established themselves by having online suppliers who they have probably never met.

Suppose you feel skeptical about the process of finding Chinese suppliers online. In that case, there are some clear-cut advantages of using the online medium rather than physically visiting China and searching for suppliers. One of the major advantages is that you won't need to invest a separate time and cost to visit China.

So how did they go about achieving this task? Here are our four tips to help you on how to find suppliers in China online.

Tip 1: Start your search from the internet

This tip seems like the most obvious answer because you would be looking for suppliers in China online. However, that doesn't mean you should randomly start searching. Many scams can easily occur in the online world, and you are just a click away from having all of your hard-earned investment stolen from you. Hence, it would help if you always look for a highly reputable supplier because you are giving them the most important job of your business: giving your range of products.

When it comes to your business, you do not want to take the risk of choosing the wrong product sourcing service. There are many online sources from which you can find reliable suppliers for your product:

- Online sourcing platforms.
- Social media.

Sourcing platforms such as Alibaba, Global Sources, and Made-In-China can share your details about credible suppliers. If you have doubts about any supplier, you can check if the supplier is blacklisted on Alibaba. Many sourcing platforms also offer detailed information such as credit check services, nature of business, and financial position.

Social media is another alternative wherein you can check reviews and feedback on potential suppliers and decide of choosing them. It is always better to call up the suppliers and discuss your requirements with them.

No matter where you find your supplier, you need to do thorough research. Some of the ways in which you can do so are by:

- Check their official website for communication address and customer support contact.
- Check for registration details by visiting any local government agency.
- Ask for their financial statements and have them verified by an auditor.

Websites such as AliExpress are classic B2B online marketplaces where you can source products directly from online suppliers. However, with that said, such websites also have all kinds of suppliers, so you need to be careful with whom you create a partnership for sourcing. That means scanning the entire product portfolio of a supplier against other suppliers offering the product you are looking to source and comparing them for prices and customer reviews.

When searching on the internet, customer reviews are some of the most important components to focus on. They give you an idea of the supplier's performance in delivering the product and the product quality that the customers are receiving. Another way is the customer ratings that give you an idea of what the product is ranked out of 5 stars. So having a rating of 4.2 above is an indication of a good product for potential sourcing. By shortlisting online suppliers based on pricing and customer reviews, your approach to using the internet would be like how you search for a seller of the product.  

Tip 2: Know the difference between manufacturers, suppliers, and re-sellers

In China, there is an existing difference between a manufacturer, supplier, and a re-seller. You can choose to buy from any three of them, but you should know how to identify one among the three if you are specifically looking for an online supplier. This is because, with the rising awareness about low-cost product sourcing, a lot of individuals have jumped on the bandwagon and become the middleman in your product's supply chain process.

So which ones should you choose?

Chinese manufacturers

If you are looking to source a private label product, then opting for a Chinese manufacturer is the right decision. Chinese manufacturers should be your top priority if you are looking to work with them to supply you with the product and design and develop it. Chinese manufacturers will cater to your requests and provide you with product samples. However, most of the Chinese manufacturers might refuse to cooperate if your order quantity is less than their MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity).

Chinese suppliers

Chinese suppliers are usually the ones that either manufacture the products or are only buying them directly from the Chinese factory. Opting for a supplier should be your go-to option if you are not looking to get a patented or private label product sourced. Mostly you will find more suppliers online for common items that have higher competition in the supplier market. In other words, you will have an easier time getting a good bargain.

Opting for online suppliers is good for products that you don't need to get a feel off physically, such as jewelry or craft products. Electronic gadgets are slightly risky because you need to physically view the product to see if it is up to the quality standard and cater to the market you aim to sell.

Re-sellers

Re-sellers are not necessarily from China, and these are the guys to avoid because, without a doubt, they will be charging you a higher price than a supplier or a manufacturer. Never opt for a re-seller because they are doing the job that you wanted to do. Hence, they are the middleman and eat into your share of the profit. They are a great option if you are going as the final consumer to purchase a product for your personal use. But even buying in bulk from them will not give you any significant discount or advantage of economies of scale.

Tip 3: Look beyond Amazon, Alibaba, and AliExpress

Suppose you are a beginner and have no knowledge of product sourcing. In that case, you may take the easy route and opt to buy bulk from Chinese online suppliers present on Amazon, Alibaba, or AliExpress. For starters, Amazon is not meant to perform as a B2B marketplace, especially if you are looking to get low costs. You still will have a significantly lower profit margin than if you were to reach out to the Chinese supplier directly. There may be Chinese suppliers selling on Amazon, but they could very well be re-sellers or wholesalers, which doesn't give you that much advantage to scale your business.

Similarly, Alibaba and AliExpress are considered the hub of Chinese online suppliers, and even a search on Google will direct you towards them. They aren't a bad option, but they aren't the best either. AliExpress and Alibaba do have many Chinese manufacturers and suppliers, but searching on them significantly increases your workload. On average, you may be spending 2 to 3 hours just scanning one supplier for a product. So, if you are looking to source multiple products, it is very time-consuming. So, it is not a feasible option.

Look for websites or online platforms where you directly interact with the Chinese supplier to better communicate with them. Moreover, by sourcing from such websites, you cannot create a sourcing contract that is essential to help you and your supplier remain on good terms. After all, your supplier is your business partner. Having a sourcing agreement will allow you to outline the type of relationship you have with your supplier.

Creating a sourcing contract with such suppliers is also easy because they would be interested in doing business directly with you. You can list many important details in the sourcing contracts, from deciding on the price to the product quality and the warranty in the mishap. This will also prevent any unregistered production activities from taking place.

Tip 4: Delegate the task to a reliable sourcing agent

You may have come across advertisements for hiring a sourcing agent while searching for online suppliers in China by yourself. Well, don't disregard those advertisements because, as you know, China has a diverse portfolio of suppliers dealing with all types of products. A sourcing agent is knowledgeable about China's complete supply chain management. As such, they are familiar with which suppliers to target and how to negotiate and coordinate with the factory to manufacture your order. Not to mention, they take the burden and the worry of finding a supplier off you.

Hiring a Chinese-based sourcing agent provides an obvious advantage of knowing the Chinese language and China supplier market. But, apart from that, there are other advantages, such as paying a lower commission cost. Just like Chinese suppliers are charging lower prices than other suppliers in the international market. However, that doesn't mean you should hire a sourcing agent based on the lowest commission.

By hiring an experienced sourcing agent, you have delegated the responsibility to them. So, if you have any existing businesses or other products that you sell online, you can focus on them without extra worries. The sourcing agent will look after the entire product sourcing process while giving you regular updates about it.

Conclusion

Product sourcing from Chinese suppliers online seems like a lucrative opportunity, and it is for the most part. However, with that said, you must be careful of how you maneuver the waters. There are a lot of difficulties when sourcing from China, such as language and culture difference which can impact your quest to find reliable and reputable suppliers online. It takes effort to look beyond the mainstream B2B websites, but it also a lot more rewarding in terms of revenue and profit generated.

Trustworthy Chinese sourcing agents provide you with a range of facilities to make your quest for online suppliers a piece of cake so that you can source products as easily as shopping online. As a verified company, transparency in communication is one of their top priorities. The sourcing agents use qualified manufacturers to give competitive pricing, and aim to be the one-stop solution for you to find Chinese suppliers online.

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