In recent years, many importers choose to import from China, because China is a big manufacturing country. The cost of goods purchased from China is mostly low but the quality of the goods is good.
China manufactures popular and hot products for many countries in the world, and the range of products is also very wide, which is very suitable for importers’ needs. Finding reliable Chinese suppliers is the key to long-term business development for importers. Under the influence of the new crown virus, many importers cannot come to China to participate in offline trade shows. So, how to find reliable Chinese suppliers online?
As a professional manufacturer in China, Dowell will provide the most comprehensive online guide for customers who want to import from China in this article, to help you find and establish a good business relationship with suppliers online.
1.Identify the Type of Chinese Supplier
The main purpose of finding suppliers is to contact them and hear from them directly. Now you need to decide which type of supplier you should look for. Also, not using middlemen can reduce the cost of finding suppliers. If you work directly with the manufacturer, this is the easiest way to reduce costs and make a bigger profit.
Manufacturer: If you have found a manufacturer, then you are lucky to have direct access to companies and factories. If you sell branded items, please contact the manufacturer directly. Their biggest advantage over their suppliers is their lower prices. There is usually a minimum order quantity (MOQ), meaning you need to buy in bulk. If the manufacturer is from another country and you need to import from another country, you may worry about the high shipping costs. However, shipping costs depend on the number of products you buy, and if there are more products, the shipping costs amortized on a single product will be lower, even lower than what you would buy in your home country. Then you can import from other countries at lower product prices and shipping costs, greatly reducing import costs for your trading business.
- The manufacturer’s price is the lowest, but there are generally MOQ requirements.
- A powerful manufacturer with advanced production, customization, and design teams that can provide the latest, unique, and innovative products for your business.
- If you find a manufacturer that makes only one product, then they are a manufacturer of specialty products. Usually, they have enough experience in this type of product field to produce a higher quality product that suits your business development.
Agent: Refers to a merchant who is authorized by the manufacturer to sell the product in a certain area during the sales process.
Tip: When you cooperate with an agent for the first time, please ask for a sample to confirm the quality of the product.
Domestic Wholesaler: This type of supplier usually imports from abroad and then operates domestically. Their disadvantage relative to the manufacturer is their relatively high price. Their advantage is that if you need small batches, they can still supply you. If you are not familiar with overseas markets, you can also choose local domestic wholesalers. But if you need a large supply of products, then it is not recommended that you find a domestic wholesaler. Many product source manufacturers are located in China, and choosing a Chinese manufacturer is a good choice because most of the products imported from China are cheap.
Tip: If your MOQ is lower than 500 and the lowest cost is not considered, you can choose a domestic wholesaler.
2. Effective Ways to Find Chinese Suppliers
2.1 Google Search
Google search is a common way for importers to find suppliers. Familiar with Google’s quick search method will help improve the quality and accuracy of search suppliers. So how to search on Google? The easiest way to find a manufacturer on Google is to search for “[Product] + manufacturer”. You can also use product terms + specific search terms such as wholesales, bulk, supplier, import, OEM, ODM, etc.
2.2 Online Supplier Directory
They are directories created by suppliers and sent to importers to provide more information on product details and or services. Similar sites are Alibaba.com or Exporters. sg. Using an online supplier directory is a safe way to find suppliers.
A common supplier directory should include the following information:
* product name
* product description
* Service Name
* Service description
Benefits of using an online supplier directory:
* Reduce risk and reduce supplier fraud
* Faster and accurate supplier search
* Quickly find product and supplier contacts
2.3 B2B website
If you are running an e-commerce company, you need to find a factory to supply. Alibaba is an excellent way to find suppliers. As the world’s largest B2B cross-border e-commerce platform, Alibaba International Logistics has covered more than 200 countries and regions around the world and is the most comprehensive directory of Chinese factories and suppliers. At present, the “door-to-door” service capability has been realized, providing one-stop service and making it easier to find suppliers. Including the goods being pulled from the factory to the domestic port, customs declaration, entering the overseas port by sea, land, and air, customs clearance, tax payment, and finally the final distribution.
Advantages of Alibaba:
*Plenty of suppliers to choose from
* Reduce manufacturing costs
* Organized categories to find products quickly
* Developed supplier network
*Poor customer service
*Longer shipping time
*Alibaba has a supplier scam
Trade Assurance Supplier
Trade Assurance is a free service provided by Alibaba to help build trust between buyers and suppliers. Trade Assurance will cover you in the event of a dispute related to shipping or quality.
You are covered if:
Your product was not shipped on time
Your product does not meet quality standards
When you check the homepage of a supplier on Alibaba, it is recommended that you check whether the supplier is a Gold Supplier. Usually, older Gold Suppliers will have better product and service quality. To find gold suppliers on Alibaba Direct, please tick “Gold Suppliers”.
2.3.2 Made in China.com
Made-in-china was established in 1996 as a platform for Chinese manufacturers. It supplies over 3500 products. The platform supports 11 languages and has over 1 million suppliers. Made-in-China.com’s mission is to provide SMEs with easy-to-access and improved web-based trading solutions to facilitate Chinese trade around the world.
It has more advantages in manufacturing and processing machinery, industrial equipment and parts, construction and decoration, auto parts and other industries.
Made in China.com
Made in China product list：
In Made-in-China.com you can find more industrial and construction products than consumer goods.
- Electronic product
- Industrial equipment
- Build products
- Automotive and MC Products
- Sporting goods
Made in China vs Alibaba:
1. In terms of supply chain:
Made-in-China.com only cooperates with Chinese suppliers, and Alibaba.com has suppliers from other countries around the world. Therefore, we believe that Made in China.com has a more in-depth exploration of products in the Chinese market.
2. In terms of industry:
They are all comprehensive procurement platforms, but Made in China has more advantages in manufacturing processing machinery, industrial equipment and parts, building decoration, auto parts and other industries, while Alibaba has advantages in light industry and daily necessities.
What supplier information is available on Made in China?
Suppliers to Made-in-China.com are often subject to third-party verification, such as TUV, which can help you assess whether your suppliers are compliant.
Here’s what you can find on Made in China.com to help you find better suppliers:
- Type of business
- main products
- Number of employees
- Year established
- Management Certification
- Product Test Report/Certification
- Also, you can find product pictures, specifications, factory pictures and uploaded certificates.
If you know China or you are familiar with using translation software, 1688.com is also a good choice for finding Chinese suppliers. 1688 has covered 16 major industry categories such as raw materials, industrial products, clothing and apparel, household goods, and small commodities, providing a series of supply services from raw material procurement, production and processing, and spot wholesale. The following is the detailed and correct use of 1688 to find Chinese suppliers.
1) 1688 image search function
When the importer has doubts about the Chinese expression of the product, he can use the image search function of 1688 to quickly determine the corresponding name and source of goods. This will be more convenient and accurate. In the search window of 1688 “Find Sources”, there is a function of “Search by Image”, as shown below:
image search function
2) Choose 1688 Strength Merchant
When you search for product keywords, you can select an attribute [Strength Merchant]. Usually, this search method can help you find more productive Chinese manufacturers.
3) Deep Factory Inspection
Please note that the function of in-depth certification is very important. It can help us filter out a group of general suppliers that do not have scale qualifications. This step helps importers simplify factory background checks. Even if they do not go to the supplier for on-site inspection, the importer can obtain the report issued by the professional third-party certification agency, which saves us a lot of time for screening and inspection.
When we select [Deep Factory Inspection], the system will filter according to our options, and the following information will appear.
At this time, we can select the pages we are interested in to browse according to the displayed supplier and product information:
Deep Factory Inspection
We can also see the information and comprehensive service score of this merchant, including merchant response speed, logistics timeliness, return and exchange experience, dispute resolution, quality experience, etc. These will help you to judge whether the comprehensive strength of this supplier meets the standards of the supplier you are looking for.
Entering the 1688 supplier interface, we can see the supplier’s introduction, factory file, factory evaluation, and product catalog. Here importers can see the comprehensive strength of the factory, workshop equipment, and supplier credit.
1688 Factory Evaluation
There are also 360° panoramic factory scenes and videos at the top of the interface. The supplier’s warehouse is certified here. You can use the mouse to rotate and check as if you are visiting the supplier’s factory.
360 degree panorama factory
If the supplier you are looking for has BV certification, it means that the certification data displayed by this supplier is more objective and fair. BV is a relatively old international certification body.
1688 BV certification
In the merchant interface, we can also see similar factories recommended by 1688 for importers, and we can understand the comprehensive strength of other merchants, including supply strength, factory information, certification, etc. Help to help us choose the best Chinese supplier. It should be noted that if a supplier does not show pictures of his factory or production equipment, but only pictures of the warehouse, then we can suspect that this supplier is a factory without processing strength. It may be a distributor rather than the production-type product manufacturer you’re looking for.
How to Analyze 1688 suppliers:
①The number of years of Chengxintong membership
②Transaction information: 180-day transaction amount, transaction number, evaluation
③Goods inventory (generally need to communicate and confirm with the supplier’s customer service, the data displayed on most pages is not allowed)
④Express and freight
⑤ Return and exchange and the costs incurred, after-sales, and packaging information
⑥Whether the supplier is willing to provide the original image of the product we need (as a ready-made material for us to expand the new category)
⑦ Whether the supplier has personnel in product research and development and whether it has the ability to innovate.
⑧ The willingness of suppliers to cooperate: whether all processes such as price negotiation, product innovation follow-up speed, pre-sales, and after-sales services are smooth or not.
Be aware of:
① Whether the products displayed by the supplier are consistent with our needs
②Whether to join Chengxintong, whether it is a powerful merchant, and whether there is an in-depth certification report
③ The supplier’s qualification credit transaction level (in the certification report or through the Tianyan check)
④ Whether the product price of the supplier is consistent with our target price range
⑤Packaging, freight, after-sales, and other details must be negotiated first and written into the later purchase contract
⑥Confirmation of sending samples: Check the quality and delivery speed by sending samples.
2.4 Forums and Social Media
Joining a product-related online forum, social media, is beneficial to your import business. In such a product user group, you can learn about the performance of the product in the industry, product-related supplier information, and whether consumer preferences are consistent with the products you are currently operating. Also, you can even market your product to your target audience for profit.
3. How to Verify Chinese Suppliers
3.1 Supplier website
Read all the information on the Chinese supplier’s website, including products, services, supply chain information, and after-sales. A preliminary understanding of whether the supplier is a factory or a trading company. To ensure that the supplier you are looking for is safe, you also need to know the following information:
* Business license, qualification
* Company or factory location
* Ownership status
* Supplier Operation Photos
* Contact information
* Certifications from subsidiaries, partners, or contractors
3.2 Order product samples
Whether you are buying wholesale organizers or other products in China. Importers are advised to request samples before placing an order, as this is the only way to check the quality of the product. At the same time, ordering product samples can help you obtain the supplier’s office address. If the office address matches the supplier’s business license, the supplier is a factory. But sometimes this method doesn’t work either. Because relocating factories in China is a normal thing.
4. How to Avoid Vendor Scams and Fraud
4.1 How Many Types of Chinese suppliers Scam are There?
From small lies to big scams, Chinese vendor scams are all-encompassing. Below is a list of the most common fraudulent practices by Chinese suppliers:
Inferior or wrong goods: Your Chinese supplier sends you substandard goods that do not meet your quality standards or do not match the samples. Not all Chinese manufacturers are capable of producing custom products. Despite their limitations, they overpromised and then failed to deliver. This counts as a fraud and not a mistake.
Counterfeit Goods: You end up with counterfeit goods, and selling them can land you in legal limbo. A 2019 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said counterfeit goods accounted for 3.3% of global trade, with the bulk of it coming from China. China’s IP prior to filing law is largely to blame. In China, a trademark is granted to the first applicant, not necessarily to the original owner. This encourages unscrupulous manufacturers to produce and sell goods that infringe copyright.
Disappearing Behavior: Supplier cuts ties and disappears after receiving your deposit or sample fee.
Sudden price increase: The supplier arbitrarily increases the price of the product after you send the deposit. Or, the supplier raises the price of the same item in the next order without justifiable reason (such as increased production cost of raw material cost).
Fake Company: Your supplier’s claim to be a legitimate business is false. This is a tricky scam because sometimes a fake company can appear completely real on the surface, with a registered address and a professional website. Fake company scams can extend to freight forwarders, quality inspection, and audit firms, as well as trademark, copyright, domain name registration, and patent agents.
Paper Tigers: Paper tigers are suppliers who fraudulently claim to be industry leaders in their area of expertise but fail to deliver on their promises.
New bank account: The supplier requires you to pay to a personal bank account or a different recipient than the one mentioned in the contract.
Delayed delivery: The supplier fails to deliver your goods on time.
Transparency scam: Supplier subcontracts your order or changes components without your knowledge and approval.
4.2 What Type of Chinese Supplier Will Scam You?
There are two main groups of suppliers that will scam you. One is the new supplier; the other is your cooperative supplier.
It happens a lot when you have your first purchase order with your supplier as you have never dealt with them before and there is a great risk of being a fraud, a supplier might take the deposit and disappear. To avoid such a situation happening, there are several tips you need to know before signing an order and sending a deposit to them.
- To do enoughresearch on their work. Be on high alert for red flags such as a criminal past or lawsuits, as these could portend future fraud.
- To gain greater control over your supplier list and combat fraud, be sure to take a close look at the key features in supplier records and profiles:
- To ensure supplier availability, please request their federal tax ID, address, and phone number and confirm with itsrelated country’s federal information.
- Look for overlap between supplier and employee mailing addresses, as mailing address matches may require further checking.
- View the database of the Supreme Court of China (Chinese only).Lots of companies that have been sentenced but have yet to pay compensation are there, check if your new supplier is on the list.
- Request a sample and ask for payment on their company bank account. If this information is provided, it is a good sign. Then, ask them for the address of your courier company to pick up the package. Does the address match their email signature etc?
- Investigate unexplained changes in supplier profiles and question duplicate supplier payments.
- Invest in third-party resources to help with the supplier review and approval process.
As you have made a stable and good relationship with them, some of these suppliers would try to do something illegal to increase their product and the below situations are commonly caused, and I will also teach you how to fix them following the issue.
Issue- Poor quality or wrong goods
Suppliers will usually cut the cost on the material like using the cheaper and worse material so that the quality of your products might get worse compared to the previous orders and customers complaints.
Solution-Always take QC action
For your products before shipment, you could hire your QA to check or asked a third party QA to inspect. Hiring your own QA is recommended as it is more economic. Of course the third-party is also suitable if you have lots of business with them and they might give you a discount, this is all depended on your order amount and period.
You’ll end up with counterfeit goods, and selling them could land you in legal limbo. A 2019 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said counterfeit goods accounted for 3.3% of global trade, with the bulk of it coming from China. China’s IP prior to filing law is largely to blame. In China, a trademark is granted to the first applicant, not necessarily to the original owner. This encourages unscrupulous manufacturers to produce and sell goods that infringe copyright.
Solution–check each new item’s IP rights
before offering order to China Supplier and make sure the products to be sold in the countries don’t infringe any public registered PI as it might cause a huge loss to you.
Of course, your cooperative supplier will also have a chance to cut off communication and disappear after receiving a deposit or a fee for samples from you, it happens when your supplier is in economic trouble like they are going to bankrupt.
Always pay attention to your supplier’s financial situation and stop placing a new order with them if you have found they are in financial trouble.
Issue-Bank fraud act
You might receive an e-mail, stating they are your supplier XX, as now they’ve changed their bank account. They need you to transfer the amount of the order to the new account.
Sometimes, it could be a financial team faking their identities to fraud your capital, you should check with its company’s leader to check if it is true and if it is, then try to transfer a little amount to that account and to verify it.
Sudden price increase
The supplier arbitrarily increases the product price after you’ve sent them a deposit. Or, the supplier raises the price for the same items in the next order without a justifiable reason (such as an increase in production cost of raw material cost)
Ask your suppliers to offer more details about the increase to check, you don not need to agree on the increase for the placed orders. If you find the increase is reasonable, you could continue to cooperate with them, if not, you could find new suppliers.
The supplier fails to deliver your goods on time.
It has a big possibility that something is wrong with your products, you should require a strict lead-time for your order and if there is a delay without your permission, cargo should be shipped by air as required, the sellers should bear the cost for the freight.
4.3 What Can You do to Avoid to Being Scammed?
The chances of a fraudulent supplier fully compensating you for your losses are rare. In the event of a quality dispute, you may still suffer losses even if you exchange the product. Therefore, it is best to avoid getting scammed in the first case. Here are three steps you can follow:
- Pay attention to warning signs
- The supplier refuses to present a business license or other supporting documents that you request.
- They urge you to complete the transaction and transfer the initial deposit.
- They say they can make any product.
- Their communication is inconsistent and slow.
- They didn’t send you samples.
- They change payment methods (such as bank to wallet) or ask you to wire money to a different bank account or recipient.
- Their website is incomplete and provides little or no contact information.
- Verify, verify, verify again.
- To avoid trouble, importers must conduct careful due diligence during the supplier selection stage. Here are the steps to verify a Chinese suppliers:
- Ask for their business license. If they refuse or procrastinate, they may have something to hide
- Cross-check this information by contacting the local government office in the jurisdiction where the factory is located and asking them for factory registration records.
If you need to find a reliable Chinese manufacturer, you can also contact Dowell.
We welcome you to contact us. Start a China sourcing business now!