3 Steps to Locating Manufacturers in China

Whether a brick and mortar store or an online store front through eBay or Amazon Marketplace, operating your own business can be lucrative and offer great rewards for becoming your own boss. But where do you get your products to sell?

Starting with China

Given the exchange rate and low cost of production in China, most retailers source their goods from Chinese manufacturers.  You can also tap into this market and find a product supplier, but you have to know where to look. The good news is that even though China may be nowhere near where you live and operate your business, the internet has made it easy to set up a China supplier and ship products anywhere.

First, you need to assess your needs for specific products.  Will you specialise in one type of product or carry several different lines?  Or are you still shopping around yourself for product ideas? If you know exactly what you want, you may be better suited looking for a directory that lists China manufacturers who make that product and sell them directly. If you are looking to buy a variety of items, you may do better business dealing with China suppliers wholesale.

How to Find Reputable China Suppliers

However, where can you find a trusted China supplier online? There are many online wholesale directories that do not offer the best deals for retailers, and some are outright scams. To get a trusted China supplier, start with a trusted directory.

One good directory is Alibaba has products from around the world, and you can find plenty of China suppliers in this single location. Check the “Gold” status of suppliers listed in the Alibaba directory to find only the ones who have undergone extensive qualification, authentication, and verification. Avoid trying to source branded goods, such as designer clothing and high end electronics from China, as such sources do not exist in quantity.

Another trusted online directory of China suppliers is EC21 offers premium services that help you get priority listings from verified clients and suppliers. This company conducts extensive credit checks on China suppliers and lets you know whether they are a legally registered business.

While these two resources are reliable, they are not the only ones. You might also want to peruse and

Initiating a Business Relationship

When you find potentially suitable China suppliers, contact them and utilise your first interactions to determine if the company is a suitable fit.  Does the company have representatives on staff who can communicate well with you?  Are their communications timely?  Do they have a sample policy?

Your retail business success depends on the decisions you make. Be sure to conduct your research on China suppliers and manufacturers. Set up reliable relationships, and then you will have a solid basis for your continued business success.

Good article. I would like to call your attention to the fact that Global Sources also provides buyers worldwide with access to verified suppliers in China.
Very good advice.

For the seller on Global Sources, usually, they are big manufacturers. I am not sure if they deal with small businesses, although there may be some that might.

Their MOQs are typically very high for smaller buyers.

We ourselves were a Golden Supplier in last year, but we didn't get good reward last year.

So this year, we did not renew our subscription.

Thank you for your kind share.

Best regards
  • E
  • May 3rd, 2010
Let's show all the facts if we are talking about Alibaba. Read the forums in Alibaba. MANY "Gold" & "Trust" members are caught scamming buyers everyday. While many perhaps most are honest in a sense, there are in fact a lot of scamming done on b2b sites.
  • K
    Kaiwei Li
  • May 14th, 2010
Good ideas on finding the the Chinese supplier.

As a lot of factor need to be considered. The B2B website have long way to go.
  • D
  • May 22nd, 2010
Actually, many Gold members on Alibaba are scammers, just like Eric said. Do not let your guard down just because you see a seller on Alibaba with a Gold Member sign beside their name, and be especially wary of those who are in their 1st year of Gold Membership on Alibaba!
  • M
    Mark McCallum
  • May 29th, 2010
I like to check their own website as well. If they have photos of their production, staff, work, etc it does help to authenticate things a bit more. If you can contact them via Skype this also gives you a feel for the company.
  • Y
  • May 29th, 2010
Good advice but with a majority of their gold suppliers on the electronics range are fraudulent. And unfortunaetly, it is quite easy for them to purchase a gold membership. I have seen the same company operate as different names, once they get huge payments, they cancel their website.
  • D
  • May 31st, 2010
Sound advice, but does this means that the majority of Gold& Trust members on Alibaba are scammers? What are the tell tale signs and what do I as a potential buyer need to look out for.
  • A
  • June 4th, 2010
yes,that's correct,there are lots of scammers in China , and to ditinguish a good or scammer supplier,to see the trust points and the gold member ship on the B2B website,it is unbelievable ,becasue for getting high trust points is very eash for their members, when they renew their account,they will get 1000 or more than 1000 trust point .

in my experience,if the website is operate more than 5 years, then it should be a good company,if they the scammers,they won't operate so long time.
  • J
  • June 10th, 2010
The key to doing business with China, just like anywhere else in the world, is to do your homework. You need to contact the company and get customer referrals and make sure that they are legitimate! Again, the key is doing your homework!
You find on Alibaba millions of so-called 'businesses' putting themselves up as manufacturers, when in fact they are not. You only have to ask for a price catalogue and compare their prices to what's already on eBay, Google, Amazon etc to realise how hard it is to find a wholesaler or manufacturer.
  • V
  • June 22nd, 2010
You guys have your own views, but as sellers on B2B like Alibaba also have their views too. Some of you mentioned that some sellers on Alibaba may be scammers. I admit there actually are some scammers, but not the majority. Most companies doing business on B2Bs are not huge or big companies. They have got their own difficulties. You may be afraid that the seller is a scammer, and the same situation for the seller. They may also consider whether you are a scammer or not. The proofs on B2B are not so reliable. Sometimes buyers ask for samples, but small companies can not afford too many samples cos the buyer make no promise to buy or even with promise which is not considerable. So now it is more and more difficult to do business on B2B. B2B is becoming a place where buyers get to know the details in target market. Hard, really hard.
  • J
    John Solonomi
  • December 10th, 2010
Hi guys! I am a Gold Supplier on Alibaba. And we are Trust Verified. I will tell you what that means.

Gold Membership: We paid Alibaba $1,500 for a year's membership, which allows us to post unlimited products on our Alibaba page.

Trust Verified: The sales person from Alibaba came to visit our office 3 times.

Another note: To register as a seller on Alibaba, you must have a registered business in either mainland China or Hong Kong. Registering in mainland China is not very easy, but you can easily register a business in Hong Kong by giving $450 to an agent in mainland China. You don't even need to go to Hong Kong.

So being a Gold Supplier or Verified does not in itself bring any protection to the buyer. If you want to avoid being scammed, research very carefully, compare prices with many suppliers, and use PayPal. If you want to be 100% safe, ask the seller to put the item on eBay. This works only for smaller transactions of course. If you send money by Western Union or Bank Transfer, you have absolutely no 3rd party protection.

Don't get discouraged if a seller doesn't give you free samples before you have do any business with them. We get requests for free samples every day, so it is difficult to tell who is a serious buyer and who is not.
  • S
  • December 16th, 2010
good ! agree with victor's views. I think that if you do business it must be built on honesty. As we said everyday, honesty is the best policy.
There are a lot of scammers on I've lost a couple of hundreds of dollars lately from gold supplier. You need to be careful and buy from sellers who use escrow and maybe paypal. Escrow payment is the best.
  • J
  • March 7th, 2011
I completely agree with Wilnes (above). If you want to avoid being scammed, use Escrow. This is a similar option to PayPal but the supplier doesn't receive the payment until the customer (you) have received the products. Have a look on AliExpress too which is similar to eBay but from China (mainly) and you can see if the seller has previous transactions and also view their feedback score.
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