eCommerce Blog / Finding Suppliers from China

Finding Suppliers from China


By February 9 2019

While it can be a pain in the butt to ship goods internationally, re-selling goods from China is ridiculously lucrative.

Buying goods for pennies on the dollar, then selling them for a 1000% markup? Count me in!

Today, I’m going to go over the benefits you’ll receive when working with wholesale suppliers from China.

I’m even going to give you a free email template and our top ten Chinese suppliers!

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!

Why should I source from China?

China is fast becoming a production super power, manufacturing a hefty proportion of the world’s consumer products (particularly in the technology sector).

What does this mean for you?

Because the Chinese economy is in a growth period, costs of manufacturing are very low compared to elsewhere in the world.

This presents a fantastic opportunity to you as a seller! By sourcing your merchandise directly from China, you’re able to get extremely low prices per unit and turn them around for a high profit in your own country.

Take Apple (one of the richest companies in the world and makers of iPhones and iPads), for example...

Apple was originally making iPhones at a cost of $40USD in assembly plants around the USA. However, they were dealing with efficiency problems which caused them to lose money.

They realized they needed to do something differently (and fast) in order to meet the demand from customers and, of course, to remain a profitable company.

So, they partnered with Chinese manufacturers because the Chinese had the infrastructure to produce what Apple wanted. Best of all, Apple could produce iPhones there at a manufacturing cost of only $8 per unit!

That certainly beats the original price of $40, don’t you think? But, still… you may be wondering how China is able to price and manufacture items so low.

The reasons behind this are quite simple:

  • Materials are easily accessible
  • Wages in China are far cheaper
  • The Chinese are masters when it comes to mass production
  • Production lines in China are refined and organized

Simply put, the Chinese just know what to do when it comes to making things!

How to find suppliers in China

So, you’ve got your ideal product in mind. Next task? Finding a Chinese supplier.

This is one of the most difficult steps of all. Mainly because you’ll want to find a highly reputable Chinese supplier.

Choosing a supplier for your business is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

If your supplier screws up, it’s your responsibility to make it up to your customer, not theirs. You want to make sure you choose someone who will have your back.

When it comes to finding suppliers from China, you need a good strategy that consists of awareness, knowledge, and a decent amount of homework.

Let’s go over some of the most popular ways to find a wholesale supplier!

Online supplier directories

Using online supplier directories may be the safest way to find suppliers. Especially when using SaleHoo.

Because we’re a supplier directory site, we thoroughly investigate every supplier before adding them to our categorized list. The benefits of that include:

  • Lower risk—you’re not going to be scammed by our suppliers
  • Easier searches—filter search results based on the exact specs you need
  • Faster research—quickly find suppliers’ product offerings and contact information

See that golden star next to the suppliers name? That means they’ve been verified through our directory and are a legitimate business!

To learn a bit more about SaleHoo (and why we started an online directory) check out our about page!

Google

Whenever the need for finding information arises, the first source we go to is usually Google.

The easiest way to find wholesale dropshippers on Google is by searching “[Product] + dropshipper.”

Google is a fast way to find wholesale dropshipping companies, but it also comes with its own risks and downfalls. Notice how there are more than 1.6 million results?

You have no idea how trustworthy any of these sources are. You’ll have to put each one of them through a strict vetting process.

I’m not saying you can’t find a good supplier through Google. All I’m saying is that they’re likely to be buried very deep in the search results (and there are better ways to find them).

Attend trade shows/trade fairs

When you attend trade shows (and trade fairs), you’re able to talk face to face with potential suppliers about...

  • Their company values
  • Their products
  • Their production capacity
  • Their quality-control procedures

Direct interactions with potential suppliers will allow you to see their abilities up-close and personal.

There are two highly popular trade shows/fairs located in China each year: the Canton Fair and the East China Fair.

The Canton Fair is the largest trade fair in China and is held twice a year in Guangzhou (near Hong Kong in southern China). This fair attracts thousands of attendees with a large variety of products.

The East China Fair is the largest regional trade fair in China, and is held once a year in Shanghai. This fair is usually the one with the most traders, great variety of exhibits and the most onsite deals. In other words, this fair has the highest turnover.

Can’t afford to take a trip to China this year (or anytime in the foreseeable future)? Don’t worry, there is one you may be able to get to…

The International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has many Chinese participants!

The downside of this trade show, however, is you may be limited to a small pool of potential Chinese suppliers (many of them will not attend these trade shows, and therefore you may not get the best deal possible).

You may be out of luck, too, if the product you’re sourcing is not covered at this domestic trade show.

Chinese marketplaces

There are two highly popular Chinese marketplaces we’d like to talk about: Alibaba and AliExpress.

Alibaba is not an easy platform to work with if you’re a beginner.

Most of the listings are made by manufacturers, not suppliers, meaning they usually have no website, they don’t speak good English, orders have to be paid with a wire transfer rather than credit cards, and there is no guarantee you’ll get the items you want.

AliExpress, on the other hand, is a sister retail site of Alibaba.

It allows Chinese “stores” to sell the goods made by the manufacturers to customers all over the world. It’s like the Chinese version of Amazon, except everything has the lowest wholesale price and packages take 2-3 weeks to be delivered to your door.

Besides these two popular options, there’s one more Chinese marketplace we’d like to touch base on: Made-in-China.com.

Founded in 1998, Made-in-China.com is a leading comprehensive third-party B2B e-commerce platform in China developed and operated by Focus Technology Co., Ltd.

It’s dedicated to serving the global trade field while providing high-quality Chinese products and suppliers information for global buyers.

Nowadays, Made-in-China.com is known as a world leading B2B portal, specializing in bridging the gap between global buyers and quality Chinese suppliers.

Outsource to a sourcing agency

Sourcing Companies can be a hit or miss.

You could deal with a truly invaluable partner… or, you could deal with a shoddy middleman who only seems to offer higher unit prices.

Not to mention, this is not a regulated industry.

Anybody could claim to have the qualifications needed to be a fully-functional sourcing agency, only to screw you in the end.

There are, however, some highly reputable sourcing agencies you could get in touch with, such as:

80/20 Sourcing

Owned by Gary Huang, the 80/20 sourcing company is mostly known for its courses and high-quality coaching material.

In addition, Gary also works as a sourcing agent for Amazon sellers to help them source products from China.

Importdojo.com

Owned by Manuel Becvar, Importdojo.com currently has a network of more than 2500 suppliers in nearly all industries, allowing you to source almost any product you want.

You also have an option to choose between multiple price packages with different features like feasibility check and similar add-ons.

In addition, you can also hire a dedicated monthly sourcing agent, which is a good option for you if you’re looking for a full-time employee in China.

Easy Imex

Owned by Adam Gilbourne, Easy Imex acts as a one stop import service while offering a wide range of services that include:

  • Product sourcing
  • Purchasing
  • Negotiating
  • Shipping and logistics
  • Quality control
  • Factory audits

Easy Imex also provides clients with an access to an online portal where they can keep track of the process.

How to verify suppliers from China

If you decide not to go with SaleHoo, you’re going to need to verify the supplier you choose.

This can be incredibly hard work, especially if you’ve never done it before.

As always, the SaleHoo team is here to help you on your way to greatness! We’ve compiled a short list of things you’ll need to do in order to find the very best supplier from China.

Let’s get started!

Google and background check the company

As we’ve said before, when someone is interested in something and they don’t know much about it, the first thing they usually do is a Google search.

Remember the image from above? When we searched “socks dropshipper”? Let’s take that one step further…

Click on the AliExpress link and you’ll see a bunch of crazy socks available.

Next, scroll down to where the store owner name is (in this case, it was AlohaBaby Store).

There’s no feedback score available… does this set a reg flag off in your head?

Let’s check Google Maps to see where in China their store is located…

And… nothing.

This, folks, is an example of a supplier you should not use.

They do not supply an address, nor do they have any product ratings whatsoever. Yet, they’re one of the first results when you click on the link directly from Google.

If you went with SaleHoo, however…

You’d be able to see where they’re located, as well as get their contact information, tax ID, and more.

But, to each their own! Moving on...

Perform an onsite check

Performing an onsite check is no easy task. You’ll need to check a potential suppliers website for their…

  • Business license
  • Company or factory location (shown in the previous section)
  • Ownership status
  • Photos of the supplier’s operations
  • Contact information
  • Certifications from subsidiaries, partners, or contractors

This stuff can be mighty tricky to find (especially if the supplier is a really good fraud). Nearly everything will be perfect… but you won’t be able to find every detail listed above.

Once you’ve done that, move on to...

Order product samples

By ordering products and having them shipped to you, you accomplish three things:

  1. You see how long shipping times are (compared to the estimated time listed on their website).
  2. You’re able to get an idea of their packaging quality. Will you feel comfortable with your customers receiving the package?
  3. You see the product quality. How well does it hold up? Product quality is very important for long-term success.

As a general rule of thumb, you should order samples from at least 3-4 companies to give yourself options (and, of course, compare shipping times, product quality, communication, and price).

This next step is SUPER important!

Have a chat with customer support

When you first log on to SaleHoo, our customer support team lets you know they’re available whenever you have a question.

We also offer a forum for you to talk to other members who use SaleHoo!

But if the supplier you’re looking at does not have customer support, and you have an urgent question, what are you going to do?

The answer: email them and hope they respond quickly…

...or, give up on them altogether.

You know what that means?

If their customer service sucks, YOUR customer service will suck. Their support will directly affect yours. So don’t skimp on this step!

I highly recommend physically picking up the phone and calling a supplier before ever placing an order with them.

Then go a step further...

Ask for previous customer references before committing

Good wholesale suppliers will have no problem giving you testimonials from previous customers.

In fact, they’ll most likely display them directly on their website! (Although, if it’s a fraud site, there could be fake testimonials on there as well.)

If, the supplier you’re looking at does not offer customer references for you, don’t feel like you need to continue talking with them. Keep looking!

But what if you don’t want to go through all this hassle?

Use SaleHoo (we do all of this for you!)

That’s right, folks!

If you sign up with SaleHoo, our team will be there for you 24/7.

Our customer support team will be there for you whenever you have a question (or concern) about something. You’ll be able to find a supplier who is 100% legitimate (and went through our strict vetting process).

Better yet, you’ll barely have to do anything! Our team will do it for you. We’ll help you find the perfect supplier!

It doesn’t get much better than that. But regardless of your choice, you should keep yourself informed of the different types of suppliers - so let’s talk about that.

Types of Chinese suppliers

There are a few different types of Chinese suppliers you’ll run into… manufacturers, wholesalers, and dropshippers.

Let’s go over the differences with each supplier, so you have a better understanding of who (and what) you want.

Manufacturers

A manufacturer is a company that produces items for use or resale.

Because manufacturers are the first cog in the chain of supply, they can offer very low prices on items. However, their minimum orders are often very high.

Usually, manufacturers sell direct to suppliers such as light and bulk wholesalers and liquidators.

Therefore, most retailers find that manufacturers are unreachable (in terms of product sourcing). Keep in mind that some smaller manufacturers will work direct with retailers. It never hurts to ask!

Wholesalers

Buying wholesale means you are buying in volume (bulk).

This means you’re getting products at a discounted price. In other words, the more you buy, the better the price!

A manufacturer is able to pass on better prices to a wholesaler, because they have the materials to make more products and in doing so, make more money.

Of course that's the benefit of wholesale. The downsides are just needing lots of capital and storage space!

Dropshippers

Using a dropship resource means that there is no volume purchasing, because you’re purchasing one product at a time.

When dealing with wholesale suppliers (where products are purchased up front), a drop shipping model means you’re not paying for the product until they’re sold.

The downside of drop shipping is the price. Because you don’t pay upfront for your product, you can’t get the best price for the product. With wholesale suppliers, you can.

There are a few other downsides, like not being able to brand yourself and potentially long shipping times.

But it also means no holding of inventory, no shipping or packing, and in some cases no need for customer service! (For example, FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) will take over support for you.)

Check out our full guide to drop shipping for more info!

Now you understand the types of suppliers. Next is the fun part - negotiating.

How to negotiate with Chinese suppliers

There’s definitely an ‘art’ to negotiating with Chinese suppliers (and anyone, for that matter).

Your ultimate goal when searching for suppliers should be to find one that will not only manufacture your product to the desired quality specifications, but one that you can build a long-lasting relationship.

You want to find a supplier who will go the extra mile for you once you’ve proven yourself to be a good client, but also someone you deem worthy of friendship.

Remember that price negotiations must be done at the right time.

When your business is flourishing and you need to order more products in order to keep customers happy, it may be a good time to negotiate.

If you’re just looking to get the best price out there (and forget that your supplier needs to make money, too), I don’t recommend negotiating.

Below are some tips for you to use the next time you want to negotiate with your supplier. Good luck!

Research and compare prices

Let’s say you’re selling earrings and, after looking at another suppliers prices, you feel a bit cheated.

Your supplier sells you silver earrings at $39.99 for one pair…

...whereas another seller is selling similar earrings for $7.50.

While you may feel a bit cheated, ask yourself “Are the cheaper earrings handcrafted like the ones I currently get from my supplier? Are they both made with real sterling silver?”

Handcrafted items will always cost more, because of the time and labor put into them. However, if you ever feel like you’re not getting the bang for your buck, or you feel cheated when it comes to purchasing products, bring it up to your supplier.

Never keep your feelings hidden from your supplier. One day, you may find yourself angrily messaging them about all of the problems you have with them, when they’ve never heard you complain once.

If you bring it up early, they can answer your questions. View your relationship with your supplier as your business partner - you two are there to work together!

Moving on...

Don’t over-negotiate

Keep in mind that Chinese manufacturers are dealing with incredibly low margins as is.

If you try to bargain with them for rock-bottom prices, chances are high they’ll cut corners and send you low quality products when they ship your orders.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t negotiate, though!

Just keep in mind that quality has a price.

Email template for Chinese supplier

It can be tricky to talk to someone who doesn’t speak your language well.

Unfortunately, when working with Chinese suppliers, there will always be a language barrier that you need to cross.

Many Chinese business owners love to talk to English buyers because it helps them improve their own English! They’re trying to improve their communication skills - you just need to be patient with them.

You’ll do fine if you keep these tips in mind when emailing your Chinese supplier:

  • Use plain, clear language when reaching out to them. Apps like Hemingway allow you to get your message across while keeping your reading (and comprehensive)  level low.
  • When you need to send a longer message, try to keep it to as few questions as possible. Break up your paragraphs so your suppliers have a clear distinction between questions.

Here’s an example of an email I might send:

“Dear [name],
My name is Bill Widmer. I am the product manager of XYZ company.
I am very interested in your XYZ widget. I just have a few questions:

  1. How much would it cost to order 50 XYZ widgets?
  2. Do you have a minimum order quantity?
  3. How many could you produce in one week?

 

Thanks for your time,
Bill Widmer
Product Manager
XYZ Company”

My email was friendly, got straight to the point, and had very clear, distinct breaks with each paragraph/question.

Notice how I also called myself the “product manager” of my company. Doing this allows you to establish credibility and helps to make yourself seem like a legitimate company.

While this is not necessary, doing this will increase the chance of my supplier taking me seriously while working with me.

Bonus: Don’t assume email is the best way to get in touch with suppliers.

How many emails of yours have slipped through the cracks before? Chances are, your supplier deals with more people than you. Try to get their Skype ID for those times when you need a quick response!

If you’re really struggling to get in touch with your supplier, check out this guide to communicating with Chinese suppliers. !

Always be polite and professional

I get it, guys. I really do…

Working with someone who doesn’t understand English well is incredibly frustrating (not to mention time consuming).

Here’s the thing, though:

Without international suppliers, your business (and other businesses) would be a flop.

Think about it. When you go to Wal-Mart and check the tag, what do you see? More often than not, you’ll find the words “Made in China” on nearly every item you buy.

From the desk your computer is on, to the light fittings above your desk, much of the stuff we see everyday and everywhere was made in a factory somewhere in China.

This could not be done without a good consumer-buyer relationship. Would you want to supply goods to people who treated you poorly?

Absolutely not!

Contractual obligations are considered secondary to ethical ones in the Chinese culture.

This basically means that repeated social interaction with your supplier will help you maintain a productive relationship based on trust and mutual benefit, rather than simple monetary gain.

A list of Chinese suppliers

Last, but not least, I’m going to reveal our top 10 Chinese suppliers from our supplier directory!

1. Shiana LLC

Shiana LLC provides top quality genuine silver jewelry components. They source their own silver and create their products under fair trade principles. Each silver piece is uniquely hand-crafted by hill tribe artisans.

2. LoLoPrice Inc.

LoLoPrice Inc. is a China-based supplier who offers a wide variety of merchandise (including electronics, apparel, home and office suppliers, and more). They cater to most countries worldwide, and there is no minimum order requirement.

3. OhYeah Co.

Ohyeah Co. is a China based manufacturer of lingerie, sleepwear, and undergarments. They accept both wholesale and dropshipping orders. What's great with working with this supplier is that they do not require any minimum on your first order!

4. Everbuying

Everybuying is a China based wholesaler and dropshipper of a variety of merchandise, especially electronics. They have been catering to thousands of customers from all over the world since 2006!

5. Tinydeal

Tinydeal is based in Hong Kong and they accept both wholesale and dropship orders. They have a low minimum for wholesale orders, typically between 5- 10 items. They sell an assortment of items, which range from household appliances to wearable technology.

6. DealeXtreme

DealeXtreme is a wholesale and dropship supplier of consumer electronics, cosmetics, apparel, fashion accessories, and related merchandise. They ship worldwide for free and they accept major credit/debit cards and PayPal as safe payment methods.

7. ChinaZRH Wholesale Ltd.

ChinaZRH is a consumer electronics supplier. They offer wholesale and dropshipping. There is no minimum order requirement! Order as little or as much as you would like- prices will be relatively cheaper if you buy in bulk.

8. Noda

Noda’s goal is to produce high-quality and modern natural and artificial leather products. They also give a 1-year warranty for manufactured parts ( not included scratches and other things who can be from wearing product).

9. Eshaal Beauty Tools

Eshaal Beauty Tools is a regular supplier of Manicure & Beauty instruments, hair scissors, Surgical, Dental Instruments and they are regularly supplying to companies in the USA, the UK, Australia & Europe.

10. Fillony Ltd

Fillony Ltd is based in Hong Kong and has been in business for more than two decades. They ship internationally and accept major credit cards as safe payment methods. They market their product under the brand of Polar Seal.

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Don’t worry - check out our ultimate dropshipper list containing 60 suppliers!

A Few Parting Words

Finding suppliers from China isn’t exactly easy. At least not without the right tools and know-how.

But it IS insanely lucrative when you find a great supplier and get high-quality products at dirt cheap prices. Your profit margins are insane!

In this article, we taught you everything you need to know to work with Chinese suppliers. From finding them, to vetting them and communicating with them.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us! And one last thing...

If you’ve found this article helpful, be sure to share it with your friends! As always, thanks for counting on SaleHoo to provide you with the tips and tricks needed to create your dream store.

 

 

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