How to Find and Evaluate Suppliers in China

Business success depends on many factors. One of the key elements is having trusted suppliers that provide products of good quality, on time, and in the required volume.

When dealing with suppliers, you might have encountered the following problems:

  • the product delivered to you differed from the one you had ordered
  • the quality of the goods was unsatisfactory
  • production or dispatch was delayed
  • conditions have changed during the delivery process
  • the goods did not arrive at all

How can you avoid such unpleasant situations and find a reliable business partner in China without intermediaries?

There are three main ways of searching for suppliers in China:

  • personal meetings with factories’ representatives
  • visiting international exhibitions in person or virtually [ link to Virtual Exhibition Attendance page]
  • online sales platforms, including wholesale

The easiest option is the third one – that is, to look for a supplier on one of the web platforms. Below are just some of the well-established websites:

In some industries, the search can be tedious and time-consuming, especially without the experience of using such platforms.

You can also contact the specialists of the Winton Asia company. We will promptly and efficiently perform the search [link to our Sourcing page] according to your specifications and help to check the quality of the goods, which is important when dealing with a manufacturer at arm’s length.

If you decide to perform a search of a supplier on the internet, on your own without professional assistance, it is prudent to pay attention to the following details:

  • how long the company website has been registered
  • the position of the company in the search results (both in and above mentioned B2B platforms)
  • the comprehensiveness of contact and official information provided (business license, memberships in professional organisations, registered and actual address)
  • the information about the production process, photos at the manufacturing plant

Lifehack: you need to check if there is direct evidence of the existence of the factory: a photo showing the entrance with Chinese and English letters in the title.

What do you need to find out from the future supplier?

Many goods, especially those that are large-sized and ordered in substantial quantities, are shipped by sea. It is very important to find out the prices on the standard Incoterms FOB from Chinese ports. These conditions mean that the supplier assumes the costs of the delivery to the port, as well as local freight, terminal fees – in short, all the costs necessary for loading the goods on board the vessel. Further, when contacting logistics specialists, indicate that you need a delivery price under FOB terms (from the Chinese port to the addressee). Thus, the cost of the order will consist of the supplier’s prices and the cost of transportation.

If you ignore these details, you can sign an agreement on unfavorable terms. The abbreviation EXW, in essence, means that the supplier will simply issue the goods from the factory. The delivery to the port, the payment of terminal handling charges, and so on will be done by the customer himself. Of course, at the same time, the cost of the order will rise sharply and, possibly, become unprofitable for the business. Also, you need to pay attention to the VAT, which is normally included into EXW and excluded from FOB prices.

You also need to request a business license from the company. The code shown in the upper right corner must be on the official website

When the stage of selection and verification of the supplier is completed, a small sample of the product(s) should be requested from the manufacturer. After verifying its quality and features, you can consider ordering a larger batch of the goods.

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