Have you ever tried to find a Chinese manufacturer for your product, but are bombarded with finding the right one in 2020?
You’ve got your dream product in mind, and your next move is finding a Chinese manufacturer. We are talking about a supportive and active manufacturer that is next to perfection in flow and organization.
We know that it is barely challenging to find a reliable manufacturer in China. If your manufacturer makes a wrong product, your customer will counter you directly, not them. You want to ensure that you find a factory who would give you the best quality at the lower price.
However, we have helped many people in the same boat make informed decisions when importing from China, and we leverage our guides to do so. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to find the right Chinese manufacturer.
How to Get a Chinese Manufacturer
If you are running your business and you would like to produce your products in China, but you don’t know how to find a Chinese manufacturer. Here are the steps you need to follow to find an ideal China manufacturer for your products:
Step 1. Create your product Specs
If you intend to source your products in China, then creating your product specifications is everything.
What do product specifications mean to you?
It will afford you a lot of problems if you do not have a product specification in mind. Before deciding on what your specs should be like, consider including these criteria:
- Product colors
- Product dimensions
- Packaging style
- Labeling requirements and product regulations
- Product description
- Testing specifications
- Specific materials for the merchandise.
Why do you need to define your product specs?
It is not as if without product specifications in mind, you wouldn’t find a manufacturer in China, but it will only makes your search for the right manufacturer a long ride.
You may not find any manufacturer in the worst scenarios because you do not have a specific need. Simply put, you should create a product specs to make things easier and better!
Remember, you need to know your product description, labeling requirements, quality standards, materials, product variations and many other specs when weighing your options on the kind of Chinese suppliers you want.
A minute difference in those product specifications as mentioned earlier can have a massive impact on price.
How do you sort out your product specs?
- Perform an online check on your product. It is no easy adventure, but you have to understand your target sector and base product quality from that angle.
- Look out for competitors’ products which prices are in the same range as the prices you have in mind. Consider scanning through the specific materials used for the product and their packaging designs.
- Read online product reviews and identify common product defects. You can consider covering the track yet uncovered by competitors.
- Network with existing industry experts to carve out tips for your product specs.
- Look out for labeling requirements and product regulations.
After availing yourself to sort out your product specs, consider mapping it out on a spec sheet.
It might feel like a massive effort to create a product spec, but it will get you started searching for a Chinese supplier.
Step 2. Sourcing the right manufacturer in China
So, you’ve got your product specifications in mind. Next move? You want to source the proper Chinese manufacturer. It is quite simple. Let’s dive into the two most straightforward ways of sourcing products from China:
Do it alone
How do you source products from China without using any external agent?
Using online supplier platforms may be the safest way to source products from China. There are four popular product sourcing platforms: Made in China, Alibaba, AliExpress, and Global sources.
Made in China platform is a top eCommerce platform in China created by Focus Technology. You can find a lot of top-notch Chinese products and suppliers’ details on this platform.
Made in China, Alibaba is also an eCommerce platform, but it is not the right choice for starters. Why is that? Manufacturers make most of the product catalogs.
AliExpress is more into retailers. However, you can still find a lot of manufacturers’ information on this platform.
Using a Sourcing Company
Let me drive this point about using a sourcing company to find a Chinese manufacturer.
If you hire an invaluable sourcing agent, they will find manufacturers that you cannot.
Want to know how most of these sourcing agents work? They go extra miles to find manufacturers that are not listed on eCommerce platforms. There are spectacular sourcing companies you could contact, such as Easy Imex, 80/20 sourcing, and many others.
Tradeshows in China
After a sourcing company, we consider trade shows fantastic for Chinese manufacturer sourcing. Trade shows are preferable because it presents an opportunity to dialogue with suitable suppliers in person. They can quickly learn about your needs, how it matches their needs, and how they can work with you.
For instance, you can visit Canton Fair in Guangzhou, The China International Furniture Expo in September in Shanghai, and many others.
How to find the best supplier on Alibaba?
If you have decided not to opt for trade shows and sourcing companies, you may have to stick to Alibaba to find the best Chinese supplier.
How does it work? We all know that most eCommerce platform relies on right keyword combinations to show search results. Alibaba is no exception.
Rather than sticking to a keyword type, you should try numerous keyword variants when searching for your product.
Say you are searching heart rate monitors; your potential keyword combinations may include a heart rate monitor belt, chest strap fitness tracker, and chest strap heart monitor.
Key Points to focus on when searching on Alibaba:
To search for products and Chinese suppliers on Alibaba, you need to set your mind on a few essential points.
Luckily, I have those key points here!
Most times, the suppliers’ level of expertise to manufacture may be determined by the number of years they have spent in business. Hence, you should consider the suppliers’ experience when searching for Alibaba. You can easily find a Chinese manufacturer with at least three years of experience when you look out for products that require a high level of expertise such as Chest heart monitor strap.
Haven’t figured your product specs yet? It meets you here again. You need to know your product specification requirements and any compliance certificates you need for your market. This can match you to the right suppliers.
Verify your Chinese manufacturer. There are two ways you can check whether a business type is a trading company or manufacturer. First, click on the company profile tab on Alibaba and look out for the business information section. It will show whether the business type is a manufacturer or not. This method may not be reliable, especially when the supplier is a fraudster, but you still need to go through this method anyway.
Second, verify the kind of products the factory sell. After doing so, you should ask yourself the following questions. Do they sell all type of products or they specialize? If they specialize, then you just find yourself a Chinese manufacturer.
Look out for the factory location. For instance, you can’t afford to buy your products from a place where your products are merely a side hustle. For example, you don’t want to purchase electronics from a Yiwu supplier when you can try Shenzhen.
Try the reverse image search feature on Alibaba to find more merchandise.
Look out for the transaction level.
Check for the assessed supplier and gold supplier filter to limit your search results if it is too long.
Tradeshows are one of the best platforms where you would find genuine Chinese manufacturers. You get to meet manufacturers who do not even advertise themselves on Alibaba.
Look out for other eCommerce platforms while sourcing on Alibaba. Who knows? You may find manufacturers that are not listed on Alibaba.
Step 3. Contacting Chinese Suppliers for Quotes
It can be a bit difficult to speak to someone who hardly understands your language quite well.
Formatting your email and initial request for a quote (RPQ) is essential, but communicating in a more precise language is more important. It will go a long way in increasing the chances of response on the part of the suppliers. In that way, you can quickly evaluate the suppliers.
Hence, ensure that your email demonstrates a good sense of professionalism and politeness. Your language should also reflect your willingness to be a long term customer.
How do you work this out?
- Avoid unclear language when emailing your suppliers.
- You should attach your product spec sheet to your RPQ
- Your email should also contain correct product specification details.
Step 4. Creating a list of Potential China Manufacturers
How do you create a list of potential suppliers?
Typically, I don’t source for suppliers that exceed the range of 10-15 to avoid complexities. Afterward, I weigh my options and reduce the list to the best three to five suppliers regarding quality, price, factory location, compliance ability, etc.
I suggest you subscribe to my approach to make things easier.
Step 5. Verify your Chinese Supplier
If you are faced with verifying the right Chinese suppliers’ challenges, here are the questions you need to consider.
Question #1 – Does this factory match my product needs? Can they produce my ideal product? Do they have enough level of expertise and experience in my product category?
Question #2 – Are they a manufacturer or trading company?
Question #3 – Where is the factory location? How will it impact your product price? You should visit here to read more about China’s geography and see how your factory location affects your sourcing decisions.
Easy Imex staff visiting and verifying a Chinese manufacturer
Question #4 – Does the manufacturer has an effective communication system? Can you get in touch with them more often?
Question #5 – Is the Chinese manufacturer big enough to take your order volumes? Are they too small? You should consider these questions.
Question #6 – Does the firm have genuine certifications for your product? For US product regulations, visit here. For more information on EU product regulations, visit here.
Beware of manufacturers who use fake certifications.
Question #7 – What are their target selling points?
Question #8 – Do they have an export license?
Question #9 -Do they have sufficient interest in your business?
Question #10 – Is their pricing negotiable?
Question #11 – Do they have a quick turnout time?
Step 6. Visit the best 3 Suppliers
We know to visit about three factories to find the right supplier is hard work. However, it comes with tons of benefits.
By visiting the suppliers, you can quickly evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, including the quality of raw materials, factory workers, factory equipment, attitude to work, and many others.
Easy Imex staff visiting an ice cream machine factory in Guangzhou.
Virtual price negotiation is not always exactly the best choice. You can afford your visit to negotiate product prices with the suppliers and map out the one(s) that suits you best.
For existing businesses looking to source products from China, this step is essential.
Step 7. Get Samples made
At times, I don’t think the mere visit to factories is enough. You don’t need to be told that its cover cannot judge a book.
In my opinion, you should get product samples from your three best suppliers for critical evaluation.
Be meticulous with scanning through the samples.
Look out for the texture, appearance, dimension, and packaging of the product. Ask yourself. Do these qualities suit your ideal outcome?
If you are indecisive about whether to go for it, invite other people to check their samples and hear what they have to say about it.
I suggest you also conduct some drop tests on the packaging of the sample to confirm its sturdiness. For more information on drop tests, visit here.
Cross the manufacturer off the list of your favorites if they do not match your requirements. It is that simple.
Easy Imex QC Manager verifying furniture sample.
There is another set of additional points you need to note.
If you do not want to cross off your favorite manufacturer, you can always arrange with them and ask them to produce your ideal product sample.
In cases where you are developing a new product, I suggest arranging for product samples from a supplier on the top of your pecking order. Arranging samples from more than one manufacturer can be exhausting, especially if it is too expensive to produce.
Why Should I Manufacture in China?
If you are curious about why manufacturing in China is a better choice, here are the quick pointers that can fuel your curiosity.
What kind of songs does cheaper labor sing to you?
In Chinese manufacturing circles, wages are very cheap, and throwing yourself at this opportunity is as good as managing your savings.
What does this say to you? You can easily hire local Chinese manufacturers without having to break the bank when paying their wages.
Lower manufacturing Cost
Now, you have to come around some other thing beneficial about manufacturing in China. It is their lower manufacturing costs!
The cost difference between domestic manufacturing and manufacturing in China is massive. Local manufacturers have higher training costs and higher profits.
In the same breath, China has lower training costs and higher turnovers.
By sourcing your product from china, you can tap into the opportunities that come with low manufacturing prices and higher profits. As a seller, this makes China a suitable manufacturing environment for your product!
Also, the professionalism and politeness of Chinese manufacturers make them a worthy partner!
Higher Production Capability
When it comes to bulk production, Chinese are kingpins because they produce goods worldwide. Chinese production capabilities have stood the test of time. They have durable factory equipment from a considerable number of workers, raw materials to heavy machines. When you source your products from China, consider yourself making the right decision already because you are working with factories that are capable of taking any number of order volumes.
Better expansion and diversification opportunities
Are you trying to hit it big and try covering tracks yet uncovered by your competitors? Your problem is that you need to manufacture new product lines to make this happen, but you are skeptical about the right manufacturer that can make your dream come true. Sourcing your new product line from Chinese manufacturers allow you to do this real quick.
Chinese product sourcing will offer you the additional advantages of expanding and diversifying your product lines. It can also introduce your products to the international markets!
You can still cut lead times.
When you manufacture in your own country, you are used to quick turnout time. Typically, there is no delay in the real sense of it between the start and completion time since you are manufacturing on site. It follows that you cannot produce less or more to avoid eating into an unplanned budget. However, this is often the disadvantages of manufacturing overseas. The leading time could be a long ride. Sometimes, you may have to eat into unplanned budgets. There are other problems posed by making products overseas along the line.
For Chinese manufacturers, it is different. If you are working with good Chinese manufacturers, they can find a way to cut lead times. The results are quick deliveries for your products. In many cases, it won’t eat into your budgets.
Where Should I Manufacture in China?
China is undoubtedly the most significant manufacturing hub globally because it deals with massive numbers of product lines. No country can stand in the space of China’s large manufacturing environment. It is because they have vast factory machinery capable of delving into mass production for a long time. In the same breath, China has many provinces.
You may not find smooth looking out for Chinese manufacturers that suit your product specs for these reasons. This is why we provide a map of China manufacturing industry and where the different sectors manufacture their products in various provinces throughout China.
Map of China Manufacturing Distribution by Production Category
Source: Berkely group
Best Places to Manufacture in China
So, we have shown you the map of the China Manufacturing industry. Remember, all places in the map count.
I can already figure your next rolls of questions. Is that all? What about the best places to manufacture in China?
I will address your questions shortly.
There are seven famous cities for manufacturing in China. Like I call China the largest manufacturer hub, these cities are the most significant manufacturing kingpins in China. As a result, they have the busiest ports, but it makes logistics easier anyway. If you are right there checking the map and hesitating on which Chinese city to go for your product sourcing, you should consider reading further as I present the best Chinese manufacturing cities to you.
Qingdao is one of China’s most massive manufacturing environments. It is laced with varieties ranging from petrochemicals, metallurgy, and many others.
The city is famous for manufacturing graphical textiles and clothes. Qingdao is located on the coast of the yellow sea.
Shenzhen is famous for manufacturing electronic gadgets. It is safer to call the world’s electronics hub. Why is that?
In terms of quality raw materials for manufacturing electronics, Shenzhen is the best! Popular brands like Apple and LG make use of Shenzhen in manufacturing.
Unlike Shenzhen and Qingdao, Ningbo is diversified in terms of manufacturing.
What does this say?
It has various industries that range from IT, telecommunications, electronics, and many others. It is very close to Shanghai.
When I call China the most significant manufacturing exporter globally, I can’t complete that narrative without Tianjin. Tianjin forms part of China’s expansiveness in manufacturing as it is the largest city in northern China. It holds close to Haibe River.
More importantly, Tianjin is a master in manufacturing cell phones, automobiles, textiles, and many others in China. It is located close to Beijing.
Just like Tianjin, Hong Kong is also one of the central manufacturing environments in China.
Like Hong Kong and Tianjin, Guangzhou is one of China’s manufacturing kingpins. It holds close to the Pearl Delta River.
If you are looking for a city with broad diversification in terms of product sourcing, try Guangzhou. The production strength of this city ranges from tooth products to mechanic manufacturing.
Is that all you can get from Guangzhou? That’s no.
As a seller looking to expand your business’s tentacles, Guangzhou presents you with an excellent opportunity to partner with various Chinese companies.
In terms of trade, steel products, automobiles, medicine, petrochemical, shipping, and many others, Shanghai holds a spectacular position in China’s manufacturing order.
Why is that?
Shanghai has been experiencing rapid economic developments for many years and counting.
It remains the most popular manufacturing giant in China as it is home to popular automobile companies like Volkswagen, Dongfeng, and many others.
How to Negotiate Price with a Chinese Manufacturer
There is something called the bifocals of meticulousness and knowledge when arranging product pricing with Chinese manufacturers.
Meticulousness tells you not to fall into the trap of smart Chinese manufacturers. They are always ultra careful when it comes to negotiations; you should do too. If your determinant for a lasting relationship depends on how much they can lower costs, cross it off. In some cases, you don’t need negotiation. All you need to do is build a pool of understanding between the manufacturer and you. View things from the perspective of wanting to develop a friendship.
On the other hand, knowledge tells you to come prepared. Try to research on their ideal pricing before the negotiation.
Is that all about how to arrange a price with a Chinese manufacturer? You need not be told that this is no.
To get the best out of your negotiations, you should try the steps below. Good luck!
Steps to Negotiate Price with China Manufacturer:
Do a background check. Let me drive this point about doing a background check. It is a crucial step in negotiation. I mean, there is no way you can consider yourself fit for the role of an excellent negotiator and seller without researching the Chinese factory. So, how do you work this out? Have a good knowledge of the factory location, check pricing methods, production strength, etc.
Arrange prices with Chinese manufacturers on the top of your pecking order. You don’t have to go the extra mile to negotiate with unlisted manufacturers. You may not end up trading with them anyway because they do not meet your product specification requirements. It is nearly a useless adventure to negotiate with them. Instead, focus on your ideal manufacturer(s).
Carve out a practical negotiation framework based on your product specs, ideal price, and many others. In short, set a standard for your negotiation. Do you want the success of your consultation to be determined by the pricing methods of the factory? Do you want only product specs to set the standard? Ask yourself these questions when carving out a strategy.
Craft a business scenario. Keep this at the back of your mind; there is a massive influx of willing sellers with various demands and needs worldwide. Most of these Chinese manufacturers are aware of this, and you are just one of these sellers. This is why you need to craft a business side story capable of walking the factory through your specific needs. The manufacturer will have a clear idea of what you want and how you want it done through your scenario.
Try to understand the nature of the factory. Is it an existing factory with little turnover and high minimum order requirements? Is it a new factory with high turnover, better pricing, and low minimum order requirements?
Meet the right person(s) in the factory. In this case, I suggest you negotiate with someone who has a good measure of authority over the prices and other significant undertakings in the factory. You won’t have to juggle negotiations between bosses and subordinates. In short, it will make things easy for you. Besides, you won’t have to spend a decade at the negotiation stage.
Look out for payment rates during negotiation. The most current standards are about thirty percent deposits, and seventy percent balance paid after bulk production or thereabout. If the payment rates are not kind to your budget, cross it off or renegotiate.
Don’t change plans during negotiation with your Chinese manufacturer. You shouldn’t allow your budgetary policies or other standards to fall into emotional waves and side attractions.
Three Reasons to Use a Sourcing Agent to find a Chinese Manufacturer
As a keen seller or business owner, you know what you want already. You know your target sectors. You know your target customers.
You have read the initial sections of this post, and it appears that product sourcing from China aligns with your business standards. But you consider a great deal of hard work to start emailing quotes, checking for leading times, and many other things. Remember, we are here to help you scale up your business, and here’s why we are providing three reasons you should use a sourcing agent to find your ideal Chinese manufacturer.
Import Direct vs Sourcing Agent vs Professional Sourcing Company
You can read this article about how to find the best sourcing agent in China.
Trustworthy suppliers and best pricing
A sourcing agent is your best bet for a seller or business owner who is crazy about quality relationships with suppliers and fair pricing. Active and productive suppliers are the key to a flourishing importing business.
Why is that?
It is because suppliers are the ones responsible for the mass production of products that will spur demand from customers. If your suppliers screw up, you also end up in trouble.
So, if you want the right supplier, make use of a sourcing company. A sourcing company will serve as an intermediary between you and a reliable supplier.
In this case, how do sourcing agent works? Sourcing agents will go in your place to visit top Chinese manufacturers, check the production strength of the factory, order their samples, and see if they match your needs or standards. Your standards could be your product specs, pricing methods, and many others.
The good thing about sourcing agents is that they have a sharp eye for the best suppliers. They also know where to find them easily.
In short, a sourcing agent will do all the legwork for you and even go the extra mile by securing better China manufacturing costs. It is because they have substantial connections with Chinese manufacturers.
You have seen one reason why using a sourcing agent is a better choice, tap into it!
China sourcing companies can solve communication and culture issues.
Language and culture pose a problem everywhere. It often raises even more significant issues between a foreign trader and a Chinese manufacturer. There is usually a subtle gap between the client and the manufacturer, especially when the previous emails quote to the latter.
What does this mean to you?
As a business owner, you have to learn the art of using understandable languages for your manufacturer. You must identify accurate product specs and leave no walls of confusion or even misinterpretation on the supplier. Remember where there is wrong communication, there will be a clash of expectations.
However, if you hire a sourcing agent for such a task, you may not have to worry about wrong translations and clashed expectations. Sourcing companies have the expertise and experience to deal with culture and communication issues.
Sourcing agents are your ambassador (literally) and could be the center of your China manufacturing adventures. Sourcing agents can speak many languages, plus they are usually culturally intelligent too.
If you want a foretaste of good sourcing agents in China, I suggest you go for Dragon, Ejet, Imex, and many others. These sourcing companies have been in the sourcing system for a long time. So, they are a good catch provided you are willing to try them out.
I know that not all these good sourcing companies can be as perfect as you want them, but they could solve clashed culture and communication issues at least.
Chinese sourcing companies reduces business risk.
I know that the decision to source products from China can be a difficult one.
You don’t want to be a victim of business scams.
Perhaps, you want your outsourcing to marry success. Success in outsourcing may pose a challenge because you are new to China. If you try hiring a sourcing agent, you don’t have to build the walls of anxiety around you concerning your outsourcing.
Sourcing companies comprise trained experts who know their onions. They can help supervise production volume, reduce the prospects of delays in figuring the right Chinese manufacturers, prevent you from getting cheated, and control the products’ quality. These companies can also monitor the status of your order.
With sourcing companies, you don’t have to bother about the submission of accurate product specs. Once you know your product specs, you are covered.
They can ensure that you get your products from the manufacturer on time and even minimize overheads.
In situations where the manufacturers are manipulative, sourcing agents can be of great help in that context. It is because they have a way of communicating effectively with Chinese manufacturers than foreign business owners.
Sourcing agents are not only better informed about the non-legal aspects of China manufacturing but also the legal aspects. They are aware of existing regulations and compliance procedures regarding product lines. Hence, they ensure that appropriate licenses and certifications are obtained.
From outsourcing genuine Chinese manufacturers to inspection roles, sourcing companies are always quick to identify potential business risks. It follows that they can prevent these risks. When it graduates from risks to real issues, they can handle everything.
A sourcing company reduces business risks with a higher sense of transparency, diligence, professionalism, and politeness.
So what are you waiting for? Do not let the opportunities that sourcing companies present to you slip away? If you are a foreign trader looking to source products from China, try hiring sourcing agents, and you will see its beauty.
This guide has walked you through all you need to know to find the right Chinese manufacturer for your product in 2020 but if you need a few reminders, read below:
- Do not underestimate the power of having product specs in mind. It is more like your business ruler. You need it to meet an ideal Chinese manufacturer.
- Sourcing agents are for perfect for your sourcing tasks. You should hire them if you don’t like legwork.
- Ensure you have a good negotiation strategy in mind. Do not allow your Chinese manufacturer to catch you unawares, perhaps if you are not employing a sourcing agent’s services.
- Network with those who are ahead of you in the industry. They are one of your best bets for sourcing tips.
- Go to trade fairs often. Your ideal Chinese manufacturer may be waiting right there for you.
- Have an excellent budgetary plan in place. Do not go overboard with your budget.
- Research on your ideal Chinese manufacturer.
- Understand your ideal Chinese supplier.
- Research on best places for manufacturing in China.
Overall, if you have read this complete guide about how to find the right Chinese manufacturer, you should have a clear idea of the path you need to take forward. However, if you need the help of a professional sourcing company; At Easy Imex we would be excited to guide you through the entire process. We would handle the sourcing process and make sure we select the best Chinese manufacturer for your product, carry out negotiation with factories, payment options, sampling, quality control and shipping.