Many buyers are probably familiar with the stress that comes with finding reliable suppliers in China. Especially, when there are hundreds of suppliers claiming to have what you need. How do you know the suppliers you have chosen are reliable? In this article, I’d like to share you 4 main ways to do it.

1) B2B Sourcing Platforms

The biggest platforms are Alibaba, AliExpress, Made-In-China, and Global Sources. Keep in mind that your best prices and long-term relationships with suppliers will unlikely come from these sources. Sourcing platforms are directories, which consist of suppliers who pay fees to have their products displayed on the site.

There are thousands of suppliers and millions of individuals browsing them. If you do that math, you’ll realize that many suppliers will get hundreds of RFQs a day, unfortunately for them; more than half of the individuals submitting RFQs are just browsing, or low ballers who aren’t serious buyers. And unfortunately for some buyers, they are not taken seriously either. 

If you commit to finding your suppliers through a platform; stay patient and do a lot of digging on your end before expecting to receive a competitive price.

2) Referrals

A great way to find a trusted supplier, like in anything else, is word of mouth or through a referral. If you’re fortunate enough to already have connections in China or have a network of companies and individuals working with great suppliers and manufacturers, ask them to introduce you to some of these contacts. 

Admittedly, this isn’t the most time efficient method, but networking and building connections is always good idea, so it doesn’t hurt to try!

3) Trade Shows

Attending Trade Shows in China is a great way to find suppliers. Unlike online sourcing platforms, you can start building relationships right away. Guanxi, translated as relationships, is an essential part of successfully doing business in China. 

Trade shows give you the opportunity to shop around, meet suppliers face-to-face and decide what you like and don’t in the same day – saving you time from having to wait for responses online. 

However, there are some disadvantage to consider: the costs associated with traveling to China, and the time lost away from your other priorities. Especially a pricey expense if your trip is unsuccessful. 

4) China Sourcing Agent

The other method is working with a China sourcing agent, one that you can trust and have built relationships on your behalf. Whether you are located in North America, Europe, or even Asia, it helps to have a dedicated agent in China representing you. 

One of the biggest benefits working with a trusted sourcing agent in China is that they represent you (the buyer), not the supplier. It is the job of the sourcing agent to find you trusted suppliers and factories, negotiate terms and prices, as well as finding and avoiding common hidden costs on your behalf. 

Working with the right agent will save you both money and time; helping you avoid costly trips to China, protecting you from fraudulent businesses and scams, and find you reliable suppliers that are right for you.


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