Many importers find it’s difficult to locate a good Chinese manufacturer, for below four reasons:

1) Language and Cultural Barriers

It is an obvious reason, but it bears mentioning: There are huge language and cultural barriers that separate western businessmen from Chinese manufacturers. While English proficiency is rapidly growing in China, there are still many small and mid-sized factories that have no employees who can speak fluent English. Beyond this, you also have to deal with other, more difficult to define, cultural barriers.

2) Many Chinese Factories Do Not Market Themselves Well

In the grand scheme of things, China as a global manufacturer power is still a relatively new phenomenon. Many Chinese manufacturing companies are still in their early days. These mid-sized and small Chinese firms, which offer manufacturing services that are well-suited for many western companies, do not yet know how to efficiently market themselves to westerners. Indeed, there is no comprehensive ‘database’ that you can search on Google to find the right Chinese firms. When working with Chinese companies, you still need to have strong connections on the ground.

3) Your Products are Unusual, Specialized or Customized

It is not equally difficult to find the right Chinese manufacturer for all types of products. This is true for many different reasons. If you are importing products that are made frequently in China, such as t-shirts, you will have many more manufacturing options to choose from than if you are seeking to get a specialized product produced. Notably, many of China’s largest manufacturing firms focus solely on producing common consumer products, meaning that smaller manufacturing firms handle more specialized or unique products. Of course, these smaller firms are inherently difficult to find.

4) You Do Not Know Whom to Trust

Finally, for those who do not have connections in China, there is a huge trust issue to manage. it is hard to know which Chinese companies are truly reliable and can make quality products for your business. This inherent lack of trust and difficulty in researching firms creates friction in the trade process. This is an area where an experienced China sourcing agent can prove to be extraordinarily valuable.

Then, what do you need to look at when locate a good Chinese manufacturer? Below are my findings after many years of sourcing work.

Industry Experience:

When working with a Chinese manufacturer, it is best to work with a firm that has extensive experience within your industry. Regardless of your products, from clothing to tools, it is imperative that you seek a firm with relevant industry experience.

Experience with Similar Products:

Additionally, you should also work with a company that has experience making products that are highly similar to the specific product that you are seeking to manufacture.

Quality Control:

Unfortunately, there are many low-quality manufacturers in China. These companies will accept all orders, and they will simply pump out cheap products as fast as possible. You need to avoid working with firms that have insufficient quality control.

Overall Suitability:

Beyond relevant experience and quality control, you should also consider other general suitability issues. For example, if you have a particularly large order, you should be sure to work with a sufficiently large Chinese manufacturing firm so that major delays can be avoided.

Trustworthiness and Reliability:

Integrity is incredibly important. Not only must you look for a manufacturer that is reliable and can meet all important deadlines, but also you need to work with a trustworthy firm that will not steal your product designs and ideas.


Finally, as with any business decision, overall cost cannot be overlooked. You need to find a firm that gives you a fair price point for the manufacturing services that you desire.


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