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Valentina Stashina
by Valentina S.posted on 31.07.2017

How to Choose and Check Your First Chinese Supplier

Today we will talk about how to choose and check a good supplier in China. Trading with China is becoming increasingly important trend on Amazon. Therefore, this topic should interest many of you. 

Search for a Supplier

At first, forget about sites that focus on retail. You are interested in B2B segment, so you should not use Tmall. On the Internet, you only need Alibaba.com, the largest Chinese B2B platform.

When choosing a supplier, you should not primarily hang on the Gold Supplier status. If the company supplier has this status, it is an advantage, but should not be fully depended upon.

Nevertheless, Gold Supplier status is still useful. Especially in the case of that company having that status from more than three years time. This gives some level of credibility that should be taken into account.

In any case, even during the choosing a supplier stage, make sure that supplier actually exists. Go to the company’s website. Make sure it works, and that it really belongs to your probable supplier. It’s a good sign if the site has a link to a corporate account on Alibaba and/or Aliexpress. 

Now go to Aliexpress. In the “feedback” menu, check the reviews and ratings. You should pay equal attention to both positive and negative feedback. Analyze them and assess the dynamics. Are the negative assessments more recent?

Do the same on Alibaba. Unfortunately, there are usually fewer reviews, because retail customers give feedback much more often than executives do.

Small companies don’t always need to look for a manufacturer: working with his agent can be more profitable. Manufacturers often work with big customers and large orders. If your purpose is small a purchase, then you’re not a priority customer for a manufacturer. An agent can offer a small company a more favorable term than a producer can. You may also get a lot of useful information from them, or some additional services.

Next Step: a Few Important Questions

-   Does the supplier have experience with your market?

-  What is the minimum amount of supply?

-  How does a price change depending on order volume?

-  What delivery options are possible?

-  How does your supplier handle the packaging of the product?

-  Is some prepayment needed? (Never pay the whole amount up front!)

It is a bad sign if your potential supplier cannot clearly answer these questions.

Finally, remember: Alibaba is not the only way to find good supplier in China. It is only the largest source. After gaining more experience and business contacts in China, you will be able to obtain better offers.

Now we should to talk about how to check the supplier you have selected.

Checking Your Supplier

Primarily, you need to make sure that the supplier understands you well. A lot of Chinese suppliers aren’t proficient in English language skills. Make sure you find one that you can communicate with effectively. If you do not hold this is a top priority it may cause a lot of problems down the road.

Always check trademarks, patents, safety certificates, and all other needed documents. Do not expect that a supplier in China will take care of the various legal import issues! Since you are an importer, you are fully responsible if something goes wrong.

Next, you should order a sample of the product. It is absolutely necessary! It does not matter, what your company is going to import from China, and in what quantity. Remember: you really need to spend a small amount on this test sample. Why? The test sample is used to ensure the quality of your product. Is your order all right? Has the provider performed all of your arrangements?

Some big suppliers send samples in large quantities only: about 10-15 pieces. Therefore, It’s not good if you want to buy only 50, is it? In this case, you may want to use one little trick: order one unit of the product on Aliexpress – as a retail buyer

Another important element is trying to find out how the product is made.Ask a few questions about the manufacturing process. Based on the answer you get, you can assess how serious the operation of the factory is.

Following these simple rules will allow you to avoid many difficult situations and disappointments! Good luck!

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