The first step in starting an import business is to choose a profitable product and a reliable supplier that can provide you with this product.

If you are a start-up, you can look for product inspiration by investigating the needs of the local market or from e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Alibaba, and AliExpress.

After you choose the product you want to operate, you need to find a reliable supplier for the product in China.

There are many channels for searching Chinese suppliers, mainly divided into online and offline.

Online channels include B2B platforms, social media, and search engines.

Offline channels include exhibitions, local wholesale markets and industrial clusters.

B2B Platforms

The B2B platform is the most widely used channel for searching suppliers.

The most popular B2B platforms in China:

  • Alibaba
  • GlobalSources
  • Made-in-China
  • AliExpress
  • Dhgate
  • 1688
  • Yiwugo

When using the B2B platform to search for suppliers, you can use some techniques to find the right supplier more quickly. 


Social media

Social networks have made it much easier to get the word out. Join Facebook groups or search quality supplier on LinkedIn, twitter, etc.

There are many groups containing Chinese suppliers on Facebook, but finding a reliable supplier through Facebook is more complicated.

There are too many direct marketing ads on Facebook. You should be cautious when using Facebook to avoid deception.

As a professional social platform, LinkedIn is the best channel to develop B2B business. So most Chinese suppliers will use LinkedIn.

You can easily find the supplier’s contact information on LinkedIn and know about the supplier’s company, but only if you already have target suppliers.

You cannot reach all Chinese suppliers on social media, so we suggest that you can combine B2B websites with it.

Goolge Search engines

Searching for Chinese suppliers in search engines is also a very convenient channel.

But many Chinese suppliers have not kept up with changes in the Internet or Google’s algorithms.

Their websites are usually outdated, with sparse information and not optimized for search engines.

Some vendors don’t even have a website. So you should try to browse more search results on search engines.

In order for you to quickly find qualified suppliers in the massive data, you should also use some Google search techniques.

For example, you can use multiple keywords such as suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors, and you can also use Google’s advanced search commands.

In addition, if you can speak Chinese, you can also use the Baidu search engine to search for suppliers.

Because 80% of Chinese people use Baidu. And the supplier also has its own Chinese website.

China Trade Fairs

If you have the resources to visit China, then attending a trade show is just about the best option for finding a reputable supplier.

There are 4 most popular exhibition:

The fairs are free to attend, but you will have to budget for flights, hotels, interpreters and so on. This could be a big investment for start-ups.

See more about tools imported from China:

China Local wholesale markets

In China, there are many wholesale markets for different product categories, where you can buy products at extremely low prices.

For example, electronic product wholesale markets include Shenzhen Huaqiangbei Electronics Market, Guangzhou Tianhe Computer City, Wuxi Digital City, etc.

We organized the best 70 wholesale markets in China.

These wholesale markets are different from trade shows in that it is a physical store where you can inspect the goods and take them away, or ship them to your warehouse.

Some buyers in the wholesale market may have their own factories, but most of them are wholesalers.

China Industrial clusters

Many importers would like to find a direct manufacturer from China. So, the industrial clusters are the right places to go. 

Industrial cluster is area manufacturers making the same type of product are more likely to be located in so that it would be much easier for them to share common supply chains and hire workers with related experiences for production.

Recommend Reading complete guide: Where Are Most Factories Located in China? (Industry clusters)

China Sourcing agent

In addition to the above six methods of finding suppliers on your own, you can also hire a sourcing agent to help you find the best suppliers from China.

Common methods for finding Chinese purchasing agents:

  • Google search
  • social media
  • Fiverr/upwork
  • Referrals
  • ……

What help can Chinese purchasing agents provide for you:

  • Supplier audit
  • Purchaing and transportation consulting
  • Import and export consulting
  • Supplier Development
  • Production follow-up
  • Quality inspection
  • Transportation

Generally, Purchaing agents will charge a certain service fee based on the value of the product. You also need to spend some time looking for a reliable agent, otherwise you may also be charged additional fees.

Let’s wrap this up

Knowing how to find a supplier for your product is the first step in sourcing from China.

If you want to know how to evaluate and analyze a supplier after you find it. Please read our supplier evaluation guide.

Is there a problem? Tell us in the comments or Email:

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