The top 8 places to find suppliers in China

This blog will introduce 8 channels to find Chinese suppliers, including the 3 most popular B2B platforms for Chinese sourcing, Alibaba, Global Sources and Made in China. 

 

Alibaba is the most famous B2B website, so what is the difference between it and other websites? How should buyers choose the platform that suits them best?

 

It may not be realistic to try each method one by one, so SourcingArts will introduce the advantages and disadvantages of each method to help you find the method that suits you best.

B2B platforms

Alibaba

Alibaba is a website that almost every buyer will use.

Alibaba, which was founded in 1999, set the standard for business-to-business websites and was the first to adopt a free model, charging for suppliers after they flooded in.

At present, Alibaba’s registered suppliers have reached more than 8 million, covering more than 220 countries and regions around the world. In a short period of time, it is difficult for rivals to catch up and defeat Alibaba, and it is well-deserving of the B2B website No1.

In comparison, Alibaba’s seller resources are the most abundant in B2B websites.

 Alibaba
Advantage productsThe goods range from small household items to manufacturing equipment.
MOQReady to ship goods: no MOQ OEM order: 500 – 3000 units
CommunicationOnline messaging, but mainly via email communication. You can also ask Skype or WeChat for better communication.
Charge standard1、Gold supplier 29800 CNY/year 2、Verified supplier 80000 CNY /year
Supplier typeManufacturer and trading company

Advantage products

At the earliest, Alibaba’s goods were service goods, which were hotel information. However, with the slow development, Alibaba has now become the largest online trade market, with a wide range of goods ranging from household items to production equipment. There are 42 secondary product categories, covering almost all products.

MOQ

Alibaba has two segments for retail and OEM/ODM orders.

  • Ready to ship goods(i.e., retail products) have no MOQ.
  • For OEM and ODM orders, the overall MOQ range is from 500 to 2000 pieces. The MOQ will be affected by many factors.

Instead of looking for the cheapest price, you must know the balance between price and quantity.

Communication

Communication in Alibaba is very convenient. You just need to click Chat Now to start chatting with suppliers. Alibaba has its own chat platform: Trade Manager, where you can communicate with suppliers at any time.

You can also contact them via email, phone, WeChat, etc. However, I still recommend that you communicate with the supplier via email.

Charge standard for suppliers

The cost for suppliers mainly consists of annual fees + advertising.

There are two types of annual membership:

  • Basic member (gold supplier), 29,800 CNY/year
  • Senior member (verified supplier) 80,000 CNY/year

Supplier Type

Gold Supplier and Verified Supplier are divided into two types of stores. The total number of suppliers is more than one million, and the number of buyers is more than 70 million.

Gold supplier:

Entry conditions: need to have the mainland Bureau of Industry and Commerce registered to do the entity products of the enterprise (production and trade can be, without import and export rights), charge for processing.

Service enterprises such as logistics, testing and certification, and management services are temporarily not allowed to join, and offshore companies and individuals are also not allowed to join.

Information to be provided: the mainland business license, tax registration certificate, office space certificate, legal person identity certificate, etc., There is no requirement for import and export rights.

Verified supplier:

As a senior member of Alibaba, verified supplier enjoys better traffic than ordinary members and has the opportunity to obtain more qualified buyers.

At the same time, the verified supplier has the certification video and factory inspection report provided by well-known European certification companies including SGS and endorsed by Alibaba.

However, gold suppliers and verified suppliers are not the criteria for evaluating suppliers. As is known to all, Verified Supplier’s verification information is also not true and is only slightly higher than Gold Supplier’s charges. In general, most of the suppliers on Alibaba are trading companies.

Advantages

  • The largest B2B website is the platform with the most supplier resources.
  • It has a lot of visibility. Publicity is strong, there are almost all over the world their advertising.
  • The website function is more perfect. The website is fast, the software collocation is reasonable, the service is in place.
  • Buyers can make inquiries in groups.

Disadvantages

  • Alibaba is like a hodgepodge. He has everything, not good at all.
  • It is not easy for buyers to see the best supplier, but the supplier that spends the most advertising money.

Global Sources

Global Source is a true pioneer in the B2B industry.

Global Sources Limited, established under the laws of Hong Kong in 1970, is a leading B2B media company.

The core business of the company is to promote the export Trade of Asian countries through a series of English language media, including global source websites, print and electronic magazines, purchasing information reports, “buyer’s fair”, VirtualExpo, Trade Show and so on.

On the one hand, it provides purchasing information for global buyers, on the other hand, it provides integrated marketing services for suppliers.

Once Alibaba’s most powerful competitor, but now the global resources network has basically been overtaken by other B2B, with fewer suppliers.

At present, Global Resources Network is still mainly relying on offline exhibitions, magazines, CD promotion. The most advantageous industries are electronic and gift categories.

Its positioning is in the B2B field in the middle and high-end customers. The annual service fee is relatively expensive, the cheapest is 38,800 CNY per year, and the most expensive six-star members reach 600,000 CNY per year.

 Global Sources
Advantage productsConsumer goods, electronic components
MOQUsually more than 500 units
CommunicationManufacturer and trading company
Charge standard1-star members 40888 CNY 2-stars members 7700 CNY/ month x 12 months 3-stars members 12900 CNY/ month ×12 months 4-stars members 20000 CNY/ month ×12 months 5-stars members 30500 CNY/ month ×12 months 6-stars members 48900 CNY/ month ×12 months
Supplier typeVia email or chat online

Advantage products

There are also more than 40 product categories, but the product categories are not as rich as Alibaba. In the industry positioning professional strong, focus on the development of consumer goods, electronic components industry.

MOQ

Global Sources focus on the development of electronic products, so MOQ is higher than consumer goods.

Moreover, Global Sources has higher requirements on suppliers, which will also lead to higher requirements on MOQ from suppliers.

Usually more than 500 pieces, more suitable for a little experience of the buyer.

Communication

You can use online chat to keep in touch with suppliers or send inquiries.

If you want to send more important details to the supplier, I recommend you use Inquiry Now, suppliers usually respond within 24 hours.

Charge standard for supplier

  • 1-star members 40888 CNY
  • 2-stars members 7700 CNY/ month x 12 months
  • 3-stars members 12900 CNY/ month ×12 months
  • 4-stars members 20000 CNY/ month ×12 months
  • 5-stars members 30500 CNY/ month ×12 months
  • 6-stars members 48900 CNY/ month ×12 months

The operation mode of global resources is to sell the exhibition, magazine and website in a package. If the magazine is calculated as 10,000 CNY per term, the annual cost = 10,000 CNY ×12 = 120,000 CNY, plus the cost of the exhibition is roughly around 150,000 CNY, the threshold is very high, which is difficult for small enterprises to bear.

The high threshold of global resource membership brings the guarantee of supplier strength.

Supplier Type

Suppliers have a total of six stars, the corresponding charge standard is not the same.

Suppliers are usually factories and large and medium-sized trading companies.

Small trading companies typically do not invest as much in global sources because they charge higher fees.

Advantages

  • Global Resources pays more attention to overseas offline promotion, including exhibition and magazine promotion
  • Network + magazine + CD promotion, buyers can get first-hand information
  • Strong professional, have advantages in electronic products.

Disadvantages

  • The operation of the platform is a little complicated, but Alibaba is relatively simple and convenient in operation.
  • Its website function is not strong, only the supplier directory query function; Purchaser information collection and classification is its weakness
  • Supplier resources and product categories are less

Made in China

Made in China was established in 1998 and is headquartered in Nanjing, Jiangsu province.

The profit model mainly includes membership fees, advertising and search engine ranking fees brought by providing value-added services, and certification fees such as enterprise reputation charged from certified suppliers.

While Made in China is far less well known at home than Alibaba and Global sources, it has some influence among overseas buyers. The overseas promotion of Made in China is mainly carried out through Google and other search engines and overseas exhibitions.

The inquiries of overseas buyers in Made in China are one-to-one high-quality inquiries. A buyer can only send inquiries to suppliers after clicking to see the specific product information of suppliers. Therefore, the quality of inquiries is high and the turnover rate is obviously higher than that of other similar platforms.

Made in China is the only large B2B platform with the sole mission of promoting Chinese products, and it only accepts relevant product information from Chinese suppliers.

 Made in China
Advantage productsLarge machinery
MOQFor the high price of large machinery, the minimum order quantity may be several. For other products, the minimum order quantity is usually in the hundreds
CommunicationContact now, chat with supplier and customized request
Charge standardGold Member: 16800 CNY/year Audited Supplier(Gold Member +SGS Certification) : 58,800 CNY/year
Supplier typeMore manufacturers and less trading companies

Advantage products

In clothing, handicrafts, vehicles, machinery and other industries. The key industries are heavy industrial large machinery,

MOQ

Heavy industry is large machinery, so the unit price of the product is higher. For the high price of large machinery, the minimum order quantity may be several.

For other products, the minimum order quantity is usually in the hundreds. You can also get samples at the beginning, but samples are much more expensive than large orders.

Communication

On a website page, there are 3 main ways to communicate. Contact now, chat with supplier and customized request.

If you chat with any supplier online, it’s quicker. Customized Request is a way to enter your customized requirements directly to the supplier, suitable for buyers whose purchasing needs are well defined.

Charge standard for supplier

Gold Member : 16800 CNY/year

Audited Supplier(Gold Member +SGS Certification) : 58,800 CNY/year

It’s cheaper than Alibaba and Global Sources.

Supplier Type

Fees are cheaper than Alibaba, but the number of suppliers is far less than Alibaba.

The key products are large machinery, so the majority of manufacturers. But for other common products, because membership is cheap, there are also trading companies.

Advantages

  • It has advantages in the textile, handicraft, transportation and machinery industries.
  • Relatively speaking, there are more manufacturers

Disadvantages

  • It is not as big as Alibaba in terms of scale, influence and promotion
  • Not as professional as global sources.

DHgate

DHgate is a small B2B platform that allows importers from all over the world to buy small quantities of Chinese goods at wholesale prices.

The platform has more than 1.2 million international sellers supplying more than 33 million products. It has 10 million buyers worldwide and supports English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Suppliers can register for free. Also, Shopify also supports the sale of DHgate.com products.

Hong Kong Trade Development Council

The platform has more than 120,000 high-quality suppliers from Hong Kong, China, and Asia. By providing recommended information to suppliers offered by external organizations (such as Dun&Bradstreet and Intertek), it can help you identify trusted suppliers.

This platform provides you with higher search flexibility. You can check thousands of certified suppliers and buy quality products in smaller quantities.

You can also compare prices and minimum order quantities so that you can instantly contact the supplier directly to understand payment and delivery status.

Purchase product requirements-If customers cannot find a suitable supplier in this online market; they can publish their purchase requirements for free. Thousands of high-quality suppliers are ready to meet customer procurement needs.

B2C platform

Aliexpress

Aliexpress.com is owned by Alibaba, but it was built to serve a different market.

You won’t find as many manufacturers on AliExpress, but the plus side is that you can place smaller orders, which makes it a good option if you’re starting with limited capital.

You will need to do a bit more digging on AliExpress to find manufacturers. It will require contacting suppliers and seeing if they can manufacture your product for you.

The good thing about AliExpress is that you can buy lots of different products in your niche.

Purchasing agent

Hire a local agent to help represent you. To conduct business in China, you’ll need a ‘local intermediary,’ an agent who can represent your interests, provide the right introductions, and negotiate agreements.

The 80% of suppliers on B2B platforms is middleman, a China agent can help you identify if your supplier is a manufactuer or middle and can help you find the real manufacturer of a product.

If you are purchasing several products from different suppliers, the agent can help you to handle the order for differnt suppliers and you just need to wait for the goods without negotiating, bargaining, and other complex jobs with different suppliers.

A China local agent always can provide these services:

  • Verify suppliers
  • Sourcing & Shipping consulting
  • Evaluation report
  • Price analysis
  • Backup suppliers
  • Negotiation
  • Production follow-up
  • Production Monitoring & Inspection
  • Logistics Delivery follow-up
  • Trade Assurance

However, most purchasing agents will charge a certain service fee based on the value of the product. You also need to spend some time to find a reliable agent, otherwise you may also be charged extra fees.

You can visit SourcingArts.com to find more details.

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:

Canton Import And Export Fair

The Canton Fair is a national fair and is China’s biggest trade fair.

They feature basically every type of products from electronics to automobiles in Phase 1, consumer goods and gifts in Phase 2, and clothing, medicines, and recreational products in Phase 3. The event is held twice annually in the Spring and Autumn.

Though most of the buyers are from other Asian countries, buyers from the Europe, the US, and Russia each make up about 10% or more of the buyers. It is designed to be an international event with multiple language assistance for the people from 200 countries.

For dates and details, visit the English-language version of Canton Fair website.

Global Sources Trade Show

Similar to the Canton Fair and featuring many of the same exhibitors, the GST is held annually in Hong Kong.

This fair tends to focus on certain product categories so if you’re looking to purchase electronics or fashion accessories, this could be the best show to attend.

Another appeal is the low language barrier. Unlike in mainland China, almost everyone in Hong Kong speaks English so it’s much easier to get around.

The Yiwu Commodities Fair

The Yiwu Trade Fair is a permanent fair targeted for small buyers from all over the world looking to buy wholesale products at the lowest prices.

In addition to the permanent trade market, many annual exhibitions of various categories of products attract more buyers and exhibitors to Yiwu City.

The international trade city, also called China Commodities City, or simply Yiwu Market, is the biggest of the Yiwu market places. It has as many as 70,000 booths with 100,000 sellers representing factories all over China. It measures 4,000,000 square meters or 43,000,000 square feet.

The biggest of the annual fairs is the annual Yiwu International Commodities Fair at the international exhibition center. It is in October. Goods from tens of thousands of Chinese factories are displayed.

Summary

The fairs are free to attend although you will have to budget for flights, hotels, interpreters and so on. This could be a small investment for the contacts you potentially can establish with reliable local manufacturers.

Local wholesale Markets

While in China, it’s worth checking out a wholesale market where you can browse a massive selection of products at extremely low prices.

For example, Huaqiangbei street of Shenzhen, Huanan city of Shenzhen, Tianhe computer city of Guangzhou, Humen from Dongguan, Yiwu market of Zhejiang.

Unlike the trade fairs, it is a physical store where you can inspect goods and walk away with them, or have them shipped to your U.S-based warehouse.

Wholesale markets are open year-round (except for Chinese holidays) so you don’t have to wait for a trade show to find a supplier.

Goods are sold off the shelf so you can see exactly what you’re getting and gauge the quality of the product through physical inspection.

Bear in mind that you’re buying from wholesalers not the manufacturer. You’ll need to make some effort here to weed out any knock-off products and fake brands.

Search engine

Google

Please note that many China suppliers haven’t kept pace with the internet or Google’s algorithm changes. Their websites are usually old, sparse on information and not search engine optimized.

So how do you find suppliers on Google? For possibly the first time ever, you’ll need to explore page two of Google search results and beyond.

You’ll also want to use a variety of search terms. For example, words like wholesale, wholesaler and distributor may be used interchangeably, so you should search for all of them.

In general, search engines are not a good way to find suppliers directly because Chinese suppliers rely more on B2B platforms than their own websites.

SourcingArts recommend that you combine B2B websites with search engines. When you find a supplier on a B2B website, you can also go to Google to search for the supplier’s information to get a deeper understanding of the supplier. This is both free and beneficial to you.

Social media

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

Same as search engine, it’s not a good way to find suppliers directly. Because only part of Chinese suppliers use social media to develop customers.You can also combine B2B websites with it.

Referrals

Some of the best leads can come from referrals. Don’t be afraid to ask connections in your professional networks if they have any recommendations, or if they know someone who might.

Look for individuals who’ve found success in an area you’d like to pursue and see if they’re willing to share their contacts.

 

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