China is the World_s Hub for All Manufacturing

How to Find the Best Manufacturer Supplier in China

Alibaba is not the only supplier that works closely with manufacturers in China.

There are many different alternative suppliers in China which work similarly to Alibaba but very few people know about them.

This article will talk about how to find manufacturers in China and how you can source your products from them.

But first, let’s take a look at the different types of suppliers that work in China.

Table of Content

1. Factory vs Trading Company

  • 1.1 How to Identify a Trading Company and a Factory
  • 1.2 Which is Best? Factory or Trading Company?
  • 1.3 Perks of Working with a Trading Company
  • 1.4 Advantages of Working Directly with the Manufacturer

2. The Importance of Working with a Chinese Sourcing Company

  • 2.1 What to Expect When Working with a Sourcing Company from China
  • 2.2 What are the Hidden Secrets behind Working with a Chinese Supplier?

3. The Top 20 Product Sourcing Websites in China

4. The Cost Benefits of Sourcing from China

5. How to Find a Good Supplier in China

  • 5.1 Identifying the Correct Supplier for your Business
  • 5.2 How to Contact Manufacturers and Suppliers in China
  • 5.3 Ordering Samples from Wholesalers in China
  • 5.4 How to Maintain a Relationship with your Product Manufacturer
  • 5.5 What are the Risks of Sourcing Products from China?

1. Factory vs Trading Company

What is the difference between a factory and a trading company in China?

Let’s first understand what a factory and a trading company mean.


A factory is an entity where all the manufacturing takes place; i.e. it is the production hub for all goods in China.

The factory is an establishment where sophisticated and state-of-the-art machines run continuously to produce various products.

These entities always specialize in making a particular type of product, for example, a textile factory will only manufacture textile-related products.

This happens because factories want to cut costs of production and by specializing in a particular product, they can minimize their overheads and focus on only one type of product.

As factories are where the goods are produced, you can get lower prices and get large discounts when you buy in bulk from them.

The only downside of ordering directly from a factory is that they only have a small variety of products to offer and they have large minimum order quantities (MOQ).

So, what is a trading company?

Trading Company

Trading companies do not manufacture their products.

Instead of producing the goods, they source their products from one or more factories.

They have a large assortment of items in their inventory and they work with multiple factories.

They have a lot of similarities with wholesalers and distributors, although they are not completely identical to them.

The visible advantage of working with a trading company is that they can offer you a greater variety of products when compared with a factory.

In the past, trading companies were the only gateway in China as working with factories was prohibited.

When you work with a very good trading company, they will be able to source products that are not easy to find in China.

Then link you with factories that are difficult to find in Chinese sourcing websites such as Alibaba.

The good companies will also implement quality control so that you get good quality products when you order from them.

The downside of working with a trading company is that they will charge higher prices for the products as they mark up the prices.

A Trading Company in China
A Trading Company in China

Using a trading company will also mean that you won’t enjoy control over the manufacturing of the products.

Although you will experience greater control when working directly with the manufacturer of the product.

1.1 How to Identify a Trading Company and a Factory

When you are trying to find suppliers in China, you may not understand the difference between a trading company and a factory.

The real difference between a trading company and a factory may be blurred.

This is because a factory does not produce all the components in its products.

For example, a textile company may buy the raw materials for t-shirts from other factories.

The company may outsource the fabric and string production to other factories and then simply sew them together to produce the finished product.

This is true for factories that are making complex products that involve many different components. It is often cheaper to source complicated components from other factories.

A typical factory may be working with multiple other factories to manufacture their products.

So it is important for you to understand exactly what components of a product a factory makes when dealing with them.

Simply ask your supplier if they are the manufacturer or a trading company.

Some suppliers may not reveal that they are a trading company.

So, whatever answer you get back from them, perform some due diligence and search on the internet to verify the information provided by the supplier.

Good trading companies will never hide their information, so stay away from suppliers if they lie about their nature of business.

You can also ask the supplier for detailed information about the product such as the components used in the assembling of that particular product.

A factory will be able to always provide accurate information regarding their products.

1.2 Which is Best? Factory or Trading Company?

There is no definitive answer to this question.

Although some factories are great to work with, there are certain advantages of working with a trading company.

You simply won’t get it when working with the manufacturer of the product.

Trading companies, especially the good quality ones, will add value to the products they source.

So, you simply can’t think about the high costs associated while working with them.

Trading companies offer multiple services such as quality control inspections, customer service, and others.

The problem with this industry is that some trading companies have a notorious reputation of simply buying the goods from a factory and reselling it.

Some trading companies don’t add any additional service to add value to the products.

Working with a factory has a significant advantage; you can communicate directly with the manufacturer as there are no intermediaries involved.

This direct line of communication means that you have a greater say in the manufacturing of the products you order from them.

A Chinese Factory Assembling Automobiles
A Chinese Factory Assembling Automobiles

1.3 Perks of Working with a Trading Company

Importers who have a demand for a small number of products should use a trading company as there are no minimum order requirements (MOQ).

If you need a wide variety of products, then you should also use a trading company as a factory will not be able to offer you a variety of goods.

It is usually easier to find trading companies when compared to factories.

Many manufacturers are very difficult to locate and some will simply refuse to work with your business.

But a trading company will be happy to deal with your business no matter how small your business operation might be.

Trading companies are easier to communicate with as many of these companies deal with foreign buyers, and so they are better at handling foreign clients.

Trading companies are great at communicating in English, so you don’t have to face the language barrier when dealing with a trading company.

Trading companies that run export-oriented businesses have very qualified sales professionals.

These professionals will provide quick responses to foreign buyers and they are motivated to maintain a good relationship with foreign clients.

A good trading company will be able to provide you with lower pricing and great deals as they have a great relationship with Chinese factories.

These trading entities buy in bulk so you can get lower prices yet enjoy a high level of quality on all your products.

If you run a business with a wide range of products, you can do business with only one trading company that can source all your products according to your specifications.

Once you identify a reliable trading company, you won’t have to go through other factories as they will vet all your manufacturers and gain your trust.

Some big trading companies have a lot of liquid cash and so they are known to provide 20 to 60 days of credit to the companies they work with.

But in order to get that facility, you have to initially work with them under favorable terms.

Then slowly gain their trust by always paying on time for your products.

Many trading companies provide a great deal of flexibility while paying for your products.

So, you can use PayPal, Payoneer, or even Trade Assurance to pay them back in a timely manner.

1.4 Advantages of Working Directly with the Manufacturer

Factories work best when you order a single product.

If your demand is a single 20-foot container of a single product, then working with the factory will give you better results.

Besides enjoying low prices, you will experience a consistent quality of products when ordering directly from a factory.

As trading companies work with a lot of manufacturers, you will get a wide range of product quality ranging from the good to the bad.

But working directly with the manufacturer means that you can perform strict quality controls of your products.

You can also ensure that all your orders have a consistent level of quality.

Often working with a factory means that there are no intermediaries or middlemen involved.

So you will have to experience less time communicating with the other entity which saves time and speeds up the delivery process.

Working with a factory directly means that there is less scope for misunderstandings to occur as you have a direct line of communication with them.

You also have less risk of your product idea getting stolen or copied by other companies.

The more people you work with, the more the chance of your business idea getting stolen.

You get to have a close relationship with your supplier when you work directly with the manufacturer of the product.

If you have a good business history with your factory, you can get to have a factory visit and meet with your supplier personally.

Meeting with suppliers will result in better pricing and faster delivery of your products.

This personal relationship will also mean that you will see how the supply chain process works for your product.

So, you will get a better idea about what goes in behind the manufacturing process.

If your supplier gets something wrong with your order, you have a higher chance of getting a refund or fixing your issue as you deal directly with a manufacturer.

This happens because you do not have to go through any middleman which may complicate this process.

A good factory will be able to perform due diligence on your orders and always get it right, eliminating the hassle which you may face when working with a trading company.

China is the World_s Hub for All Manufacturing
China is the World_s Hub for All Manufacturing

2. The Importance of Working with a Chinese Sourcing Company

Before working with suppliers in China, it is important to ask: why do we need a Chinese sourcing company?

It is very natural to ask such a question as many people don’t know what they are getting into when working with a Chinese supplier.

So, let’s first understand what a sourcing company is.

The job of a sourcing company is to gather high-quality products for your business and ship them to you at competitive rates.

They should also be able to arrange sample products so that you can get a clear idea about the quality of that product.

Find a reliable supplier and then etch out a contract with your business that has all the relevant information.

This can be details such as packaging information, expected date of delivery, and payment terms among others.

This sourcing company should also be able to visit the supplier or the manufacturer and inspect the quality of the products and verify every detail about your order.

Provide all the necessary documents to you beforehand so that you have everything in order to get your goods cleared through customs.

A good Chinese sourcing company will also be able to provide various after-sales services to you.

This can be services such as tending to your other needs and checking up on your business long after the goods have been delivered to you.

So, why is it very important to work with them?

What is the real value that a Chinese sourcing company can add to your business?

Sites like Alibaba and payment options like Alibaba Trade Assurance have made it easier for foreign companies to source directly from the manufacturer.

There is also less risk of getting scammed with the use of such technologies.

Many Chinese manufacturers attend international trade shows where you can meet with them directly and talk about your business dealings.

There are many companies that offer quality inspection services, so you can also hire them to inspect your goods at a reasonable price.

Some buyers often think that working with a Chinese sourcing company may be cumbersome and product ideas run the risk of being leaked or stolen.

With all the reasons listed above, there is little reason to turn to a sourcing company, right?

Sourcing companies offer a valuable service in China which is the reason why so thousands of businesses work with them.

Even though it may be easy to locate manufacturers in China with the help of technology, most of these companies are very slow to respond to your queries.

The cost of a product may vary wildly, but if you don’t do your due diligence or talk to multiple suppliers, you have no idea about the cost of your product.

This is where a sourcing company comes in; even though your products will be marked up, they will add more value to your business.

Sourcing companies in China work with multiple manufacturers, and they know where to find the best prices for your products.

Even if you have a unique product idea, they will be able to find a manufacturer that can make your unique product with all its customizations at a reasonable price.

They will help you identify if the supplier is a trading company or a factory.

They will communicate with the supplier on your behalf, eliminating any hassle that you may face while waiting for late replies from the manufacturer.

Working with a sourcing company will also mean that you will know about the price differences from the wholesalers in China and the real reason behind the cost differences.

They will visit the factory premises and vet the quality of your products, eliminating the need for you to travel to China.

They will also arrange all the shipping and documentation for the goods.

Thus, you can relax and focus on improving your business without worrying about the shipping and other aspects of your products.

If you want to enjoy a hassle-free experience of sourcing your products from China, then working with a Chinese sourcing company is your best option.

This is because they know how to get the best products at the best prices.

Workers Assembling a High Tech Product in a Chinese Factory
Workers Assembling a High Tech Product in a Chinese Factory

2.1 What to Expect When Working with a Sourcing Company from China

How to find wholesalers in China?

Wholesalers in China are hard to find, at least the reliable ones.

That’s why you need to utilize a third party such as a sourcing company when trying to locate manufacturers in China.

It often takes a little extra time when dealing with a sourcing company as you go through an intermediary.

You have to mark up your products to account for the extra cost of sourcing your products.

Shipping can be a hassle-free experience if you are working with an experienced sourcing company.

There have been instances of miscommunication when working with sourcing companies.

So, you have to pay extra attention to all the incoming and outgoing messages from these sourcing companies.

If you have found a reliable manufacturer for your products, it is best to visit their factory premises.

This can help you strengthen your relationship with the supplier and negotiate for better prices.

Always order samples when you work with a sourcing company to verify the product details and dimensions.

Utilize a third-party quality inspection company if you are unsure about the credentials of the sourcing company you are working with.

Once you build trust by doing regular business with them, you can eliminate the need of hiring another quality inspection company.

Product quality always comes first, so, even if you need to spend extra to ensure the quality of your products, you should not hesitate to perform your due diligence.

Working with a sourcing company can be a bit challenging if you are new in this field.

But the best companies will add value to your products and you can source goods with great quality at affordable rates.

China is a Toy Manufacturing Powerhouse
China is a Toy Manufacturing Powerhouse

2.2 What are the Hidden Secrets behind Working with a Chinese Supplier?

How to find manufacturers in China?

Once you locate reliable manufacturers in China, it is only natural to face hiccups when dealing with a Chinese supplier.

If you are doing business for a long time, chances are that you will face some obstacles along the way.

These obstacles can be challenging if you don’t plan ahead of time.

Instances such as shipping delays and missing products are common, but these can ruin your business plans when you are just starting.

So, it is best for you to identify these obstacles beforehand and take the necessary precautions to avoid them completely or navigate through them in a professional way.

If you are a small business ordering from a Chinese manufacturer, chances are that you are not on top of their priority list.

This is because they have bigger orders from bigger businesses that they need to tend to in order to stay profitable.

If you are working with a small or medium enterprise in China, they will appreciate your orders even more than a larger manufacturer.

If you are working with a Chinese sourcing company, you need to ensure that they are not affiliated with Chinese manufacturers.

They should have the best interest of your business at heart.

Most of these Chinese manufacturers will not review your documents if you don’t order from them; they will not value you or your business if you aren’t a customer.

Chinese factories operate in the Chinese language, and they are not good at speaking English.

Working with a sourcing company will mean you won’t have to face any language barrier as they are experts at speaking English.

If you have a business based in North America, expect to pay a higher price for your goods.

The best workaround to this problem is to get multiple quotes from multiple factories and pick the best offer.

Chinese factories require advance payment of 50%, sometimes 100% of the order amount.

Initially, it is best to order in small quantities and figure out if the Chinese supplier is reliable.

Once a relative amount of trust is established, then you can order higher quantities.

Chinese factories outsource a lot of their manufacturing to other companies.

So, you should not be surprised if the factory you are working with does not make the entire product.

Certifications can be easily faked in China, so do not put too much emphasis on these documents.

Thus, you should always perform your due diligence when ordering from a supplier.

This can be activities such as hiring a third-party contractor to visit the factory premises, doing quality inspections of your orders, etc.

Manufacturing Clusters in China
Manufacturing Clusters in China

3. The Top 20 Product Sourcing Websites in China

How to find supplier? With these 20 product sourcing websites, finding a supplier in China has never been easier.

  1. Alibaba

Alibaba is the world’s largest business-to-business platform, and it houses thousands if not millions of wholesalers in China on its website.

Homepage of Alibaba
Homepage of Alibaba

This is the go-to website for people wanting to source products from China due to its wide range of suppliers.

Even if you have a unique product idea, Alibaba will have a supplier that can make your product according to your unique specifications.

The downside of using Alibaba is that there is a growing list of fake suppliers with questionable certifications who may scam you if you do business with them.

how to find manufacturer on alibaba
The Logo of Alibaba
  1. DHgate

How to find manufacturers?

If you are looking to find manufacturers, DHgate is a popular solution that offers vetted manufacturers in China.

The advantage of using DHgate is that they work with suppliers who accept lower minimum order requirements (MOQ), thus it is friendly to small businesses.

A unique feature of this platform is its payment method which prompts you to pay for the product once you receive the goods on hand.

  1. Global Sources

How to find a supplier?

Global Sources is a global platform for finding suppliers, with China being a major country to source products from.

They organize regular trade shows in Hong Kong where international buyers meet with the suppliers working on this platform.

These face-to-face interactions help build trust with the wholesalers thus ensuring a smooth business transaction.

  1. Made-in-China

How to find wholesale suppliers?

Made-in-China is a great website that hosts thousands of wholesale suppliers in China.

This website has a very user-friendly layout where you can find high-quality Chinese suppliers.

The Logo of Made In China
The Logo of Made In China
  1. China Suppliers

How to find suppliers for my business?

China Suppliers offers a very useful website where you can find many kinds of suppliers for your business.

  1. OFweek

How to find supplier in China?

OFweek has a strong list of high-tech products and electronics suppliers where you can find the best tech suppliers in China.

  1. AliExpress

How to find suppliers for online store?

AliExpress is a very popular website in China.

It houses Chinese companies looking to sell products to foreign clients, usually to e-commerce vendors or Dropshipping online stores.

It is not a traditional sourcing website, but many small businesses work with AliExpress companies as they don’t have any minimum order requirements.

Beware of scams as many of the suppliers in AliExpress don’t have any certifications.

The Logo of AliExpress
The Logo of AliExpress
  1. HKTDC

How to find wholesale suppliers?

Simply visit the website of HKTDC and locate most of the Hong Kong companies with factories in China.

  1. DIYTrade

How to find supplier in China?

If you are looking for a clean and decluttered website, DIYTrade is one of the best solutions for you.

It has over 5 million products on its platform.

  1. ECVV

How to find suppliers for my business?

ECVV is an easy-to-use website that enables merchants to connect with Chinese suppliers.

  1. EC21

How to find wholesalers in China?

EC21 is a South Korean-based platform that is popular among Chinese wholesalers looking for international buyers.

  1. ECPlaza

How to find manufacturers in China?

ECPlaza is a South Korean-based website that has a strong list of Chinese manufacturers on its platform.

  1. Global Market

This website lists a lot of well-renowned Chinese suppliers, and the platform heavily promotes only genuine manufacturers.

  1. TradeKey

How to find manufacturers?

TradeKey is a Saudi Arabian-based global sourcing website that has a very strong presence in China.

With offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, you can find plenty of useful information regarding wholesalers in China on this platform.

  1. Asian Products

How to find supplier?

Asian Products has a user-friendly website that has plenty of Chinese suppliers listed on its platform.

Even though it is a bit old-fashioned, it lists a wide range of Chinese factories.

  1. B2B Manufacturers

This website focuses on Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers.

They work best for sourcing industrial equipment.

  1. Yiwugo

If you are a fan of Yiwu International Trade Mart, then this is the platform that can help you find all the small commodities that Yiwu is known for.

  1. Banggood

This is a business-to-consumer platform that specializes in electronics and gadgets.

They have warehouses in China and Hong Kong along with a handful of global warehouses.

  1. Taiwan Trade

There are hundreds of Taiwanese companies working in China, and this platform is a great way of locating these companies.

If you have a business that focuses on “Made in Taiwan” products, then Taiwan Trade is the best solution for your company.

  1. LightInTheBox

This is a platform that works for a small niche of products in the apparel, home and garden, and small gadgets sector.

This website was founded in 2007 and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

4. The Cost Benefits of Sourcing from China

How to find suppliers for online store?

When you have stumbled upon this question, chances are that you are looking for a country where you can source cheap yet good quality products for your online store.

China offers the best suppliers with the most affordable rates.

Once you find a supplier from a website such as Alibaba or DHgate, it is time for you to consider the best quotes for your online store.

So, is there any cost-benefit of sourcing your goods from China?

The short answer to this question is, yes.

There are many financial benefits when sourcing goods from China.

China is a Global Superpower in Manufacturing
China is a Global Superpower in Manufacturing

If you are looking for fast-moving consumer goods, then China is the best destination for sourcing.

If you are looking to scale your business quickly, then again, China is the best location for sourcing.

China has a strong currency advantage over the US dollar, so they can keep their costs down while enjoying high profits.

China has slowly moved towards manufacturing high-value products.

So, if you are looking to source high-tech electronics or other high-end luxury goods, wholesalers in China can provide that for you.

Wages in China are far lower than in Western countries, so Chinese factories can manufacture products at competitive prices.

Even though Chinese wages are soaring in recent decades, it still lags behind its western counterparts.

Chinese goods carry a high level of reputation with them, and the ‘Made in China’ tag carries a lot of weight with it.

Made in China Product Label
Made in China Product Label

Thus, when you source your goods from China, not only do you get products at good prices, but you get a high level of quality that will make your customers love your brand.

5. How to Find a Good Supplier in China

If you decided not to take the route of a sourcing company, how do you find good wholesalers in China?

With sites like Alibaba and Made-in-China, you can get access to hundreds and thousands of wholesalers in China.

You can also visit trade shows where you can meet wholesalers in China directly and have face-to-face interactions with them.

You can also do online searches on business-to-business platforms such as Global Sources and ECPlaza.

Another way to find good wholesalers in China is to use LinkedIn; although it is not widely used in China, you can find information on a handful of Chinese suppliers on this platform.

Trade forums, industry groups, and other professional networks offer another option to find suppliers.

Once you locate wholesalers in China, do a quick online search on that supplier to identify their knowledge level and expertise in manufacturing.

Don’t put too much emphasis on the certifications they may provide, although it certainly helps.

Ask for a sample and find out if they have any minimum order requirements (MOQ).

Have a fruitful conversation with wholesalers in China where you disclose your product ideas and see if they offer any customizations.

If the factory already works for major brands, then it is a positive sign as they already have a good amount of reputation in the industry.

Hire a quality inspection company to inspect your goods once you zero in on a manufacturer.

Good wholesalers in China will always be able to provide technical know-how of the product and good turnaround times for the goods.

Perform your due diligence before signing a contract with the supplier; this will ensure that your business needs will always be met on time.

5.1 Identifying the Correct Supplier for your Business

Locating a good supplier is much easier than locating the ideal supplier that is perfect for your specific business needs.

If you are working with a factory, they may have various minimum order requirements which are too high for you.

So, when you are communicating with potential manufacturers in China, ask them if they have any minimum order requirements.

If you have a small business that relies on the timely delivery of goods, your supplier should be able to handle time-sensitive products and ship them efficiently to you.

If you are dealing with a product that requires heavy customization, your supplier should be able to meet your needs.

So, ask for a sample to see if they are capable of handling your specific requirements.

Search on multiple platforms such as Alibaba and DHgate to locate multiple manufacturers in China and ask all of them for price quotes.

Pick the one that offers the best prices and shipping times.

Once you zero in on the manufacturers in China, do a quick Google search to learn more about that business and its reputation.

If everything checks out, start with small orders and slowly build your relationship with these wholesalers in China.

5.2 How to Contact Manufacturers and Suppliers in China

Most wholesalers in China are listed on Alibaba and other platforms have a Skype account and email address.

Almost all the manufacturers in China have a WeChat account.

So, make an account on WeChat and send a detailed message regarding all your queries.

The good suppliers will always be able to reply quickly, although most of them take a long time to get back to your query.

Ask them about minimum order requirements and fulfillment times for the products.

If you require custom products, ask manufacturers in China if they are able to handle such a request.

A good supplier will be able to answer all your questions in a detailed and professional way.

5.3 Ordering Samples from Wholesalers in China

Once you identify the correct supplier for your business, it is time to order a sample product from these suppliers in China.

Ordering samples is a vital part of sourcing from China as it demonstrates the product quality.

If the sample meets your specifications, then you can sign the final contract with wholesalers in China.

If a supplier is incapable of handling your orders, you will be able to identify red flags when the sample gets shipped to you.

This is a great step to eliminating any potential roadblocks while locating manufacturers in China.

5.4 How to Maintain a Relationship with your Product Manufacturer

When you are starting your business, order small quantities from manufacturers in China.

Initially, there is no trust between you and the suppliers in China, so ordering small quantities minimizes your risk.

Once you get your shipments on time, you can gradually increase your order quantities.

You should also pay attention to all your communications with the supplier, and always be thorough with your messages to eliminate any room for misunderstandings.

Once you do business for a few months, you can boost your relationship with wholesalers in China by visiting their factory premises.

Having a face-to-face conversation with suppliers in China will build trust and enable you to negotiate for better prices.

5.5 What are the Risks of Sourcing Products from China?

Many businesses have got scammed in the past when sourcing products from China.

It is vital for you to stay vigilant and perform your due diligence.

Certifications can be faked on Chinese sourcing platforms, so do your own research on a supplier before ordering from them.

Shipments can be delayed, so order in small batches to minimize your risk.

Try to pay less than 50% of the order amount in advance, and negotiate for better payment terms.


With the advent of technology, it has become much easier to do business with suppliers in China.

Once you implement the strategies outlined in this article, you can be confident about sourcing products from China by finding the right wholesalers in China.

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