This post is by Gary Huang, an American based in Shanghai, China. Gary has been working in sourcing since 2008, and is the creator of 80/20 Sourcing which teaches online sellers and small business importers how to save time and make more money when sourcing from suppliers in China.
This post was originally published in three parts on 80/20 Sourcing: Yellow Pages, Online Sourcing for Small Volume Orders, and Online, Offline, and Thinking Outside the Box.
Think of Alibaba as the “Yellow Pages”
When you think of sourcing from China what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Hopping on a plane and flying to Guangzhou to find a factory? No, you go on Alibaba!
But can you really find the right supplier for you on Alibaba without getting scammed? Or getting the wrong product? Or deliveries getting delayed? Or getting shipped a container full of dirt? You’ve heard the horror stories.
If you learn nothing else from this article, here’s the takeaway – Alibaba is an online directory just like the yellow pages. In other words, it’s a listing of suppliers and you shouldn’t trust Alibaba to vet them for you.
This post is by Ashish Monga, the founder of IMEX Sourcing Services. IMEX is a sourcing, quality control and product development company helping businesses import from China while managing their costs and risks, with particular expertise in ecommerce and selling on Amazon. Ashish also does consultancy work in the field of international trade and import risk management. He is the author of The Sourcing Blog, a blog focused on sourcing advice for importing from China.
There are many commonly held beliefs in the West about getting a company to manufacture your goods in China. It is true that you can vastly reduce your production costs, even when you have to ship products halfway around the world.
But it isn’t true that dealing directly with factories is always the best way forward. Trading and sourcing companies, though they sometimes have a poor reputation, can be a very good way of starting your foray into Chinese manufacturing, with experts on the ground able to help you in a very alien environment.
In this article I’m going to explain the differences between manufacturers, trading companies and sourcing companies. Then I’ll help you understand which is right for your unique business and products.
Finally, I’ll give you some advice on how to approach these companies. Chinese suppliers can get hundreds of inquiries every day, so you have to “sell” your business to them just as much as they have to prove themselves to you.
Let’s start by taking a look at the similarities and differences between manufacturers, trading companies, and sourcing companies.
This post is by Mark Houng, a product sourcing expert based in Taipei, Taiwan. Mark has spent the last 24 years helping small and large businesses successfully import products from China. You can find him at www.markhoung.com
China has dominated the world of manufacturing for some time now. With marketplaces such as Alibaba going from strength to strength, sourcing and importing from China has become accessible to businesses of every size – right down to micro-businesses selling on Amazon and eBay from their garages.
Many businesses have products manufactured in China successfully, but they often make a lot of mistakes along the way. For every successful project, it seems like there are a lot more failures.
With four generations of my family in this business, I’ve been hearing those horror stories since I was a kid. Today, it seems like a lot of problems are down to how businesses work with their Chinese suppliers. They often don’t know who is responsible for what, they don’t understand their supplier’s position, and they don’t know the product well enough to communicate exactly what they want.
So here’s my top eleven (yes, eleven!) myths about working with Chinese suppliers. I’ll let you know the reality behind the myths, and give you my best tips on how to get it right. If you have any questions, just drop them in the comments box at the end.
This Q&A has now ended. It’s been fantastic with many great questions, and really detailed and helpful answers. You can read it all here, and if you have any further questions please start a new discussion to ask them.