Find a Manufacturer in China

By justchinait
September 25, 2021

This is a complete guide to finding a manufacturer in China 2022.
In this new guide you’ll learn:

  • How to use China B2B platforms
  • How to chat with China
  • How to work with Trade show
  • Lots more
    Let’s get started.

Chapter 1: The Basics on Sourcing a Manufacturer in China

With hard-to-beat production costs, China is now the go-to destination for many western companies looking for the best margins on their sales. The UN Statistics Division reports that 28.7% of worldwide manufacturing is provided by China, easily beating the USA at just 16.8%.
But dealing with the Chinese can be a severe culture shock for callow Westerners. This guide gives you the lowdown on sourcing the right way from China so that you avoid getting burned in the process.

1.1 Less Is More With Genuine Manufacturers in China

Sort out the specialists from the generalists. Find a manufacturer who creates products rather than just selling them on. Most Chinese companies identify as manufacturers when in reality they’re suppliers. A specialist in one or a few related products is probably a manufacturer. A supplier’s product range often runs into the hundreds.

1.2 Smart Searching For Online B2B Companies

Your first stop should be the internet. Go to Chinese B2B platforms such as AlibabaMade In China, and Global Sources. Searching off China B2B platforms is not recommended, because most Chinese manufacturers don’t directly advertise their services online.
Search the B2B sites for what you need. Be as specific as possible. For example, search for “iron frame outdoor waterproof wall lights” rather than just “wall lights.” Vague search terms will not bring you the precise results that you’re seeking.
Alibaba has a rating system. Global Sources has a verified supplier category. But as you’ll find when you’re dealing with China, all is not always as it seems.
A premium membership fee buys Alibaba users gold status. “Verified Supplier” on Global Sources may merely mean that a third party has verified the existence of the company and nothing else. So treat these sites as a rule of thumb rather than a cast-iron guarantee of legitimacy.

Chapter 2: Get Ready To Chat With China

Before you talk to manufacturers in China, first work out exactly what you want to determine in your early communications. Always be clear to yourself about your end goal: keep your eyes on the prize. Then you can anticipate and ward off problems before they occur.

2.1 Know Exactly What You Want Before You Ask

Potential manufacturers will have an MOQ (minimum order quantity) in mind before they’re willing to work with you. It’s usually no less than 50 items. Mutual agreement on MOQ is essential before you can move forward.
Be as precise as possible on your product specifications. Determine size and color, packaging, and labeling. What tests should the product undergo? What particular materials does the product need for the creation process? Can the manufacturer guarantee that these materials will always be in stock?
Ask for a sample product to be sent to you. It’s best to determine product quality in the early stages of your relationship with the manufacturer. Better still, arrange for the company to send you a few samples, which will enable you to evaluate whether the quality is consistently high or uneven.

2.2 Can The Manufacturer in China Meet Your Demand?

Your requirements will vary according to the size of your business. Ensure that you’re both on the same page concerning quantities, and the manufacturer can consistently meet your anticipated supply demand.
Be ready to tell potential manufacturers in China that you have several of their competitors in mind as potential partners. If a manufacturer is aware of the competition and keen to get your business, he’ll step up to the plate and be more likely to promise delivery of his best prices and service.
Get potential manufacturers to go into detail about their production processes. That way you’ll be able to determine reasonable lead times and mutually fair costing.

Chapter 3: Communicating With China The Right Way

Ready to message your potential manufacturer? It’s time to use WeChat.

In the West, Facebook Messenger is most companies’ go-to chat service. WeChat is the number one choice for a chat in China. if you want to do business with a Chinese company, you need to get used to WeChat.

3.1 WeChat Is Wonderful! Here’s Why.

WeChat’s secret sauce is a two-way translation feature that makes messaging simple: type your message in English, then it’s translated into Chinese instantly. When your Chinese chatter messages you back, you’ll get an English translation at your end.
Don’t get trigger-happy with your messages. Keep them concise and considered. Ensure that you both understand each other. If there are problems now, they’re likely to worsen later.

3.2 Choose The Right Channel For Your Communication

Use email or the phone when appropriate. To start, it’s best to keep to one main topic of conversation. Cover too much ground early on and you risk confusion and overwhelm on both sides.
If you’re still in doubt that your contact in China is a genuine manufacturer, ask him in a phone call when it will be convenient for you to visit his factory. If he panics or tries to deflect your visit, chances are he’s not genuine.
Always sound interested on the phone and stay alert. Take a genuine interest in your potential manufacturer in China. That way you arm yourself with knowledge and confidently proceed with them if that’s what you choose to do.

Chapter 4: The Essentials on In-Depth Research

Search the internet to find and then talk to companies in your field who are successfully importing from China. Once you’ve established common ground, many will be surprisingly forthcoming, and you may get leads on manufacturers in China from them.
Don’t be afraid to cast your net more broadly. Online ex-pat communities in China can be a valuable source of manufacturing contacts too. Search for forums online where you can make contact with fellow English speakers in China.
If you’re already familiar with your product niche and know who your rivals are, it will be easy for you to compile a list of competitors in your country and contact them for advice.

4.1 Face To Face Meetings Are Best

For thorough manufacturer in China research, there’s no substitute for visiting China. If you’ve got a shortlist of potential manufacturers, it makes sense to organize a few meetings during your visit.
Careful planning is essential, as manufactures could be a long distance apart from each other. Most companies find that 5-7 days is an optimal time for their visit to China. You’ll be able to observe their manufacturing process firsthand and ensure that their processes meet your standards.

4.2 Understanding The Process Of Production

Open dialogue with factory workers and supervisors who are directly involved in product creation. Ask them about their challenges and what they like about the job. The more you can find out, the better you will be ready to make the right decision about a manufacturer in China.
Bear in mind that it’s probably only worth visiting if you plan to sell large volume or high ticket goods. Smaller orders mean less risk, and in this case, a trip to China will not be for you. Instead, plan cost-effectively from your home country using the information in this article.

Chapter 5: Getting Familiar With Trade Fairs

There’s no beating belly-to-belly interaction with potential manufacturers. Ideally, that means visiting a Chinese trade fair. If your budget doesn’t yet stretch to that, check out Chinese manufacturers at trade shows local to you. Find listings of these shows at the Trade Show News Network.
You should also check out the Trade Fair Dates site, which lists most of the USA trade shows. Finally, a Google search will fill in any remaining gaps in what will now be your comprehensive list of USA trade shows.

5.1 Top Trade Fairs To Visit In China

If it’s within your budget, we recommend visiting a Chinese trade fair. Given that China is the world’s biggest manufacturer of goods, it’s not surprising that there are plenty of trade shows to suit your needs. Some of the best trade fairs in China include Zhejiang’s Yiwu Commodities Fair, Shanghai’s Export Commodity Fair, and Guangzhou’s Canton Fair.
Established in 1957, the Canton Fair is the best known of the Chinese trade fairs. Expect to see around 24,000 exhibitors at the Canton Fair. If you book in advance, admission is usually free.

5.2 Making Valuable Contacts At Trade Fairs

The purpose of most exhibitors at these fairs is to display and sell completed goods. But it won’t hurt at all to ask suppliers if they will produce goods for you. Expect responses to your questions to be polite and enthusiastic in most cases.

Chapter 6: Don’t Sweat It! Sourcing Agents Have Got You Covered.

Does sourcing solo sound a bit much for you? If that’s the case, there is an alternative. A sourcing agent will do most of the work for you, provided that you give them a clear brief on exactly what you’re looking for in a manufacturer. Sourcing agents are most suitable for larger companies, that can’t risk quality faults.

6.1 Keep A Keen Eye On Commission Rates

Chinese sourcing agents routinely take 2 to 10% commission. Taking 2 to 3% as a commission will not be a sustainable business model for most sourcing agents in itself. With a low commission rate, they may be taking some kickbacks from Chinese manufacturers to promote them above other manufacturers in China.
As you might expect, the most reliable Chinese sourcing agents usually take around 10% in commissions. The internet has made it easier to research company reputations, so sourcing agent corruption is not as rife as it was in the past, but it does still go on, as you can see in this in-depth article on Chinese sourcing companies.

6.2 Essential Checks On Company Credibility

Ask to see a copy of the sourcing company’s license, which should include their license number. This license is proof that a sourcing company is legally allowed to work in China. How many years has the sourcing company been operating? The longer they’ve been in business, the more credible they’re likely to be.
Check out testimonials from their other customers. Do this by seeing if the sourcing company has an online presence, or ask them to provide contact details of a few of their customers. Ensure that these testimonials are credible and appropriately glowing in their praise of the company.

6.3 The Smart Solution To Product Sourcing

Ultimately, you will need proof of the cast-iron credibility of a Chinese sourcing agent. If that’s not forthcoming, there is another option: Just China It. We pride ourselves on our honesty and professionalism, and our rates are very competitive. We provide a full sourcing service that will meet all your needs.
We’ll take the hassle out of finding a manufacturer in China. We will only direct you to genuine manufacturers. We’re sure that you’ll be satisfied with our service. But if not we guarantee to fully refund you. Find out more about us here.

Chapter 7: Advanced Tips On Finding A Manufacturer In China

Are you still planning on going it alone rather than using a sourcing agent? If you’re getting close to choosing your ideal Chinese manufacturer here are some more things to look out for. If you’re using a sourcing agent, make sure that they are aware of them too.

7.1 Negotiation Never Stops

Negotiation is an ongoing process. Even if you’ve settled on pricing, for the time being, be ready to ask for a better price if you’d like increased product quantities. Equally, your manufacturer may want to put prices up due to inflation or increased costs. Ideally, future negotiations should be a win-win for you and your manufacturer in China.

7.2 Keep It Legal

Before you and your manufacturer sign an agreement, the safest option is to take legal advice. Ensure that there are no uncertainties in the contract, as they may come back to haunt you in the future.

7.3 Time To Talk Pricing

Are you now likely to work with a manufacturer? At this point, you should discuss pricing. At this point, you should have established rapport and be on friendly terms with your potential manufacturer in China. As a result, the negotiations are more likely to proceed smoothly.
Establish quantity price breaks. Usually, the larger the number of products produced, the cheaper the cost for the manufacturer. It’s reasonable that the manufacturer passes on those decreased costs to you. Once you’re happy with the pricing structure, ask for an email quotation.
Determine the payment method. It’s most likely to be Western Union, T/T, Moneygram, or Paypal. Favored payment methods vary depending on the company. And before you pay, look out for hidden charges. Be aware of potential fluctuations in currency rates and make allowances for them when you’re negotiating prices.
We hope you’ve taken plenty of actionable advice from this article. We wish you all the best in finding the Chinese manufacturer that’s ideal for your business.


I hope this guide helped show you how to Find a Manufacturer in China.
And now I’d like to hear what you have to say:
Which solution of sourcing do you specialize in?
Or what part of sourcing do you want to get good at?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment below right now.

Your China Import Success Story Starts Here. Find How We Can Help You Drive More Profit.

Ready to speak with an importing expert?
Please give us a call or e-mail.


[email protected]

156+ Serving Countries Around the World

50+ China Sourcing and Shipping Masters On Staff

300+ Carrier and Forwarders Cooperating per Month

1,000+ Verified Manufacturers, Wholesalers, and Traders Dealing per Month

View 300+ Client Reviews