Ever since the admission to the WTO on December 11th, 2001, China has become manufacturer center for the whole world. Even affected by the raise up of labor cost after the financial crisis 2008, China's still the largest exporter in the world in 2016, total export volume reaching 2.07 trillion US dollar. Nowadays there are still a lot of businessman join to import from China. Our article today will help you to quickly get an idea of how to find a reliable supplier when importing from China simply in 3 steps.
With the product specification sheet, you now have a clear picture of your business and the next step is to find a couple of suppliers from China. Send them RFQ files, and wait for their reply. Select one or two feasible suppliers for final cooperation after a careful analysis of their quotations and reputations.
Sourcing supplier step-by-step guide
Step 1. Collect supplier resources
Want to import from China, you should find the right supplier, check the guide below how to locate a supplier.
Step 2. Send RFQ to suppliers
This step is to send a request email with RFQ to your suppliers.
Step 3. Supplier assessment
Tell you how to find a reliable supplier and how to keep away from fraud.
Step 1: Collect supplier resources
There are two main ways to find suppliers: online and offline. Choose one way or combine double ways based on your budget and actual needs.
Though, indeed finding a reliable supplier is a headache process, it's more like the scenario happened in the Fortress Besieged. You are searching for your supplier, and so is your supplier. However, before you two find each other, you shall need to overcome a wide gap that is spanning over your two ends. How to quickly and accurately find a reasonable supplier is a hardly earned tactic. Followings are the must-have skills that most seasoned buyers would like to use in their sourcing trips. We list here for your reference. Of course you can ask our online Advisor may they can give you some good options.
Online Domestic Directories
Online Overseas Directories
International Toy Fair Nuremberg / Frankfurt exhibition / Chicago international household goods exposition and so on
Canton Fair /Yiwu commodities Fair/ Shenzhen machinery exhibition and so on
Visit China wholesale market
Yiwu Futian Market (The main commodity)
Suitable for small retail buyers
Online B2C marketplace
Notice: Above methods are for your reference only. If your budget allowed, we suggest you come over China to attend exhibitions. Compared to suppliers on Alibaba who are probably weak in English and communicate with you through the Google Translation, those at the exhibitions are more professional. Another method is to visit China wholesale markets(click for guide). Chances are you can find cheaper price than that in the exhibition. But the problem is that they possibly only speak Chinese, which means you have to find an interpreter or another third-party agent to help you through that. In general, you are advised to find enough suppliers or agents before you are coming to China.
Step 2: Send RFQ to suppliers
At this point, we need the previously prepared RFQ file. Draft an email and attach the RFQ as well. In order to avoid unnecessary time-costing, please notice to stress out all information you need from suppliers in the email at one time.
4 tips you should know before send RFQ to suppliers
We’ve come to the hardest step. Chinese suppliers get bombarded with email requests all the time from flaky buyers so it's not unusual for many suppliers not to reply every email. Good suppliers, especially, even have their own reply and priority rules. Of course, high-quality inquiries are given top priority. How to let your suppliers respond you quickly? The following 4 tips may help you get more attention over others.
If possible, just go ahead and make an international call to your Chinese suppliers. Claim who you are, what you need, and simply ask out your concerned doubts such as MOQ, payment terms and lead time etc. Rest assured, they will mark your inquiry as the top priority. Trust me, Chinese suppliers do not always receive international phone calls and it can make you stand out from the crowd. At the same time, you can take this opportunity to know their business professional levels.
The most concerned and important factor during the whole inquiry process is “How Much?”. Please do not send out your RFQ randomly. Instead, take several minutes to think how to well write this email. Believe me, it pays off twice.
The third tip is to keep following-up. Chinese suppliers are usually working under severe stresses. Their schedule is really tight. They need to spend a lot time in collecting and auditing a vast ton of information and data before a final complete quotation sheet comes out. They will be possibly missing some points sometimes. Thus, you’d better remind your suppliers at a certain time, and make sure they are totally informed.
In order to let your suppliers to make a budge, and get a satisfied MOQ and price, you’d better do something while waiting for your replies. You need to figure out the prevailing prices and those minimum quantities in most situations by yourself, and make it to your advantage when negotiating with your suppliers.
Template of Enquiry mail for you importing from China
The biggest question you’re going to have is “how much?” but before you hastily send the supplier your request for quotation (many times referred to as a RFQ), take a few minutes to plan out what you want to say and the questions you need to ask. Planning your email will increase your chances that you will receive a response and the correct information.
Here is an example of an email I might send out:
My name is [your name] and I am from [your company name].Here we are contacting you in order to approach more potential suppliers. But we have several questions as follows:
1.What’s your MOQ?
2.Could you provide test samples?
3.What’s your payment methods?
Attached is the RFQ File, containing all product specification data. Please fill in the file and return back to us. We are looking forward your reply within 3 working days.
Thank you,[your name]
Procurement Manager of [Company]
Notice: Just as we said that first impression is really important, that golden rule applies to the trade area too. Suppliers receive lots of inquiries daily, and they will make a priority to reply those promising customers first.
Step 3: Supplier assessment
China’s business environment now is way too much better than that in ten years ago. The authorities have made a change and the whole credit system is on the right progress. However, you’d better be careful to avoid the Chinese’s “Everything-is-possible” trap. Finding a reliable supplier isn’t an easy task. For instance, there are chances that golden suppliers on Alibaba.com turned out to be a not-so-honest one, what’s worse, their business license is probably fake as well. At this step, let’s take a look at how to select a reliable and qualified supplier?
The following 5 methods will help you while importing from China.
3.1 Review the RFQ carefully with the checklist
Don’t keep your eyes on the price only while you are analyzing quotations, but compare other including parameters instead. Thus, when you receive quotations, you should consider them in an in-depth and overall way.
Professional suppliers, in particular, will clearly specify their Trade Terms, Validation Period, etc., but other suppliers will omit that directly.
Suppliers may not give you full sets of licenses and documents, you need to confirm the price includes certificates fees or not.
3.2 Verify License
The massive improvement of Chinese business environment and credit system are attributed to the launching reform of new “Five-in-one” Business License. That means, there is no separate Business License, Certificate of Organization Code, Tax Registration Certificate, Social Insurance Registration Certificate, or Auditing Registration either in China. Those five licenses are integrated into one brand-new business license. Benefited from the modern Internet technology, each business license owns its individual two-dimensional bar code. We can scan the bar-code to check its authenticity easily. The new license example is here for your reference.
The new FIVE-IN-ONE license have an individual two-dimensional bar code, you can scan it and check it out easily, or you can check with this two site: http://gsxt.zjaic.gov.cn/ , http://www.tianyancha.com/ , but its only in Chinese version.
Product test report
The certificate contains the issuing company’s info, you can check with them.
Quality Control System Authentication
On the certificate contains the issuing company’s info, you can check with them.
3.3 Supplier selection and evaluation
How to find the best suitable supplier? It’s not an easy task. But we will list some important parameters for your reference, and by comparing those parameters, you can find your ideal supplier.
Zhongshan City AOJIESI kitchenware co.Ltd
YIWU City MATENG e-business co.Ltd
Ningbo YOUJIAJIN import & export company
No.50, Industrial park of Caitang Town, Chaozhou City, Guangdong
No.309, Xuefeng Road, Chuangye square, Yiwu city, Zhejiang
Room 402, Hanfa Mansion, SHUNCHANG Street, Ningbo City, Zhejiang
Quality Management System
3rd party audit
TT, LC, OA
This article will be continued, next will talking about Case study about Fraud prevention, or you can download the Buyer's Guide to get the full version.
- Try your best to find more suppliers. 5-8 suppliers are the best. Not all suppliers will give you replies, and in the end, you will find a big part of suppliers are not fitting in your expectation. Make sure there are 3 suppliers who are willing to give examples at last. This is critical to succeed finishing your first-step.
- Though you have correctly walked through above steps, there still is no 100% guarantee to your security. A true business license can’t make sure that’s a safe supplier, just like a group of Golden Suppliers on Alibaba are not real. The best way is to find a third-party to check the supplier in person. That could help you get rid of many potential insecurity factors.
Click to download our Buyer's Guide
The most comprehensive articles for SMEs on China wholesale markets, and the ultimately complete reference to the way of importing from China, including sourcing, order proceeding, and shipment.