Month: October 2017

A Buying Guide – From the Chinese Suppliers Perspective

In China as with the rest of the world, this can vary hugely. One supplier might be a factory with thousands of staff and at the other end of the scale you might have a mother of one working from home to try and pay the bills, along with many middle men in between. The difference in China is that it might not always be that clear exactly who you are dealing with. The mother is as likely to tell you that she is a factory as the factory itself. 

The truth is that they could all offer as good a service as the other. The crucial thing as far as the buyer is concerned is that this will affect what you can buy and at what prices. 

Types of product 
This will also have a bearing on who you can buy from and at what unit prices. There are obviously thousands of various permutations, but to keep it simple I see that there are three main product ‘types’ if you like. 

1) Off the shelf. These are made in quantity to the same design and as such reasonably easy to source. 

2) Off the shelf with own branding. Also made in quantity, these products might require specific branding to be added to the basic model, so will involve extra printing, design, etc. 

3) Bespoke products. These are manufactured to a specific design of the buyer and as such can be harder to obtain. 

Why do I need to consider this? 
Put in very simple black and white terms (I will cover in more detail below). If you ask a large scale factory to make you 250 small widgets, they simply won’t deal with you as it’s not worth their while. Yes they want to make money, but they won’t make much from that order. 

Should you ask the mother of one to get these for you, chances are she will have the necessary contacts, perhaps on the back of another larger order of say 5000 widgets that she sells on in smaller batches. 
Obviously once it comes down to own brand and bespoke products, there is additional design and manufacturing involved which will have a bearing on who you can buy from. 

Below I have highlighted some of the common questions I come across and helps explain the answers to these from the suppliers point of view: 

Paying for samples 
Q. I have asked a supplier to send me some samples so I can then make a larger order, but they want me to pay for them. Why are they not trying harder to get my business? 

A. If they sent samples free of charge to everyone that asked for them and then subsequently did not make an order, they would be out of business. Even if they stock the samples so have no excessive production costs, they are still essentially throwing away money. 
If a buyer agrees to pay for samples, the supplier will view them as being more serious about placing a future order. Money talks as they say. 

There will be some suppliers that will send out free samples, and perhaps just ask for the shipping cost to be covered by the buyer, but especially for higher value items these are becoming less common (Unless you happen to be a buyer for a company the size of Tesco’s, in which case they are more likely to hand deliver them). 

MOQ is too high 
Q. I want to buy 50 of these items but the supplier has a minimum order requirement of 1000 and won’t budge – Why? 

A. If it is not an off the shelf item they will more than likely need to make or buy moulds, create specific designs and suchlike. The factories also have to purchase materials and even if the order is small, chances are their own supplier of the base materials might have MOQ’s themselves. All of this can be a very costly investment for a small order. The materials themselves might be difficult for them to source if they need to meet your design specifications. 
Production of a specific product also takes time. They will need to schedule staffing and delivery of components even for a small order. The manufacturing process will mean they will be taking resources away from potentially larger orders with more profit in them. 

Why would they want to do all this for a low quantity order with a very slim end margin?. 

Unit price too expensive 
Q. Price I am being quoted is too high. China is supposed to be cheap? 

A. When smaller orders are involved, buyers will often discover that prices are not what they expected from China and when they factor in shipping and Duty/VAT that they realise that they could probably source from the UK cheaper. 

All of the base costs mentioned in the MOQ section will need to be factored into any unit price they provide you with and they will also need to consider the possibility of not being able to take on larger orders whilst your items are being manufactured. 

A factory will ideally want large regular orders, so they might even be trying to put you off by quoting over the top if they see you as a small one off importer. They might refuse to quote you altogether unless you can prove your potential to them. 

Deposit required 
Q. I have ordered some goods from a manufacturer, but they want part of the payment up front. Is this a scam? 

A. No not at all. If a supplier is manufacturing a product for you, they will want part payment up front. Firstly, to show you are serious (it is a non-refundable deposit after all), and secondly to pay for materials. 

More than often the deposit will be 30% with the remainder due on completion of the order or prior to delivery/release of bill of lading, etc. 

Manufacturing process taking too long 
Q. I ordered my goods three weeks ago and I’ve paid the deposit – Why have they not been shipped yet? 

A. Very few suppliers will hold large quantities of stock, or indeed if they are factory they will not have surplus materials just laying around waiting for a potential order. One of the reasons is that the factories need to move quickly with the times, so a big selling product right now could be out of favour in a months time. In addition to this, any stock held is essentially invested money that is going nowhere until the goods are sold. 

Some products such as the bespoke ones mentioned will take longer to manufacture, as there is more work involved and designs need to be finalised and materials sourced. 

A factory production line is not just a few dozen staff sitting round waiting for someone to press a green button on a conveyor belt once an order is received. They will often have a full schedule, some working 24 hours a day. They need to find a slot in their schedule to work on your product. 

Often this can panic buyers, as they see any delays such as this a potential stalling tactic that they think will develop into a scam. It’s simply not the case. 

Always ask for the lead time before you make an order, but be aware that things can sometimes change. 

In summary 
A supplier will only be desperate to sell to you if they feel it is worth their while doing so. 

If you haggle on price so much that the base line profit they are making is very poor, it’s likely that both the product quality and the level of customer service will suffer too. If you were trying to sell regular orders to two customers, one you were making £10 an item and the other £40, who would you want to impress more? 

Finally, most buyers are wary of being scammed. Don’t forget this works both ways. More than likely the supplier themselves will have been scammed in the past or suffered at the hands of time wasters. Treat them as if you would treat your own customers, create a business relationship and reap the benefits of a successful long-term partnership.

China Product Sourcing: Why Finding Factories Isn’t Simple

real manufacturers and not some sort of brokerage company or middlemen or similar people. Unfortunately, the internet also hasn’t been helpful enough via forums or social networking sites (Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn) in providing even remotely accurate answers.
What really makes it hard to find these manufacturing factories?
Random answers are presented on the forums, but with a lackadaisical approach that is neither conclusive nor productive. We have noticed the trends and presenting a view in the following post that may provide some help.
Read on to know more…

1. Unusual products that big factories won’t produce and small factories that aren’t getting enough publicity in the industry
Despite having a great exposure and international linking, some “big” factories don’t produce the uncommon products that people aren’t generally accustomed to.
If you want the manufacturing of an “unusual” or “uncommon” product, then you need to search in the right areas instead of the big areas. Practically, the small factories are the ones which produce eccentric products. Big factories prefer manufacturing common products. For example, you can search Google and Alibaba to find T-shirt suppliers in plenty. Now, search for a “self-stirring mug” and you will find a less than a handful of trading companies, not factories. Only small factories with a lean staff manufacture these products.
The reasons for not finding factories continues in the next few points.
2. Language barriers create major problems in communications
Be it America, Spanish or any other importer from a foreign nation, they have the flexibility to pick an agent for China product sourcing via internet sources. Mainly, Google and Alibaba connect suppliers with importers due to the B2B platform. It is possible when there isn’t any language barrier. Communications work speedily when the channels are same or similar to a certain extent, but not more than that.
On the other hand, the factories that aren’t able to furnish their product information in English would have the rare chance of finding an audience with the foreign importers. When a barrier is hit due to language, the communications would suffer instantly. Since small-scale Chinese factories spend most of their trade with domestic companies, they don’t find any reason of having an English sales team at all. Moreover, it would add more costs to their business. If they are easily found in domestic companies to trade with, why would they even bother about foreign importers?
3. Online marketing… What? 

Yes, that would be the answer from a good majority of them. Online marketing is an umbrella term for many of the activities performed on the internet to get a good online exposure or visibility. Though some factories are Alibaba Members, they don’t apply too much in the areas of online marketing, whether it’s Pay Per Click or Search Engine Optimization or Social Media Optimization. In fact, the trading companies know a lot better than them and have the capability of getting access to the foreign importers.
The trading companies have notched several deals via English searches by importers due to these reasons. As of now, the factories that have an English web portal and does online marketing has more potential in driving the traffic of importers. Some small-scale factories may have opened profiles with Alibaba, but their not-so-interactive facet might have displeased importers. Considering you are importer yourself, we request you to check for the suppliers on Alibaba that aren’t fast with communication, but maybe they are offering manufacturing services.
4. Patent/Copyright issues, Secrecy and more
The entire world acknowledges Made in China products. And they also know some other aspects of it. Yes, we are discussing the duplicate products that Chinese factories are quick to manufacture, especially considering the popularity of the segment. Basically, the electronics department gains from it. But, there are more products, such as toothbrush, toys, and others that are manufactured and sold at a cheap price. The intriguing part here is, some of the importers aren’t able to distinguish between the original and duplicate.
The factories that produce these copycat products refrain themselves from gaining publicity in the light of patent or copyright issue. Mostly, they prefer working with trading companies than going out with the importers. They would literally violate their code of conduct of “secrecy” if they entertain importers directly. Therefore, the importers will have to communicate the trading companies for business because there’s a rare chance to find the real factories on their own. It is quite likely that a reliable China sourcing company would help overseas buyers in finding products from trustworthy manufacturers.
At a point of time when importers want to engage with factories directly, but don’t find anyone except the middlemen and trading companies, it is better to find the suppliers – the reliable ones. The scenario isn’t suggestive enough to say that foreign importers can seek products from the factories in any straight way. Running a comparison among suppliers has a fair chance at generating quality results. Besides, overseas buyers can check for trade fairs, such as Global Sources Fair, Canton Fair, and others to discover the factories of China.

If you have a product idea and want to find a reliable manufacturer, here’s another article for you: How to Find a Manufacturer for Your Product Idea.
Hopesourcing is the best sourcing agent in China. We offer product sourcing services, quality control and shipping management. Tell us what you want to source, we will handle everything till you get the products.

toy factory

How to Deal With Manufacturers In China?

Are You Dealing With Manufacturers? Try 8 Ways To Be Certain

toy factory

If you’re an importer, you know it already how difficult it is to track a Chinese supplier. More often, there’s a confusion prevailing over that. In fact, it is the trading companies that pose as manufacturers and anyone who wants to import products has a bleak chance to recognize that. For example, – the popular eCommerce giant also hosts the trading companies, which claim themselves as manufacturer.

Though repeatedly, concerted efforts were made online through blogs and articles for informing importers, all of it went in vain when importers still didn’t get even a clue of it. In a fresh attempt, we bring you the 8 ways to verify the Chinese suppliers, both in terms of logical and technical perspective.

1. Check Business License E-Copy – Vital Credentials

Have you been asking for the registered capital of the supplier, lately? Stop doing that because it yields no meaningful result. Usually, the registered capital is more than Chinese Yen 500,000 and yet, it is no big deal to achieve that.

On the other hand, you should for check business license, yes, the very business license that has “production, processing, or manufacturing” in Chinese (生产,加工) in its scope. You can use the Google Translate feature to translate the scope (if it’s a word or PDF document) or you can send it to a Chinese-to-English Translator. You can get find a freelancer on or get help from a sourcing company in China. The latter may cost a few dollars, but it’s worth it.

If they are a genuine factory/manufacturer, you would know it from the business license they provide.

verify business license
2. Check Business Information Online – You Must Do It

In some condition, you do not trust the Business License E-cope which is provided by supplier. You can find suppliers’ business information on the website –China National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System. There you can find complete information about the suppliers, such as business scope, estimated date, registered capital etc.

Check business information 
3. Check VAT or Value Added Tax invoice to identify suppliers

Lauded as the best way to know about factories/manufacturers, a relevant check on the VAT invoice does the deed. For your information, the Chinese offer drawback on the exportation of products, only to encourage for more exports.

However, a factory can ask for an export drawback only when it shows the VAT invoice of 17%, the exact thing where you can find supplier information, such as company name, address, bank account, etc. Hence, you could ask for the same invoice to the supplier. If they are real factory/manufacturer, ask them for a clear picture of the invoice, and when they are not, they would be reluctant to entertain your query or make incessant delays. Be wary about that.

Check VAT

4. Find the MOQ

MOQ or Minimum Order Quantity is a specified lowest quantity that a supplier can provide. Often, the Chinese factories/manufacturers have a low-profit margin and that is why they produce larger volumes. A trading company, posing as the factory/manufacturer can offer less quantity of products to you very easily.
For example, with an idea of buying 5,000 vacuum bottles, you may search for a factory/manufacturer and just find one. However, if you request the factory/manufacturer to provide them only 500 pieces on a trial basis first order, you will get refused. Generally, a factory with 1000 pieces for MOQ won’t agree to your demand, whereas a trading company will get immediately ready to deliver those 500 pieces you requested. Of cause, the price will 20%+ higher.

5. Check Supplier’s Product Catalogue

You can ask for a product catalogue from the supplier. Typically, a factory/manufacturer produces or manufactures only one or few similar kinds of products. They won’t have a long list of products.
Nevertheless, if you find a supplier that’s offering a wide range of products and the products belong to different industries, be alert because it’s a trading company that you have connected with.
You also can check supplier’s product catalogue on B2B eCommerce such as Alibaba and Made-in-China.

check product category

6. QMS Certificates

Just keep in mind that not all factories have a QMS certificate such as ISO 9001. But, you can find that all companies with this certification are authentic factories/manufacturers. Besides, a trading company has no requirement of having this certification.
7. Ask for factory audit reports

A factory auditing report can be sought from the factory that claims of supplying products to giant companies, such as, Walmart, or any other. Probably, a factory shouldn’t have any qualms about offering the factory auditing reports. Once you have those reports, you can cross check the name with that on the Business License. If the name is same, the supplier is genuine factory/manufacturer.

Otherwise, the trading companies may provide you a factory auditing report with a different name from that of the Business License’s name. Precisely, the auditing reports are one of the essentials to verify a factory/manufacturer and identifying a trading company.
8. Location of the factory

Does it seem a little offbeat? No, it doesn’t because knowing the location of the factory is quite important. In China, there are different locations where only particular kinds of products are manufactured.

Mostly, the components of a product would be produced in the same industrial area because of easy assemblage. If one factory produces one component in one area and the other produces a different component in some other area, then it would require overhead costs of transportation as well as add complex procedures for the assemblage.

For example, most of vacuum bottles are produced by factories in Zhejiang province. If you want to get a real factory to be your supplier for vacuum bottles, try to limit the scope in Zhejiang Province.

Try these 8 ways, you can distinguish your suppliers.

HopeSourcing is the best sourcing agent in China. We offer product sourcing services, quality control and shipping management. Tell us what you want to source, we will handle everything till you get the products.

quality inspection

Pre-shipment Quality Inspections Are Always Necessary

Experienced Foreign Managers at Factories – A Tale of Truth

It’s true that many Chinese suppliers employ experienced foreign managers for managing key operations, which include, Research & Development, Marketing, and Business Development & More. Generally, you will find a Japanese person or a Westerner in these companies.

In fact, when you are evaluating these companies, you will discover a handful of best practices of these companies, which you always want to see. Whether it is WIP Tracking, Documentation Management, Standard Operating Procedures and more, at the end of the evaluation, you will feel satisfied with the performance of these companies as compared to the general Chinese suppliers.

The dilemma of Pre-shipment inspection continues…

Knowing these many good things about the suppliers would put you in a dilemma. The major question in front of you would be – Shall I rely on their QC methods and skip the Pre-shipment inspection part to save valuable time? Even we feel tempted to recommend you that, but seriously never do such thing.

You should have certain control levels on the inspection for determining whether the product conforms to your requirements or not.

The case of portable Bluetooth speakers…

To preserve the confidentiality of the client and the supplier we’re going to talk about, we wouldn’t be using their real names or identities. This is a real case, and only a few details are altered, keeping the essence intact.

We had a client, who was purchasing portable Bluetooth speakers from the Chinese suppliers. The evaluation gave us a good report on them, which was more than satisfying. They had procured some foreigners for engineering and quality inspection and, seemingly, everything was fine and under control and properly documented.

However, we never let off our quality control procedure and recommended the client about required inspections before each delivery. The goods were ready for the first purchase order, and as recommended, the inspectors did their job of pre-shipment inspections. Surprisingly, the results were a bit averse to what we had anticipated earlier. The portable Bluetooth speakers had too many minor issues and some major issues and as a result, the goods was rejected. The suppliers were asked to rework on their products and resolve the defects.

Of course, we were quite convinced that the quality evaluation at the supplier’s side is going well yet we didn’t relax that quickly and stuck to the basics of evaluation.

From this case, a few pertinent questions were raised, which were totally related to the production on a committed schedule. For example, was the documentation hassled the way out? Did the workers skip an operation or more for keeping in line with the rapid production speed? Were the workers not skilled enough or well trained? Did the QC check the products strictly comply with quality criteria?

We are oblivious to the answers of these questions, but we are sure that these could have been averted. The supplier was embarrassed on its side but was a reliable manufacturer, who owned their mistakes and reworked on the defects. They firmly addressed the root cause problems and took corrective actions in the course of time.

Meanwhile, we think, had we not pressed the inspection at all, and then what would have happened? Had the suppliers drop-shipped a consignment with flaws, then who would have been held responsible?

This is the major reason why we have hands-on approach to ensuring quality control.

quality inspection

How a PSI or Pre-shipment inspection does help?

As an importer, you will have an expected quality of standards. The third party entrusted with the job of professional quality inspection ensures a fair few things for you, which include:

1. Imported goods are in compliance with the terms that are agreed upon.
2. Imported goods are same level as the approved samples.
3. Imported goods are within specifications.
4. Imported goods pose no threat, risks or hazards to the health.
5. Properly and safely packaged for seamless transition.
6. Imported goods should comply with the rules and regulations of the receiving country.

Why trust Keen Sourcing?

As a leading sourcing agent, Keen Sourcing is also accountable in several sections of quality control and inspection, and ensure stricter standards apply to all evaluation procedures. Given our credible experience with the Chinese suppliers, we have profound ways of identifying the hurdles in between the procedures. We have a strong network of quality inspectors throughout the different provinces of China. We have QC office in Shanghai, Ningbo, Shenzhen and Chengdu city. This further helps in performing the quality inspection in major industrial cities.

Keen Sourcing Quality Control Office location

We have professional inspectors who speak fluent English language so that it doesn’t create any barrier during the proceedings. The AQL levels we apply for quality inspection are internationally recognized and we conform to it. The clients can send us reference samples so that we can perfectly understand what a desirable product would appear and function like.

Our sampling plan always comply with MIL-STD-105D (same as GB/T2828.1-2003). AQL normally is 0/1.0/2.5.

We have a dynamic speed of conducting PSI. Before inspection, we will send you the inspection checklists / Specific Inspection Criteria for your approval, which will help in initiating the inspection procedure / criteria as per your requirements. After the inspection is done, we will provide you with an inspection report in PDF format which is inclusive of images and recommendations that help you take a decision of rejecting or approving a shipment. 

HopeSourcing is the best sourcing agent in China. We offer product sourcing services, quality control and shipping management. Tell us what you want to source, we will handle everything till you get the products.

how to find manufacturer

Sourcing agent how to Find a Manufacturer for Your Product Idea

Sourcing agent how to Find a Manufacturer for Your Product Idea

how to find manufacturer

If you had niche ideas and already have been evaluating products to sell online, it can be an interesting time for business owner to build and grow more about your idea. 

However, time after time, many business owners find themselves encountering tough difficulty and losing momentum when it comes to the phase of product sourcing. Sourcing a manufacturer to manufacture your own product, it’s always not easy.

In this article, we’re going to look at the process of sourcing a manufacturer for your product idea. We will let you know where to search and how you should reach them out. 

Let’s get the topic start.

What Are You Looking For? 

For the purpose of this article when we refer to manufacturers, we are referring to the ones who manufacture products, not traders, wholesalers or distributors.

There are many helpful resources on internet just by searching Google or Bing. However before you begin, there are a few things you should know and decide.

First, you should determine what type of supplier you’re looking for. This will help determine the terminology you need to use in your research.

There are several options, with the most common being:
·         A manufacturer to produce your own product
·         A supplier, who perhaps  be a manufacturer, a wholesaler or a distributor
·         A dropshipper who supplies products and fulfill orders of already existing products and brands

Here what we talk about is to get manufacturers, not any else.

Domestic vs. China Manufacturer

A most frequent question when looking for manufacture is whether you want to source domestically or from China.

You likely already be aware that it’s always cheaper to source your products in China but there’s some more points to that decision than the upfront investment and cost per unit.

As we know, both domestic and China sourcing have their advantages as well as disadvantages.

Advantages of Sourcing in China

·         Lower manufacturing costs
·         High number of manufacturers to choose from
·         One-stop services like Alibaba have made it easy to navigate suppliers
·         Sourcing agent in China like Hope Sourcing provides product sourcing service and quality control inspection service to make your sourcing easy in China.

Where To start Your Search
Now you have a better idea of exactly what you’re looking for, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of domestic vs. China sourcing, where do you start your search? Normally, the internet is the best place to start, but there are a few websites in particular that can help you with the search.

Online China Directories
·         Alibaba
·         AliExpress
·         Globalsources
·         Made in China

Homepage of

The Reliability of Google or Bing

Over the last of several years, we’ve become accustomed to easily search Google and Bing and find what we’re looking for in the first few search results. However, many manufacturers haven’t kept up with the internet and in particular, Google’s and Bing’s algorithm changes sometimes. Their websites are old, sparse on information and most certainly are not search engine friendly or optimized. 

So how do you find reliable manufacturers on Google or Bing? Firstly, you’ll need to explore pages of Google search results, and beyond. You’ll also want to use a variety of search terms.

It may help you make yourself familiar with Google’s and Bing’s search shortcuts to improve the quality of your searches, thus the results.


Sometimes the best leads can come from referrals by friends. Social networks have made it much easier to get this out so make sure to use these channels.

As you do start to uncover manufacturers, even if they aren’t the right fit for your product idea, be sure to ask them if they can help to the right direction. Being in the industry means they likely have good contacts and many would be happy to refer you to someone that might fit your product idea better.

Have You Had A Sourcing Partner?

Sourcing manufacturers is a unique process. For many business owner or buyer, it’s a fresh new experience and challenge. Trying to locate manufacturers that are a good fit of your product is a critical decision for your business and it’s always not easy to find. It’s easy to get frustrated when you hit brick walls but in most cases, it just requires a little more patience. Partnering a Sourcing agent in China is a better choice for you to assist you. Sourcing agent, such as Keen Sourcing(, provides product sourcing service with price negotiation, factory audit, factory selection, quality control, quality inspection, production monitoring, shipping management etc. Once you partner with a local sourcing agent in China, all what you have to do is to wait till you get the products while sourcing agent handles everything for you.