How to Find manufacturer and Suppliers in China

How to Find Reliable Manufacturers and Suppliers In China 

China Manufacturers – Navigating the landscape of Chinese manufacturing can be complex, but identifying the perfect partners for your business is essential. Let this guide simplify your journey to partnering with the right Chinese manufacturers.

Embarking on the task of locating a manufacturer in China can be overwhelming, particularly for newcomers. 

This wisdom suggests tackling the challenge step by step. By approaching it this way, you’ll soon be on your way to receiving your first shipment from China.
So, how should you embark on this journey? Follow along to learn the steps to finding a Chinese manufacturer.
Start by compiling a list of potential Chinese suppliers that produce what you need.

How To Find Reliable Manufacturers and Suppliers in China | Super Intl Shipping

Step 1: How to find a China manufacturer

The Web: The first stop for many is the internet. Instead of a broad search on engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, targeted B2B platforms can be more beneficial. Platforms like Alibaba, Global Sources, and Made in China link you directly to Chinese manufacturers. To streamline your search, specificity is key. For instance, search “brass die cast drawer and cabinet locks” rather than the more generic “brass locks”.

With numerous suppliers to choose from, use reviews and the platforms’ rating systems to narrow down your options.

Alibaba awards “gold” status to suppliers, marking them as reliable in the eyes of buyers. Global Sources, too, highlights “verified suppliers”. Focus on sourcing from manufacturers, not intermediaries.
Despite the helpfulness of these platforms, it’s crucial to be aware of the distinction between manufacturers and resellers. For more technical and customized product needs, such as die casting, metal stamping, or plastic molding, it’s more cost-effective and efficient to work directly with manufacturers. Resellers can be filtered out during the verification process (more on this to come).

Be cautious, as “gold” or “verified” status doesn’t guarantee absolute reliability. Suppliers can earn a “gold” status on Alibaba simply by paying for a premium membership, which mainly boosts their visibility.

Similarly, a “verified supplier” badge might just mean the supplier’s existence is confirmed by a third-party, not necessarily their manufacturing capabilities or authenticity.
These indicators help with initial filtering but should not be the sole criteria for judging a company’s reliability.

Industry Connections: Your own industry network can be a valuable resource, including advice from trade associations, contacts, and peers.

Trade Fairs: If feasible, attending a trade fair in China offers direct access to manufacturers and suppliers. The Canton Fair, for example, is the largest and occurs biannually in Guangzhou, showcasing a vast array of products and manufacturing capabilities.
Smaller fairs, like the China Diecasting fair in Shanghai, also present opportunities to meet industry-specific manufacturers.
For those not traveling to China, U.S. trade shows like The National Hardware Show and the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) are alternatives, though with fewer Chinese suppliers present.

Sourcing Agents: Newcomers to outsourcing might benefit from working with sourcing agents. Agencies like Sourcing Allies have a decade of experience assisting businesses with the end-to-end process of sourcing from regions like China.
Their expertise spans from initial research to navigating the complexities of manufacturing, quality checks, shipping, and ensuring timely delivery.
China is diverse, and a skilled sourcing agent will direct you to the most cost-effective regions for your specific needs. For example, Guangdong is known for consumer electronics, while Zhejiang is renowned for die casting and plastic molding.
With professional guidance, your venture into outsourcing can begin on solid ground, paving the way for a smooth product sourcing experience.

Step 2: Make a shortlist of suppliers/manufacturers

After your initial research, you’ll likely have a long list of potential suppliers. To refine this list, you need to contact each supplier and communicate your specific requirements. Below are the details you should consider including in your communication:

  • Component Specifications: Clearly state what you expect to manufacture, indicating if the components require die casting, metal stamping, or plastic injection molding.
  • Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ): Specify your MOQ, which can affect pricing and willingness to cooperate on the manufacturer’s part.
  • Prototyping and Development: Mention if you need a prototype developed, require design assistance, or already have a mold. Factories in China may be less interested in development-heavy projects due to their time and cost intensity.
  • Material Requirement: Define the material that should be used for your component’s production.
  • Price Inquiry: Request pricing per item to get an idea of the cost structure.


Additionally, request information about the suppliers to aid in the verification process:

  • Specialization: Ask if they specialize in manufacturing the component you need.
  • Business Tenure: Inquire how long they have been in business.
  • Export Experience: Determine if they have a history of exporting to the US or other Western countries.
  • MOQ: Reconfirm their MOQ, which may differ from your requirements.
  • Business Licenses and Certifications: Request copies of their business licenses and any production capability certifications.


Why Manufacturing Costs Increase with Smaller Order Quantities


Smaller order quantities often mean higher manufacturing costs due to:

  1. Less Economies of Scale: The cost per unit decreases as the order size increases due to the spread of fixed costs over more units.
  2. Setup Costs: Each production run incurs setup costs, which are constant regardless of the order size.
  3. Material Purchase: Suppliers may not get bulk discounts on materials for small orders, leading to higher costs.

Pro Tip From Super International Sourcing


When contacting suppliers to create your shortlist, consider using a separate email address as your inbox may become overwhelmed with responses.

Shortlist Criteria:

  • Prefer manufacturers with a focus on the product type you’re seeking.
  • Give preference to those with international client experience for familiarity with Western quality standards and export logistics.

Step 3 : Verify the Credentials

Having a shortlist is just the beginning. Now you need to verify the suppliers’ credentials:


  • Manufacturer vs. Middleman: Confirm that you are dealing directly with the factory.
  • Technical Expertise and Production Capability: Ensure they can deliver what they promise.


Verification can be done through:

  • Business Licenses/Certifications: Request and review their official documents.
  • Audited Accounts: Look at the factory’s audited accounts for financial stability.
  • Value Added Tax Invoice: Check their VAT invoice for legitimacy.
  • Product Samples: Ask for samples to assess quality.
  • Factory Registration Records: Identify the factory’s Chinese name and location, and check with the local government office for registration records.


Knowing the localized manufacturing hubs can also help differentiate between actual manufacturers and resellers. For instance, if you’re looking into die casting and plastic molding, Zhejiang province is known for these industries.

Sourcing in China Map: Utilize resources that map out the major production areas for different commodities to guide your search.

Visiting Factories: If possible, visit the shortlisted factories in China. Combining factory visits with trade fair attendance can be cost-effective.

Sourcing Agent: A reliable sourcing agent can conduct factory verifications on your behalf if you’re unable to visit in person.

By proceeding meticulously through these steps, you can develop a reliable list of potential manufacturing partners in China. The effort put into due diligence at this stage will pay dividends in the quality and reliability of the manufacturing process later on.


Before embarking on the outsourcing journey, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of what it is you want to outsource. Here’s a structured approach to determining if outsourcing is right for a particular product or component and how to prepare for it:

  1. Product/Component Evaluation:
    • Assess your entire product range to identify items that are suitable for manufacturing in China or other low-cost regions.
    • Prioritize products with a significant value and volume that can impact your financials positively.
    • Choose products that are in a mature stage of their life cycle, ensuring they have a stable demand and design.
  2. Financial and Strategic Considerations:
    • Calculate the potential financial benefits of outsourcing, ensuring the savings justify the effort and risks involved.
    • Consider the strategic implications such as time-to-market, intellectual property concerns, and long-term supply chain stability.
  3. Start Small:
    • Begin with a well-defined, simple product or component.
    • The goal is to achieve a “quick win” to maintain motivation and gather insights before scaling up the outsourcing process.
  4. Update Documentation:
    • Ensure all product drawings and specifications are current and accurately detailed.
    • Convert any manual annotations into official drawing revisions to avoid misunderstandings.
  5. Identify Manufacturing Issues:
    • Be proactive in communicating potential manufacturing challenges.
    • Current problems will likely persist if not explicitly addressed before production starts overseas.
  6. Consider the Nature of the Product:
    • Evaluate the labor intensity of the product. Outsourcing is generally more beneficial for labor-intensive manufacturing processes.
    • Assess the value-add of the product. Simple operations on a high-bulk item may not be cost-effective to outsource, while complex machining tasks might offer significant savings.
  7. Consult with Experts:
    • Engage with sourcing agents like Super International Sourcing, who have expertise in navigating the complexities of international manufacturing and sourcing.
    • An experienced agent can provide invaluable insights into market conditions, supplier reliability, and negotiation strategies.

By carefully analyzing these factors, you can make an informed decision about whether outsourcing is the right move for your business and how best to approach it. It’s important to remember that outsourcing is not just a cost-saving exercise but a strategic decision that can affect every aspect of your business from quality control to delivery times. Proper planning, clear communication, and the right partnerships are essential for successful outsourcing.


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