The two biggest online directories for Chinese suppliers are Alibaba and Global Sources. Dongguan City Lianfeng Motor Co.
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And whether buy direct from china factory is airplane, beach, or home. There are 2,, buy direct from china factory suppliers, mainly located in Asia. You can ensure product safety by selecting from certified suppliers, including , with ISO, , with Other, and 42, with ISO certification. In addition, language and cultural barriers can make communication challenging over email and text.
In addition, all of the vendors bring in samples of what they make so you can touch and feel all of the merchandise first hand before committing to a purchase. Most of the suppliers at the fair are used to dealing with American and European companies so they have the experience and infrastructure to export products to wherever you live.
The other good news is that a good number of these vendors speak English …not good English mind you, but enough to communicate at a basic level. First off, the Canton Fair is free to attend and the cost of living is much lower in China than in the US. If you plan on going, you can simply copy my travel plans. Similar to the Canton Fair, the Global Sources Tradeshow is another gigantic fair where factory owners from all over the world congregate twice per year. While the Global Sources show is not as large as the Canton Fair, there are a few key differences that make the Global Sources show a must attend event.
First off, while there is some overlap with the Canton Fair in terms of suppliers, many of the vendors that attend the Global Sources tradeshow are unique. Because Global Sources is a search engine for Chinese vendors like Alibaba, they also have a gigantic searchable database of manufacturers that you can establish contact with prior to attending the event.
In addition, Global Sources contains a much larger contingent of suppliers in certain key categories such as electronics and fashion accessories. So if you plan on selling anything electronic, Global Sources is the best show to attend. The other key difference is that Global Sources provides a strong focus on education. During their show, they simulaneously run a conference that teaches you how to run a successful importing business.
The content of the event is fantastic and they invite successful ecommerce entrepreneurs from all over the world to speak. My advice if you decide to travel all the way to Asia is to attend both the Global Sources show and the Canton Fair during the same trip. Running our online wedding linens business for the past 10 years has required me to deal with many vendors across China, India and other parts of Asia.
The key thing to keep in mind when communicating with Chinese suppliers is that they probably studied English in school. They might not be able to speak or understand English that well, but they can probably read it much better than they can listen.
So when you are visiting your vendors, it helps to have everything written down or typed in English. If you go in there and start blabbing away, chances are that the vendor will only be able to pick up bits and pieces of the conversation. The same goes for taxi drivers and directions. Have someone write everything down in Chinese if possible and if you have to speak, speak slowly and enunciate every word. One of the main cultural differences between the US and China is that Chinese people tend to be non-confrontational.
It is part of their culture to be polite and accepting. But if you are not careful, this one simple cultural difference can cause you a ton of grief when placing orders. The biggest obstacle to overcome is that you might think you are communicating when in fact you are not. The key is to ask direct questions and make sure that there is no misunderstanding. Ask, clarify and reiterate all of your points as many times as necessary and be sure to write everything down as well.
The important thing to realize is that your vendor is just trying to be polite so you can never assume that anything is clear unless it has been thoroughly discussed. In the United States, contracts are considered final. After a series of negotiations, the final contract is supposed to represent an agreement and acknowledgment of terms. In Asia however, a contract is almost meaningless.
When I deal with Chinese vendors, drafting an official agreement can often seem like a waste of time. We might spend a day negotiating and agreeing on terms and pricing only to have everything change the very next day.
On another occasion, a supplier tried to raise prices on us after the fact even though we agreed on pricing long ago. The key takeaway here is that the definition of a contract is different in Asia than it is in the US.
In fact, I would argue that drafting an agreement is just the beginning. Never assume that the vendor knows what you want. For example, we import plain white handkerchiefs and you would think that it would be straightforward to describe. But one time we negotiated a lower price and the vendor sent us handkerchiefs with paper thin fabric. Bottom line, go through your samples and specify every last detail of what you want.
Assume that any aspect that is not explicitly spelled out will be made incorrectly. Cultural differences aside, the key benefit of going to a trade show like the Canton Fair or Global Sources is that it allows you to make face to face contact with a large number of vendors and establish real relationships. By going to the fair, you can easily meet hundreds of factory owners in just a few days.
In fact, your relationship with your vendor is one of the key components to your success and face to face contact is essential. For example when my wife and I first started our business, we communicated with our suppliers solely through email. The difference was night and day and the overall demeanor of our suppliers changed once we met them in person.
Miraculously, our product quality improved and they became eager to help us out with special requests and designs. If you plan on going, then check out my itinerary! If you are unable to travel to China or Hong Kong to attend the tradeshows, the next best way to find Chinese vendors is to use an online directory like Alibaba or GlobalSources. Alibaba and GlobalSources are search engines for Chinese suppliers and you can instantly have access to tens of thousands of vendors at your fingertips.
Simply type in what you are looking for in the search bar and Alibaba will return a bunch of suppliers, prices and minimum order quantities. By clicking a button, you can then send the vendor a message and establish contact. We are interested in carrying many of the items that you have to offer. If you could send us more info as well as your product catalogs and MOQ requirements we would greatly appreciate it.
The biggest caveat is that this process can take a while and communicating back and forth with suppliers requires patience. For example, the time it takes from initial contact to obtaining samples can easily take weeks. In addition, the language barrier can make communication challenging because you must describe exactly what you want to manufacture via email and live chat. The other key difference between using a directory like Alibaba versus going to a tradeshow is that services like Alibaba tend to contain a lot of middlemen.
For example, none of our primary vendors advertise on Alibaba or Global Sources. The two biggest online directories for Chinese suppliers are Alibaba and Global Sources. But there are some key differences between the two.
First off, Alibaba has many more supplier listings than Global Sources but it comes at the cost of quality. In general, Global Sources has a more involved vetting process which allows them to attract higher quality vendors.
But bottom line, your mileage will vary depending on what you want to sell. Give both services a try and see where it takes you! Most people are not aware of this but every single shipment imported by sea is documented on the public record. And if you search this public record, you can easily find out where companies are sourcing their products from.
There are two main companies that allow you to conduct import searches for a monthly fee, Panjiva and Import Genius. By typing in a business name, Panjiva will tell you every single sea shipment that company has made, where the shipment originated from and the manufacturer. So if you see a product online and you want to make something similar, you can easily find out where it was made and reach out to the exact same manufacturer!
While importing your goods from overseas is the best way to obtain quality products at rock bottom prices, there are several logistical issues you have to work out in order to be successful. Below is a brief overview of what to expect when importing goods from overseas along with some tips on getting your goods to your warehouse. Depending on the nature of your items, expect to wait anywhere from one to four months to get your products manufactured. Very rarely will a vendor carry inventory and most goods are made to order so you must plan ahead.
When we order linens for our online store, the lead times are typically 3 months long so we always have to predict our demand way in advance. If you are ordering products to be manufactured overseas, expect to place a fairly large minimum order. If you are just starting out, make sure that you obtain samples first and validate that your product will actually sell BEFORE you place a large order.
These days, I rarely purchase less than pieces of any new product but you can often negotiate lower minimum order quantities if the vendor believes that you are a serious customer. Most manufacturers expect to be paid by wire transfer. If you are worried about fraud, there are escrow services like Alibaba trade assurance that will facilitate the exchange of goods and services. If you are apprehensive about sending your money overseas, consider asking to pay by Paypal instead.
Catching manufacturing issues at the source will save you lots of headaches. It also keeps your vendors honest. Many vendors in Asia do not speak English very well. But as long as you restrict your communication to email and live chat, things will go much smoother. Most vendors are able to read English much better than they can understand the spoken language.
As a result, ask to communicate with your supplier via WeChat and Skype.
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