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Finding reliable and trusted manufacturers to make your private label product is one of the most important steps in your online business journey.

After all, manufacturers are the people you’re handing your money over to in order to get your business off the ground.

This will most likely be your biggest financial investment as a new eCommerce entrepreneur, which is why it’s so important to get it right.

The internet is full of product manufacturers, based all around the world.

And they all make claims and promises about quality, reliability, and price.

But how do you know which manufacturers walk the talk and deliver on their promises?

How do you know which manufacturer is right for you?

This guide will help you get started on the right foot.

First, why find a manufacturer in China?
How to communicate with Chinese manufacturers?
Tips for choosing a manufacturer in China

Trade shows
eTradeAsia.com
LightintheBox.com
Alibaba.com
AliExpress.com
SaleHoo’s verified supplier directory
Manufacturers and marketplaces in Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan
MFG.com
Clothing manufacturers around the world
Made-in-China.com
Social networks
Google

Top manufacturing companies in China
Bonus: How to negotiate with a manufacturer

First, why find a manufacturer in China?

China is known as the “world’s factory” with 28.7 percent of the global manufacturing being done there so it’s a pretty massive player that’s for sure! 

There are many reasons businesses source products from China. A few reasons include: 

The production costs are lower than you would find domestically- Meaning you are able to make more profit. 
The infrastructure and workforce means they can produce large orders in a short amount of time. 
There are a range of suppliers to choose from in a variety of niches and industries which you might not get with domestic suppliers. 
Product lines are refined and well organized. 
Materials are easily accessible. 

However, it’s not all smooth sailing. You will have to think about things such as product quality, the language barrier, MOQ’s and shipping times to name a few. 

How to communicate with Chinese manufacturers

Communicating with Chinese manufacturers and suppliers can be difficult at times. But to make it easier we have narrowed down a few tips to keep in mind: 

Keep emails short and to the point- Try to stick to one topic per email to avoid confusion. Use bullet points and short sentences where possible. It’s likely they will be putting your email into a translator so make sure your email has no spelling mistakes and makes sense! 

Use pictures or visuals where possible- This is for more complicated topics. For example, if the product you receive needs adjusting, creating a video or labeled picture will help clarify things. 

Get on WeChat- If email or phone isn’t working. You may or may not have heard of this online chat system but basically, everyone in China uses it including businesses! 

It offers a lot more than just an online chat system but for your purposes, this is what you will use it for. The great thing about the app is that it has a built-in translation feature. Meaning you both can talk in your native language and the app will translate your responses. Communication is made easy! 

Keep in mind cultural differences- Expect to build a personal relationship with your manufacturer as well as a business one. Hierarchies are also important in Chinese culture. If you have an issue don’t automatically assume you need to speak to a superior, try to find a solution with your contact first. Additionally, addressing the person you are talking to by their title and last name is a sign of respect. 

Think about the time difference- Make sure to figure out the business hours in relation to your timezone and communicate when they are available. 

Tips for choosing a manufacturer in China

With a massive selection of suppliers and manufacturers to choose from, how do you narrow it down? Below are a few tips to keep in mind so you can pick the best manufacturer for your business. 

Minimum order quantity (MOQ)- This is a predetermined order requirement meaning the manufacturer will only work with you if you meet this. The number depends on the manufacturer but is likely to start no lower than 50 items. They have these requirements in place to ensure that they can make a profit and it is worthwhile working with you. 

Product Quality- It’s pretty important you receive a test product to check the quality before you begin selling it to your customers. 

Communication- It’s important you are able to contact them quickly and they are efficient in answering your queries. Especially when things go wrong. 

Payment options- Every manufacturer has different requirements. The most common ones you will see are PayPal, MoneyGram, T/T and Western Union. 

Price per unit- Check that you are on the same page and ask if you get a discount for bulk purchases. 

Make sure they are not a reseller- You want to be working with the manufacturer but it isn’t uncommon to find that you are actually working with a reseller. A simple way to check this is to do your research. 

For example, get to know the regions in China and what they specialize in manufacturing. If you are after electronics and your manufacturer is in Nantong (specializes in textiles) you might want to triple check you are actually working with a manufacturer as Shenzhen commonly specializes in electronics.

Production- It’s important to make sure your manufacturer can produce the quantity of products you need. If you are a small eCommerce entrepreneur then perhaps you would want to work with a small or medium sized manufacturer. As your business and capacity grows you might want to find a bigger factory with larger production capacity. 

Ask questions- A few things you may want to ask when contacting a manufacturer is how long they have been in business and their business licenses. See if they have any certifications and also their history with working with businesses from the western world.

Alright, now you know a few ins and outs of working with Chinese manufacturers let's get stuck in with 12 different ways to find manufacturers to make your product.

We’re confident that at least one of these resources will connect you with a reliable, good quality manufacturer.

1. Trade shows

Trade shows (also known as trade fairs) are exhibitions where companies and manufacturers showcase their products and services in an attempt to attract new customers.

They are a great place to meet manufacturers face-to-face, which can provide you with greater confidence and peace of mind than emailing back-and-forth with a faceless company overseas.

At trade shows, sellers can ask questions and have them answered while looking the manufacturer in the eye.

Prior to the internet, trade shows were the main way that manufacturers and sellers built relationships and did business.

Today, trade shows are still a great way for sellers to meet manufacturers, see their products, and foster lasting business relationships.

By visiting local trade shows you’re more likely to meet local manufacturers, which can be beneficial when it comes to logistics and shipping.

However, there are hugely popular trade shows all over the world, including the global manufacturing hub, China.

Local trade shows

SaleHoo is building a list of local trade shows around the world, organized into specific niches. This will become a go-to resource for sellers wanting to meet manufacturers in their niche at trade shows in their area.

Otherwise, the best way to find trade shows in your area is by searching on Google. Trade fairs will most likely be listed on local event websites. There are also Facebook groups you can join to stay in the loop.

Trade shows in China

China is the world’s largest manufacturer. It’s also one of the most common places that online sellers turn to for manufacturing. If you’re up for making a trip to China to meet manufacturers in person there are plenty of great trade shows to choose from. Some of the biggest trade shows are The Canton Fair in Guangzhou; The Yiwu Commodities Fair in Zhejiang; and the East China Import and Export Commodity Fair in Shanghai.

Trade shows in the USA

There are trade shows for almost every industry all year round in the United States. A quick Google will give you lots of options. The Trade Fair Dates looks like a good resource, providing an up-to-date list of most of the trade shows in the US. 

2. eTradeAsia.com

Etradeasia.com is one of the world’s largest trade portals and online marketplaces with more than 700,000 members and a million products.

It’s a great place to source suppliers and manufacturers. A search of ‘clothing’ suppliers found 1003 matches. No matter what your niche is, you’re bound to find suitable manufacturers on this website. It’s a lesser-known option than some of the major online marketplaces and could therefore contain untapped potential.

3. LightintheBox.com

Lightinthebox offers lifestyle products at attractive prices direct from the manufacturers — no middleman needed. It’s a global online retail company specializing in apparel, small accessories and gadgets and home and garden products. (If you're interested in garden dropshipping check out our article here). 
 

While it’s not officially a supplier directory, many of the listings include contact details for suppliers. This means that you can contact them directly to ask about manufacturing. With more than 6 million Facebook likes, this website is popular and trusted worldwide.

4. Alibaba.com

Alibaba is the world’s biggest supplier directory. It’s largely set up as a B2B service. Whatever your niche or product is, you can almost guarantee you will find a manufacturer here.

Most manufacturers on Alibaba have an MOQ (minimum order quantity), which means you have to buy in bulk. This is good in terms of getting the best price, but can be a stretch financially when you’re starting out.

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You can find suppliers and manufacturers simply by searching your product and the words ‘private label’ or ‘manufacturer’ in the search bar. However, if you become a verified buyer you can gain access to Alibaba’s more detailed supplier directory. This allows you to search for experienced suppliers, view their trade records, see some of their main customers, and other background information.

While you can find trusted manufacturers off your own back, becoming a verified buyer provides you with more information and security. It’s also recommended to seek out Gold Supplier members, which have been verified by Alibaba.

5. AliExpress.com

AliExpress is owned by Alibaba, but it was built to serve a different market. You won’t find as many manufacturers on AliExpress, but the plus side is that you can place smaller orders, which makes it a good option if you’re starting with limited capital.

You will need to do a bit more digging on AliExpress to find manufacturers. It will require contacting suppliers and seeing if they can manufacture your product for you. The good thing about AliExpress is that you can buy one of lots of different products in your niche before settling on the one that you want to have manufactured. One way to ensure you’re dealing with reliable suppliers is by sorting listings by ‘seller rating’.

6. SaleHoo’s verified supplier directory

The SaleHoo Wholesale Directory has more than 1,000 low-cost suppliers and 1.6 million products and brands. The SaleHoo team checks and verifies each supplier before adding them to the directory, which means that you don’t have to worry about dealing with potentially problematic suppliers.

While not all of the suppliers in the directory are manufacturers, you will still find hundreds, if not more, of them in the directory. It then just takes one click to see all of the manufacturer’s contact information, including phone number, email, and physical address, as well as details such as their trustworthy score, product range and quality, and customer service information. 

But we are not completely biased. There are other wholesale directories that you can also check out. See our article on 16 of the best wholesale directories here!

7. Manufacturers and marketplaces in Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based manufacturers, traders and service providers. It’s a lesser-known supplier and manufacturer directory for a huge range of products, from auto parts and accessories to electronics, jewelry, textiles, and toys.

It’s very simple to contact suppliers. There’s even a pop up message box to email the supplier directly. Just make sure you check that the supplier is verified and has a third-party reference before you contact them about possibly manufacturing your product.

8. MFG.com

MFG has been described as “the eBay of manufacturing”. It’s a global database of manufacturing companies. But you won’t find any cheap novelty items here. MFG.com specializes in heavy duty products like gears, molds, and machined parts.

If you’re an entrepreneurial engineer looking for a manufacturer to undertake die casting, injection molding, or rapid prototyping, then MFG.com is your best bet. It’s free to create an account and get started. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is an investor in the company, so you can be sure that it’s legitimate.

9. Clothing manufacturers around the world

Clothing is one of the most popular eCommerce niches, but it can be a challenge to find good quality manufacturers, particularly when you’re relying on offshore mega factories.

Creating patterns, choosing fabrics, having samples made up, making alterations, and placing orders can be a laborious process, so you want to be sure that the final product is exactly what you imagined. Here are a few examples of reliable clothing manufacturers located in different parts of the world.

But don’t take our word for it. Make sure to do your research, just like you would with any other manufacturer, to be certain that they’re the right fit for you and your clothing line.

USA Clothing Manufacturer 

Makersrow.com connects clothing designers and small to medium-sized businesses with States-based factories and manufacturers. This is a great option if you want to slap an ‘American Made’ tag on your clothing line, or simply prefer to work with domestic manufacturers. The company has provided over 80,000 businesses with opportunities to work with domestic manufacturers.

Europe Clothing Manufacturer 

Sqetch.co is based in The Netherlands and connects clothing brands with European manufacturers. It has a user-friendly interface where you simply input the type of clothing you want to produce, as well as the fabric and number of units. You can then contact a range of suppliers that fit your requirements and work with them throughout the production process. The directory has more than 1000 manufacturers that have worked on more than 2500 projects.

Indian Clothing Manufacturer 

Indiamart.com is an online marketplace, similar to Alibaba and AliExpress, only smaller. It’s a valuable resource if you’re looking at manufacturing clothing in Asia. A search for ‘ladies jackets’ showed more than 4000 different suppliers, many of which would also offer manufacturing services. Factories in Asia are likely to be much cheaper than those in the USA and Europe, so if the price is the most important factor to you, it’s worth checking out Indiamart. As with many of the other websites listed above, make sure to go with verified suppliers where possible.

10. Made-in-China.com

A B2B portal founded in 1998 that is centered around finding quality products made in China. It is a platform where you can find suppliers, factories, manufacturers, wholesalers and exporters. It’s definitely worth checking out! 

11. Social networks 

Chinese manufacturers are realizing the power of social networks to connect with foreign buyers. Facebook and LinkedIn are good options. If you type in “[product/industry] manufacturer” you might come across a suitable manufacturer. 

However, the best option is probably joining relevant Facebook groups and searching through the post threads/asking a question. There seems to be a group on Facebook for almost anything these days! 

12. Google 

Finding a supplier is as easy as typing in “[product] + manufacturer in China.” It’ll return a bunch of results and a lot of them will be supplier directories or resellers. Take your time sifting through all of the results and do as much research on the manufacturer as you can before you even make contact. 

Keep in mind many Chinese manufacturers and suppliers don’t have websites. And if they do they don’t spend a lot on advertising so it might be hard to find them. They are focused on manufacturing after all! And usually have no problem finding business on domestic platforms such as 1688.com. 

Top manufacturing companies in China 

Our SaleHoo Directory is full of vetted and trusted manufacturers and suppliers from around the world, including China! 

To get you started below is a list of 5 Chinese manufacturers in a few different industries.

Sunsky Technology Limited- Based in Shenzhen, China. They have been in business for over 17 years and offer products in a range of different niche’s from kitchen appliances to nail care and beyond. 

Newchic– Based in Guangdong Sheng, China. They have been in business for 4 years and specialize in apparel. 

Yongle International (Jewellery) Co., Ltd– Based in Changsha Hunan, China. They have been in business for 10 years and specialize in jewelry and clothing accessories. 

China Gifts & Crafts Wholesale Co Limited- Based in Singapore. They have been in business for over 21 years, have 12 factories and partner with over 300 factories in China. As the name suggests they specialize in gifts and crafts. 

Unigear– Based in Hong Kong. They have been in business for 6 years and specialize in outdoor gear for winter sports, water sports and camping. 

To gain instant access to more manufacturers in China, be sure to sign up for our SaleHoo Directory! (The cost is $67 per year). 

Bonus: How to negotiate with a manufacturer 

Once you have found a quality product it’s time to place your order, right? Well, you may as well see if you can negotiate a better deal first! 

Create a win-win scenario- Bear in mind negotiations will never end. It’s likely you will hear “I need to increase the price” soon. But to get you started try to create a scenario where both sides win. 

State that you are after a long-term relationship- This is appealing to both you and the manufacturer for continued business. 

Price per unit- Generally the more units you buy the cheaper the price. However, if you are just starting out you might not have the capital to buy in bulk. It’s still a good idea to see how much the manufacturer is willing to budge. Identify their price for 1000 units and then the price for the MOQ. This will give you extra bargaining power. But try not to be too tight! 

It’s important to add that you will need to know what price per unit you are comfortable paying. Think about things such as shipping costs, listing fees, import taxes, packaging and marketing. A nice profit margin will be upwards of 100%. 

Create FOMO (fear of missing out)- Obviously, you will be getting quotes from different manufacturers. You can use this as leverage if you have found a supplier you would really like to work with. However, it depends on how much they want your business. But it is worth a shot! 

There you have it! Our best tips for finding manufacturers in China. Hopefully, you found this article useful and if you have any questions please let us know in the comments below! 

 

Read more: salehoo.com

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