Find Wholesale Suppliers in China: Useful Tips

The internet has enabled much greater access to overseas markets and their supplier bases. At the touch of a button, one can access lists of suppliers..

Find Wholesale Suppliers in China sourcing ET2C

Find Wholesale Suppliers in China with these useful tips.

The internet has enabled much greater access to overseas markets and their supplier bases. At the touch of a button, one can access lists of suppliers and what products that they manufacture. But this is only one part of the sourcing process. Companies need to know how best to identify the right partners and what this really entails to truly benefit from offshore manufacturing.

The biggest and most obvious advantage of purchasing in bulk is paying a lower price for your products. Companies that buy direct from China know this very well and leverage the benefits of larger volumes. However, there are also several challenges for those who want to buy ‘wholesale’ volumes that people need to be aware.

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In the past, we already mentioned the importance of building up strong and trusting relationships with suppliers. But first of all, how to find the right wholesale supplier in China for you?

We already released a guide to “find the perfect match” between buyers and suppliers and mentioned the importance of these 5 key factors to consider:

  • Location
  • Communication
  • Quality control
  • Delivery
  • Culture.

How to find wholesale suppliers in China?

There are a number of different options to search and find wholesale suppliers in China, and we set out the main ones below:

Online research

The first, instinctive way to look for wholesale suppliers in China is through online searches. Unfortunately, just googling something like “best suppliers in China” can lead to a dead end. Let’s admit it, finding product suppliers for your business through an online research can be difficult and time-consuming.

In most cases, you are better placed to look for online wholesale supplier directories, which usually list thousands of suppliers. While some of these directories are completely free to use, others require merchants to pay a fee in order to gain access. It goes without saying that the list of the “best suppliers” are those you have to pay for.

Bonus tip.

Be aware that you will need to qualify any supplier that you think sounds right for your business. There are often instances where companies may not be quite what they say they are. So be careful and always investigate the suppliers.

Chinese Marketplaces

As many know, there are two highly popular Chinese marketplaces: Alibaba and AliExpress. In particular, is one of the largest B2B marketplaces of manufacturers, importers, and wholesale distributors.

Wholesale alibaba ecommerce suppliers China ET2C

This platform was founded in 1999 and today presents millions of products spanning 40 different categories. Given its breadth of wholesale products, Alibaba is not an easy platform to work with if you are a beginner. Certainly there are suppliers on these platforms that warrant skepticism and may present pitfalls when it comes to product quality. If you’re planning to deal with an Alibaba supplier, there are a couple of issues you need to keep in mind.

Obviously, since most suppliers on the platform are Chinese companies, you’ll experience a noticeable language barrier. In addition, there is a large number of middlemen on Alibaba who try to pose as manufacturers, reselling goods from legitimate manufacturers while marking up prices. Again, do you research to ensure you are working direct with the supplier, or with who you want to partner with.

Trade shows

Over the years, trade shows have been an important tool for sourcing and introducing thousands of new products. Used as a starting point for buyers to build a solid network of vendors and select the right suppliers with whom to do business.

As well as preparatory work (creating contacts and meetings in advance), buyers have the advantage of being able to visit booths and touch and look at product opportunities – something that has been missed this past 12 months!. In a lot of cases, buyers can visit the shows and actually place orders in person based on pricing given at the booth.

Find Wholesale Suppliers China Trade show sourcing ET2C
photo credit: Shinsuke Ikegame

On the other hand attending a huge trade show in China, like the Canton Fair for example, could be exhausting. Beside the trip to China, be prepared to walk several kilometers in a daedalus of aisles and stands, in a crowd of 200,000 people (not joking).

However, with the current travel restrictions in place, many trade shows have been cancelled. The biggest ones like the Canton Fair, have survived thanks to a conversion to the digital format. Obviously, without any chances to meet in person the vendors.

Sourcing Company

Certainly, if you are planning to outsource manufacturing to low-cost countries all by yourself, you might need additional assistance.  Should you need to identify new factories, then it is important to look to a local partner who you can collaborate with to visit the sites, engage with the owners and undertake the pre-screening work that you are not able to currently do. This will provide greater visibility and allow you to still go through an objective onboarding process.

Whether you have just started searching or are looking to enhance your vendor penetration and supplier management capability, sourcing companies present opportunities that a direct sourcing model may struggle to find.

Sourcing ET2C International

Qualified sourcing companies in China, or Asia in general, introduce expertise capable of saving time and money along every step of the process. From identifying cost-effective sourcing materials to conducting audit-level quality control checks, professional sourcing agents/companies devote care to managing their clients’ sourcing needs.

Moreover, they can arrange quality assurance checks along every step of the process to ensure early identification of any issues and present viable solutions.

Do you need help?

Certainly, the best option is partnering with a product sourcing company which has a presence on the ground in the sourcing market, product knowledge and can add value when it comes to managing the supplier from development through to shipment.

At ET2C, we provide our clients with the transparency needed to best manage their suppliers across Asia and help with any risk mitigation strategy. For more information on how we can help you, please contact us at

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