China Manufacturing Companies which supply goods to international markets are the
life blood of the import from China business. For the small business owner getting
into the import from China business, the common question is how do I go about getting
that “Made In China” widget from China? You will have to systematically research,
evaluate and select your list of potential China Manufacturing Companies.
Finding China Manufacturing Companies Leads for Import Products
Presourcing is the process of getting agencies involved early and giving them the
responsibility of designing an item.
Draft a Sourcing Letter - Begin by drafting what are your specific objectives, what
you are looking for, and when would you like to receive it by. Include pictures,
drawings, specifications, and samples to overcome any language and culture barriers.
Write a proposal letter in English and then have it professionally translated into
Mandarin. Use this to introduce yourself when you meet a potential Chinese supplier.
Find Information in Your Own Country - Use the Internet and Chinese Trade Associations
in many major cities to find potential local people who can connect you with someone
The Telephone Introduction - Use your local contact to make connection with the other
party in China. If your local person is also fluent in Chinese as well as English,
that's a bonus. If your North American friend only speaks a little Chinese, then
you'll likely need to hire a translator. You may need to conduct a conference call
with everyone involved.
This method utilizes a leads list of prospect suppliers that has been preselected
based on its capabilities and cost. Typically, you can generate such a list from:
Networking - Try to talk to knowledgeable people who have successfully imported from
China. If they have imported cameras, and you are interested in computers, you may
actually end up using the same supplier. You should always talk to your potential
competition. The worst thing that can happen is they won't tell you anything. If
the market is big, and there is plenty of room for more than one competitor, you'll
be surprised how helpful small business importers can be.
Backward Search - You buy the product and take it apart to look for clues. Check
out the packaging, the product parts, and specification sheets to give you an idea
to the origin of the China exporter.
Research - You can use public sources to identify the China exporter and preselect
based on years in business, public reporting of revenue and employee sizes to create
a prospect supplier's list.
The most effective preselective sourcing method is still the old fashion networking.
This is particularly effective if you can participate in an American-Chinese or
Canadian-Chinese Business Association.
Nonselective Sourcing Method
This is a mass approach similar to cold calling. You'll literally develop a list
based on the yellow pages, association directories, government sources etc. Apart
from the name and address, you'll likely not have much more information.
Canton Fair (China Import & Export Fair)
This is the ultimate trade show which has
been running since 1957 and takes place twice a year in the Spring and Autumn in
Guangzhou (Canton), China.
In the past, there have been over 200,000 buyers from
over 200 countries in attendance. So you will not be alone. You will need to hire
translation services which is available at the show. This huge event will allow
you to visit the booths and make contacts with potential suppliers. You can create
your prospects list accordingly.
The top 3 categories represented have been machinery
and electronic products, light industry products and textiles and garments. If you
are serious about getting into the importing from China, this show is a must.
Working the Chinese Telephone Book - You'll need to hire a translation service to
comb through the Chinese phone books for prospects. Start with a city that has
a large number of the potential suppliers.
The WAND business to business directory offers a select number of suppliers
Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) - This is the global marketing arm for
Hong Kong-based manufacturers, traders and service providers. Their website helps
to connect over 120,000 suppliers verified by renowned authentication companies.
hktdc.com attracts over 900,000 worldwide buyers to source products and services
provided by China, Hong Kong, and Asian suppliers since its conception in 1966.
Selecting the Source - China Manufacturing Companies
Can the supplier produce and deliver the quantity of goods to you according to your
specifications within the time frame that you expect and the price that you are willing
to pay? Beware of over promise and under deliver problem. Some suppliers see the
American buying as a golden ticket to riches. They will say yes to everything but
in the end they cannot deliver.
Do their plants look clean and organized? How do they test for quality if they do
at all? What is their price? What actions do they have in place to ensure that
they are a low cost producer? How is their attitude? Do they listen politely but
don't hear any of your suggestions or requests? Do they seem trustworthy? Can they
give you references from other buyers?
Be careful of ISO certification. Some suppliers will do anything to get certified
but they do nothing to maintain the standards.
As a Small Business owner starting out in importing from China, you don't want to
begin with a bad supplier relationship. Unlike your own country where you can take
a partner to court for not living up to a business contract, you just don't want
to go down that path in a complex international legal environment.