One of the most popular sourcing-related searches on Google is “Chinese manufacturers list.” Sellers don’t know where to begin in the sourcing process. They start by searching for a list of quality, reputable Chinese manufacturers, thinking this will help them find a Chinese manufacturer. But unfortunately, a quick Google search will come up empty time and time again.


Sourcing can feel overwhelming. You can’t find the right supplier. You’re met with endless suppliers who don’t fit your needs. You can’t negotiate a contract. You can’t figure out how to navigate the overseas world.


Below we’ll go through the main reasons you’re struggling to find a Chinese manufacturing partner… and what you can do to finally locate the perfect one.


1. Trading company domination

Most sellers want to work directly with factories. Sellers don’t want to go through a trading company or overseas middleman because these companies often work with lower-end sources and have little control over the import process. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; you’re being selective. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to forgo trading companies altogether due to their high rates of quality issues and problematic shipment timelines.


If you have been avoiding trading companies, you’re probably found it challenging to find a credible supplier who offers your products at a fair price. Or you might be finding it challenging to find any supplier at all.


Trading companies dominate the Chinese sourcing marketplace—especially in their contact with overseas sellers. These traders tend to have more access to their overseas clientele (like you) than factories do. In this way, a lot of factories hire trading companies to find their customers for them. If you want to work directly with a factory, you’re highly limiting the number of available sourcing partners.


2. Small factories

Specialty products are often produced by smaller factories. You might want to work with those smaller factories because they can create unique products and provide enhanced customer service to their clients.


However, these smaller manufacturers tend to have less access to overseas sellers, because they don’t have the resources or know-how to gain a strong global clientele.


They’re out there. But you can’t find them, and they can’t find you.


3. Language barrier

Many factories, especially smaller factories, don’t have an English-speaking staff. In this way, they won’t publish on English platforms where you may be searching for potential manufacturers. Instead, you’ll likely find trading companies, which are more likely to have English-speaking marketers.


For example, 1688.com is the Chinese Alibaba website. It’s the largest Chinese B2B platform and even has more suppliers than Alibaba. It’s filled with Chinese factories producing a plethora of products. But you need to know how to speak Chinese in order to understand 1688 (and Mandarin is not an easy language to learn).


4. Lack of marketing

Even if they have an individual on staff who can speak English, factories may not have the necessary resources to market online. They may not know how to promote themselves appropriately on sourcing platforms. Many small factories simply don’t understand how to navigate the world of SEO in a way that will get them noticed by sellers like you.


Just like Amazon or Google, Alibaba has its own search algorithm and optimization techniques. If a given factory doesn’t know the intricacies of Alibaba optimization, they won’t show up on the first pages of search results. Likely, you won’t look beyond those first pages, since most sellers assume that search results also indicate credibility and professionalism (which is not always the case).


5. Too many options

If you don’t mind working with a trading company, you may be facing a problem unique to those listed above. You might be feeling completely overwhelmed by the number of options available to you. When you go on to Alibaba or other sourcing websites, you’ll likely find thousands of potential manufacturing trading companies.


Where do you even begin narrowing them down? How do you find legitimate and credible trading companies? How do you choose the supplier that will help you grow in the long term?


The Solution

Overcoming these challenges boils down to one thing: stop doing it alone. You need support, backup, and connections in order to find the perfect overseas supplier. Stop trying to use Internet searches to choose a supplier.


You can gain connections through:


Ultimately, though, you need to find a sourcing partner. A sourcing firm will give you access to a number of quality factories while also helping you to choose the ideal supplier, overcome cross cultural barriers, and foster long-term relationships overseas. Ask Idea Sourcing even has a dual team, housed in both the U.S. and China, to ensure that finding a supplier is reliable, easy, and personable.


The Bottom Line

It can be an overwhelming process. You either can’t find factories because they’re too small and not properly marketing themselves or you’re overwhelmed with the number of trading companies available to you. Most sellers don’t know where to begin to make connections and find manufacturers in China.


Ask Idea Sourcing is here to ease that burden. Request a quote to get on the road to finding the perfect supplier today.

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