“How to find a sourcing agent in China?” is among the top questions we get asked from our clients; we’ll try to answer that in today’s blog post.
It is a popular and established fact that importing goods and products from China makes excellent business sense due to the country’s low manufacturing costs and low minimum order quantities. But you will find that sourcing from China, especially its largest small commodities market, better known as Yiwu, requires a lot of effort and expertise and can turn out to be a difficult endeavor; more so if you are unfamiliar with the Chinese culture and language. Searching for your ideal manufacturer / supplier in China is like looking for a needle in a haystack. This is where a skilled Yiwu agent can come to your aid.
If you hire the services of an expert procurement agency, it won’t even feel like you are dealing with a manufacturer or supplier in Yiwu because they handle everything on your behalf. Sourcing agents, being well-versed in the legalities of importing and exporting, know which inspection bodies are responsible and how formal certificates should be prepared, ensure that your documentation, licenses, and other paperwork are in place, and anticipate mistakes that can lead to delays.
How to find a sourcing agent in China markets that is reliable and efficient:
It’s all About Quality
Sourcing quality products from reliable suppliers ought to be your first priority, irrespective of whichever market you’re supplying to. Cheap products don’t always lead to profitability, especially if they are not up to the standard and desired quality. Therefore make sure to probe your prospective agents on what measures they have in place to deal with quality issues. Make it clear from the very beginning that you will not accept products below a desired standard.
Also, don’t forget to perform regular quality checks, as they are crucial to verify that your products are up to the mark and their quality is not compromised.
Find their Area of Expertise
China is composed of local specialized markets or industry clusters, which are groups of similar and related firms in a particular geographical area. Similarly, different sourcing agents also have different areas of expertise. You must check if the agent you’re settling on has prior experience in sourcing products that YOU are interested in. For example, if you’re looking to source electronics & tech gadgets from China, the best agent for you would be China Techmarket, as they have been specialists in the electronics business for decades!
Physical Office & Staffing
When choosing your Yiwu sourcing agent, it’s important to know whether they have a presence on the ground, an office in Yiwu. If yes, for how long? How many employees do they have?
Shortlist Yiwu agents that have a well-staffed office in the city, check out how long each office has been up and running, and choose an agent that has an excellent & proven track record.
Bear in mind that Logistics 9 has their HQ and has been operating from Yiwu for the past 20 years.
Pay Attention to Location
We’d advise that you go through the Google list of sourcing agents in China, and pay particular attention to the exact locations of these prospective agents. China is so huge that it should be considered in several regions instead of one; and the best agent will know exactly which province specializes in the product you are looking to source.
Keeping this in mind, Logistics 9 operates out of offices strategically located in the five major cities of China : Yiwu, Ningbo, Shantou, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.
Go for Higher Work Experience
Speaking of track records, it is always wise to choose an Yiwu agent that has several years of extensive experience of working in China as they will have a large network of reliable contacts vital to your business. Contacts in the market allows the agent to source a wide range of products. As a result, they are able to work out discounts and other offers that you would not be in a position to negotiate with a prospective supplier on your own.
You’ll need to find out:
- How long has the prospective Yiwu sourcing agent been working?
- Who were their past clients?
- Have they worked with clients from your country before?
If they’ve been in the industry long enough, some of them may have worked in trade or procurement roles for years; like CTM, which has been in the sourcing business for decades now, with over 40 years of experience in the China Electronics Trade & Commerce Industry!
Check their Language Proficiency
Sourcing agents are your business’s ambassadors and could be the center of your China manufacturing (and supplying) adventures. There is a huge difference in the way Chinese businesses and businesses elsewhere in the world operate, therefore your ideal Yiwu agent should be culturally responsive and proficient in multiple languages, especially English and Mandarin. It is preferable if their office staff is also trained in spoken & written English, as you may need to communicate with them directly at times. Also, don’t forget to observe their response time and whether they are quick to acknowledge your queries.
Did you know that Logistics 9 staff members are fluent in English, Mandarin, Hindi and Spanish (written as well as oral), allowing ease of communication with all of their clients. As Paul J. Meyer. once wrote: “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.”
Ask for References
Select a Yiwu sourcing agent that can give you authentic references from previous clients. Make sure you take the time to talk to these references and conduct a background check on their official websites, social handles, etc. Find out how long they have been working with the sourcing agent and the quality they provide. Ask them if they would recommend the best sourcing agent in China for you.
Licensing and Legalities
Businesses almost anywhere in the world are required to have a license to trade, but Chinese laws are even more stringent — wherein only entities with approved licenses for a specific business are allowed to run that certain business. Therefore, before you start working with any Yiwu sourcing agent, remember to verify their trade license. Ensure that they are a legally approved business, as often, your payments to suppliers will go through the sourcing agent, so it is extremely important that your agent is genuine.
Your Yiwu sourcing agent should be able to provide you with relevant documentation for your sourcing and shipping process, such as, Business Registration / ACRA, Bizsafe Certification, Bill of Lading, Certificate of Origin, Fumigation Certificate, CIQ, EN71, a detailed packing list, etc. The language on these documents should give you a fair idea of how well-versed the agent is with the entire process.
Unethical Yiwu agents who take pay-offs from suppliers may help you find a supplier quicker, but their product quality is often dubious. Make sure you only say go with a supplier that meets your quality and certification standards.
Many businesses hesitate from using sourcing agents for fear of unprofessionalism and unethical behavior. However, when you find an ideal agent, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
We hope you keep the above points in mind when choosing the best sourcing agent in China for your business.
It’s important to spend some time while choosing an ideal sourcing agent who’s a good fit for your requirements. Your business success depends on your choice…
If you have any queries, feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also whatsapp us at +85251800199 / Wechat: +8613676803399.
Meanwhile stay updated on the China markets, best sourcing agent practices and important Logistics updates, by watching this space for upcoming blog posts!