In addition to having the largest population in the world, China is also the place to source all kinds of products and goods, at cheap prices, with shipping and delivery thrown in. You could be a retailer or wholesale supplier looking for new products to add to your business catalog, or you can also be an individual who is interested in buying directly from Chinese suppliers, cutting down the middlemen and agents who add their own commissions or earnings to drive up prices. Whatever the reason, here are some very interesting and helpful suggestions on how you can buy products directly from China.
Select the products you want to source. The range of products which you can buy directly from China range from apparel to jewelry, home appliances, hardware, heavy equipment, electronics, art, crafts, etc. Make a list of all the products for which you would like a steady and reliable source of supply from China. Look for items that are popular and in demand, or trendy and fashionable or, are utility items for which there is always a ready market demand. If you are buying for your own needs, the same rules will apply as well.
Searching for suppliers. There are numerous ways in which you can source out potential suppliers for the products you are looking to buy. First and foremost, go through various business-to-business directories which are available both online and offline. You can narrow down your search criteria to throw up only China-based manufacturers and suppliers. Another way is to get a listing of various Chinese companies and research each company individually.
Web directories. Browse through large web directories which specialize in Chinese products. Some examples of such web directories are Alibaba.com, Made in China.com and Global Sources.com. These directories will help you locate both verified and unverified suppliers and manufacturers.
Visit company websites or use the "contact us" information. Once you've made a list of companies, look through the catalog of products provided in the web directory itself, or visit the company's website if the link is available, or make use of the telephone numbers or email addresses provided in the directory. Contact the companies one by one and collect all relevant information in terms of product range, price, shipping and delivery, minimum consignment requirements, etc. Compare all the offerings against each other and select the best to sign up with and get started. Here, it is always helpful to keep a back-up supplier in place, in case the chosen supplier is unable to meet your requirements.
Product sampling and related enquiries. Many of the companies or suppliers may be willing to provide samples of the products you are seeking. For example, if you are interested in buying T-shirts, you can ask for samples in all sizes and colors, which the suppliers will send, or they might send you a couple of samples and a detailed product catalog listing the varieties. When it comes to electronics, appliances or machinery of any kind, ask for detailed specs.
Setting up transport and delivery. Some companies may have their own shipping and delivery systems, and all you may need to do, is to accept delivery when the items arrive. In other instances, opening up an account with FedEx or UPS will be appropriate, or you can sign up with freight forwarders when it comes to larger loads of merchandise.
Payments. For small ticket items, you will be required to make an upfront payment, in these instances, it is better to utilize the mechanism and services instituted by directories such as Alibaba. For larger items, you can work out escrow payments or payment in installments - some amount paid upfront and the balance on delivery in good and intact conditions.
You should now be able to get started with buying goods from China directly, with the help of the guidelines listed above. Make sure to find out about any taxes or duties involved in importing bulk merchandise, there is usually no requirements in terms of small consignments or individual deliveries.