How to Identify the “Best Fit” Chinese Supplier/Manufacturer

The Best Fit Chinese Supplier

In this highly competitive world, there are many possible Chinese suppliers and manufacturers for your goods. It can be difficult to identify the “best fit” to meet specific needs and requirements when you buy direct from China.

In an April 2019 blog, we addressed a similar issue: How-to of Qualifying Suppliers in China. The question remains:

Once suppliers have been qualified, how do importers know which one will be the best fit for their company?

Doing the leg work up front while understanding the pitfalls and challenges will prevent headaches down the road. Any costs that may be incurred by researching and asking questions first can potentially save importers from expensive problems later due to making the wrong choice.

Many importers are already aware of the various factors that qualify or eliminate a Chinese supplier. But what do you do with that information now?


Many conditions should be evaluated based on specific industries and needs when you buy direct from China. These are a few that usually apply across many industries and products:

  • Capacity: Is working with a factory that spans several city blocks, manufacturing products for many companies across various industries a priority? This type of factory may certainly have the capacity to fit a large range of products into their manufacturing line, but where will their priority be? How much attention will they give a smaller order? Importers will want to choose the factory that is of an appropriate size for their order. Does the factory have the capacity to scale as demand grows? Although importers do not want their products to be low on their priority list, they also want to ensure that they will have room to grow.
  • Reputation: Who are other companies talking about in the industry? Avoid working with a Chinese supplier who is brand new, and instead review the company’s reputation and history as a supplier.
  • Experience: Is it important to you that the Chinese supplier has manufactured similar products? Importers should also consider what type of quality is expected and whether the supplier will be equipped to meet those expectations.
  • Location: Customers today are looking for instant gratification. What will the turnaround time be from order placement to shipping? How much will the shipping cost? Will the cost outweigh the first cost savings?
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Based on individual company values and expectations, some things may be non-negotiable when it comes to CSR. Can the Chinese supplier hold up to company standards and those of its customers?

As you can see, there are many relevant factors to consider when selecting a Chinese supplier. We suggest making a list of those parameters that will make the most sense for your product and your customers and evaluate each manufacturer against them.

We guarantee you that you will be very happy that you put in the effort upfront to select the right Chinese supplier for your product. Your customers will also thank you!

By Jocelyn Trigueros

Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in October 2019.

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