How to Buy from China?

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In general, there are 2 types for foreigners to buy from China abroad, 1 is to be in China and the other 1 is not to be in China, In this article, we will talk from these perspectives to discuss the old topic of how to buy from China.

1. Go to China and make the purchase

Now let’s think about the situation before the internet was used widely. Back in the year 2000 around, the internet was not utilized by the ordinary, if someone wants to import from China, the only way to do this is to go to China and make the purchase there directly. Even though the internet is used by everyone, trade exhibitions are still a good way to procure from China.

1.1 Import via Canton Fair or other exhibitions in China

In this way, buyers have to come to China and attend the fair. A good schedule is necessary because it’s a long business trip to China, everything has to be prepared and settled down so that there will be a good result from the journey.

The trade shows were the best and the only way to connect sellers and buyers without the internet, there were no other options. By attending the fairs, buyers all over the world can compare and select suppliers who are from everywhere in China, both parties communicate, discuss and negotiate the deal face to face, it is the most effective and efficient way to do business.

Nowadays, trade shows do not decline instead of rising. China is developing its trade fairs all the time, some cities are doing great on this, like Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, there are also famous good shows in Hongkong. Canton Fair is the most famous important trade show in China, the full name of Canton Fair is China Import and Export Fair which started in 1957, it opens twice in Spring and Autumn, by its largest scale and exhibit variety, Canton Fair gains a good reputation among buyers all over the world. Shanghai and Shenzhen are also doing well these years, they are developing specific business industry fields such as electronics, building materials. etc.

1.2 Purchase from the markets

There are many professional wholesale markets in cities like Guangzhou, Yiwu, and Shenzhen. Since buyers are already in China, they can go to the markets to source what they are looking for. Normally, the markets are divided into particular specialized places, there are shoe markets, apparel markets, tea markets, textile fabric markets, and so on. Buyers can check the quality, communicate and negotiate the deal in the seller’s store, most of the sellers in the markets have their factories, and through their small stores in the market, they connect buyers worldwide. It’s the most efficient way to make the purchase, while the hard part is to select the qualified and the most suitable one because there are too many choices there. It takes time to distinguish, however, the efforts are worth a good deal.

1.3 Buy from specific suppliers in China

Some Chinese suppliers may attend trade shows out of China, buyers can get their catalogs and contacts in their booths. After verifying the qualifications of the suppliers, some big serious buyers may come to China and visit the chosen factories. In other circumstances, buyers may get suppliers’ information through other ways like friend recommendations, and suppliers’ online advertisements. In this way, buyers are in China and make the purchase from a specific supplier.

2. Buy through the internet.

The Internet is the most important invention in the 21st century, by using the internet, it becomes much easier and more convenient to make a purchase than ever before. We don’t need to make a careful plan to fly to visit the suppliers in China, it just needs a click, lots of vendors’ information is displayed in front of us, amazing!

2.1 Order from the online marketplaces like Alibaba

When buyers turn to the online marketplaces, almost everyone thinks about Alibaba which is the largest wholesale platform belonging to the Alibaba group in the world. The company was established in 1999 by Jack Ma who was a legendary entrepreneur, with the great mission” To make it easy to do business anywhere”, the company grows into a giant now. I think many people outside China know Alibaba much better than they know China, Alibaba is almost equal to imports from China. Actually, there are also other online wholesale platforms from China, like, and Global Sources, compared to Alibaba, there are much smaller and have less influence. I will talk about the B2B platforms from China in another article in detail. We can not only acquire product and supplier information by searching a keyword or uploading an image of the product but also can make a transaction directly on Alibaba, there is a Trade Assurance service for free to protect the orders, we do not need to be an expert in importing from China, even we do not need to have any experience of that, we can do business and make a purchase easily. Of course, we should be very careful and pay attention to the information we found to make a satisfactory deal.

2.2 Through Google search or other search engines

By using the Google search engine or other search engines, we can get a lot of suppliers’ websites, this is the direct way to contact suppliers. After comparing and verifying, buyers get in touch with the qualified supplier for a potential business deal in the future. Unlike the Alibaba platform, we have to check everything by ourselves, and there is no trade assurance service provided by the platform. Normally, big buyers with experience source for suppliers in this way, and they can get good results. As a matter of fact, lots of Chinese manufacturers do not own their official websites, only a few factories build their English websites, and to some extent, these factories have more advantages than those who do not own an official website. Usually, buyers can have better communications with the suppliers who have a website since they know better about marketing. After confirming everything, buyers can also go to China or ask someone to do an onsite inspection before orders to avoid something unexpected.

2.3 With the help of a sourcing agent

This is an indirect approach to buying from China, we don’t need to go to China or spend much time comparing and selecting on Alibaba. The only thing we have to do is to find a reputable and reliable sourcing agent, give them our demand in detail and let them do what they are specialized in. The key point is how and where to find this sourcing agent? I will not answer this serious question in this article instead of in another one. Sourcing agents earn their profit by providing their sourcing and buying services, they handle all from the beginning to the end in most cases, they are professional in some particular fields such as specializing in apparel, textile fabric, home appliances, etc. What’s more? They have established a good relationship with some manufacturers and can get a better price and a lower MOQ than we do ourselves. The network they build and their working experience ensures they are competitive and they can make value for customers. Therefore, this is another good choice for buyers to make a purchase from China.

We can attend Canton Fair or go to the wholesale market to make a purchase, we can use online platforms or use search engines to do business with Chinese suppliers, and we can also work with a sourcing agent to help us import from China. There is no good or bad strategy, we just find the one which suits us best and can improve our business, no matter whether it is a black cat or a white cat, the one that has the ability to catch mice is a good cat.

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