5 Reasons Why You Can’t Find Factories in China
Many importers who are purchasing products from China want to find real factory suppliers, not any middle men or trading companies, though this is not an easy task.
The topic “how to find factory in China” is discussed frequently in many Facebook/LinkedIn groups and trading forums that related to “import from China”. But unfortunately most answers are useless, such as visit China in person, or search Gold Supplier on Alibaba. There is no solution that can really work after me searching all related topics on Internet.
However, I found that there is no one thinking about “Why we are not able to find factories”, which I think it’ll make more sense than just asking “How to find factories”. And only when you know the main reasons of failing, then you will figure out the best way to get the factory.
In this article, I’m going to explain why Chinese factories in certain industries are too difficult to find, and what kind of factories are more likely to be discovered.
1.Language and Cultural Barriers, factories Didn’t Publish Their Information on English Website.
All foreign importers, no matter they can speak Chinese or not, are all sourcing suppliers on B2B platforms such as Alibaba or Global Sources, or searching on Google. So if a factory doesn’t have any staff who knows English, then it’s impossible for them to publish their products information on English website. So there is no way for foreign importers to find them.
It’s very common in China that no one can speak English in a small-scale factory, and most staffs are doing work related to products and production, and dealing with domestic trading companies. Because they think that it’s expensive and not very easy to build an English sales team.
For example, you have to pay about USD 4,000 annually as the member fee, then you can publish products on Alibaba, which is the so called “Gold Supplier”. Also, you need to pay at least USD 7,000 every year for employing a full-time English sale, and it’s only for basic salary. If his working ability is not like you expected, you may get no order.
So some of our supplier have no English-speaking salesman and only works with domestic trading companies. Their targeted customers are Chinese trading companies, so they would like to publish their information on Chinese websites, such as 1688.com (Chinese Alibaba website, belongs to Alibaba Group), which is the largest Chinese B2B platform in China and has more suppliers than Alibaba.com. One interesting thing is that many suppliers on Alibaba usually go to 1688.com for finding their suppliers.
But it’s very difficult for foreign importers to source suppliers directly on 1688.com. First you must speak Chinese as mother tongue or knows Chinese very well. Second you need to be quite familiar with all kinds of Chinese suppliers. Because trading company suppliers on 1688.com are even more than factories, it’s harder to distinguish them than searching on Alibaba.com.
2.Your Products are Unusual, Specialized or Customized
It is not equally difficult to find the right Chinese manufacturer for all types of products. This is true for many different reasons. If you are importing products that are made frequently in China, such as t-shirts, you will have many more manufacturing options to choose from than if you are seeking to get a specialized product produced. Notably, many of China’s largest manufacturing firms focus solely on mass producing common consumer products (like t-shirts or shoes), meaning that smaller manufacturing firms handle more specialized or unique products. Of course, these smaller firms are inherently difficult to find.
3.Factories Don’t Know Online Marketing
Even though some factories are Alibaba members and have published products there, it doesn’t mean they certainly will be searched by foreign importers. Because there are many skills to be ranked in the first page of Alibaba searching result, such as keywords settings and Pay for Per Click, which is similar to Google AdWords. Trading companies know more and better than these factories about these skills which help them to be easily searched by importers.
It’s even more difficult to be searched on Google than on Alibaba for factories. Factories must have their own English website, and do SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) works such as marketing on Facebook or LinkedIn, to increase the probability of being searched. Trading companies also send developing letters to potential customers that searched on Google.
That’s why most small factories cannot be found by importers even they are publishing products on Alibaba. Besides, some small factories reply Alibaba’s inquiries very slow, which may make the importers feel like they are not reliable and professional so that ignore them. So there’s one tips for you: those suppliers who are replying you slow, or difficult to communicate with, maybe they are the factory.
Read more about how to find reliable & suitable supplier from alibaba.
4. Factory Keeps All Information in Secret If Product Has Patent or Copyright Issue
It’s universally acknowledged that China is producing all kinds copycat products and exporting every corner of the world. Once there’s a hot-selling products in the market, maybe electronics or even a tooth brush, Chinese factories will start to copy it and sell cheap price. The interesting thing is, in a lot circumstance, importers don’t know the product is a copycat.
It’s usually quite difficult for imports to find real factories of this kind of products as involving patent or copyright issues. These small factories often work with domestic trading companies so that can export this kind of products to other countries. So most importers are buying from trading companies, rather than from real factories.
This circumstance often occurs in lots of electronic products manufactured in Shenzhen. For instance, an automobile recorder we sourced for one European customer. I chose the best price among more than 20 suppliers, but he told me that the products were produced by his friend and entrust him to sell. He also claimed that he won’t take any customers to visit the producing workshop as it need to be kept as secrecy.
5.You Do Not Know Whom to Trust
Finally, for those without connections on the ground in China, there is a huge trust issue to manage. Put simply, it is hard to know which Chinese companies are truly reliable and can make quality products for your business. This inherent lack of trust and difficulty in researching firms creates friction in the trade process. This is an area where an experienced China sourcing agent can prove to be extraordinarily valuable.
Most importers want to bypass the middle men or trading companies and purchase directly from factories, but not every importers can actually make it. In this case, you’d better find more suppliers (no matter middles or trading companies) and compare them to select most suitable one. Or you can attend some fairs which is the best way to find factories, such as Canton Fair, Global Sources Fair, etc.