When sourcing products from China, you can either go through this process on your own or through one of your employees. However, working with an expert, who is located in the Middle Kingdom will add much value, including

1)Save time & money and increase efficiency

2)Source high-quality products at an affordable price

3)Avoid misunderstandings due to language & cultural differences

4)On-site audits and verification of certificates to avoid scammers

5)Risk minimization

  1. Save time & money and increase efficiency

In business, time is the most valuable resource. With it, you can always create more value and money. Don’t waste it! Yes, a China sourcing agency doesn’t work free of charge. But with their expertise, you can avoid time-consuming and expensive mistakes. They already have an extensive network of partners and knowledge of the Chinese sourcing market, from which you can benefit.

Since they are located in mainland China, and regularly travel between the major business hubs, they can visit potential factories or sourcing partners for your needs quickly and easily. Their job is to get you the best deal, which is normally in the agents’ best interest as it is often part of their payment (commission).

  1. Source high-quality products at an affordable price

As a Western company, you are typically looking for competitive buying prices at a good to high quality. Sourcing agents are experienced in working with international companies and therefore know their general requirements well. They know the kind of information and structure you require to sign a sourcing contract and be satisfied with the deliverable.

  1. Avoid misunderstandings due to cultural differences

Sourcing agents speak Chinese, so they can speak and negotiate with potential producers/factories directly and without the need for a translator. This avoids misunderstandings, which often occur in particular in China/Chinese due to the very different language and culture.

But more importantly, a Chinese sourcing agent is familiar with the etiquette of doing business in China, including negotiations. There are many more pitfalls than you may expect. Likewise, sourcing agents speak English very well and can provide you with proposals and product details in your language.

  1. On-site audits and verification of certificates to avoid scammers

Most Chinese suppliers are honest and happy to do business with large international companies and brands. But like in every industry, there are black sheep.

Due diligence is an important aspect in doing business everywhere, but in particular, if you are on a different continent and collaborating with a supplier or partner for the first time.

A local sourcing agent can easily visit the factory, do on-site checks, verify their documents and audits. Likewise, a sourcing expert has experience with the international logistics processes and knows which kind of documents are typically needed at airports and seaports, and how to prepare them in a way that they will be accepted immediately, including ISO certificates and taxes.

This is when working with experienced suppliers, who have these kinds of certifications, pays off, even if their per-unit price is a little higher compared to a smaller non-experienced supplier who is unfamiliar with international standards.

  1. Risk minimization

You have your own experience when buying personal products from abroad. There’s always a certain unknown when purchasing products from Asia. The suppliers are far away and not only through the language barrier there is an ample chance of misunderstanding. Or even worse, some so-called businessmen or -women may even set out to scam others on purpose.

So, how do you prevent this risk and ensure that your partners are legitimate, reliable, and trustworthy, fulfilling the agreed deliverable? That’s right, an experienced agency, who is oftentimes registered and has a reputation to lose, can help you to take care of your due diligence.

We also recommend ensuring the supplier you’ve selected is the actual manufacturer and not sourcing out your order to a third-party supplier. And if this is the case, you are made aware of it transparently and can check the credentials of this third-party supplier.

How China Sourcing Agents Make Money

Of course, no one works for free. With all the added benefits that sourcing agents provide there are several pricing models for sourcing agents in China. The most common ones are:

1)Flat fee per sourcing project (most common)

2)Hourly rate

3)Commission on price difference or product value

Our Tips for You

1)No matter which pricing model you choose, make sure to define the scope clearly (time, deliverable, etc.), what is included in the sourcing project, and what is not.

2) Avoid sourcing agents who work on kickback commissions with the manufacturer, as they will be less likely to take your side in case of a conflict of interest.

Questions to Ask Potential Sourcing Agents/Companies

  • Where do you have your office? Which cities do you regularly visit?
  • How long have you been operating?
  • Which product categories/industries are you most experienced with?
  • How many partner manufacturers/factories do you have and where are they located?
  • Please provide a list of references of international brands including contact information.
  • Is your business registered? If yes, in China or elsewhere?

7)What are your payment terms and methods?

This brings us to the end of this introduction on the benefits of working with Chinese sourcing agents, and everything else you need to know about this topic.

A China sourcing agent or company links international buyers with reliable suppliers in China. Whether your company is new to importing products from China or needs specialty products or high quantities – a Chinese sourcing agent or company will link you to the best suppliers in China.