One of the most essential steps for startups with a product to sell is creating a product prototype, a three-dimensional version that turns your idea into reality. It’s a quite challenging step, however, it can also be fun and rewarding.
Some companies would like to keep production local, however, most opt for factories in China for mass production. If you are looking for manufacturers in China to make the first product prototype and for mass production, here’re a few tips especially for startups or Amazon FAB sellers with tight budget.
To the best of my knowledge there’re five ways you can find suppliers in China for product prototyping:
- Source from international alibaba, you can communicate directly with English speaking sales representatives either from trading companies or factories, however, you will usually get prices for foreigners which tend to be at least 30% higher.
- Suppliers on aliexpress offer much better price including shipping but some might not be able to build prototype for you. If you are not requiring too much changes on the existing items, it’s more accessible. However, most sellers on aliexpress are just retailers and the price there is already very low. It would require lots of ground works and depends on how you negotiate with the suppliers.
- Find a sourcing agent in China. There are lots of local buying agents in China or sourcing agents owned by expats. You can outsource it to a reliable China sourcing agent.
- Search on China alibaba www.1688.com, the prices tend to be at least 30%-200% lower than alibaba.com, if you don’t understand Chinese, the most cost-efficient way is to find a Chinese translator/China sourcing assistant from freelancer/peopleperhour…to help you communicate with the suppliers and arrange quality control, shipping, etc.
- Go to China. There’re loads of factories and wholesale markets in China especially in Guangzhou and Shenzhen.