Export from China – How to Distinguish Real Manufacturers

Some weeks ago, one of my customers asked me to buy some clothes for him and he forwarded some contacts with screenshots from alibaba. I checked the contacts, however, the business type of nearly all of the contacts are Trading companies. It is really a headache for me as there are pros and cons buying from trading companies rather than real manufacturers, so I replied: ARE YOU LOOKING FOR TRADING COMPANIES TO MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS?

Regardless of price aspect, there are obviously some pros of dealing with trading companies. Usually trading companies have professional sales staff with proficient English skills, conversation skills with customers and the factory, you can have things done more fluently to some extent with the help of trading companies since some factories do not have overseas staff and even if they have, few have professional marketing staff or production staff with good English language skills.

However, if price is a vital factor for you and you want to deal directly with the factory, it is better to examine carefully.

How to tell manufacturers from trading companies?

1. On Site Check by the Third Party

If you get the contacts of the suppliers online such as from alibaba or globalsource, it is easy to see whether the supplier is a real manufacturer or a trading company. Check the verification and see the business type, if it is stated as a manufacturer, then it would not be wrong because alibaba and globalsource have already checked the suppliers for you.

2. Paper Check

If you are still not sure whether the supplier is a real manufacturer or not, you can ask the supplier to show you some paper certificates including business license, registered trademark, etc.

Sometimes it is easy to tell from the names. Usually for manufacturers, the company name ends with “Factory”. Another exception is that the names might not end with “Factory”, for instance, a factory engaging in manufacturing garments would be named as xxx Garment Co. ltd, factory specialized in electronics might be named as xxx Technology Co. ltd.

If the company name ends with “Trading Company”, then about 90% of the companies are anything but manufacturers. Very very few factories would use the name of “Trading Company”.

3. On Site Check by Yourself

I do not mean to offend anyone especially my customers but sometimes I do feel very intensely that it is an insult for me.

A case in point:

A few days ago I accompanied Pakistan customers to a factory, which they have contacted before coming to Guangzhou.

Three sales staffs with very good language skills picked us up from the hotel.

Actually, it is very easy for an interpreter in Guangzhou for so many years to tell they are from trading companies and were taking the customers to visit the factory they cooperate with.

First, I consult with the customers, actually their company name ends with “Trading Company” and I check online, their company is also verified as trading company by the third party.

Second, when we are on the way to the factory, one of the sales staff was making a call to the factory to confirm about the way to the factory, manufacturing, etc. It is easy to tell from some words used in their conversations if your mother language is Mandarin or Cantonese. For example: the use of “you 你们”, “we 我们”, it is obvious the factory is their cooperated partner.

Third, when we arrive at the factory, I checked the certificate and factory name. The factory name has nothing to do with the name of the trading company.

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