Finding Reliable Manufacturers in China

22.08.2017 |

Episode #2 of the course Fundamentals of importing physical products from China by Damir Serbečić


Reliable and qualitative suppliers are the foundation of any successful long-term business. Whether you are doing private labeling, drop shipping, or wholesale, if you fail at this part, then your whole business will most likely suffer throughout its journey.

There is nothing worse than changing suppliers when your business is growing and generating large sales volumes.

In this lecture, you’ll learn the steps for selecting qualitative and reliable suppliers overseas using


Gold Supplier Membership

“Gold supplier” is a premium membership for suppliers on

Suppliers who have a gold supplier badge are more trustworthy than those who are regular members. This is because gold suppliers have to pay a premium membership fee that ranges from $3,500 up to $6,500 per year, depending on the supplier’s location.

The more years a supplier has been a gold member, the more trustworthy they are. You can see how long a supplier has been a gold member by looking at the number shown on their gold supplier badge.

For example: A supplier who has been a gold member for 7 years is likely to be more reliable than a supplier who has been a gold member for 1 year.

But that’s not always the case.

I always tend to select suppliers who have been gold members for at least 5 years.

Regular members don’t have to pay for selling on Alibaba, so gold memberships already wipe out a good portion of suppliers who are not taking their business seriously.

Gold membership is the most important reliability indicator on Alibaba!

I recommend that you never deal with suppliers who don’t have a gold membership badge.

To filter suppliers who have gold memberships, just select the Gold Supplier checkbox at the top of Alibaba’s search results page.


Assessed by Third-Party Company

Has a supplier been assessed by a third-party inspection company?

At the top of Alibaba’s search results page, select the Assessed Supplier checkbox to refine the search and see only assessed suppliers.

Every supplier who has been assessed by a third-party inspection company has an Assessment report, which can be downloaded for free on the supplier’s Alibaba storefront page.


Trade Assurance

Does a supplier accept Trade Assurance?

Trade Assurance is a free service by that’s designed to help create trust between buyers and suppliers.

We will learn more about this service in upcoming lectures.

At the top of Alibaba’s search results page, select the Trade Assurance checkbox to refine the search even further.



Sampling should NEVER be skipped!

If you don’t live in China, then samples are your only way to feel the workmanship and material quality of a product.

Expect to pay high shipping fee for samples. Never use the free shipping method to receive samples because you will look unprofessional, and the supplier might decide to not continue working with you.

ALWAYS order samples before placing large orders.



If a supplier’s sales agent has a hard time understanding your needs and solving your problems, then either hire a scouting agent who natively speaks Chinese or don’t work with that supplier.

The supplier should be available for questions and assistance every working day. Communication should be smooth and professional. If you have a hard time communicating with a supplier from the start, then it may lead to more problems in the future.


Payment Methods

Stay away from suppliers who ONLY accept Western Union. Every reliable supplier should offer several payment methods.

Western Union is mostly used by frauds!

It’s not a problem if supplier accepts Western Union as one of many payment methods; the problem is when Western Union is the ONLY payment method.


Willingness to Accept Third-Party Inspection Companies

If a supplier is willing to accept a third-party inspection company to inspect final products before you make the rest of the payment, then that is a strong sign you are dealing with a reliable and quality supplier.

There you have it!

Go ahead and perform a few searches using these criteria.

Now you should have a basic understanding of how to find reliable suppliers on Alibaba.

Tomorrow, you’ll learn proven ways to spot the differences between a middleman (trader) and a real manufacturer.





Recommended book

The Official Success Guide: Insider Tips and Strategies for Sourcing Products from the World’s Largest B2B Marketplace by Brad Schepp, Debra Schepp


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