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Written by Marijn Overvest | Reviewed by Sjoerd Goedhart | Fact Checked by Ruud Emonds | Our editorial policy

China Sourcing — The Ultimate Guide of 2024

Key takeaways
  • China sourcing is the act of searching for a supplier in China to acquire goods or services.
  • While China offers cost advantages, language barriers, and business practices can be challenging. Hiring skilled sourcing agents can be the solution.
  • Dispel myths about Chinese product quality. Many suppliers offer high-quality products at reasonable prices.

Chinese product sourcing is popular with many professionals in the field of procurement. Do you know why? Because it is the country that sells more manufactured goods than any other country! China is often called the world’s factory due to its strong and huge manufacturing sectors. 

For this article, we will discuss what China Sourcing is. We will check how sourcing in China can be best for businesses. Also, we will share some tips when sourcing goods or services in China. Furthermore, we will present some of the best sourcing entities in China. 

Once you finish reading this article, you will have a deeper understanding of how to source products in China. You will know how to analyze which supplier is good to be a business partner. Additionally, this type of sourcing will allow you to save more to develop your company’s future. 

I have created a free-to-download editable culture and negotiations — Asia template. It’s a PowerPoint file that can help with your sourcing approach in Asian countries like China. I even included a video where I’ll explain how you can use this template.

Whatis China Sourcing?

Many of us know what sourcing means. It is the act of searching for a supplier that can deliver the best goods or services for a company. It involves finding quality goods and services for the best possible price. Therefore, if we connect it with China, we will get the main idea of China sourcing. 

China sourcing is the act of searching for a supplier in China to acquire goods or services. It is not surprising that many professionals source in China due to its low costs. 

Sourcing in China is the best decision if the organization wants to reduce costs when it comes to acquiring materials.

China offers low-cost materials which are why it is very popular in the trade industry. However, language barriers and some business practices can be challenging for foreign buyers. 

When this happens, foreign buyers would seek help from a sourcing agent or agency in China. This makes their life easy because they do not need to personally negotiate anymore with the Chinese suppliers or manufacturers.

Should you usea Sourcing Agent?

When you start to buy in China, the first thing that will come into your mind is, “Can I manage this myself?”

Of course, it is valid to be scared of sourcing in China as you do not have any idea how to start. But do not worry, we are here for you!

The table below are the advantages and disadvantages that can help you decide if you want to employ a sourcing agent:

Sourcing agents in China have a vast network that you can use.
Sourcing agents have mastered the art of negotiation which can help you when communicating with the supplier.
The organization will be able to break the language barrier through
When you are employing a sourcing agent, there is a high risk of secret commissions.
Sourcing agents have more control over the relationship with suppliers.
Sourcing agents may switch suppliers without you knowing if it benefits them more.

Reasons Why You Should Consider Sourcing in China

Discover how and why sourcing in China is a strategic game-changer, offering high-quality products that defy misconceptions, a plethora of supplier options for optimal value, and the cost-effective allure of a labor-rich market.

1. High-quality of products

There is a myth about Chinese products being fragile enough that it does not last for a long time. This is the reason why many people think that Chinese products are not of good quality. 

However, this is far from the truth. Many professionals have already found different suppliers in China that offer high-quality products. The suppliers will deliver the expected quality of materials to the organization at a reasonable price. 

2. Wide supplier options

China is known for its wide array of factories and industries working in numerous different cities. It is one of the largest countries that have many manufacturers. 

Due to this, you can choose from different suppliers that will give you the best value for your money. The same is true that you can select from different manufacturers if you are going to get your product manufactured. 

3. Labor costs are low

Labor costs are one of the factors that determine the selling price of a product. As China has the biggest population in the world, it is common to find labor at a low cost. 

When you source in China, you can find skilled laborers at low prices. Even if you are away, you do not have to worry about the money you have spent. The sourcing agent or agency that you employed will take care of everything for you. 

Tips When Sourcingin China

To utilize and get the best of sourcing in China, ensuring the utmost benefits of it, here are some tips to be taken note of:

1. Look for the right suppliers

In every sourcing process, you must first find the right supplier. You need to look for the right suppliers who understand all your needs and requirements. 

There is no good or bad supplier, it all comes down to your decision of which supplier is suitable for you.

2. Verify the Supplier

The last thing that an organization would like to incur is procurement fraud when finding suppliers. To avoid this, you must verify suppliers and the organization must ask for its credentials to check their reliability.

In addition, the organization must take note of the supplier’s experience in the manufacturing of products. The organization must look if the supplier can offer the proper range of products. 

The organization can also ask the previous clients of the supplier to verify if it has done well with its responsibility. 

3. Ask for Samples

Before the organization places its order, it must first ask for a sample of products. The samples that you will check will enable you to decide if you will order or not. The samples will tell you if it suits the quality and requirement that you expect.

4. Communicate always with your supplier

When sourcing in China, The organization must consider that there are language and cultural barriers to overcome. Even if the supplier can provide English-speaking customer services, many issues can be traced down due to communication errors.

Of course, communication errors are unintentional. However, the organization must take note of this to avoid delays and costly mistakes

5. Quality control inspections

Even if you already have an agreement with the supplier, you must not be complacent. You will always need to conduct quality inspections to ensure that it meets your expectations. 

Mistakes to AvoidWhen Sourcing in China

Being blinded by the benefits of sourcing in China is risky. To ensure that you get what you’re looking for, it’s vital to avoid these mistakes:

1. Failure to develop a good sourcing strategy

A good sourcing strategy is important when sourcing from China. Being able to know all the transactions will lessen the risk of delays and overspending. 

Therefore, it is important to build defined goals and requirements for every transaction.

2. Not ordering product samples

We often hear that action speaks louder than words. The same is true that the organization should not believe that everything that they will deliver is perfect. 

This allows the manufacturers to familiarize themselves with the requirements of the organization.

3. Focus only on pricing

Price should not always be the factor when sourcing in China. The emphasis on costs can take away the focus on building the products of the organization. 

Of course, low-balling suppliers are not good if you intend to have a good relationship with the buyer. You must take into consideration that the low price should not affect the quality of the materials. 

At the end of the day, the organization must remember that if the price is too good to be true, then it is. 

4. Not hiring a sourcing agent

It is okay not to hire sourcing agents if you are familiar with how to source your materials in China. However, if you do not know where to start, then it is a must to hire one. 

You should not try sourcing in China just because you think you can. You should know that it takes a level of experience and skills to successfully transact in China.


China Sourcing sheds light on the significance of Chinese product sourcing in the realm of procurement. China’s status as the world’s leading manufacturer, often referred to as the “world’s factory,” makes it a compelling choice for businesses aiming to acquire goods at competitive prices. The article also explored the concept of China sourcing, providing insights into its advantages, challenges, and the crucial decision of whether to use a sourcing agent. Readers are equipped with valuable tips on selecting the right suppliers, verifying credentials, and navigating potential pitfalls in the sourcing process.

This not only demystifies common misconceptions about Chinese product quality but also emphasizes the diverse supplier options, low labor costs, and the role of sourcing agents in facilitating successful transactions. By offering practical tips and highlighting mistakes to avoid, this empowers navigation of the complexities of China sourcing, fostering informed decision-making and successful business partnerships.

Frequentlyasked questions

What is China Sourcing?

China sourcing refers to the act of searching for a supplier in China to acquire goods or services.

Why do professionals source in China?

People source in China due to the low costs of materials and labor. Additionally, professionals source in china due to multiple suppliers available.

What entities can help me source in China?

The entities that can help you in sourcing in China are the sourcing agencies and agents.

About the author

My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics