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Purchasing in China

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Purchasing in China is not an easy process for buyers who are not on site. Of course, China offers a wide range of suppliers for each product, but then you have to be able to make the right choice among them and especially avoid scams.

The question that most buyers ask themselves is how to buy safely in China?

If you want to purchase in China and understand the process of buying in China, you are in the right place. In this article we will look at how to buy in China and why, as well as how to secure your purchases in China.

Steps to buy in China

Purchasing in China can be complex when you don’t know anything about it. We will explain the different steps involved in the buying process in China.

Step 1. Supplier identification

The first step when we want to buy in China is to find a Chinese supplier able to manufacture our products. The identification of suppliers will be divided into 2 phases that we will detail.

Prospecting of suppliers

Finding suppliers in China is easy nowadays with the development of platforms like Alibaba, Made In China, etc. You just have to type your product in the search bar and thousands of results will appear offering you a large choice of suppliers. However, you must carefully analyze the potential Chinese suppliers because there are many scams on these websites.

The second possibility to find a Chinese supplier is to go to thematic fairs in China like the Canton Fair for example. These exhibitions gather many suppliers and you can exchange with them and get business cards.

The objective is to identify a maximum of suppliers in order to make a more precise selection according to your criteria. This can be by price, quality, production time, etc.

Finding Chinese suppliers is one step, the question is: are they reliable?

Supplier audit

Now that your list of Chinese suppliers is established, you must absolutely check their reliability.

How to be sure that a Chinese supplier is reliable? By conducting a factory audit.

A factory audit, by definition, is an audit of a production site. The objective is to send an inspector independent of the supplier to verify if the factory can produce the requested item. This is a crucial step in the success of your project to buy in China as it avoids bad surprises once production has started.

To summarize, there are 2 steps: first identify potential suppliers for a product (in directories, in fairs or by a professional service provider like Asiaction), and filter this list by selection criteria. And finally arrive at a short list of suppliers who are serious Chinese suppliers after conducting a factory audit.

Step 2. Product identification


Once the supplier is approved, it is recommended that you order a sample to ensure that the product meets your expectations.

We draw your attention to the fact that the quality of the products ordered afterwards cannot always be constant, so it is possible that the quality of your sample is suitable for you, but that afterwards there may be variations.

Generally speaking, ordering a sample allows you to get an idea of the quality of the products you will receive from this supplier. It is an additional security that will encourage you to work or not with this Chinese supplier.

Step 3. Mass production

With your sample, you are now ready to place an order with your supplier.  

You still have to validate the purchase conditions with your supplier and decide on the incoterms that will be used in order to identify the costs and responsibilities assigned to each. You can and should negotiate the price, MOQ, payment terms and production deadlines. Once all this is clear, the production can start!

Step 4. Post-production inspection

The purchase process in China is almost over, it’s not the time to screw up everything! That’s why some final checks are recommended before the goods leave the Chinese territory.  

Product inspection

One of the most important checks when buying from China is the quality control of your goods. By definition, quality control is the process designed to determine whether or not the inspected product meets the established specifications and requirements. Following this control, you decide whether or not the goods can be shipped. If the quality control reveals defects you are still able to request corrections.  

Who carries out the quality control? The inspection must be carried out by experts such as Asiaction who can visit the factory and inspect the goods according to precise specifications. Following the visit, you will receive a complete report allowing you to decide whether or not to send the goods. The quality control is a fundamental step in the purchase in China since it will ensure that the goods that will be delivered to you are compliant.

Packaging and loading supervision

The last check you can do is the loading of your goods in the chosen means of transport. You can perform a packing and loading supervision of your order in China. The respect of the packing list and the loaded quantities are checked, as well as the random opening of some boxes to make sure that the product corresponds to your order (size, color, etc.).  

By performing a supervision, you ensure that your order is compliant and avoid unpleasant surprises when receiving. 

Step 5. Delivery

Your production is finished, you have supervised the loading of your goods, now you have to organize the final step : the organization of the delivery.  

First of all, you need to determine which mode of transportation you want to use to import your goods from China.  

Note that for purchases in China, sea freight is the favored mode of transportation because its capacity is much higher than air freight. However, choosing the right transport can be an interesting question since sea freight and air freight both have their advantages and disadvantages.  

For sea freight, the capacities are larger, so it is more suitable for heavy loads.  

For air freight, it is generally more expensive but includes a transit time between 3 to 5 days against 21 to 30 days for sea freight. 

It’s up to you if you prefer speed over price.
Once you have decided, you must now compete with the freight forwarders’ prices and book a space for your goods.

To sum up, the buying process in China is complex and requires careful monitoring of each step to ensure the success of the purchase project.  

All these steps seem difficult to achieve by yourself? You can contact a purchasing office in China such as Asiaction which offers services ranging from the search for suppliers to the complete management of your order in China. By using a service provider, you ensure the security of all the steps of the purchasing process in China and you only have to focus on your sales. 

Secure your purchases in China

In concrete terms, what solutions exist to secure your purchases in China? 

As we saw during the stages of the purchasing process in China, there are several control points that ensure a follow-up of the actions that take place in China. The 4 main control points in purchasing in China are the following:  

1. Company verification before placing an order

This service tells you if the Chinese supplier you are going to work with is reliable or not. If he is serious, you can go to the next step, if not, you must find a new Chinese supplier. It is better to find out the seriousness of the supplier before working with him. 

2. Requesting samples before starting production

This service allows you to have an idea of the quality of the products you will receive with your Chinese supplier. If the sample does not suit you, you will not work with him and you will find another Chinese supplier. 

By ordering a sample before placing an order, you always have the possibility to go back if it doesn’t suit you. Without a sample, you don’t know what you will receive. 

3. The control of production before the departure of the goods from the Chinese territory

This service assures you that the goods are in conformity with your specifications before leaving the warehouse of the Chinese supplier. You still have the possibility to adjust the goods if necessary. 

The goods leave the Chinese territory only when you give the green light. 

4. Supervision of packing and loading

This service confirms that your goods are in the right container. Boxes are opened randomly to verify compliance with the packing list.

It is essential to secure your purchases in China because scams are real and the lack of visibility due to the distance makes communication and management of purchases in general very difficult.  

Why purchasing in China?

You may also ask yourself, what are the advantages of buying from China? We will list 4 main advantages of working with China.  

1. You can find everything in China

One of the main advantages of importing from China is the country’s large manufacturing industry. You have a wide choice in terms of quality, price range, type of products and minimum order quantity. Many options are available in China. 

2. Prices remain competitive on the world market

Since the Covid crisis, many buyers have decided to change direction and source their products elsewhere, using as a pretext the soaring cost of transport and raw materials. However, this price increase is not specific to China but is part of a global price increase. Buying in China is still a good solution.  

3. You can buy in large quantities

Want to buy in bulk? Chinese factories are prepared to produce products in large quantities. The reverse is true, you may find yourself having to increase your quantities because Chinese factories may have high MOQs (minimum order quantities). MOQs are the minimum quantities at which a factory will accept to prepare an order. 

4. You can customize your products

One of the advantages of having a wide range of suppliers like China has is the ability to find a manufacturer who can customize your products.  

In China it is possible to do product development and customization, provided you file a patent for intellectual property so that Chinese factories do not copy your product. Patents protect products from being copied by competitors. Indeed, when you launch your product, competitors are not allowed to copy or modify it.


Buying in China is still an advantageous solution if you know how to do it. Or if you don’t know how to do it, to use a buying office like Asiaction. Each step must be under control in order to secure your purchases and avoid bad surprises when the goods arrive.   

It is important to know the purchasing process well in order to keep a complete control and make your order a success. 

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