How to Utilize Freelancers for Your Ecommerce Business: By Mike Michelini

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Asian Freelancer

Managing RFQ procedures and day to day communication with your supplier, can be very time consuming. Especially when you consider the time zones. Before, the only option would be to hire a procurement agent, and adapt to their procedures (and perhaps even use their suppliers).

Or, setup your own office in Asia – which is not a realistic prospect for startups and small businesses.

But things have changed. Today, you can go on or, and tap into a huge pool of freelancers, that you can pay by the hour or on a per project basis.

A Freelancer, that will likely be based in Asia, can keep up to date with your supplier, coordinate shipments – and even negotiate prices, while you spend your time doing something else (rather than calling your suppliers at 10 PM).

In this article, the Shenzhen based founder of Global From Asia ( shares his best advice for hiring and managing Freelancers, and how they can free up hours of work, every week.

How have you been using remote workers in your businesses?

I have been using remote workers on my team even before I read the Four Hour Work Week in 2007. It started with customer service for my e-commerce business when I hired “military spouses” who wanted to work online as their spouse (normally husband) was traveling often for work so they couldn’t get a “normal job”.

I was blown away (this is 2006) that I could have a work at home professional customer service rep help me at all hours of the day or night. These were “moms” based in USA (Kansas and Texas – Michelle and Janet – you rock) who really were moms of my business.

The hardest part about working with remote workers is the setup of tools and systems – which is a ton of upfront work.

Once you get a good flow with you and your remote team, it is like working next to them.

I have used remote workers for almost every part of my various businesses now for over 10 years – starting with customer service to graphic design, video production, web design, app development, community management, marketing – basically every kind of role except meeting clients face to face (waiting for the teleport technology to develop more for this).

Basically, if a task can be repeated, it can be delegated. If it can be delegated, 95% chance it can be done by a remote worker. The trick again is the upfront training and tools, and then the ongoing management. Continue reading How to Utilize Freelancers for Your Ecommerce Business: By Mike Michelini

Guide to Alibaba Gold Suppliers: What Importers Must Know

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Alibaba Gold Supplier

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What can you make of those Gold Supplier badges that dominate the search results of The Gold Supplier program is as misunderstood, as it is brilliant.

In this article, you will learn what a Gold Supplier is, and how you can the wealth of verified supplier data to make an informed supplier selection.

In addition, this guide also includes a complete overview of all the information you can find in each Gold Supplier’s TrustPass profile and trade information page.

What is an Alibaba Gold Supplier?

An Alibaba Gold Supplier is a paid member of, the world’s largest manufacturer and trading directory. It’s still possible to register on as a Free Member.

That said, the traffic on goes almost exclusively to Gold Suppliers. In short, being part of the program is a basic necessity for suppliers in China, who want to be found by prospective buyers. Continue reading Guide to Alibaba Gold Suppliers: What Importers Must Know

Guide to China Supplier Directories: Alibaba, GlobalSources & AliExpress

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Supplier Wholesale Directory

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Starter Package: All Categories is often synonymous with the term supplier directory. While Alibaba has become a household name, it’s not the only platform for finding qualified suppliers.

In this article, you will learn how to choose between the major platforms, including,, HKDC and

In addition, we will also take a look into wholesale platforms, such as Aliexpress and DHgate., founded by Jack Ma in 1999, is the world’s largest supplier directory. Today, Alibaba is home to hundreds of thousands of suppliers in basically every industry.

Perhaps, is too big for its own good. In the past, many buyers have criticized Alibaba for allowing scammers to list on their platform, while only siding with their suppliers in case of dispute.

As we have explained in many articles, things are not simple. In fact, importing goods from China would have been far more risky, without the supplier data provided by

Unlike many other directories, you can find verified company data for each verified supplier (also called Gold Supplier), such as the following:

a. Registered capital
b. Year of registration
c. Registered address
d. Legal representative
e. Business license number is also becoming so much more than just a supplier directory. A few years ago, they launched their Trade Assurance program, and offer a range of payment, sourcing and supplier audit related services. is here to stay, and the coming years will be very interesting, as they keep rolling out new services to importers.

In addition, more and more manufacturers and wholesalers in Vietnam, India, the European Union and the United States join what used to be the exclusive domain of Chinese companies. Continue reading Guide to China Supplier Directories: Alibaba, GlobalSources & AliExpress

How to Report Trade Disputes & IP Violations to Alibaba

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What do you do when a deal with an listed supplier goes wrong? Perhaps you’ve received the wrong product. Maybe it’s damaged. Or, perhaps, you didn’t even receive any goods at all?

And, not to forget, what if you find your custom designed or private label product listed on Alibaba?

In this article, you will learn how to file a dispute on and (hopefully) get your money back. But, you can only win a dispute if you have the evidence that Alibaba must have to decide in your favor.

Keep reading, and learn how to how win supplier disputes if you receive poor quality or damaged goods – and how to report intellectual property violations.

What counts as a trade dispute?

Many situations fall within Alibaba’s definition of a trade dispute. A few of the most common follow below:

  • The products are defective or damaged
  • The products are not as described (i.e., design, colors or functions)
  • The products were never delivered

However, many disputes are not about defective, damaged or incorrect items all. Many, if not most, trade disputes relates to quality or product compliance – something that makes it very hard for to act. cannot act based on the buyer’s perception of good quality. Hence, a dispute can only be won if the buyer can prove that the supplier failed to deliver a product matching the description. Continue reading How to Report Trade Disputes & IP Violations to Alibaba

How to Pay Suppliers on Alibaba: A Complete Guide

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Suggestion: Watch the 10 minutes video tutorial before reading this article

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Found a supplier on Alibaba but not sure how to pay them? In this guide, you will learn how to pay suppliers on the #1 supplier directory, both through the built in Alibaba payment gateway and ‘off platform’.

Keep reading, to learn how you can pay suppliers by wire transfer, credit card and the secure payment system – and how you can claim a refund if the goods are not matching the product description.

In addition, you will also learn why a refund cannot always be taken for granted, and how you can prepare for, and win, a dispute

Telegraphic Transfer (T/T) is a supplier directory – an online platform for finding factories and trading companies in China, and other countries around the world.

While has in recent years expanded into providing payment solutions, most buyers go here to find suppliers, and then continue business discussions elsewhere.

Hence, the transactions are for the most part made outside of the ecosystem. That is likely to change in the future, but is the case at the time of writing.

We often receive questions about ‘how to pay suppliers on Alibaba’, but the truth is that they are paid the same way as manufacturers that are not listed here – and that is mostly via telegraphic transfer. Continue reading How to Pay Suppliers on Alibaba: A Complete Guide

It’s Official! Content partnership between Chinaimportal and Alibaba

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alibaba-partnership has recently signed an agreement with to provide non-exclusive and exclusive content to the Alibaba Biz Club:

Starting on 2016-09-29, will contribute content to the Alibaba Biz Club.

The Alibaba Biz Club is an information sharing platform by, where you can find professional content from various service providers.

On Alibaba Biz Club, we hope that our content can find a new audience.

In addition, we will at times provide exclusive content to the Alibaba Biz Club, but more on that later

More information about our role and contributions will be revealed as we progress further.

Sourcing & Vetting Suppliers on Alibaba Using Available Data

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Vetting suppliers on alibaba

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Starter Package: All Categories is the most comprehensive database of, primarily Asian, manufacturers in the world. It’s also somewhat misunderstood.

While some expect it to be some sort of ‘one stop shop’, we prefer to see it as a comprehensive self service supplier database. In this article how to source and vet suppliers, using data available on – including the Company Overview, TrustPass Profile and Third Party Supplier Assessment Reports.

Notice: This guide only explains how to make an initial supplier selection. In other words, a shortlist. Before moving forward, the suppliers must be verified. The sole purpose of the initial selection is to ensure that you don’t waste time on suppliers that are obviously not qualified.

1. Company Overview: First Step of the Supplier Vetting Process

The company overview is, unlike the TrustPass profile, not made of up verified information. However, it can tell enough to decide whether or not we should further analyze this supplier: Continue reading Sourcing & Vetting Suppliers on Alibaba Using Available Data

Alibaba Suppliers – The 3 Biggest Myths and Misconceptions

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Myths about Alibaba

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You’ve heard the stories. Small businesses importing from China run into issues every day, and Alibaba is often (wrongly) blamed by buyers. But things are not always as simple as they may seem to be. In this article, we explain – and debunk – the three biggest myths and misconceptions about, and its listed suppliers.

Myth #1: All Gold Suppliers are suitable for your product and quality requirements

We receive emails on a regular basis, from desperate importers that picked the wrong supplier online. Sometimes it regards payment frauds, but more often quality and compliance issues. This comes as a very unpleasant surprise for these importers, as they did their due diligence and picked a proper Gold Supplier. Continue reading Alibaba Suppliers – The 3 Biggest Myths and Misconceptions featured on Bloomberg TV

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Alibaba Group is going public this Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. That’s big news, as the Alibaba IPO is expected to become the biggest ever – raising around US$25 Billion. As we are not in finance, we’re not qualified to say anything but the IPO itself.

However, as leading experts on product compliance and supplier sourcing in China, we do have a few things to share on buying from suppliers listed on This week, we did get the opportunity to share our views with financial journalist Mia Saini, on Bloomberg TV. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to New York this time, but watch the video and learn why buying from Alibaba listed suppliers takes a lot more than simply pressing a “buy now” button.

Continue reading featured on Bloomberg TV

Alibaba Supplier Scams – 3 Common Types & How You Avoid Them

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Alibaba Scam

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There are still plenty of stories about buyers being scammed by suppliers listed various online directories. Alibaba does not turn a blind eye to such scams, but there are limitations to what they can do in order to help victims of fraud. In this article we look into 3 common types of Supplier scams and explain how you can prevent the scammer from evading your compensation claim.

Scam #1: Payment Frauds

This type of scam has been on the rise in the last few years. The first time I came across a payment fraud was in late 2011. The principle is simple. The scammer hacks the suppliers email account and determines which orders are about to be paid. From the supplier sent email box, they download recently issued Proforma Invoices and make their own versions. It looks exactly like the “real” Proforma Invoice – the only difference being the beneficiary details. Continue reading Alibaba Supplier Scams – 3 Common Types & How You Avoid Them