Buying Product Samples from China: A Complete Guide

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Product samples are essential when importing products from China, and elsewhere in Asia. Obviously, you want to see and feel the product before you start production. However, ordering product samples is also a way to test if your supplier is truly up to the task.

In this guide, you will learn everything importers must know about product samples, including IP risks, payment terms, cost examples, sample types, and lead times.

Product sample types

  • Factory samples
  • Custom made product samples
  • Production samples
  • Virtual samples
  • 3D printed samples
  • Counter-samples

Other Topics

  • Supplier-led product development
  • Intellectual property risks
  • Payment terms
  • Product sample costs
  • How to pay for product samples
  • Injection molds and tooling costs
  • Sample production time
  • Import duties and taxes

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Made-in-China.com Guide: Product List, Wholesalers & More

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Made-in-China.com is a Nanjing-based supplier directory, that some may see as an Alibaba.com clone. That is not accurate, as Made-in-China.com launched in 1998, one year before Alibaba.

That said, Alibaba is by far the largest supplier directory today, both in terms of suppliers and services. Still, Made-in-China.com remains a top 5 supplier directory, and certain buyers prefer to source suppliers on this platform.

In this article, you will learn more about their product categories, supplier verification, payment options, and other services.


Q&A with Chris Georgiou (Made-in-China.com Business Development Manager)

We reached out to Chris Georgiou, Business Development Manager at Made-in-China.com, to ask some questions about their platform and online expos.

How does Made-in-China differ from Alibaba.com?

Both are the leading B2B e-commerce platforms in China. Made-in-China.com was founded in 1998 and Alibaba.com was launched in 1999.

In terms of the supply chain differences: Alibaba.com has suppliers from other countries besides China on its website, but Made-in-China.com only works with Chinese suppliers. So, we believe Made-in-China.com has a deeper understanding and focus on the Chinese market.

As for the industry differences, both are comprehensive sourcing platforms but Made-in-China.com has more advantages in industries such as manufacturing & processing machinery, industrial equipment & components, construction & decoration, auto parts industry, etc., while Alibaba.com has advantages in light industry and daily use.

What kind of buyer services does Made-in-China.com provide?

There are a host of tools and services ranging from matchmaking to supply chain development, and secure transactions. These include ‘VR’, the ‘3D Interactive Showroom Outing’, ‘Online Payment Service’, 11 language websites, and video sourcing meetings. For example, the ‘3D Showroom Outing’ is an immersive self-navigating replica showroom tour with direct merchandise links.

As for inspection, all members have free access to the third-party audit reports of over 20,000 senior member suppliers with on-site factory inspection conducted by professional specialists from SGS, Bureau Veritas, and TÜV Rheinland.

This August, Made-in-China.Com will also be hosting its largest ever Smart Expo, with features specifically designed to restore the offline Expo experience as much as possible.

What features can visitors expect at the Expo?

This service utilizes 360° panoramic displays, 3D, and VR to simulate the setting of the traditional offline exhibition hall.
In the Smart Expo, buyers can feel the offline expo experience, contact suppliers directly, digitally sign a letter of intent as well as make payments without traveling to China.

Moreover, this August, visitors will be able to quickly build trustful relationships with over 3,000 suppliers with new e-business cards, communicate in their preferred language across 8 multi-language halls, as well as place instant orders on a range of light industrial products.

In addition to a variety of promotions such as free samples, shipping, and coupons, visitors can utilize a tailored matchmaking service for face-to-face multi-lingual video meetings.

Which product categories is Made-in-China specialized in?

We are a comprehensive website covering 27 industries and over 40 million products. And we have more advantages in industries such as manufacturing & processing machinery, industrial equipment & components, construction & decoration, auto parts industry, etc.

You are a matchmaker, but does Made-in-China.com platform provide any payment functions for those buyers who would rather not pay the supplier directly?

We are an integrated trade platform helping buyers achieve a full-circle sourcing journey. For those buyers who are concerned about payment safety or would prefer to pay online, Made-in-China.com offers a secure payment Escrow and inspection service, which will hold the payment until the buyer’s agreed point of release.

Do you have different tiers of membership?

Yes, all membership is free. However, businesses who update their basic business information can become ‘Star Buyers’, who are clearly distinguishable to our suppliers. Large and professional buyers are eligible to join the ‘Diamond Club’.

How will membership of these clubs improve members’ sourcing journey?

‘Star Buyers’ and ‘Diamond Club’ members will benefit from ‘Free Sample Requests’, ‘Discount Coupons’ and ‘Waived Fees’ for specialized services as well as networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities.

Our ‘Select Sourcing Connect’ will handpick 2-5 suppliers according to the buyers’ sourcing requirements and host a private video Zoom meeting between them.

With travel to China not currently practical, our bespoke ‘Personal Showroom Tour’ will take ‘Diamond Club’ members to the factory of their choice, and live stream for them as they tour the showroom and discuss with the supplier directly.

‘Diamond Club’ members will also have access to a ‘Special Request for Quotation Channel’ (within 24 hours) and also receive one-to-one bespoke support during each step of the procurement journey from a ‘Personal Sourcing Assistant’.

Apart from medical equipment, what trends in inquires have you seen since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the work-from-home economy to grow significantly. According to data from Made-in-China.com, the inquiries for small household appliances, fitness equipment, home decoration, and household products witnessed large growth.


Made-in-China.com Product List

Made-in-China.com cover the same categories as most other directories, but with more of a focus on industrial and construction products, rather than consumer goods:

  • Machinery
  • Electronics
  • Industrial Equipment
  • Construction
  • Auto & MC Products
  • Sporting Goods
  • Furniture
  • Agriculture
  • Textiles
  • Bags & Cases
  • Packaging

Can I find Wholesalers on Made-in-China.com?

Yes, there is an entire section dedicated only to wholesalers. However, my impression is that the MOQ is as high as for ‘make to order’ products.

In other words, you will not be able to buy small volumes from listed wholesalers – which for most buyers is the whole point of even considering a wholesaler, rather than a factory.

Made-in-China.com vs. Alibaba.com

15 years ago, Made-in-China.com and Alibaba.com may have been equal. Today, however, Alibaba.com is by far the largest supplier directory, in terms of listed factories and trading companies.

In addition, Alibaba.com is also the leader in providing trade services:

  • Trade assurance
  • Book shipments
  • Book quality checks

Another big advantage for Alibaba is the fact that they are not exclusively focused on China.

You’ll find thousands of manufacturers and wholesalers from Vietnam, Thailand, India and other countries on Alibaba.

Nanjing
Made-in-China .com was founded in Nanjing in 1998 – 1 year before Alibaba.com launched.

Made-in-China.com vs. Globalsources.com

Global Sources, which goes back all the way to the early 1970s, operates the second-largest supplier directory, Globalsources.com.

Many buyers prefer to source electronics, toys, and certain other categories they are focused on. That being said, their main advantage is the annual Global Sources trade shows, where you’ll find some of the best manufacturers in Asia:

  • Consumer Electronics
  • Mobile Electronics
  • Lifestyle
  • Fashion

How does Made-in-China.com compare to this?

They have a really good trade show calendar, showing upcoming trade shows in Asia, Europe, and the United States. But they don’t have their own trade shows as far as I am aware.

What kind of supplier information can I find on Made in China?

Made-in-China.com suppliers are often third-party verified, for example by TUV, which can help you assess if a supplier is qualified or not.

This is what you’ll find on Made-in-China.com:

  • Business type (i.e., Manufacturer)
  • Main Products
  • Number of Employees
  • Year of Establishment
  • Management Certification (i.e., ISO 9001:2015)
  • Product test reports/certification

In addition, you can also find product images, specifications, factory images, and uploaded certificates.

Are Made-in-China suppliers more reliable than others?

No, they are not more reliable, or qualified, than suppliers listed on any other supplier directory. Nor are they any less ‘reliable’ than any other directory.

That being said, I don’t think there are any ‘reliable’ or ‘great’ suppliers, anywhere. Instead, the key is to find manufacturers that are qualified to make your specific product.

The key is to implement the quality assurance process, stretching from creating a clear product specification sheet, to supplier sourcing and final quality inspections.

In that sense, there’s no difference between Made-in-China.com suppliers and those listed on other supplier directories.

Do they integrate payment options?

Yes, Made-in-China.com has an Escrow system allowing buyers to pay by card or bank transfer.

After the buyer receives their order confirmation from the supplier, they can click the “Complete Purchase” button and subsequently submit payment online via their Virtual Trade Room.

Recommended Articles

Can I book shipping via Made-in-China.com?

There is a logistics section, but at the time of writing, you cannot get live quotations or book shipping directly on the platform.

There are plenty of listed, exclusively Chinese, shipping companies on Made-in-China.com, that can be contacted via a message form.

Conclusion

Made-in-China.com is much more than just another Alibaba.com clone. While smaller, and not as sophisticated when it comes to trade services, Made-in-China.com is home to thousands of qualified manufacturers in a range of industries.

List of Quality Control and Inspection Companies in China

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Quality control is a mandatory part of the process when importing products from China, regardless of the order volume. Hence, finding the right quality control partner is crucial. In this guide, you will find some of the leading quality inspection companies, with offices in China.

We compare them based on capability, pricing, and customer focus – to help you choose the right partner for your quality assurance needs in China.

Listed Companies

  • Sofeast Limited (Qualityinspection.org)
  • QIMA (Formerly Asiainspection)
  • Asia Quality Focus
  • Bay Source Global
  • InTouch Manufacturing Services
  • V-Trust
  • SGS
  • KRT Audits
  • HQTS
  • Pro QC International
  • ATI
  • Tetra Inspection
  • China Inspection Service
  • STC Group
  • Bureau Veritas InSpec

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How to Find a Design Freelancer for Your Customized Products

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In the age of Amazon brands, Aliexpress and Wish, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to succeed with generic private label products. Creating unique, custom designed, products is the only way forward for smaller E-commerce businesses that can’t compete on price alone.

Yet, while many E-commerce businesses have great ideas for custom designed products they want to bring to market, they lack the in-house design expertise, or budget, to turn their visions into practical 3D design files and technical drawings.

But, as I explain in this article, the creation of a custom-designed product is not nearly as complex or difficult as you might think. Continue reading How to Find a Design Freelancer for Your Customized Products

What’s the Difference Between OEM and ODM Products?

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Difference OEM and ODM

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Many suppliers on Alibaba.com, and other supplier directories, claim to offer Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) and Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) products. In this article, we explain what OEM and ODM mean in the context of manufacturing in China, and other Asian countries.

Whether you decide to get an OEM or ODM product manufactured impacts the entire process, from supplier sourcing and RFQ to product samples and manufacturing. Continue reading What’s the Difference Between OEM and ODM Products?

Top 16 Sourcing Companies and Agents in China 2021

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Looking for a qualified sourcing company in Mainland China or Hong Kong? In this guide, we list some of the leading China-based sourcing companies based in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Yiwu, and many other cities.

Each company profile covers company history, product expertise, services, office location, and more.

Note that we are not affiliated with any of the companies listed in this guide. Further, the companies are not listed in any particular order.

List of Sourcing Companies

  • Imex Sourcing Services
  • Jing Sourcing
  • DocShipper Sourcing
  • Asiaction Sourcing
  • 80/20 Sourcing
  • Dragon Sourcing
  • Bay Source Global
  • LINC Sourcing
  • Easy Imex
  • Guided Imports
  • Importdojo.com
  • Sourcing Allies
  • BizShenzhen
  • China Sourcelink
  • SourceOne
  • Keen Sourcing

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Price Negotiation with Chinese Suppliers: A Complete Guide

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Price negotiation with Chinese manufacturers, when executed properly, can offer significant product price reductions and keep future cost increases at bay. That said, cut too deep and you may inadvertently also drive down the quality of your products – or reduce your supplier’s profit to such a low level that they simply don’t care for your orders anymore.

In this guide, I explain why suppliers raise prices, and some tactics you can use to counter price increases. Further, I also share some of the price negotiation scripts we use for different situations.

This is covered

  • Common reasons for raising prices
  • Price negotiation scripts
  • How to better counter price increases
  • Other ways to get a better price from your factory
  • FAQ

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Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) Requirements in China: A Complete Guide

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The Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) requirement sets the minimum number of units that you can buy from a supplier. For example, an MOQ of 500 pcs means that you cannot order anything less than 500 units of a certain product. The MOQ requirement can therefore be an obstacle for small buyers, especially as it tends to be set on a per-product basis rather than on a per order basis.

That said, there are ways to reduce the MOQ requirements, while also allowing the supplier to keep a fair profit margin. This, and much more, is explained in this guide covering everything importers must know about MOQ requirements in China.

Overview

  • MOQ Examples
  • What is the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)?
  • How to confirm the MOQ requirement
  • Minimum Order Value (MOV)
  • MOQ and COVID-19
  • Why the MOQ exist
  • Different types of MOQs
  • How to reduce the MOQ
  • MOQ in China VS Vietnam & India
  • Issues when buying below the MOQ
  • MOQ reduction strategies

MOQ Examples

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Chinese New Year 2021 : How Importers Can Prevent Disaster

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The Chinese New Year (CNY) of 2021 starts on Friday, 12 February, and officially lasts for 7 days in Mainland China. While many of us who work in Asia are painfully aware of the Chinese New Year, and the coming disruption to all production, many importers and Amazon sellers are caught completely off guard.

As if the rush to get your shipments in time for Christmas was not enough, you now have to make sure that your goods are ready well before your supplier closes the shop for CNY 2021. During this holiday, all factories are shut down, without exception. This year we also have the COVID-19 factor to take into consideration.

While the official holiday only lasts for about a week, most factories are closed for an entire month, with disruptions lasting even longer. This time of the year is especially risky for businesses importing seasonal products, such as outdoor furniture and swimwear.

Article Overview

  • How importers can prepare for CNY
  • Why and how CNY disrupts manufacturing in China
  • How to avoid delays to the CNY
  • CNY 2021 timeline and dates
  • Lunar holiday disruption in Vietnam and Southeast Asia
  • How COVID-19 may impact CNY 2021

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Importing Products to Brazil: A Complete Guide

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Importing Products to Brazil

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Planning to import products to Brazil? In this guide, we explain what you must know about import duties, taxes, product safety standards, labeling, licenses, and shipping to Brazil. Continue reading Importing Products to Brazil: A Complete Guide