Looking for a manufacturer in China, Vietnam, India or Thailand? We can help you identify relevant manufacturers in China and Vietnam based on product scope, test reports, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, BSCI and other factors.
Wouldn’t be great if you could just skip wasting your time on Alibaba.com or trade shows, and go straight to a supplier making goods for Apple or Disney?
Clearly, quality products are manufactured in China. If you could only get hold of a ‘big brand supplier, you’d be set for life. No more quality issues or delays. Quality goods, on time, every time. Just like Apple does it.
At least that’s what many buyers imagine. Reality is actually quite different, as I explain in this week’s article.
But first I’ll show how you can actually identify suppliers of major brands, or spy on your competitors – using online tools and other methods.
1. Official supplier lists
Some brands publish their supplier lists on their websites, while others operate databases with supplier details. Apple, for example, maintain regularly updated supplier lists on their website.
Importgenius.com helps Importers access US customs shipping records, which reveal the following information:
Importer (in the United States)
Supplier (for example, in China)
In theory, this means that you can identify which suppliers your competitor is buying from – and large companies like Disney and Adidas. However, shipping records only cover goods that are imported or exported.
Big companies often use trading companies, with names that don’t resemble that of the parent company. As such, you can’t find data on many large companies, as they use completely unrelated company names on the importer of record.
As shipping records don’t track domestic transactions, it’s relatively easy for companies to keep their supplier network secret.
Notice that Importgenius.com only provides US shipping records. Hence, you cannot access records in the EU, Australia or other places.
Importgenius.com plans start from US$99 per month.
Panjiva.com is similar to Importgenius.com, in the sense that they provide shipping data. However, they go further than that, as they also provide detailed information about suppliers.
Bill of Lading
Container Info (Value, etc.)
Product Classifications (HS Codes, etc.)
Company Info (Revenue, location, etc.)
Parent Company & Subsidiaries
Part Data (Port of Loading and Destination)
Panjiva is not only providing US trade data, but also from other countries, including:
Their basic plan starts from US$150 per month.
4. Look for big brand references on Alibaba and Globalsources
Some suppliers listed on Alibaba.com and Globalsources.com advertise that they make products for major brands, such as H&M, Zara and Nike. It’s relatively easy to find such suppliers when sourcing online.
In that sense, the average ‘big brand supplier’ is more sophisticated than smaller manufacturers.
That said, many of these manufacturers are part of large international conglomerates, that only work with other large businesses.
You can’t go to Foxconn and pitch an idea for a new electronic widget, if you’re looking to buy a few hundred units. Suppliers of that size will not consider anything but orders counted in the millions of dollars.
Finding a ‘brand supplier’ is rarely even an option for startups and small businesses.
Aren’t there exceptions?
Yes, there are many smaller factories that do get orders from Wal-Mart and other big buyers. But, you are not Walmart.
You don’t have the same quality assurance processes as they do, or the buying power to make the supplier treat your orders the same as theirs.
A common misconception among smaller importers is that everything will work out perfectly once they find that amazing supplier.
But, the outcome is only partly dependent on the sophistication of the supplier. What matters more is, as I just mentioned, the quality assurance processes of the buyer.
A qualified supplier and an organized buyer can achieve great things together. However, even the best supplier will fail to live up to the expectations of a disorganized buyer.
Free Consultation (30 Min): Ask Questions About the Importing Process
Co-founder of Asiaimportal (HK) Limited and based in Hong Kong. He has been quoted in and contributed to Bloomberg, SCMP, Alibaba Insights, Globalsources.com, China Chief Executive, Quartz Magazine and more.
Hey there, I’m Fredrik!
We help e-commerce businesses and brands manufacture products in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Have questions? Join one of our free consultation sessions.
Our Company uses these cookies so that we recognize you on our website and remember your previously selected preferences. These could include what language you prefer and location you are in. A mix of first-party and third-party cookies are used.
Our Company uses these cookies to collect information about how you use a website, like which pages you visited and which links you clicked on. None of this information can be used to identify you. It is all aggregated and, therefore, anonymized. Their sole purpose is to improve website functions.
These cookies are used to monitor the email newsletter's performances
Our Company uses these cookies to collect information about your visit to our website, the content you viewed, the links you followed and information about your browser, device, and your IP address. Our Company sometimes shares some limited aspects of this data with third parties for advertising purposes. We may also share online data collected through cookies with our advertising partners. This means that when you visit another website, you may be shown advertising based on your browsing patterns on our website.
These cookies are used to show targeted ads to the visitors of our website