• Procurement and Purchasing Agents in China: A Complete Guide

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    The Procurement Agent is a freelancer, or part of a larger organisation, arranging various aspects of the trade between China and the buyers around the world. There is no set standard for what exactly a Procurement Agent shall do.

    For the sake of clarification, I list a few examples below:

    • Supplier Identification & Price Research
    • Sample & Prototype Development
    • Quality Assurance & Quality Inspections
    • Social Compliance Audits
    • Product Compliance Consulting & Product Testing
    • Shipping & Logistics
    • Customs Procedures & VAT

    This industry, which has grown very big in Asia in the last few decades, includes everything from rogue agents to major trading houses. The purpose of this article is to explain what a Procurement Agent can be expected to do for your business, and how they differ.

    purchasing-agent

    Evaluating a Procurement and Purchasing Agency in China

    a. Product Expertise

    Knowledge about a product and industry is a decisive factor. First, and an insider has a much more comprehensive product expertise, which is required to understand what makes good quality (and price) for a certain product. Second, this may also speed up supplier sourcing and vetting procedures, as they can utilize an existing network of suppliers.

    However, don’t expect to find an existing Procurement and Purchasing Agency for every single niche product out there. And, even when you do, it’s up to you to communicate your quality requirements and product specs – to properly educate your agency.

    b. Offered Services

    There is no set standard for what exactly a China-based Procurement and Purchasing Agency should offer. Some offer more of a ‘one stop shop’ solution while others are strictly specialized, only performing specific functions. We will get back to the latter later, but first, let’s dig deeper into what various Procurement and Purchasing Agencies actually offer:

    ServiceDescription
    Supplier Identification
    & Price Research
    Supplier sourcing is the foundation of any Procurement and Purchasing Agency, unless they are working with an existing supplier network. However, the methods used to select suppliers varies greatly. While some agents base their selection entirely on relationships, kickbacks and low prices, others have sophisticated methods of identifying suppliers.
    Design Capabilities
    Some agents act as commodity traders, while others are specialized in developing custom designed products. Each one of these have their places, and shall not be handed projects for which they aren’t qualified.
    Quality Inspections
    Some Purchasing Agencies have in house Quality Inspectors, while others subcontract this to a specialized Quality Assurance agency. In most cases, it makes sense to find your own QC partner, as this is not only more cost efficient, but also more secure. Specialized Quality Inspection firms tend to operate according to international evaluation protocols, for example AQL. In addition, they also have local offices all over China, thereby reducing travel expenses and speeds up the process.
    Product Compliance & Testing
    This one ties in directly to Product Expertise, so read the following closely: There is not a single individual, or even company, in this world, that possess the expertise and experience needed to ensure compliance with all regulations, in all markets, for all products. At best, a Procurement Agency may have relevant experience in their field, but most may not even have basic knowledge. Product Compliance is such a complex area in itself that you shouldn’t even expect your agency to know what is required. You’ll need to find a specialized, probably local, partner for this.
    Shipping & Logistics
    Purchasing Agencies normally have partnerships with freight forwarders, which can help you to manage shipping from point A to B. You also may use a local partner that is what you prefer.
    Customs Procedures, Import Taxes & VAT
    The Customs Clearance and Tax Declaration is normally not managed by the Procurement Agent. Instead, this is within the service scope of most Freight Forwarders. However, some Purchasing Agencies have subsidiaries in their target markets, helping their clients to manage this part of their business.

    c. Procedures

    Finding a supplier isn’t hard. You can just go on Alibaba.com or Globalsources.com and you’ll have millions of options right in front of you. However, identifying industry leading, and in relative terms, reliable, suppliers is a whole different thing. Let’s make a broad comparison between different types of Procurement Agencies:

    TypeDescription
    Relationship Based Supplier Selection
    This is the sort of agency you don’t want to work with. Instead of selecting a supplier based on their product expertise and compliance and manufacturing capabilities, this type of agent choose suppliers based on recommendations from relatives, friends or the size of the kickback they can get. This sort of agency rarely have any operational protocols whatsoever. Stay away.
    Method Based Supplier Selection
    A proper supplier selection shall be based on customers specific needs. This requires that the agent understands the products technical specifications, and how a supplier’s ability to manufacture the product can be assessed. This requires a supplier assessment protocols that takes various data points into consideration. For example, the following:
    – Product Compliance & Test Reports
    – Company Data: Location, Registered Capital, Registered  Business Scope
    – Quality Management System: QMS Certificates and on site inspections
    – CSR & Social Compliance
    The agency shall be able to explain how they make this assessment, and provide documents outlining the details.
    Established Supplier Network
    Many organisations don’t offer supplier sourcing and vetting as a service, but prefer to work within their existing network of suppliers. This has many benefits, but only works if your product is covered. However, for good reasons, these agencies may be reluctant to share information about their suppliers.

    d. Revenue Model

    There’s more than one way for a Procurement and Purchasing Agency to make money. While many importers assume that all agencies make their way by charging commissions based on the order value, that is not the case. Below follows an overview:

    Revenue ModelAdvantageDisadvantage
    CommissionLower costs before the product starts. Maybe.
    Gives the agent an incentive to focus on large volume orders of products that require little to none development, prior to production. Not suitable for OEM products.
    Fixed Price
    Suitable for customized products that takes time to develop before they are ready for mass production. As you pay a fixed service fee, the agent has no incentive to cut corners to speed up the process, or convince you to place large initial orders.
    Higher costs upfront
    KickbackFor you, none.
    The agent selects a supplier willing to pay the biggest kickback, or bribe if you will. That’s all there is to say.

    Some Procurement agents combine two or more revenue models. For example, they may charge a commission based on the order value, while charging you for additional services, such as Quality Inspections and Supplier Sourcing.

    Many also receive kickbacks from the suppliers, as an alternative side income. This may, however, come down to individual employees of the agency, rather than kickbacks as a company policy.

    Summary

    I don’t recommend attempting to find a ‘one stop shop’ managing all procedures involved in buying from China. This is regardless of your industry. You must works ‘hands on’ with the supply chain, and ultimately maintain control. The alternative, to let a consultancy set up a functional supply chain, is simply too expensive for most SME’s. This is how I would do it:

    PhaseOur Recommendation
    1. Supplier & Price Research
    Use a specialized Sourcing Agency or manage the process yourself. You must know which suppliers you’re going to work with, and on what merits they are selected. Vetting ten to twenty suppliers at once is a lot of work, so you better have a specialized partner for this.
    2. Prototype Development
    You are the product expert. Submit specifications and communicate your quality requirements directly with the manufacturer. Otherwise, important details may be lost in translation. In addition, having a middleman between you and the supplier is not only risky, it’s also inefficient.
    3. Product Compliance, Certification and Testing
    a. Find a local, or China based, Compliance Consultant that can help you assess which regulations and labeling requirements apply to your products, in your market.
    b. Submit reference samples to a China-based testing company, for example, Asiainspection or SGS.
    4. Quality Assurance, Quality Control and Factory Inspections
    Use a specialized Quality Assurance agency, for example, Sofeast Limited. They can also help you with Social Compliance Audits and Factory Inspections.
    5. Shipping, Customs, Import Licenses and TaxesUse a local Freight Forwarder, with a presence in China. It’s critical that they know local customs procedures and tax regulations.

    What should I ask a purchasing agent?

    I suggest you raise the following questions when qualifying a purchasing agent for your import business:

    a. Do you have experience with [Insert Product]?

    b. Which criteria do you have when selecting suppliers?

    c. How do you verify suppliers?

    d. How you prevent payment frauds and other scams?

    e. Do you primarily select suppliers within your own network, or do you source new suppliers for each client?

    f. How do you assess if a supplier can make goods that comply with [Insert standard / regulation]?

    g. What happens if you fail to find a suitable supplier for our products?

    h. Can you help us with sample orders, quality control, lab testing and shipping?

    What is the difference between a sourcing agent and a purchasing agent?

    Traditionally, a purchasing agent focus on the administration of placing orders, managing follow ups and overseeing logistics.

    Sourcing agents, on the other hand, identify new suppliers on behalf of their clients. Some sourcing agents may also manage product development, quality control and logistics.

    That said, there is no real distinction between sourcing agents and procurement agents in Asia.

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  • 145 Responses to “Procurement and Purchasing Agents in China: A Complete Guide

    1. Yager Timothy at 5:58 pm

      Am Timothy from Nigeria please can u provide me with a Chinese agent who can communicate in English

    2. Samuel at 12:56 pm

      Hi guys pls i need help to finish up my wechat registeration

    3. Dela at 8:26 pm

      Hi
      Fredrick I need a sourcing and buying agent for fashion items bags, clothing and shoes I am in Nigeria but won’t mind even a Chinese has long has he/she can communicate in English.. thanks in anticipation

      1. April at 12:41 pm

        Dear, my name is April
        I’m a freelancer in China,
        I am good at purchasing agency because my major in university is purchasing management
        I’m in Jiangsu, China. I know the display industry very well.
        I can buy anything for you. I know the import and export procedures very well.
        I have cooperation with many factories, involving mechanical clothing, textile, hardware, electrical and medical supplies, etc.
        My email address is: LonghuaDisplay@163.com
        I’m not a trading company. I’m a freelancer. I don’t make any difference,
        I can give you the best price, because I connect to the source factory.
        I only charge you what you think is appropriate.
        I hope you can contact me for further details.
        Best wishes

    4. Ajibola at 8:02 pm

      Hello.
      I want to import foods from China to Bostwana and Tazania. How do I go about the procurement and logistics?

    5. Elle at 10:16 pm

      Hi! I am so grateful to have found your site. I am currently in China. I meet with my manufacturer/supplier on Monday to review my prototype and schedule our production. I came to China in person from Seattle USA to insure that it is done correctly from the onset. I know I need to establish with a quality control inspector before I leave. I would love to hear your suggestions. I am in Fuzhou and the warehouse and manufacturing will be done in Sanming

      Thanks so much, I look forward to the webinar.
      Elle

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 6:09 pm

        Hi Elle,

        I suggest you book a free consultation call to learn more about how we can help you: http://www.chinaimportal.com/call

    6. Jimoh Sulaimon Olakunle at 10:18 am

      Hey Frederick,
      I need a procurement and shipping agent in China for fashion items and mobile phones to Nigeria.

      Also, what are the requirements needed to be a procurement and shipping agent.

      I’ll be very glad to hear from you soonest.
      Thanks.

    7. yusuf Adegbite at 4:23 am

      hello.
      I want to buy and import some goods in China.
      can you be of help?
      thank you.
      Yusuf Adegbite

    8. Agnes Enyekit at 3:43 am

      Hi
      I need a procurement and shipping agent in China for fashion and household items to Nigeria.
      Thanks

    9. alhilli at 11:55 pm

      I went to China at the end September and stayed two weeks. I agreed to make a deal with the company. I have always dealt with them in the past and before travelled to China I transferred 3000 pounds sterling to the account manager of the company in Shenzhen and before leaving China I gave him all his dues and the total amount was delivered by 40465 RMB in the hope of sending my shipment to London by sea within a week. After I left Shenzhen on 6 October. The shipment was not yet sent and the amount of money i have transferred hasn’t been used. Every week the company promises and fails to report back to me. Therefore I do not know how to act now I need my money back at least.
      Please help me and advise me on the solution. I have a set of audio and chat written conversations.
      If I went to Shenzhen what are the parties that would support me and recover my entitlements?
      And how do I sue this company and hold them responsible for delaying shipments.
      What is the legal nature of the return of money or legal documentation for not evading?

      I appreciate your help

      Regards,

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 12:51 pm

        Is this a sourcing company, or a manufacturer?

    10. Nsenor Udofa at 7:13 am

      Please Fredrick can you hook me up with a sourcing agent? Am in Nigeria

    11. Icy Huang at 10:45 am

      Hi , can we have a talk?

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 10:56 am

        Hi Icy,

        You can use the contact form if you want to get in touch

    12. Linda at 5:10 am

      Hello, I am Linda from nigeria. I need a trustworthy agent who can help me with sourcing of products and who can communicate perfectly in English. I am open to any products,.

      1. Nsenor Udofa at 7:16 am

        Hi Linda, please did get?

    13. Faisal at 4:48 am

      am looking for a quality agent who can source good, Garments jackts. Can you recommend anyone?We are based in any cool country.

    14. AJ at 3:32 pm

      Hello,
      Im looking for a good purchasing and inspection agent for my import export business when i visit to china to bring products back to the Uk can you help.

    15. MAXWELL KENTE at 9:24 am

      Please I Need a reliable low cost purchasing agent to purchase my goods in China. Please recommend one for me. Thanks

      1. ChinaImportal at 11:53 am

        Hi Maxwell,

        I would certainly not work with a low cost agent if I were you… you get what you pay for..

    16. Roland at 4:31 am

      Hi, Fredrik and ChinaImportal.

      I am looking for a buying agent to purchase new and used books (and other one-off items) in China and then to ship them to the United States. Many of the sellers I have contacted cannot themselves ship products overseas. Would you have any leads, or suggestions, or at least better terms to write into a search engine?

      Thanks for your time!
      Roland

      1. ChinaImportal at 3:29 am

        Hi Roland,

        Unfortunately not. Perhaps you could find somebody on Upwork.com or Elance.com

        1. Ricky at 9:00 am

          Hi Chinalmportal,

          Very useful article !
          I am interested in your service, we are a insulation materials trading company. Can you let me know how you select out the suitable manufacturers ? as there are too many suppliers from China, also there are so many good ones. I want to understand the quality of factories in your list. If the list are really reliable, It must be very useful for our purchasing.

          Best Regards
          Rick

          1. ChinaImportal at 3:46 am

            Hello Rick,

            We will contact you by email

      2. Jason Zhao at 10:45 am

        I could help you!

    17. Ellen Surdel at 9:30 am

      hello,

      I am looking for a buying agent for electronic and smartphone advices in china. I am planning to visit shenzhen in a few days and would like to have a agent there.

      1. ChinaImportal at 1:54 am

        Hi Ellen,

        You should have received our email by now

        1. Andrew at 12:34 pm

          Hi Fredrik

          My name is Andrew from China,I have noticed the article very long time,I really want to be an agent for one guy,can you help me that?

          Being a professional foreign sales since 2011,I buy a lot of different items for many clients before.Pls write back to me,I can give you some cost,thanks.

          Andrew

    18. Ceebo at 4:44 pm

      Hi,

      I’m looking for a reputable buying agent in china to help me procure furniture items for restaurants, hotels, and lounges, as well as high end residential furniture. I will be flying into Guangzhou.

    19. Dawn at 3:51 pm

      Hello

      We are a Uk company currently looking to source household products from a Chinese supplier.
      Can anyone help please with hints/tips/etc on where to begin our search?

      many thanks
      Dawn

      1. ChinaImportal at 5:13 am

        Hey Dawn,

        We’ll contact you by email

    20. Asish at 1:03 pm

      Hello,
      i am looking for a purchasing agent in china for clothing, western bridal wear and accessories to be precise, please mail me if you can arrange it.

      thank you

      1. ChinaImportal at 3:34 am

        Hi,

        You should have receiuved our email by now

    21. Ivan Chaud at 3:21 pm

      Hi Frederick!!! we are from Argentina and we are looking for a purchasing agent in China, we sale cell phones accesories and technology in general. Can you help us with this? thanks!!!

      1. ChinaImportal at 3:41 am

        Hi Ivan,

        You should have received our email a few days ago

    22. Erik at 2:13 pm

      Hi looking to import synthetic grass to south africa and are looking for a agent to assist with the procurement processs.

      Regards
      Erik

      1. ChinaImportal at 4:49 am

        Hello,

        We will contact you by email (unless we’ve already done that)

    23. CT at 1:18 am

      I have multiple existing supplier relationships but looking for an agent to assist me with quarterly buying trips, QA/QC and manage co-ordination/deliveries/packing/logistics. Furniture, Antiques, Ceramics. Shipping to China. Thanks

    24. Gabriel Lane at 12:11 pm

      Very well said. We should actually know about the things we need to follow while visiing Guangzhou wholesale market

    25. David at 4:41 am

      Hi Saima,
      How much is your buyer’s guide book?thanks

      1. ChinaImportal at 8:31 am

        Hi David,

        It’s starting from $49.

    26. NOLH at 1:45 am

      I am looking for an agent to source plant based protein for import, if you know of any contacts that may be of service please let me know

      1. ChinaImportal at 4:29 am

        Hello Nolh,

        We will contact you by email

    27. Balram Raj Raut at 7:29 am

      I am looking to find an agent that could help me with automobile parts in china . I am having a parts related business in nepal .Can you suggest a good reliable agent.

    28. ankit at 12:24 pm

      Hi ,
      I am from India and planning to buy cheap watches from china, can anyone connect me with a reliable supplier

      1. qiurongsheng at 4:19 pm

        Hello, I am a China Shenzhen foreign trade company, need to buy products from China we can help you, as long as to provide pictures of the product type, contact us manufacturers offer to you, our purchasing personnel will give you the best price and the best quality products, no exchange can also be friends,
        best regards

    29. Stephanie at 7:00 am

      Hi

      Our company is looking for a buyer’s agent for a Blackview mobile phones to be shipped to Dubai UAE, can you suggest a good and reliable agent?

      Thanks Stephanie

    30. Muhammad Faisal at 11:00 pm

      Hi. This is Muhammad Faisal. I am looking for an agent out there in china to inspect my sports and other products from the supplier. Please do suggest me one who is reliable and trustworthy.

    31. Luis palacio at 11:40 am

      Hi my name is Luis and I am currently looking for a business opportunity in Colombia. The idea is to import from chna items such as toys , cleaning and house stuff. I got the budget but do not anything about the Chinese market and the procedure of what it takes to get goods from China to Colombia. Any agent recommendation?

      1. ChinaImportal at 3:58 am

        Hi Luis,

        Unfortunately we don’t know any agency that covers Colombia.

    32. nidhi at 2:00 pm

      hi we are lookingfor toy agent in yiwu and shantaou ,who could assist us in sourcing.

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 3:12 am

        Hi,

        I forwarded your contact details to a company in Yiwu that may be suitable

    33. Saima at 9:12 am

      I need an agent who will help me get orders from the importers and buyers in clothing basically apparel knitwear and woven like t shirts and polos jeand etc.
      we will pay a percentage to this agent for helping us get oreders.
      can you help me in this regard

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 4:20 am

        Hi Saima,

        We will get in touch with you

    34. Anthony at 8:06 pm

      Hi Fredrik, great blog, I was lost till i found this site.

      I in the beginning stages of developing brands and branded merchandise for a football league in my country, Trinidad and Tobago.
      I will soon be in the market for a number of branded items such as, sweatshirts, sweatpants, t shirts, caps etc. I am looking for a procurement person I can build a long-term relationship with, that will source suppliers, and handle quality control etc. How can you help me with this?
      anthony

      Anthony

    35. mounis at 7:02 am

      Hello dear!
      Very interesting overview of China sourcing & procurement.
      I’m Mounis and settled in Indian Ocean ( Madagascar & Reunion Islands )
      Our business is to sell on line through Facebook for now.
      I’m looking for a serious agent in China, can u help?
      Thanking u in advance,
      Best Regards,
      Mounis

    36. Samuel Asare at 11:04 pm

      I realy appreciate your explanation, but have been supplying branded suvinier to various universities in Ghana and would be grateful if a credible sourcing agent can assist me.

    37. Kathy at 6:39 am

      I am looking to find an agent that could help me with jewelry… Cell cases… Clothing… Etc. I have an online business and I’m thinking of traveling to yiuw for merchandise. Can you suggest a good reliable agent.

    38. manvir at 9:19 pm

      hi fredrick ,

      i am looking for reliable agent , who can buy various products from 1688 or alibaba for me and inspect them b4 shipping , can you help me regarding it ?

      thanks

      plz mail me – manvirr1984@gmail.com

    39. Joy at 2:08 am

      Hi Fredrik,

      This is an awesome article and a real eye opener. Am looking to purchase restaurant equipment certified for NSF standards for my restaurants in the USA. This is the first time I am exploring the china option and would be grateful if you could suggest some sourcing options who are reliable and experienced in this.

      Thanks and Regards
      Joy

      1. tiger at 3:59 pm

        if you need any suppliers who have NSF standards, yiwu market will not be your best choice, you should choose several factories, then make orders between them, it will be my pleasure to help you in China market.

    40. Ishu at 7:45 pm

      Hi Fred,

      Very nicely written.
      We need your advise on importing from china. Can you please get in touch with us.

      This is urgent and it would be great working with you.

    41. harshani at 6:55 am

      hi Fredrick,
      nice article.I would like to buy some viscose fabrics from China.So can you please recommend me a reliable agent to deal with.thank you in advance.

      b.regards
      Harshani

    42. M Mahamoodally at 12:44 pm

      Dear Mr. Fredrik

      I am from Mauritius and my name is M Mahamoodally, I would like to import slim fit casual & business shirts and garments from China. Kindly send me pictures and supplier details from which above products can be bought also the prices. Please don’t forget to send me value of your fees also. Awaiting your response.

      Best regards
      M Mahamoodally

    43. Kevin at 6:21 pm

      Hi Fredrick,
      Can you suggest some good procurement agents in China who can source products in ‘Health and Supplements’. These are consumable products.

      Thanks,
      Kevin
      United Kingdom

    44. Sally at 1:54 am

      This article has been very timely, as I am seeking a reputable sourcing agent in China/Hong Kong for leather goods. I have sent off numerous emails to sourcing agents I have found online, with no response.

      Could you please email me some agents you are familiar with that specialise in leather goods (jewellery boxes).

      Thanks

      Sally

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 4:11 am

        Hello Sally,

        We will contact you by email

    45. Rebecca Phillips at 1:59 pm

      Hi there I have loved reading everyone’s reviews. I am traveling to China in two weeks and am requiring an agent of you could please email me the details that would be great. Is there anything I can do to recoup some funds that I transferred to a company and haven’t heard anything more about two weeks ago.

    46. Rommel Almoite at 2:35 am

      Dear Fredrik,

      Hi Good day to you my friend ! i am looking for an agent in China, I have one supplier there in Mancheong, but he is trustworthy because that agent supplies me for almost 2 years! but i need also other agent for more efficient reason, Do you know someone? in Shenzen?

      Hoping for your quick response regarding this matter.

      Thanks!
      Rommel Almoite
      Philippines, Manila

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 5:07 am

        Hello Rommel,

        We will contact you by email!

    47. Gopi at 7:04 pm

      Looking for a sourcing agent in the field of mobile and computer accessories. We are based out of India.

    48. Zeri at 11:02 pm

      Hi Fredrik,

      I also need to import directly from China and yes, I did some in the past but now stopped. I have been cheated by some Chinese ppl. I have also received some items which are not quality such as tablets and laptops. Can you please advise how to get quality items with good price as well as first hand suppliers from China.

      Anyway, if don’t mind ….what is your main business? and specialty?

      Hope to hear from you soon.

    49. Erika at 8:48 pm

      Hello Fredrik,

      I’d love to get some information from you about locating an agent that will suit the needs of my company. Is there a good database website with industry specific agents?

    50. Andre at 8:51 am

      Hi

      I’m very new with the idea of importing from China and recently learned it’s better to use an agent. I see alot of people asks for an agent. Where is a reliable source online to find agents? I’ve found plenty of suppliers, the job is done. I need now a agent to help me check out the suppliers if they are trustworthy (I lost money a month ago when I jumped the gun and thought everyone is reliable, after payment, I heard NOTHING back from supplier, it’s been a month now)

      And can agent also help arrange shipping and all that? Can you refer a reliable supplier?

      My product and market is gps tracker / locator for safety purposes.

      Thanks in advance for the effort and time.

    51. Shelly at 2:26 pm

      I am finding it very frustrating trying to find a good sourcing agents in China. I have been searching for months – can anyone email me any contacts / agencies who specialise in this ? Thank you

    52. Oliva at 10:16 am

      Interesting article.
      I wrote something that compare chinese like agent and foreign agent here:
      http://quality-manufacturing.org/china-buying-agent/

    53. Barone at 8:22 am

      Hi, im searching for an Agent. Tritan Bottles.

      Where can i get in touch with an Agent in this Business?

    54. Laara at 11:10 pm

      im in need of an agent who is into bags and cloths. kindly assist

    55. Tara at 11:57 pm

      Hi Fredrik,
      I enjoyed your blog!
      I’m new to all this! I’m looking into getting some children wear supplied or made. Do you have any suggestions of an agent who could help or a supplier who would be happy to deal with me?

      Many Thanks

    56. KRISHNA KUMAR at 11:48 pm

      Hi,

      We are a trading company from Canada.
      We are looking to supply A4 Copy Paper for our customers in Asia, Middle East & Africa.
      I have found the suppliers, communicated with them but the price offered are high because we are from Canada and they think its for this market.
      I have buyers waiting and not able to fix the right supplier mainly due to the price issue.
      I have found few offering the prices that can be accepted by the buyers.
      I am looking for a agent / partner who can take care of the suppliers and I can take care of the sales.
      Please advise the best way out.

      1. Mr. Kelly at 1:03 am

        Hi Krishna,

        I do have some contacts for paper in Shenzhen. But I think that is a product you are going to want to get in the more northern regions to get a better price. Hebei is decent because they aren’t too far from the Beijing port, but far enough away that they have lower prices and a good manufacturing hub. Shanghai is another good place to look. I ship containers about every other month out of Shanghai now. Good because it’s more centrally located for shipping inland China, yet also close to a great port for exporting.

        If you want, I can get some quotes and see if I can get you a better price?
        Email me your specs, quantity, destination, etc. cougar52979 at yahoo

    57. shaz at 9:44 pm

      hey,
      your article is quiet informative but could you please refer a few China based sourcing agent , I am currently looking for agents who deal with furniture and that sorta stuff.

      Thank you

    58. Louis at 6:38 pm

      Fredrik,

      Thanks for the tips, could you please advise on any reliable and trustworthy procurement and purchasing agents in China? Thanks

    59. sumit chhabra at 5:26 pm

      i am a wholesale dealer in india, i am buying china products from importers in india,but now am planning to go to china and deal directly please help me

    60. Mangesh Chouhan at 11:26 am

      Hi,

      Thank you for sharing such detailed information. It has really helped me to understand a great extent the process to import from China. We are a distributor and whole seller of Mobile Phones & Accessories. We are planning to directly import instead of buying from other importers in India.
      Request you to please guide since we are at the start up stage . Do we require Import licence as many of other competitors here are importing without the same with the help of Import & Custom agents.

      Looking forward to hear from you.

      Thanks & Regards,
      Mangesh Chouhan
      +91-8652803803

    61. Alex at 10:10 am

      Hello there;

      I have been working with this agent who looked very trustworthy and hardworking, and all of a sudden he claims that I need to pay him via Western Union, witch is everything but cheap or secure. whats the best payment way to avoid being scammed? I would also appreciate some good suggestions regarding a new agent.

      thanks a lot on advance ;

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 8:41 pm

        Hi Alex,

        Sounds very strange. I see no good reason for them forcing you to pay by Western Union. Are you paying the supplier directly, or through the agent?

        1. Mani at 5:06 pm

          Hi Fredrik,

          Could you contact me in regards to getting an agent in China to deal with purchasing.

          Regards,

          Mani

    62. Andrew C at 7:58 pm

      We are a SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) Company looking for a reliable agent in China with board experience . Does anyone have any reccomendations?

    63. Kaupo at 10:12 am

      Hi!

      We are retail and wholesale company based in Northern Europe and we are currently interested in finding an reliable agent in China who could help us with purchasing. Can you recommend someone?
      Best regards
      Kaupo

    64. Mr. Kelly J at 6:19 pm

      I see,
      Are you thinking retail products, all packaged and ready to go? You just want to private label it and try to sell it? Or component/ industrial/ B2B? I am in the new product development side of sourcing were I know the product the client wants to “Invent” or alter to make it unique to them and their branding. I then help invent it and go find the suppliers for that specific product. This is always after knowing the market we want to sell in first, never the other way around.
      Chinese aren’t really known for thinking outside the box. Ask them to tell you what product to sell and they aren’t going to give you a very helpful or insightful answer. They often ask me if I have buyers for a particular product. That product is always one with very high competition and very low margins. Something they sell a lot of and just want to regain market share they have lost because so many people now are in that market. Doesn’t fit your criteria.
      My 2¢. Identify the market you think you would be best to sell too, know the most about. Then identify the product you want to sell into it. Do your market analysis. Then find the supplier/ agent. Then calculate the cost/ benefit. Then buy.

      1. MIchael at 9:58 am

        Thanks Mr. Kelly J,
        for all these great informations and advices.
        You said:”Then find supplier/ agent”, but how and where I find an agent ?

        1. Mr. Kelly at 1:12 pm

          To start out, I would search Alibaba.com for the product I am looking for, or if it’s a custom product, I look for the closest existing product that would use much of the same materials and production techniques. Then scroll through all the different suppliers that have a picture of that product. Then on their pages, click on “Company profile” and it will tell you if they are a trading company or manufacturer or what not. A trader is essentially an agent. They usually are just a third party that partnered with one or more factories to act as sales people for their goods. A middle man sort of like a sales rep. They are generally a little more tolerant to people that don’t know the terms of the business. They are also usually eager to help you find any other product you are looking for.
          Personally though, I have never had a problem working directly with the factory (Described on Alibaba as “Manufacturer”). Their internal sales people are usually just as capable of helping you get products from their factory to you. But you really have to know what you want, and be ready to make an order.
          A lot more too it than that, and better more advanced ways. But that is a good start.

          1. Howard Peng at 5:14 pm

            i agree to Kelly and believe you are doing great business with Chinese manufacturers. I think the value of a source agent is he can act as your eyes and hands in China, especially when you are ordering different goods and sometimes need to combine the container. Or if you are developing some new products, the agent can provide great help, he can work with tens of similar factories and compare and give your best suggestion. And he can visit fair shows and look for new products and suppliers.
            I have been working in a factory for 5 years, and now i running my own trading company, i would say, generally the factories is less good in service (while price is usually better), but for those need to work with more factories in China, and need quick reaction, a source agent or trading company would be a good choice. Especially an agent usually could offer better price at low commission.

    65. MIchael at 5:21 pm

      Hi Frederik,

      Very nice article. But I have a question: Where I can find now good agents ????
      Or do you know some agents which you would trust? Or are the websites where you can find agents for specific areas or branches? Because I need to find some agents for my business…

      It would be very nice when you can send me a E-mail and help me
      Kind regards,
      Michael

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 11:06 pm

        Hello Michael,

        We’ve sent you an email

        1. Giovanni Sasso at 1:27 am

          Hi,

          I’m also looking for a sourcing agent in China to help me find a professional manufacturer of fitness products. Where is the best place to find someone? Do you have any good sites you can recommend?

          Thanks,
          Gio

      2. Mr. Kelly J at 5:25 pm

        Michael,
        What type of products are you looking for?
        Mr. Kelly J

      3. MIchael at 5:35 pm

        I just want to get in contact with agents that have high quality manufacturers.

        Because I need new, innovative, unique or high quality products. The kind of product is in the first step not so important, I am open for everything.

        You know some good agents ?

    66. ketty at 6:53 pm

      Dear frederik
      Thank you for this interesting article and all, the proffesional tips.
      I am looking for a purchasing agent in china which its mail proffesion and experience is accessories to the textile market … such as ribbons , buttons and all other haberdasher materials.
      Can you please advice to whom I should apply in order to find the proffesional agent for this matter ?
      Thanks in advance for your reply
      Kind regards
      Ketty

      Kettygesua@gmail.com

    67. Devang at 10:18 am

      Hi. My name is Devang. I am from Chennai. (India)
      My company (N M Electric) is into supply of electrical goods in South India.
      Our products include – Swithgear, Controlgear & Automation products.
      We are looking for agents in China that can help us out with the whole process.
      Can anyone please suggest or recommend good agents.

    68. Peter at 12:37 am

      Hi, can you help me find a purchasing agent? I’m from the US and looking for someone reliable and without bad habits. Most likely looking for a foreigner to help me with sourcing.

    69. Pramod at 1:29 pm

      Hi
      I am pramod from india. I am looking for trusted buying agents from china. Please reply on following id.
      udaytradesell@gmail.com

    70. Gaurav at 1:11 pm

      This is Gaurav saxena from india.

      We are running sourcing buying agency, freight forwarding agent in india.

      We are here having clientele of importers , sourcing from china.

      We are looking for trusted partner that could help being our extension in china throughout sourcing,quality inspections , managing supply chain etc

      Thanks

      Gaurav Saxena

      Skype: gaurav.saxena544

    71. Tcharlx at 8:23 pm

      Hi Fredrik
      How can a non Chinese buy from Taobao and other indegeneous China sites ? Any hint on reliable agents?

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 9:00 pm

        Hello,

        Yes, it is possible, but as you mention, you must purchase through an agent. We are not cooperating with any Taobao.com agent, so I cannot give you any specific suggestion. However, there should be plenty available if you search on Google.

    72. Mr. Kelly J at 1:53 pm

      Maybe we can compare notes? What software/ method do you use to keep track of communications? I have been using Google Doc and then sharing the doc with the client so they can see the progress with also includes images of the dimensional drawing(s), my design change suggestions, sometimes my load, performance test and material annalysis results, prices, orders, tracking, payments made/ not yet made, notes, and most importantly, If I get hit by a bus, all correspondences in order someone else can effectively take over…
      But, it does seem kind of cluttered as every component for them (Usually at least 10) has it’s own tab and each one has around 20-30 different conversations. There has to be a better program for this that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I can do some pretty impressive work with Googles database as it works much like Excel. But it would be nice if someone already had one made for this purpose.

      1. Richie at 2:25 am

        Kelly,

        Very interesting question! You are facing the same problem that I took on when working at a US promo products company. We dealt with both clients and Chinese factories. Google docs was our original solution as well but it soon got overwhelming when we scaled from 1 product to 7. I hacked a solution based on Gmail, SugarCRM and some other 3rd party apps. Connecting with Chinese suppliers and then clients has always been a weak point.

        I’m actually working on a startup to tackle this problem. I’d love to hear more about your experiences!

        1. Mr. Kelly at 7:37 pm

          Did you ever make progress on this?
          info at PartDistribution

    73. Jan at 9:18 pm

      So – Can anyone in England recommend a good, honest, affordable and hardworking agent? Thanks in advance.

    74. Mr. Kelly J at 6:44 pm

      One thing about agents that work on commission is they have competing interests with me as someone in the US hiring them to look for suppliers in China to do business with. My vested interest is to find the lowest price for good quality and professionalism all around. Their vested interest is to spend as little time as needed finding a supplier with as high a price as I am ok with.
      Think about it, if they are working on commission, why would they put in the extra 5-6-7+ times effort to get 30 quotes instead of 3 and work with every one of them to whittle them down with due diligence to the best supplier(s) for your client’s needs? Getting you a lower price means they get a lower commission.
      That’s why I learned to source myself. I usually find prices 40-50% less than the agent I hired to start with. I have an engineering background and a lot of experience, so I can do this as well as watch for other ways to reduce cost like redesigning components for manufacturability, keep searching for lower costs, freight consolidation, etc. When I do this for freelance, I charge a royalty on sales instead of commission up front. Then it’s in my vested interest to get the lowest price and keep reducing that price. And it helps their cashflow and growth potential.
      Something to think about in how you pay your agent.

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 8:17 pm

        Hello Kelly,

        Wow, 40-50% is huge. I’d say those agents where not honest to begin with. Of course they should requests quotes from more than 3 suppliers. 3 quotations is not enough data to determine if you’re paying market prices or not.

        I think it helps a lot having an engineering background (degree or not). In fact, we also have engineering background which makes it natural to think in terms of technical specifications, rather than a vague and undefined idea of “good quality”.

        1. Howard at 8:19 am

          i once talked to 40 factories for my client to get the price of one single product, that’s an interesting experience.

          1. Andre at 8:45 am

            Good day

            Are you an agent in China?

        2. Bridget at 7:54 pm

          Hi Kelly,
          The sales royalty model is interesting. I can see how it works for a client with an established product looking for improved pricing and competitiveness, but do you offer it for startups? With no guaranteed sales at all, you’d be investing a lot of time and faith in the start-up’s ability to market and sell.

          As for why agents on commission investigate multiple suppliers, it’s about getting repeat business. The agent’s vested interest is in getting you a supplier who can deliver what you want at a price which helps you grow business so there are repeat orders with the same product and same supplier. The sourcing work on the first order is at break-even or even at a loss with a view to customer acquisition and the long term.

          And for what it’s worth, I agree with Fredrik. Savings of 40-50% over your initial agent’s prices suggest an issue with the initial agent.

          1. Mr. Kelly at 7:35 pm

            Correct, only work with established businesses. Working with inventors with an idea has always been an exercise in how to waste time as they have never materialized into sales for me anyway.

            I don’t blame the agents who got the high prices in the first place. They may have been the best they can do. Most agents aren’t going to put in the extra work to find suppliers for the supplier. If an assembly has 5 different kinds of components, I find the best possible supplier for each and every component. Yes, contacting 30-40+ suppliers for each of the different components all the way down to the plastic bag the item ships in. A supplier of an assembly likely only makes 1 or 2 of the components and just buys the others. Tremendous room for cost savings that most agents wouldn’t even consider or don’t have the technical background to create new drawings. I just reduced a clients bottle filler cost this way from $1.20 to 46¢ and I am still using the same main supplier. The client will increase sales as a result, but not likely enough to make up for the commission loss. By charging royalty instead, at the very least I did not reduce my own profit as a result of all that extra work. And I tell you what, that agent that found the $1.20 price, which was the best I found as well for suppliers that made that type of product. They are not getting the repeat business, I am.

    75. Howard Peng at 2:30 pm

      Thanks Fredrik! this article is great telling the key pionts that buyers concern.
      It relly gives me some ideas where to improve.

      I want to share one tip, PHONE CALL is very useful and important to quickly know if your partner has passion and how far you can rely on him.

    76. Bisrat at 3:37 am

      Hello i already have reliable supplier with decent quality competitive price, i buy iphone lcds but would be interested to see if i can get a direct manufacture supplier let me know and awesome website

    77. Dennis at 10:25 pm

      Hello fredrick, since electrical products are tonnes of thousands in china how can one obtain a purchasing agent who will assist in geting oem products with a genuin certification from leading brands like ABB, CRABTREE, MEM etc

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 12:00 pm

        Hello Dennis,

        Most likely we can. I’ll send you an email with a few questions. However, I’m not sure if you refer to products from these companies or products compliant with standards set by these companies. That’s a major difference. It’s not possible to buy brand name products directly from Chinese manufacturers.

    78. Harvir khara at 4:59 am

      hi
      im looking for agent in china who can speak english and get me good deal with factories

      canyou suggest me good agent in china with details

      regards

      harvir khara

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 8:08 pm

        Hello Harvir,

        I’ll send you an email with a few questions.

        1. George Steenkamp at 1:36 am

          Hi Fredrik,

          I am starting an import business in Australia and is looking for an agent as well. Could you help me with this?

        2. carl gardner at 11:06 am

          I am looking for a quality agent who can source good, modern furniture. Can you recommend anyone?We are based in the UK.

      2. Bill Yeung at 3:13 am

        I am Bill from Shenzhen, China. contact me as soon as possible. and tell me what are you looking for?
        billyeung.vip@gmail.com
        Skype:kucal88

    79. Romi Rajan at 2:32 pm

      We are a Fire Alarm and Fire Fighting Manufacturing firm based in India and Dubai now as part of expansion we are planning to procure Fire Alarm Pnal and Accessories Board and other components from China. If any of your knowledge please help me. I am also planning to visit China.

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 8:18 pm

        Hello Roml,

        I’ll send you an email right away!

    80. Trae at 3:15 pm

      just find a decent guy, which is the most important thing to help you successfully do business with Chinese suppliers.

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 8:17 pm

        Yes, honesty is important. However, it’s also a matter of product knowledge and experience in dealing with Chinese suppliers.

    81. Mr. Kelly at 4:23 pm

      One of the most informative right to the point articles I have read.
      I’m looking for a more comprehensive source of average commission rates. Any articles or resources you can suggest?

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 6:55 pm

        Thanks! Unfortunately I cannot think of any such article. Commission rates are not really uniform. They mainly depend on the following two factors:

        a.) Order value
        b.) The expertise of the procurement agent

        I’d say that you should expect to pay somewhere between 1.5 to 8%, depending on the order value.

        1. Nick at 8:41 pm

          Hello

          We are looking for a reliable sourcing agent or a Watches manufacturer

          We would like to set quality parameters for our products and source watches based on those specifications

          How can you help us in this

    82. Renaud at 8:44 pm

      Good overview and great tips!

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 3:20 pm

        Hi Renaud!

        Thank you for visiting. For the other readers I also recommend to read some of Renauds blog posts related to sourcing agents:

        https://qualityinspection.org/15-tips-01/

        https://qualityinspection.org/kinds-sourcing-agents/

        https://qualityinspection.org/sourcing-agents-china/

        1. Mukul at 7:08 am

          Hey fredrick I need a trustworthy agent for importing goods from china to india.
          Can you help me ?

          1. ChinaImportal at 5:23 am

            Hi Mukul,

            We will contact you by email!

        2. Maira at 9:55 am

          Please I need and agent , can you help me out ?

          1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 10:56 am

            Hi Maira,

            Sure. What kind of products do you need to source?

            1. Abah at 6:52 pm

              Thanks Fredrik for this very enlightening article, I have learnt a lot and would need to learn more. Pls I seek your advice in choosing a reliable purchasing agent for products from China. Your response will be highly appreciated. Thanks in anticipation.

        3. Uttam Patel at 5:09 pm

          hey i want to import goods from china so will you help me for choos right agent.

      2. Jack Chan at 2:52 am

        I cant quite agree more

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