Chinese Wholesale Websites: A guide for US resellers

Wise
06.01.20
5 minute read

Running a US based reselling business? You might have heard of the benefits of using Chinese wholesalers but be unsure how to get started. We’ve got you covered.

This article will help you find the best wholesaler for your needs and will guide you through the buying process step-by-step. We’ll also help you cut costs, and protect your profits when paying international suppliers, with Wise Business. Here’s all you need to know.

Things to keep in mind when choosing a wholesaler site

You have a range of different choices when choosing a China wholesale website. We’ll take a look in more detail at a few options in a moment. But first, some pointers about things to consider when choosing a site.

  • While many wholesaler sites cover factories producing all types of goods, some are better for certain categories than others. Check out a range of sites to see how many factories are represented in your niche
  • Expect to encounter some language or cultural barriers once you contact factory owners - usually written communication is easiest, so choose a wholesale site which makes it easy to contact the sellers by instant chat or email
  • Some sites offer buyer protections which can bring peace of mind. Alibaba’s Trade Assurance scheme for example is an escrow service which keeps your money safe while you wait for your goods
  • Different wholesaler sites operate differently, which can mean broad variations in minimum order quantities (MOQ). If you’re new to importing and reselling, smaller minimum order quantities can help.
  • You might also find different prices for your goods depending on whether you choose a wholesale site working with local resellers or one pitched at the European and North American markets. If you speak Mandarin or have a translator, check out the sites which are entirely in Mandarin as a comparison

If you have the opportunity to travel to China, you could also consider visiting a trade fair to connect with wholesalers in person. This is a good opportunity to meet many different factory owners in one place, and see samples of the goods they produce first hand.

7 main Chinese wholesale websites

Here are some of the most popular options for Chinese wholesale websites - and some pros and cons to consider.

Alibaba

One of the biggest and most well known wholesale sites - you’ll find many different suppliers across pretty much every segment.¹

  • Simple search function to find the factories working in your niche
  • Huge volumes of listings
  • Trade services are available, including financing plans
  • Both ready to ship and custom made products are available
  • Experienced resellers warn of incidences of low quality goods - check samples before you buy

Global Sources

A popular wholesale site which is known for a supplier vetting process, leading to higher quality goods on offer overall.²

  • Broad range of options available - get multiple quotations with one buying request
  • Meet factory owners in person at the Global Sources trade shows - some of the largest in the world
  • Buyer tools available to help you navigate the process
  • You may find relatively high MOQs compared to other wholesale websites
  • Import and export services available to buyers

China Brands

China Brands is a dropshipping website with millions of products on offer. Vetting processes should ensure goods are of relatively high quality.³

  • One of the top 3 dropship sites in China
  • Choose from huge volumes of products - tens of thousands of shipments are set up daily by China Brands
  • Upload products to your Shopify store extremely easily thanks to smart integrations
  • See prices in different currencies to help decide if a product will work for your store
  • Suppliers and quality of goods are checked by the site team

1688

1688 might not be the first choice for new resellers, but is an interesting place to look if you speak Chinese, have a translator, or want to check pricing across different sites.⁴

  • Part of the Alibaba group, 1688 caters mainly to Chinese buyers.
  • Search broad categories, to connect with thousands of different factory owners
  • The website is entirely in Chinese, and pricing is in Chinese yuan - find a translator, or use Google Translate to get an overview if your language skills aren’t up to scratch
  • Goods may be more pitched towards items popular in China and the rest of Asia, so you might not find exactly what you’re looking for

Made in China

Source a broad range of products from their manufacturing hubs in China, and access trade tools to support your business.⁵

  • Get quick quotes for custom items or buy off the shelf
  • See trending items easily
  • Become a Star Buyer for free, to get priority services and secured trading via Made in China’s escrow services
  • Made in China is one of the largest sites out there - but there are correspondingly a relatively high number of scams operating on this site. Choose suppliers carefully, and get references where you can to ensure you don’t fall victim

DHgate

Known for relatively robust buyer protection and supplier vetting, DHgate offers a broad range of products over many categories.⁶

  • DHgate is more like eBay than some of the other sites listed out here. You’ll find MOQs are lower, but prices may be higher than other wholesaler websites
  • Good if you only want to buy a low number of items, or want to check out the quality before you buy a large shipment
  • Easy if you’re new to reselling or importing as all steps are set out in user friendly ways
  • Range of discounts for different types of customers

HKTDC (Hong Kong Trade Development Council)

This is a Hong Kong based site, which exists to promote trade there via trade fairs and helping buyers and factory owners to connect.⁷

  • You’ll find suppliers who have been checked and verified in various ways, including having credit checks and government verifications carried out - look for the icons by the supplier names
  • Simple search function to find suppliers in the area you’re interested in
  • Established since 1966, HKTDC is trusted by many suppliers and buyers
  • You’ll need to negotiate payment and shipping terms directly once you have found the supplier you want to use - HKTDC don’t arrange such services

The Buying Process

The buying process will vary slightly according to which website you choose to use, and the type of products you require.

Here’s a broad outline of the kind of steps you’ll need to take:

  • Choose a supplier - you’ll be able to post product requirements and get multiple quotes for your items, or buy off the shelf if you don’t require a custom made product
  • Check the price, minimum order quantity, availability and shipping time
  • Get samples of the items you want to buy to check quality. You might also choose to pay an inspector to check over the goods before shipping to ensure they meet your quality standards
  • Before you confirm your order, do some research to check the credentials of the suppliers you’re looking at. There are scams active out there, so look for verified sellers or choose one of the trade protection schemes available
  • Make sure the details of your order are all confirmed in writing
  • You’ll usually be required to pay a deposit - around 30% is normal - to have your products prepared, the remainder will be due once the items are shipped. Choose a smart way to send your payments, to save money, More on that, later
  • Once your items are ready to be shipped, you’ll need to get shipping documents from your supplier - these vary according to the items and the method of shipping, so check you have what you need to clear customs
  • Pay your outstanding invoice
  • Your products will be sent to you - shipping can take some time if you use sea freight, but with air freight options you could have your goods relatively quickly

Paying your wholesale supplier

We mentioned you’ll need to find a smart way to pay your suppliers to keep your costs down and maximize your potential profit. One great way to do this is by using Wise Business.

Most wholesale site accept USD payments so you wouldn’t have to convert your money to avoid conversion fees. With Wise, you can pay in USD via ACH direct debit, card or wire transfer which is cheaper than a regular international wire through traditional banks. Also, you can check the latest exchange rate for USD to RMB.

Wise also offers a multi-currency account where you can hold and send payments in 45+ different currencies including Chinese Yuan. Business customers can use the multi-currency account to receive payments in USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, NZD and PLN for free. That makes it easier to connect to suppliers, customers and employees, so you can grow your business much faster.

Wise use new technology to make it quicker to send secure international payments. This means your money could arrive faster using Wise, compared with your usual bank.

See how your business can save with Wise Business.

Sources:

1]Alibaba website
2]Global source website
3]Chinabrands FAQ
4]1688 website
5]Made-in-china website
6]DHgate website
7]HKTDC website


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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