Shanghai, China

5 Tips for Manufacturing in China

If you are wanting to manufacture a product in China, here are five things you should know before you send the order:

1. Relationships are everything

The Chinese culture is heavily based on relationships. To have a successful experience working with any manufacturer in China, you will want to make sure your relationship with them is strong. Visiting the factory and building a personal relationship with them will help you understand the manufacturing process, negotiate on cost and protect your business and intellectual property.

2. The language barrier is real

Most factories in China do not have somebody that can really speak English. If you are communicating entirely in English with a Chinese factory, it is most likely through a third party such as a trading company, especially if the contact was made through an English-based sourcing site. Trading companies can be helpful to find factories, but they do not necessarily understand the manufacturing process, so if there are technical or engineering changes you are trying to make to the product, it can often lead to a lot of miscommunication and frustration. If possible, it’s always best to have somebody on your team that can communicate directly in Chinese to avoid these problems.

3. Problem-solving is your responsibility

One of the most commonly frustrating parts of international manufacturing is problem-solving, and it’s important to realize that the responsibility is on your shoulders to solve those problems. Due to many cultural aspects, it can be very difficult to rely on a Chinese factory for problem solutions. If you want problems solved quickly and effectively, it’s always best for you to provide the solution.

4. Quality assurance is more than inspection

Inspection is the most common quality-assurance method in China, but it is not an effective method to guarantee quality because every inspector will see things differently. If you are struggling to get the quality you need, it’s important to have an intimate understanding of your product and the manufacturing process so you can prevent problems rather than struggle to catch problems after they happen through inspection.

5. Shipping from China is expensive

When shipping products from China, there are many factors that add cost beyond just the shipping price. Lengthy ocean freight, tariffs, damaged products and customs inspections can all add additional costs and time that lead to lost sales and increase your risk.


About the Author:

Eric Doxey Boud Eric Doxey Boud graduated from BYU with a degree in manufacturing engineering technology. He speaks Mandarin Chinese and currently works as a consultant helping companies successfully find and work with manufacturers both domestically and internationally. He can be reached at eric@rovermfg.com for any questions.

6 thoughts on “5 Tips for Manufacturing in China

  1. Hello Eric
    I have had a very difficult time finding a silicone manufacturing company here in the USA and Mexico. Know I’m in communication with a few manufacturers from China about getting a Silicone tray made for my pet product.
    Do you have any experience with alibaba.com? How Can I find the reputation (BBB rating of sorts) of specific companies?
    How do I know if I’m getting a fair deal on shipping and tariffs?
    Thank You,
    Diane

    • Diane,
      I do have quite a bit of experience with alibaba.com, but I don’t usually recommend it as a first choice for finding a manufacturer because it’s really hard to gauge a factory’s reputation. There are other resources that are easier to deal with and avoid a lot of the frustrations people have with finding a good manufacturer on Alibaba. I’d be happy to talk to you about it sometime and give some insights on how to know if you’re being treated fairly with manufacturing and logistics, feel free to reach out to me at eric@rovermfg.com. Thanks!

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