For my most recent venture I got the chance to set up tech and sourcing operations team in China. I lived in Guangzhou for 6 months and got an excellent education in doing business with China.
In my experience trade fairs are the best way to identify factories and manufacturers . Canton fair in Guangzhou is by far the biggest fair but there are several other specialized fairs throughout the year.
Going to a fair can be an expensive proposition, however if your volumes are large and ongoing then it is worth the investment. Here is why :
- It's a great place to meet several vendors from different provinces.
- Easiest way for price discovery.Just walk down the isle and get price quotes from several vendors.
- You will get an idea of different manufacturing provinces of China and their specialities.
- You will meet people who can help. A good sourcing agent can cut down stress around quality control and logistics. They will charge you a small percentage and almost certainly will have a kick back from the manufacturer. However it can be worth it, as they can enforce quality control and other the ground logistics.