Manufacturing · Manufacturing in China

What's the best place to source manufacturers for customized goods?

Fahad Siddiqui

January 22nd, 2015

What's a good place to source manufacturers for customized goods? I've been scouring Alibaba for the past few weeks looking for things such as custom packaging, NFC tags, casino tokens among many other things.

But, most of the bulk order quotes I've been getting are around 70 - 80% of the price I can buy them individually. Which seems a little high for volume orders. I've been looking for around 10,000 units for most of these things, and I would expect a bigger price break at this quantity.

Harry Croydon BetrDigital @CroydonH

January 22nd, 2015

When I have been looking at sourcing from China I have found the best way is to select a few possible suppliers and then contact them in person - phone them. Often the prices change via a phone call. Be clear what you want and when explain what delivery you need, how you would pay and then you can discuss the price directly. Confirm via email. Samples to check quality would need to be paid for up front. 

Lalit Sarna Business & Technology Leader

January 22nd, 2015

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 :

  1. It's a great place to meet several vendors from different provinces. 
  2. Easiest way for price discovery.Just walk down the isle and get price quotes from several vendors. 
  3. You will get an idea of different manufacturing provinces of China and their specialities. 
  4. 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. 

Matt Froehlich Founder & Consultant at Taktion Consulting

January 22nd, 2015

I've been in some aspect of sourcing my entire career. I think alibaba is a good option for you to start and prove thing out. It sounds like you've done that and want to take advantage of the volume.  Having done quit a bit of my sourcing in Asia I would tell you that I heavily rely on relationships.  I think having calls with a supplier is a great low cost start. If you know someone who can refer you, I also think that will help add credibility.
While Asia is typically where everyone starts, look to Mexico. It's still relatively inexpensive and total landed cost can be about the same, depending on scope and complexity. 
Hope this helps!

Fahad Siddiqui

January 22nd, 2015

Thanks Guys. Its a little early for trade fairs for us, but really good point, and I'll be looking deeper into it as soon as time is right. Good tip about Phone calls though. I'm a little scared about things getting lost in translation, but email confirmation should help.

Wichly Cazeau Looking for work in the sales department & customer service

January 24th, 2015

Aside from using Alibaba, I believe is definitely another option. They provide manufacturing, suppliers and wholesalers. Most companies observed onsite can also be found on alibaba. Hope that helps.

China Xiamen China Plastic Mold Manufacturer : Respon Plastic Industrial Co., Ltd. (

June 15th, 2016

It also depends how you find the suppliers. If they are existing products, but you need to custom make them, of course you are paying more. So firstly find ready molds for the production if they are molded. We do custom plastic injection molding.  We only do OEM. But my brother has lots of molds of thermoformed microwable food containers for production. Any one need? Welcome to contact.