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The Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Your Suppliers in China

Table of Contents

When it comes to working with suppliers in China, it’s important to know what questions to ask in order to get the best results. Whether you’re looking to improve your supplier relationships or just get a better understanding of the market, these top 10 questions can help. But before we dive into the questions, let’s first understand why it’s important to ask these questions.


Building Relationships and Trust

Asking these questions shouldn’t be done haphazardly or at the first interaction. It’s important to build up a rapport and establish a relationship of trust with your supplier before asking these questions. The timing of when to ask these questions can vary, and will depend on the relationship you have with your supplier. You can ask these questions by email, WeChat, in person, at the Canton Fair, or in the factory directly.


Are you a trading company or a factory?

The answer to this question may not matter as much as the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the supplier. Both trading companies and factories have their own advantages and it’s important to understand which one you’re working with. Trading companies often have a wider range of products to offer and can source products from multiple factories, making them a good choice for those looking for a one-stop shop. They can also handle the logistics and paperwork for you, making the import process easier. On the other hand, factories often have a more specialized product line and may be able to offer lower prices due to the lack of middlemen. They may also be more flexible in terms of customizing products to meet your specific needs.


Where is your factory located?

It’s important to know the location of the factory and the office, as well as the port the goods are shipped from. This information can be useful when considering consolidating your orders to save on shipping costs. Additionally, the location of the factory may also indicate the type of labor and materials available in the area, which can affect the quality of the products produced. For example, a factory located in an area with a highly skilled workforce may produce higher quality products.


How many workers do you have in your factory?

This will give you an idea of the capacity of the supplier and how big their factory is. Understanding the size of the factory can be important in determining their capacity to fulfill your orders. A larger factory may be better equipped to handle large orders, while a smaller factory may be more flexible and able to offer quicker turnaround times. Additionally, the number of workers may also indicate the level of automation and technology used in the factory, which can affect the efficiency and quality of production.


Which markets and countries are you supplying?

This question will give you an idea of the factory’s focus and the quality standards they follow for different markets. For example, a factory that primarily supplies high-end products for the European market may have higher quality standards and a more strict attention to detail compared to a factory that supplies lower-end products for the Asian market. Understanding the markets and countries the supplier serves can also give you an idea of their expertise and experience in different cultural and regulatory environments.


Which brands do you supply and who is your biggest customer?

Knowing the brands the supplier works with can give you an idea of their attention to quality and the level of expertise they have in the industry. If the supplier works with well-known and reputable brands, it may indicate that they have a strong track record of producing high-quality products. Additionally, the identity of the biggest customer can give you an idea of the supplier’s capacity to handle large orders and the types of products they are experienced in producing.


Have you supplied any retailers or department stores?

If the supplier has supplied a large retailer like Walmart, it means they have the capacity to supply large quantities and have experience engineering their products to be cost-effective. Additionally, supplying retailers or department stores may also indicate that the supplier has experience navigating the complex requirements and standards of these types of customers, which can be beneficial in ensuring the product meets your own quality and regulatory standards.


What is your MOQ (minimum order quantity)?

This question is important in determining if the supplier can accommodate your order size and if it aligns with your business needs. A lower MOQ may be more attractive for smaller businesses or those just starting out, while a higher MOQ may be more appropriate for larger businesses with higher demand. Additionally, the MOQ can also affect the cost per unit, so it’s important to consider this factor when negotiating pricing with the supplier.


What is your lead time?

The lead time is the amount of time it takes for the supplier to fulfill your order. It is important to understand the lead time to ensure it fits within your business timeline. Lead times can vary based on the product, production processes, and factory capacity. It is essential to communicate your delivery expectations with the supplier to ensure that they can meet your needs and to avoid any potential delays. Some suppliers may have longer lead times, but may also offer better prices, while others may have shorter lead times but at a higher cost. It is important to find a balance that meets your business needs, considering factors such as cost, quality, and delivery timeline.


What is your payment term?

The payment term refers to the agreed upon conditions for paying the supplier for their goods or services, including the amount of time allowed for payment, the method of payment, and any penalties or fees for late payment. It is important to understand the payment term offered by the supplier and ensure that it aligns with your business needs and payment practices. For example, some suppliers may require payment upfront, while others may offer net 30-day terms, where payment is due within 30 days after the goods have been received. It is important to clarify this information to avoid any misunderstandings or issues during the payment process.


Can you provide samples for us to evaluate?

It’s important to ask about the availability of samples and the process for obtaining them. Samples can provide a hands-on evaluation of the product’s quality, design, and function, helping to ensure it meets the standards and expectations of the buyer. The supplier should be transparent about their sample policy, including any costs, lead time, and conditions. Understanding this information can help to streamline the evaluation and decision-making process.



In conclusion, asking these top 10 questions can help you get a better understanding of your supplier and improve your results when working with suppliers in China. Remember to build a relationship of trust and to ask these questions at the right time in order to get the best results.

About SINO

SINO Shipping is a trusted international freight forwarder with over 35 years of experience, offering a full range of logistics and transport services. With a strong presence in China and a commitment to efficiency, reliability, and customer satisfaction, SINO Shipping ensures stress-free and cost-effective logistics solutions for businesses worldwide.

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