If you are going to start an online business, it’s highly likely you are going to need a manufacturer for your products. Because of the quality and affordable cost they offer, Chinese manufacturers are generally the first choice of e-commerce companies.

But there are so many manufacturers in China, how will you know which one you should work with? The good news is, you can easily find them in the largest online marketplace to date, Alibaba. Awesome, right?

Yes, it is! But a lot of people are not aware that the suppliers in Alibaba are different from each other. There are wholesalers, factories, and even trading companies! Working with a manufacturer is, of course, the most ideal, which is why in this post, you’re going to learn how to find a really good Chinese manufacturer in Alibaba.

Searching for Alibaba Suppliers

When you go to Alibaba’s website, you will notice that there are two ways to search, either based on the suppliers or based on the products. If you are still looking for products to sell, then search based on products so you can check out which ones you believe will work best for you.

But, if you are already looking for a factory, then search based on the suppliers. By searching them, you’ll receive potential manufacturers who will showcase the products they make along with other helpful information on their Alibaba page.

Alibaba Suppliers: How to Find the Best Chinese Manufacturer in Alibaba

The Difference Between Wholesalers, Factories, and Trading Companies

Even though Alibaba is a reputable marketplace, frauds and scams can still get in. So, it’s up to us to be extra vigilant and do our homework so we can avoid these kinds of problems.

Another thing is, you must determine whether you want to work with a wholesaler, factory, or trading company. Check out the difference between the three so you can decide which company type can suit your requirements well.


Wholesalers are those that have warehouses and act as middlemen between factories and merchants. They add a margin on the actual prices of the products in order to make money. Although they are quite similar to trading companies, they are usually more affordable.

There are a lot of wholesalers in the US as they let companies to purchase domestically, rather than dealing with international or overseas imports.


When looking for suppliers in Alibaba, your main target should be factories. These are the ones who actually make the products, which make them the most affordable. However, factories usually have a minimum order requirement, so take note of this for each factory you have shortlisted.

Trading Companies

Trading companies are those that have close connections with factories and usually deal with different types of products. They earn money by adding margins to the actual costs they supply to sellers. A lot of business owners tend to avoid trading companies because they are expensive. But, if you are starting out on products on a small scale, then it’s good to start with them first.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Manufacturer

When checking out a supplier in Alibaba, the first thing you need to look for is whether or not the company is a Gold Supplier. Companies from China spend about $5,000 each year to earn this badge, while those from outside China, like Hongkong or Taiwan, suppliers spend at least $2,999 each year.

Being a gold supplier means these companies are serious about their business. They are willing to pay to boost their brand and get clients to notice them. BUT, although this is a good indication of a good Chinese manufacturer, this should not be your only basis.

Here are some things that you also need to consider when looking for an Alibaba supplier:


  • Does their company name have industrial or trading in it? If yes, it’s most likely a trading company and not a factory.
  • How many years have they been on Alibaba? Generally, if they have been listed longer in Alibaba, there’s a high chance that it’s a reputable company.
  • Do they have a full supplier assessment? This is a comprehensive check conducted often by a third-party company that inspects and verifies the information of the factory.
  • Does the company have certificates, such as ISO, WRAP, and BSCI? Companies who provide copies of such certificates are often legitimate as they have proof that it’s really the name of the company and that they provide such products and services.
  • Check their audit reports.
  • Check their product catalogs.
  • Ask if you can check their business license.


Check the Overview Page of the Company

A lot of suppliers in Alibaba are way too focused on providing high-quality images of their products. These photos are indeed important but another page that you should pay extra attention to is the overview page of the company.

This gives you important information about the company and can help you decide if you really want to work with them. This page can even help answer some of the questions stated above, such as the company’s certificates and information about the products, like size, weight, height, materials, etc.

Contacting Manufacturers From Alibaba

The next step to finding a reputable Chinese Manufacturer in Alibaba is by reaching out to the factories you have shortlisted. When messaging them, it’s important to note that the one replying to you most likely doesn’t have English as their native language. So, remember to keep sentences and words really simple. Do not use complicated words, use those that are commonly used instead.

Also, don’t forget to include other inquiries and concerns you may have. It’s essential that you get details about the company, but be careful not to ask them too many questions. They might miss some of your queries or they might think you are interrogating them.

When you have already found the best Chinese manufacturer for your products, it’s time to get more serious. It’s best that you order product samples from them and be clear with the terms. Some provide free samples while most charge a certain fee. But anyway, hopefully, this post was able to help you find a reputable Chinese manufacturer in Alibaba!


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