Dealing With Chinese Suppliers

Dealing with Chinese wholesalers can be troublesome.

Sometimes the language barrier is enough to break down a deal, other times you and the supplier will disagree on terms of shipping or payment. There are lots of factors that need to fall into place in order to successfully negotiate a deal with a Chinese supplier. With that said, a good experience with a Chinese supplier can be worth its weight in gold. If you have a genuine supplier that can deliver the goods in a timely manner then you’re business and profits will literally explode but here is what you have to get right first.

Payment Issues

Sending money to Asia is notoriously difficult. Most methods that the suppliers prefer carry a certain element of risk. For instance I’ve always used Western Union as it is actually a very convenient service once you know you’re safe – the downside is that if you don’t know your safe your sending money with no assurances/guarantees what so ever. In an ideal world Chinese suppliers would accept Credit Card payments but the fees for them to do so on bulk orders are astronomical and therefore most don’t. If you’re worried about sending large payments to your supplier then talk to them about it and see if they’ll accommodate a safer payment method for your first order. If they do then great, if they don’t then investigate your supplier in greater detail before proceeding.


You absolutely MUST trust your supplier. They have the ability to make or break your business every time you deal with them. If you don’t fully trust your supplier then you’ll be in for many a sleepless night and you have to ask yourself whether it is really worth it… For every good supplier in China there are 3-4 illegitimate ones waiting to take your money. What most westerners fail to realize is that the Chinese live in a very low wage economy and therefore sending them a hundred dollars is like a years salary. If you’re dealing with a legitimate supplier then it won’t matter how much you send, you’ll always get the goods…


Make sure you clearly discuss the terms of delivery with your supplier as the Chinese have a habit of doing what they want to do and unless you clearly state that you want “x” service they’ll go their own way. That means there is a good chance they’ll use something like sea freight, air freight or a similar service to ship your goods and if you have not heard of these services before you’ll soon realize that unless your ordering huge quantities this shipment is going to cost you an absolute fortune (and take about 6 weeks to arrive). The Chinese are always happy to meet your requirements but you need to firmly tell them what you want first or they’ll go their own way – I don’t think its bad business, I just think it’s how it’s done over there!


Communicating with the Chinese can be tricky but most legitimate suppliers have very good English speakers heading their customer service team. In order to avoid sending hundreds of emails back and fourth it is best to get an “account manager” who is available on live chat. You can usually find these listed on the suppliers website or contact form and they’ll usually offer a few options like Skype, AIM and Instant Messenger. This will cut down the process dramatically as you’ll be able to ask all the right questions and receive near instant answers. It is by far the easiest way to do things and 90% of the time you’ll be able to find out a lot about the supplier by using such services.