If you have a product you want manufactured, going overseas may allow you to save on costs. However, the main question is: how do you find international manufacturers?
One of the most popular destinations for those looking for international manufacturers and suppliers from China is Alibaba.com. The site can connect you to any Chinese manufacturer for whatever products you want to produce. Be careful though with “phantom” suppliers who will simply take your money and run without sending you the goods you ordered (and there are plenty of these horror stories).
To protect yourself against these scammers, look for suppliers and manufacturers that participate in Alibaba’s TrustPass program . Chinese suppliers and manufacturers pay to be part of this program, where they are verified by a third party service to give buyers like you the confidence to deal with the company.
Alibaba also has a Gold Supplier program . This is again another paid program where suppliers and manufacturers need to be verified, and Gold Suppliers are given TrustPass accreditation as well.
Still, entrusting the manufacturing of your product to a company half the world away without ever meeting takes a lot of faith in the inate goodness of man. So savvy inventors and businesses prefer finding manufacturers by attending international trade shows and actually talking to the representatives of the company.
If you are looking for international sourcing trade shows, check out GlobalSources.com which offers a good list of upcoming international trade shows and sourcing fairs around the globe. You can also check out their Verified Suppliers for various product categories. Other trade show listings include TSNN.com.
Another way is to use a sourcing agent. While hiring a sourcing agent makes it more expensive compared to dealing directly with the manufacturer, the agent can help you with the whole process. They will find the right manufacturers for you, and some can even help you with advice on how to set-up letters of credit, shipping concerns such as customs, duties, and brokerage.
Do a search on the Web for sourcing agents for your products. Or call your local Small Business Development Center for recommendations. Your state’ Department of Commerce can also help you and may have some recommendations for you. Check out the Trade Information Center as well.