Why you need an agent in China

We live in the times of advanced technology. Why not find a manufacturer in China yourself when there is Alibaba in different languages? Why to pay agents for their services? I’ll answer that question not because I’m one of those agents, but simply because I’m a person who cares.

If you buy a pair of sneakers, you certainly do not need an intermediary in China. You can open Aliexpress and place the order yourself. Imagine you spend $5–10 to buy the sneakers, but when they arrive, the color or size is wrong or you get a box instead of the sneakers. Well, you will be upset just for a couple of minutes because you have been waiting for them for a long time. Still, you will immediately forget about $5–10, won’t you?

Now imagine you place an order for $20,000, $100,000 or more, pay for container delivery and customs clearance, and wait for it for at least 3 months (production+delivery). At last the goods arrive but differ from the expected ones. Then there are not many options what to do with them. If the factory is decent, it will take over part of the cost and will compensate for the goods when sending the next shipment. If it is a one-off job or it is the best quality the factory can offer, you can say goodbye to the money. You can sue in China if you have a contract. But no trial is worth the nerves and time. You could save them if you asked for the help of an agent in China.

I’m not trying to scare you. I have clients who work with factories for years on their own. It is enough to come for tea once in a couple of years. But unfortunately, such cases are not common, in my 10-year experience.

A client has recently contacted me. He ordered a playground in China and had already made an advance payment. Then he contacted me for agent services. I wasn’t happy about the payment as we do not know the quality of the goods of that factory, we had no contact with it. But we couldn’t go back as the money had already been paid. When the playground was ready, we went to the factory to check the goods. It turned out that the inscriptions that had to be in English were made in Chinese, the metal tubes were very thin, and the print put on the material was vague and dull. Now the factory is altering what is possible to alter. Here is a short summary: the client found the factory himself on the Internet. The factory was not analyzed by a professional. The client didn’t visit the factory, he didn’t see the goods. He hired the agent after paying the factory. I think that he brought me in on time because we were able to check the goods at least and prevent the shipment of improper goods. Still, it is necessary to check the manufacturer’s competence before placing an order and communicate with it in Chinese during a production period.

There are factories that will not jump higher than they are. They make the goods of their quality for years and sell them for years. The question is: do you need this quality? The command of the Chinese language is not enough. You need experience to understand whether it is worth working with this factory or not. I have it. That’s why I offer the services of supporting your order in China. Again, you can find goods on Alibaba. But first, you can access only the international Alibaba. It is different from the domestic one. Second, I know how Alibaba representatives check manufacturers and give them the title of “a gold seller.” Third, factories do not know the international requirements for documents. Fourth, even those factories that have been working with foreign clientі for many years can make unthinkable mistakes. Most recently, the factory has sent a client tires along with the goods. The tires were used as packaging. As a result, there was a huge fine for smuggling (about 500 000 rubles) as well as expenses for repacking, storage, and re-export of the tires.

In my experience, a lot of such situations occurred when clients had contact with factories on their own. How much will it cost you to avoid such failures? Just a few percent for the services of the professional agent. And the money is safe, and the nerves are fine.

Author: Anna Morozyuk

Anna Morozyuk I live in Guangzhou (China). My specialty is translator and representative in China. I have certificates and diplomas confirming the level of knowledge of the Chinese language. I perform services in China such as the search for manufacturers, quality control, represent in exhibitions, organizing the supply of goods, big equipment from China, delivery and customs clearance from China.