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Due diligence checklist for Chinese suppliers

Whatever you can think of, it is most likely that you can find it being manufactured in China. The Internet provides a perfect tool to identify a long list of self-claimed Chinese manufacturers with decent websites in a second, however, foreign companies sometimes find themselves lost in a vast sea of choices, end up with fault products imported from China or work with a "suitcase" company – a Chinese term to describe fraudulent/fake businesses.

The key word here is qualifying. Conduct due diligence on your Chinese manufacturing partners/suppliers before you sign the contract.

Here are some factors you must include in your due diligence on Chinese manufacturers / suppliers:

  1. Is the business a genuine business? Obtain copy of their business licence and, if possible, check with local Commerce and Industry Administration Bureau on the legitimacy of the Chinese business.
  2. Is the business a manufacturer? Smart Chinese middlemen understand you would like to cut down cost and go directly to manufacturers. Hence they may work on a manufacturing site picture, put it on their websites and claim they are manufacturing what you need. Again obtain the copy of their business licence to check their business scope and/or investigate with local government agencies/industry bodies directly or through China business consultant.
  3. Does the Chinese manufacturer have surplus manufacturing capacity and capabilities to meet your current and potentially growing demand? Check with the staff of the company on their manufacturing capabilities. If you are placing big orders and/or look at working with a long-term manufacturing partner, it is worth visiting the Chinese manufacturers to better assess their manufacturing capabilities.
  4. Does the Chinese manufacturer have a quality control system in place? Do they have an international quality accreditation? Obtain a copy and check with the authorization organization.
  5. Is the Chinese manufacturer a reputable business in the industry and do they protect clients’ intellectual property? Check with industry bodies, their clients and suppliers and conduct secondary research to find information on the company’s reputation.
  6. Is the Chinese manufacturer committed to work with you? If your business is not vital to them, you are at the very bottom of the list when they prioritize orders and hence they may delay the production or delivery of your order during peak time.

For further information, please contact Sara Cheng, Manager – Greater China region.

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Sara Cheng
Senior Manager, China Practice
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China Marketing Coordinator
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