There is good reason why China has become the number-one source of products for businesses around the world. Because of its large size, China has a vast number of factories that make (or can make) just about anything a business owner could want to sell. Whether you're looking for baby shoes, automotive parts or picture frames, there are hundreds if not thousands of Chinese suppliers you can choose from.
The low cost of raw materials sourced inside China enables Chinese manufacturers to make products for much less than in many other countries. This provides a competitive advantage to buyers who source their products from China. Low labor costs in China also help keep manufacturing costs down, and those savings are passed on to buyers. Chinese factories also have access to a huge labor pool, including an increasing number of highly skilled workers.
Alibaba's founders recognized China's potential to become the world's manufacturing hub early on, and in 1999 launched the company to help small Chinese exporters, manufacturers and entrepreneurs sell internationally. Today, of course, while Alibaba isn't all about China - its expanded offering buyers access to hundreds of millions of products in over 40 different major categories, including consumer electronics, machinery and apparel, from more than 190 countries and regions of the world - China remains an excellent source for high-quality products at low costs.
Still, whenever you are sourcing products from a distant country, it's natural to be a bit nervous about finding reputable suppliers, receiving your shipments on time and overseeing product quality. Do you have to make a lengthy trip to China to check out factories in person? Not if you use Alibaba, because the site provides a variety of safeguards to help protect your business.
Here's how finding a supplier on Alibaba works. Simply go to the Alibaba homepage, and use the search field to start searching for the products you want. You can also use the drop-down menu to search for suppliers, and narrow your search as much as you like, using factors such as the country you'd like to source from, product color or materials and more.
You'll get so many results that it may be hard to make a decision. That's where Alibaba's verification of its suppliers comes in. The company verifies many different aspects of suppliers so you can rest easy when making a purchase. Gold Suppliers go through the highest level of verification, but if you want to protect your purchase even further, you can choose a supplier who participates in the Trade Assurance program. Just look for the Trade Assurance seal on the supplier's profile, or filter your search to include Trade Assurance suppliers only.
Trade Assurance provides guaranteed coverage for your purchase up to a certain amount, shown in the profile. Select a supplier that has the appropriate amount of coverage for the size of order you're planning. All Trade Assurance suppliers are reviewed by prior customers, so you can see what other buyers have said about that supplier, and also view their transaction history.
When you work with a Trade Assurance supplier, Alibaba creates an online contract specifying the terms of the purchase, and you pay for the shipment using a secure, designated account on Alibaba.com. If the supplier fails to deliver the product on time or to meet the quality specifications you set in the contract, you can get a refund for your payment up to the covered amount.
So far, more than half of Alibaba's China Gold suppliers have joined the Trade Assurance program - and that number is increasing every day. Thanks to Trade Assurance, sourcing products in China is becoming easier and easier.