How Can You Select an Online Buying Agent in China?

China shipped items totalling a staggering US$2.591 trillion worldwide in 2020. They continue to be the top provider of products that are prepared for sale to international eCommerce businesses.

However, there are challenges involved in getting goods from this nation, particularly if you don’t have a China sourcing agent.

There are many different issues faced while buying from China and some of them are:

  • The language barrier
  • Unknown business culture, quite different from western countries
  • Quality issues
  • Shipping delays
  • Intellectual property issues

By doing a quick Google search you may not get a high-quality result. Therefore, most eCommerce businesses prefer to work with a certain China online buying agent to do business smoothly.

To start with, a few questions that you can ask to your potential online buying agent.

  • Where your office is located and in which cities do you visit regularly?
  • How long are you in this business?
  • Which product categories/industries have you mostly worked with?
  • How many partner manufacturers/factories are associated with you and in which cities are they located?
  • Can you provide a list of references and contact details of a few international companies with whom you worked?
  • Is your business registered? Whether it is in China or elsewhere?
  • What are your methods and terms for payment?

How to select your buying agent in China?

To select your online buying agent in China you may start checking the following:

  1. Business license

A good sourcing agent will always have an official business license and he will be willing to share it to you.

  1. Experience and specialization

The sourcing agent’s experience is another crucial quality aspect. Have they entered in this business just two weeks back or have they been in the sourcing industry for some time and have experience?

Experience is essential since without it, they won’t know which suppliers to work with and which to avoid. That is eventually the main reason you hire them.

Check the track record to understand how they assisted their client and get a better idea about their expertise.

  1. Proof of references

A sourcing specialist must have dealt with more businesses overall the more experience they have. A reliable product sourcing agent will provide references and testimonials in plenty.

  1. Language skills

Mediating between you and the supplier is one of the most crucial duties of any sourcing agent.

Therefore, it is important that they are perfect in both the language of the supplier and a language you are fluent with.

  1. Location and flexibility

Geographic proximity is another key factor. For instance, your sourcing agent should be located in Shenzhen if you wish to source a product from there.

  1. Supplier network

A competent sourcing agent will be able to suggest a number of facilities that can produce your goods. They should be very well connected and know the best sources for your particular product.

  1. Transparency

Transparency is a need, just like with any other service provider. A good sourcing agent will always inform you well in advance about costs and their breakdown.


It is interesting to note that not every online buying agent is made equal. Finding a trustworthy agent to handle the work is crucial if you want to properly take advantage of their entire range of perks.

Retailers are always free to do their own product sourcing. However, selecting this option may not benefit them as an eCommerce store, particularly for those who are totally new e-commerce companies.

Last but not least, a sourcing company may provide your company with the most competitive pricing on goods from reliable suppliers.