Sourcing Channels

Neil Updated by Neil

After deciding which product you want to private label, the next step is to find a fitting Chinese supplier. This chapter deals with the most viable channels to find a said supplier.

  • The various types of sourcing channels are:
  • Online Sourcing Marketplaces
  • Trade Shows
  • Sourcing Agents
  • Service Providers
  • Sourcing Magazines and Catalogues
  • Referrals


Online Sourcing Marketplaces


This is the most frequently used marketplace used by e-commerce sellers, specifically the novice traders. Online sourcing marketplaces are also known as Directories. There are mainly three such sourcing marketplaces to find Asian, particularly Chinese, suppliers.

They are:

Made in China- The Made in China marketplace is mainly used for finding hardware and machinery related suppliers.

Alibaba- is the most popular site when it comes to sourcing a product or a supplier. They have a massive number of products available, ranging over millions and vast in variety. They provide logistical services, trade assurance, as well as production monitoring. You can also order a small quantity of the product(for testing) you are interested in through AliExpress. Alibaba owns this along with Alipay for online payment.

Global Sources- Global Sources also has a wide range of products available, but they are mainly focused on new, innovative products and making sure the suppliers are reliable. They have 45 years of experience in this business and are the only marketplace that also runs trade shows.



Indiamart- Indiamart is a leading B2B site. It is an e-commerce website and is known for providing both B2B and B2C as well as the customer to customer sales services.


South Korea

South Korean – It’s one of the most significant online space for B2B market. Buyers and suppliers connect here on the site. The site also provides an opportunity for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

tradeKorea- Another Asian B2B marketplace that can be accessed globally is from South Korea. This company is one of the most sought for online known for its authenticity. It also works under the KITA(Korea Internation Trade Association) and originated in 1946.  Its Global Business Matching Services (GBMS) provides a hassle-free connection to Korean suppliers and helps partners meet your sourcing requirements.



FOBSupplier- FOBsupplier is an online portal where one can find different kinds of buyers are sellers. The portal makes your experience easy in finding buyers, OEM suppliers, Traders and Wholesalers from all around Taiwan. It regularly updates its directories and its easier to find a product on the site than a trade show.



Indotrading- Indotrading is another Asian website based out of Indonesi. The platform helps buyers and sellers to work on a B2B level. It also works with SMEs and helps them grow their business. There are various products and services up for sale on its site. The site also has Request for Quotation or RFQ or Online Tender feature which again makes it a very smooth and comfortable experience for the buyers to find their needed goods.

Global Sources- Global Sources also has a wide range of products available, but they are mainly focused on new, innovative products and making sure the suppliers are reliable. They have 45 years of experience in this business and are the only marketplace that also runs trade shows.


Advantages of Online Sourcing

It is a fast and pocket-friendly way of research. If you are commencing your business with a low budget, online research is the best option. You can cut on travel costs, it is more convenient, and you get a wide variety of products with comprehensive data offered on each of them. You can send the product you chose directly to the FBA.

They have a wide variety of products and suppliers. You enjoy detailed area-specific information of suppliers and products available across China and other parts of Asia. Products that are trending on Amazon or other sites emerge in a few weeks on online marketplaces.


Disadvantages of Online Sourcing

Finding the product that you want can become unnecessarily challenging. As there are millions of products provided at various sites, it isn’t easy to point out the new arrivals.

It may not be easy to differentiate between manufacturers and trading companies. The website may not always verify which is which if the provider hasn’t given the information.

It can be fairly time-consuming. Receiving several samples from potential suppliers and then picking them may take a few weeks, even months.

It exposes you to scams and cons. There are reliable long-time suppliers in the mix, but suppliers may also take a large order and then disappear after.

Online sourcing may seem more comfortable and contain more options, but trade shows have their advantages, which may be more suitable for the product you are looking to import. We suggest you look at every opportunity and make a detailed decision.


Trade shows

A trade show is mainly an event organized by members of a particular industry to showcase their new products and services. They can also keep an eye out for their competition and help produce new ideas.


Advantages of visiting a trade show

It can be a tool for idea generation. You can learn more about the business if you are in a rich, information-filled environment. You can come across a new product that intrigues you, which you didn’t even think of sourcing earlier.

It has Early-bird benefits. Many companies launch their new and innovative products first at trade shows, which haven’t yet been posted online. So, visiting a trade show can be beneficial.

You get to look at the products. You get to see and touch the actual tangible product that you are thinking of sourcing; online sourcing cannot offer that, at least not instantaneously.

It helps in research for the product. If you do not know much about the new product you are sourcing or about the industry as a whole, trade shows help you with that. They prep you so you can question suppliers in detail.

It helps build and deepen supplier importer relationship. If your current supplier or potential prospect is there at the trade show, you can further develop your relationship.

Not many suppliers are privy to social media and prefer to showcase their new products only in trade shows. You will find these suppliers here rather than missing out on them by only researching online.


Disadvantages of visiting a trade show

It can be relatively expensive to travel to a trade show. Booking flights, hotel rooms, and users may line up to reach thousands of dollars.

It can take a lot of time. You can spend weeks on various trade shows trying to find that perfect product for sourcing. You may also opt to visit factories which would further take more days.

The following chapter attending Trade shows describes this in more detail.


Sourcing Agents

You may find it more convenient to deal with an agent rather than communicating directly with a manufacturer. This commission-based sourcing agent may assist you in finding and verifying the perfect supplier for your product.Their fees vary from 3% to 10% of the purchase price. Keep in mind that often the sourcing agent is paid both by the supplier and the importer.


Service Providers

These are experienced high-end companies that handle the entirety of the sourcing process from start to finish. They take care of the communication with suppliers, negotiating, verifying suppliers, handling logistics, managing quality control, and shipment management.

Communication is a smooth sail when it comes to service providers, as they are mainly westerners. Some of them specifically deal with the requirements of Amazon and Amazon FBA sellers.

They are costlier than sourcing agents and adhere to a decided rate of payment rather than commission. They also receive payments from both suppliers and buyers.


Sourcing Magazines and Catalogues

Sourcing through magazines and catalogs has been the main channel for a long time until recently when the importers switched to other mediums.

Although these magazines’ print varieties are not as popular anymore for Chinese trade, electronic versions are still popular. The advantage of magazines and catalogs is the same as visiting a trade show; you may find suppliers and products you didn’t think of sourcing before.

Global Sources and HKTDC still publish magazines and catalogs of their own.



You can get references from the suppliers you are currently tied with. They can send you recommendations if they are themselves not manufacturing the new product you desire for sourcing.

You can also inquire about the new product from Amazon sellers or Facebook pages or other communities that you belong to.



There are numerous options that you may choose from for sourcing Asian products for your private label.

It all depends on your business resources and requirements. You can select either one channel or a combination of many.

How did we do?

Types of Suppliers

Attending Trade Shows