February 25, 2023

China Purchasing Agent – 3 Things You Should Avoid While Hiring

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So, you're considering hiring a Chinese purchasing agent for your B2B needs. Congratulations, you're on your way to tapping into one of the world's largest and most competitive markets!

However, before you dive in headfirst, you should know a few things.

Do You Know?

According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China report, "The purchasing manager index (PMI) of China's manufacturing sector for January 2023 was 50.1% with an increase of 3.1% from the previous month."

It shows the positive development in the manufacturing sector of China. However, doing business in China can be complex and challenging, especially if you're unfamiliar with the language, culture, and legal landscape.

The Right Approach:

That's where a Chinese purchasing agent comes in - these agents are experts in navigating the Chinese market and can help you source high-quality products at competitive prices. 

In this post, we'll explore 3 things you should avoid when hiring a purchasing agent in China to fulfill your procurement needs.

But don't worry - we won't bore you with a dry list of dos and don'ts. Instead, we'll take a lighthearted and entertaining approach to the topic. So buckle up and get ready to learn how to hire a Chinese purchasing agent like a pro!

For those who prefer video content, here’s a video summary of what you’re about to read below.

3 Things You Should Avoid While Hiring a Chinese Purchasing Agent

Before you dive into the hiring process, you should understand what to look for - and what to avoid.

But is this process that complicated?

Yes and no!

On the one hand, it's easy to get confused by the sheer number of options available in China. But on the other hand, the process becomes much simpler if you know what to look out for.

So here are 3 things you should avoid when hiring a Chinese purchasing agent:

1. Don't Hire Without Research:

When it comes to hiring a Chinese purchasing agent, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is failing to do your research. 

After all, you wouldn't buy a car without checking its history, specifications, and your own requirements - right?

The same principle applies here – before hiring an agent, it's important to dig a little deeper and ensure they're the right fit for your business.

The Right Way:

You must be thinking - How can you conduct effective research on potential agents?

The first step is to narrow down your requirements. This includes your budget, target market, product type, and any other specifications you may have in mind.

Once you've established these criteria, you can begin researching potential agents. Look for reviews, physical presence, past experiences from other clients, and a detailed explanation of their services. 

When all is said and done, you should clearly know who to hire – and who to avoid!

Don't Forget:

You'll also want to make sure that the purchasing agent you're considering has experience working in your industry and understands the products and services you're looking to source. This is particularly important if you're in a specialized field or looking for a high level of quality control.

Is conducting research too time-consuming?

Yes, it might take a bit of time, but it's essential if you want to get the results you're looking for. Remember that hiring a purchasing agent is a big decision - so it pays to do your due diligence!

But don't worry! 

You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to conduct effective research.

Simply asking the right questions and getting a sense of their background and expertise can go a long way in ensuring a successful partnership.

So remember – don't hire without research!

Doing your homework upfront can save you time, money, and headaches down the road.

A Viable Solution:

You can also opt for a reputable third-party China export agent to help you source and purchase products from China. This eliminates the need to hire an individual agent, as a third-party contractor like MorphoMFG will handle all the legwork for you.

Want to read more about hiring a Chinese export agent - Check out our recent blog post!

Recent Blog Post: Top 7 Benefits to Hire a China Import Agent in 2023

2. Not Finalizing Payment/Commission Terms:

Okay, so you've researched and found a Chinese purchasing agent who seems like a good fit for your business. 

You're ready to dive in and start sourcing products, right? 

Not so fast!

Before you get too excited, there's an important step you can't afford to overlook – finalizing the payment and commission terms.

This may not be the sexiest topic to discuss, but trust us; it's crucial for ensuring a successful partnership. After all, money talks, and if you're not on the same page with your agent when it comes to payment and commission - things can quickly go south.

How to Avoid:

So, what should you keep in mind when it comes to payment and commission terms? 

First, ensure you understand exactly how your purchasing agent will be compensated. 

Will they receive a percentage of the total transaction value or charge a flat fee?

And what about expenses – will you be responsible for covering any additional costs, or will your agent take care of everything?

Don't Overlook:

Another key consideration is the timeline for payments. Will you be expected to pay upfront, or will you have the option to pay in installments? 

And what happens if there are any issues with the products or services you receive – will you still be on the hook for the full payment, or will there be room for negotiation?

The Right Way:

Don't be afraid to ask questions and get everything in writing before you start working with your Chinese purchasing agent. 

That's why we always recommend having a written agreement in place that outlines all the payment, commission, and other terms related to your partnership. 

Negotiating payment and commission terms can be tricky, especially when dealing with cultural and language barriers. 

But by being clear and upfront about your expectations, you can set the stage for a successful partnership - avoiding unpleasant surprises!

A Tip:

If you are planning to import a large number of products from China, negotiating a flat fee commission may be a more cost-effective option.

For Example:

Suppose you negotiate with your Chinese purchasing agent on 1% of the product value as a commission. If you are importing a large number of products, then the total commission could add up to a significant amount. 

Instead, you could negotiate a fixed fee commission - say, $1,000 per order. This could help you save money in the long run and make budgeting easier. 

At the end of the day, it's important to find an agreement that works for everyone involved. 

At MorphoMFG, we offer a flat fee commission structure, which makes it easy and cost-effective to source products from China. 

We'll handle the entire process for you - from sourcing to delivering and everything in between - while keeping your budget in mind.

And you know what the best part is - no hidden charges!

3. Not Preferring Quality over Money:

Money, Money, Money - it's often the first thing on everyone's minds when importing from China. 

But there's a danger in becoming too fixated on price – and that danger is sacrificing quality in the process.

We get it; everyone loves a good deal. But when it comes to sourcing products, cutting corners on quality can have serious consequences. 

From product defects to safety issues, choosing a China purchasing agent based solely on price can ultimately cost you more in the future.

The Trap:

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of securing a low price from your Chinese sourcing agent

They will try to trap you by offering lower and lower prices until you bite. 

But remember - there's usually a reason why something is so cheap. 

And more often than not, that reason is a lack of quality.

How to Avoid:

Firstly if you are sourcing something from China, you should also have an approximate idea of the price range for that product. 

And you don't know - how much is too much - and how little is too little.

Then you better not jump into any decision alone.

The Solution:

If you don't know about a product's pricing, then it's better to take help from someone with expertise in this field. 

We at MorphoMFG can help you get an accurate quote from various suppliers and ensure that you get the best quality product for the price you are paying.

Is this service paid?

Yes, of course!

In case you only need our quotation services - we will only charge four figures, depending on the project's complexity.

Wait - Don't get us wrong!

We're not saying that price shouldn't be considered when dealing with your Chinese purchasing agent. 

But when it comes down to it, quality should always be the top priority. 

After all, a cheap price tag won't mean much if the products you receive are defective or useless.

A Valuable Guide:

Do you want to have a general idea about the approximate production cost of your product -Check out our detailed pricing guide!

Pricing Guide: Manufacturing Costs for Custom ODM Products in China

Understanding the Types of Chinese Purchasing Agents - An Important Aspect

We can simply say there's no one-size-fits-all approach. 

In fact, purchasing agents in China come with their strengths and weaknesses. So before you start working, it's important to understand the two common types of purchasing agents in China - commissioned agents and contract manufacturers.

Commissioned agents: 

They work on a commission basis and represent the interests of buyers. They're usually paid a percentage of the total transaction value and can be a good option for businesses that don't have a large volume of orders. They can help you find suitable suppliers, negotiate prices, and manage the logistics of the transaction. 

The Hidden Side:

But wait - there's a hidden side! 

Be aware that some purchasing agents may have hidden agreements and kickbacks with the suppliers. Most of them don't even have a Custom GACC Registration (required for all trading operations).

Being independent contractors, they have limited resources and power over their suppliers. 

They might be unable to provide you with several services, such as design assistance or on-site quality inspections. 

Contract Manufacturers (CM): 

On the other hand, CMs are a more hands-on option for businesses that need a full range of services from product development to quality control and delivery. 

They are in contact with a large range of suppliers in the industry and usually have good relationships with them. 

Plus, they often have more leverage when it comes to negotiating prices. They can also provide technical assistance and design consultancy. 

In other words, a CM offers an extensive range of services at cost-effective.

Not only do they have the ability to provide technical assistance, but they can also be a one-stop shop. It means you don't have to worry about managing multiple independent contracts while all your needs are handled in a single place. 

What's More?

In addition to understanding the different types of Chinese purchasing agents, you should also consider other factors such as experience, communication skills, and cultural compatibility. It's important to work with someone who understands your business needs and can deliver the results you're looking for.

So, take your time, do your research, and choose wisely!

Learn more about working with a contract manufacturer in China - Read our related blog post!

Related Blog Post: Selecting the Right Manufacturing Partner in China

MorphoMFG - Your On-Stop Purchasing Partner in China

Are you looking for a reliable and trustworthy partner to help you purchase products in China? Look no further than MorphoMFG - your one-stop purchasing partner in China!

Why Us?

We understand the challenges that businesses face when sourcing products from China. That's why we offer a comprehensive range of services designed to help you navigate the complexities of the Chinese manufacturing industry.

From finding the right suppliers and negotiating prices to managing the logistics, our team of experienced purchasing agents has the skills and expertise you need to succeed in today's competitive marketplace.

But that's not all - at MorphoMFG, we pride ourselves on our commitment to quality. We work only with reputable suppliers who have a proven track record of delivering high-quality products.

What can you source with us?

We can source anything from custom to ODM/OEM products.

We specialize in sourcing: 

  • Electronics items

  • Medical equipment

  • Pet products 

  • Apparel and fashion items

  • Custom innovative products

  • Luxury items

  • Industrial parts

  • And many more.

So, why waste any more time searching for the right purchasing partner in China? Schedule a call with us today, and let us help you take your business to the next level!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the roles of a purchasing agent in China?

If you're considering hiring a purchasing agent, you may wonder: what exactly do these people do? 

Well, let me tell you, purchasing agents are the superheroes of the business world. They swoop in and save the day by taking care of all the nitty-gritty details of sourcing products from China.

So, what are the roles of a purchasing agent, you ask? Here are just a few of the many hats they wear:

  1. Product sourcing

  2. Quality control

  3. Supplier management

  4. Logistics

  5. Cost savings

But wait – not every purchasing agent offers all of the services mentioned above. However, most of the contract manufacturing agencies like MorphoMFG offer all of these services in one place.

So, if you're feeling overwhelmed by the daunting task of sourcing products from China - fear not! MorphoMFG’s purchasing agents are here to save the day and take care of all the details, leaving you free to focus on growing your business.

2. Can a China purchasing agent help me with product design and development?

When it comes to product design and development, the level of support offered by a China purchasing agent can vary depending on the agent or company you work with. 

More often than not, individual purchasing agents or contractors don't offer design and development services as they typically specialize in sourcing, negotiating, and logistics.

But don’t worry – We got the solution!

The Solution:

If you work with a contract manufacturing company such as MorphoMFG, they can offer various design and development services to help you bring your product to life. With a team of experienced engineers and designers, we can provide everything from product design and prototyping to testing and certification.

So, why wait?

Schedule a call with our experts today and discuss your purchasing and design requirements in detail. Let's bring the purchasing process to the next level.

About the author

Josh Fairbairn

CEO of MorphoMFG, fluent in Mandarin, Blogger, and Youtuber. Josh loves interesting materials and the craftsmanship that goes into creating innovative products - watches, tech, games, whisky, leather, wood, blockchain & electronics. Josh and his team in Guangzhou, China are striving to create (& consume) the world’s highest quality products. Partnering with entrepreneurs globally to help solve the world's problems - whether small or large.

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