1. Yiwu China Commodity City – “A sea of commodities, a paradise for shoppers”

The Yiwu Commodity Market is one of the largest wholesale commodity trading centers in the world. Buyers travel from all over the world to shop this marketplace where they can buy in small, wholesale quantities. The city itself is located in the Zhejiang Province and is known as the China Commodity City. It neighbors Canton and Fujian in the South, and Shanghai in the east. Many travelers to this city get in via the High Speed Bullet Train that you can take from Shanghai.

According to the Yiwu International Trade Center, the year-round market place can accommodate up to 70,000 stalls and has product offerings in upwards of 4,000 categories. The China commodity city consists of International Trade Market Districts 1-5, which makes it easier for buyers to shop by category. Many of the vendors in this marketplace have items that are ready to buy in small bulk quantities. They are for the most part (but not entirely) middlemen that buy shelf ready stock from the manufacturers and re-sell them from their stall and on-line. This in turn allows prospective buyers to buy in smaller quantities, while still taking advantage of the deeply discounted wholesale prices.

I visited the Yiwu Marketplace for the first time in March of 2014. The hotel I stayed in was just steps away from one of the main shopping districts for my desired category. Below are some of my recommendations for how to take full advantage of buying from this marketplace:

  • Many vendors in Yiwu are also on AliExpress. You can contact agents in advance from there and ask for their assistance to show you around the marketplace. It is customary for them to pick you up at your hotel.
  • If you speak Mandarin, you can shop around alone. Otherwise, many vendors there speak some to no English. You will want a translator with you.
  • Map out which category, floor you want to check out. The place is a large maze and you can easily get lost and get nothing accomplished by the end of day.
  • Most of the hotels around the area have brochures at the front desk that can help you locate English speaking agents that can show you around.
  • Use multiple agents. Many will help you source almost any item you are looking to buy. It is best to get more than one price to compare offers.
  • I would recommend staying for at least 4 days+. This will allow your agents enough time to find samples for you and show them to you throughout your stay.
  • Bring samples of items that interest you to show your agents.
  • Make time for doing work in the lounge area of your hotel. I had many insightful conversations with other buyers during my stay. It is great place for knowledge sharing, especially if you are brand new to sourcing from China.

In March of 2015, I will be traveling to The Yiwu commodity marketplace again and taking video of my experience. The video will include a quick tour of the marketplace, my hotel location, information on sourcing agents, the route I took to get to Yiwu, etc. If you are interested in seeing the contents of this video first before the general public, make sure you sign up to my VIP email list below.

2. Canton Fair On-line Exhibitor List The China Import and Export Fair, commonly referred to as The Canton Fair, is well known among many international sourcing agents for finding and manufacturing almost any commodity conceivable. The Fair is held bi-annually in Guangzhou and has a history spanning back to 1957. I, personally, have not attended the Canton Fair. Quite frankly, I’ve been amazed at what is possible these days with communicating on-line with overseas vendors. Prior to stepping on a plane and heading to China in 2014, I had conducted all my transactions behind the glare of a computer screen only. I managed to grow a multi-six figure revenue generating business this way. If you are not able to attend this event, then there is still hope for connecting with the exhibitors. The Canton Fair website displays each year’s exhibitor information and contact details on their website. Vendors at the fair pay an exhibitor fee in order to showcase their products. They invest in their business, which puts them a notch above the rest. The vendor information can be found under the ‘Exhibit Categories’ page. Click on the commodity category that interests you and check out the ‘view the exhibitor list’ hyperlink. You now have in front of you a top notch industry supplier list! Canton_Fair_Screen_Shot 3. ThomasNet.com Now that we have many of the China sourcing avenues covered, let’s move on to finding American manufacturing suppliers for your products. Over the last few years there has been a push for more American-made products. Two great examples of this are the annual ‘Great Made in America Christmas Effort’ from ABC News and the 2014 Walmart Made in USA Open Call Event. Products manufactured in the USA create valuable homeland jobs needed to grow our economy and helps to strengthen our growth in exportation. As an e-commerce vendor, this designation can provide you added commerciality to your product in a niche area. ThomasNet.com is the web’s largest and most comprehensive database of regional industrial suppliers. In simple terms, their database provides you with a long list of American manufactures and suppliers of products for various commodity items. If you are nervous about overseas shipping, customs and duties, then having your product produced in the good old USA may be a better route for you. Applied knowledge is powerful. Sign up here for more information on how to grow your Amazon FBA business. Happy Hunting!