Establish your business in Chinese e-commerce: Find the ideal distributor

Are you looking to sell in China but don’t know how?

Here’s the answer: you need to find a distributor, THE distributor that will be perfect for you.




It is possible to get started in China by several means, such as by creating your Chinese company. But this maneuver is very complex and requires a lot of time and money.


By having a suitable distributor, even if you do not have experience in China (or you do not speak Mandarin), he will help you by taking care of the import, storage, sale and shipping of your products. In addition, your Chinese distributor will of course give you access to its network and will allow you to reach a larger audience, and therefore to sell more.


So? Eager to find your new distribution partner? Here is how in a few steps (do not skip them!).


1. Have a certain brand awareness is vital in China

Before you even start looking for a distributor, you must have built a reputation on the Chinese market beforehand. And yes, as competition is fierce in China, many other brands (probably of lower quality) will have the same product to offer as you. Showing to your potential future distributor that you not only have a reputation and that you also have good sales potential is essential when you are going to approach him.


With the vast majority of sales being made online, building brand awareness with the help of digital marketing professionals (such as GMA specialists) is a great way to start entering the Chinese market the right way.

2. Find a distributor is then easier


Now that you’ve put the odds in your favor, you can start looking for a distributor.


But where to look for it? Here are the most effective ways to find distributors:


-Search on the Chinese internet

This can be long and time-consuming since there are almost 100,000 distributors in China.

-Use your network via WeChat

If you have contacts who already operate in China and trust them, or if the quality of the products sold by them is satisfactory, do not hesitate to inquire about the distributor in question.


Chamber of Commerce

If you have no contact operating in China, do not hesitate to contact your Chamber of Commerce: you will have access to their network and they will put you in touch with reliable suppliers.


Professional shows and trade fairs

A large number of trade shows and fairs for professionals are held all over China. Go to shows and fairs corresponding to the nature of the products you want to sell. There is a multitude of trade shows and fairs (technology-oriented, food products, etc.).

These places are perfect opportunities to meet future partners in person, to be visible and to exhibit your products.


Tmall B2D

This is a platform where you can get in touch with 80,000 Chinese distributors and find the perfect distributor to deploy your products.


-Work with a third party

Using a third party like a local partner to support you and even find and select a distributor with you will probably be your best weapon! Especially if this partner has a knowledge of the business climate in China and has mastered Mandarin. A team of professionals like the GMA will help you in your efforts and can also help you avoid potential complications.



3. Choose your distributor(s)


Now that you have established a list of potential distributors, you have to make your choice. To do this, make a list of questions that will show you which is the ideal distributor that will meet your needs.

For example, don’t forget to ask questions about payment and delivery conditions, but especially to mention certain sections of the contract (in order to make one).

Does your distributor request exclusivity for the sale of your products?

Does he want to register your brand for you?

And many other questions not to be overlooked so as not to have unpleasant surprises. If you grant exclusivity without conditions (of a minimum quantity of sales for example), your distributor will have the power to block the sale of your products for the benefit of those of the competition for a certain time!

And if he registers your trademark with HIS name, we let you imagine the legal consequences that it could have.


Here again, a partner accompanying you in these procedures will ensure that the procedures run smoothly.


Once you have answered all of your questions, it will be clear that one or more distributors will be ideal for your business.


4. Make a deal

The contract is certainly the most important step, especially in China!


Specify which laws will be applied to the contract. In our case, it will be Chinese law and a Chinese court. This is why your contract should be in Chinese and not in English.


It’s important to remember certain things like warranty management, who pays what (so you don’t end up paying unexpected extra costs), and most importantly, the NNN agreement.


It’s simple, no NNN agreement, no contract!

Don’t you know what is an NNN agreement? Quite simply an agreement for trade secrets which is essential in contracts, especially in China.


5. Sell!


Congratulations! You have signed with your distributor(s), you are now able to sell. With the notoriety that you have already built and your new business partners, you must move up a gear in your marketing strategy in order to sell your products in China!

If these steps of canvassing, contracting or marketing are beyond your skills or your scope, as we have advised you several times, a qualified partner will be your best friend. You may also be interested in China eCommerce guide: How to sell products online in China.


We are the GMA:

-A team of 70 digital specialists in China


-More than 750 projects since 2012


-Professionals used to work for foreign Brands


We want to help foreign companies to enter China in the best way


If you have any questions or need help, don’t hesitate to call us!





  • I totally agree with what you said, and it was not easy to find a suitable distributor in China. I tried to find one by myself, but in the end, I worked with a distributor with whom I wasn’t sharing the same expectations.
    After getting some help with the GMA, I found the right distributor for my business on Tmall and things are doing well today. Thanks again.

  • I went to professional shows and it is a very nice and human way to find a distributor in China. Of course, I was with my husband who is a native Mandarin speaker, and the exchange is easier and faster than trying to contact a random distributor online.
    Even if I found my distributor in a professional show, I recognize that contacting the chamber of commerce of my country gave me several good ideas. They are here to help you and contacting them is way easier to begin your research.

  • Hello, indeed having certain notoriety in China before looking for any potential distributor is more than helpful if you are new in the country. Because if you are unknown by the distributors and, even worst, by Chinese people, nobody may want to do business with you! So think about building your branding before anything!

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