There is an abundance of online resources that can help you get your search started. The Internet is a powerful resource and you can find everything in just one click. However, these sites mostly contain thousands of listings and it is overwhelming to go through all of them. Another thing you should keep in mind is that the Internet is so accessible these days. As convenient as it may seem, anyone can easily claim that they have a factory that can make your product. The initial step to ensure that the company you found is legitimate is to do your research. Find out more about The Alibaba group here.
Check out their website and make sure that the contact person indicated represents an actual company. Contact the company so you can do initial cross checking. In searching for an overseas factory, prefer those that have an English version of their website. This will spare you from having a language barrier that might result to misunderstandings.
Try to analyze available international trade data. Several websites offer bill of lading and ocean freight records. Additionally, governments of most countries, especially China and other Asian nations, make a large amount of factory data readily available to the general public.
Reach out to social media and networks to your trusted contacts. Almost anyone involved in the import/export industry will have a connection with overseas factories. If not, they may know somebody who can help. Social media is becoming a powerful tool in researching business connections. If you use Facebook, Twitter, or other networking sites, be sure to let your connections know what you are looking for. Asking help through both your business and personal contacts in email is also a good idea.
Through referrals in the industry
Reach out to other people who sell a product similar to the one you are interested in. Identify a similar product line that is not a direct competitor to what you want to sell, then reach out to this company and offer to trade them services or free work in exchange for advice. Chances are that his/her factory or even his/her overseas agent will be able to find you a factory for your product. It will be less difficult if you also try to consult someone who is already manufacturing overseas. Referrals will provide you an immediate level of comfort and confidence with factories. You can also consider asking from marketing service companies, if you know some. Call domestic factories and inquire about their overseas connections.
You can also search for a broker or an agent who represents the factory. With a knowledgeable person at hand, you can avoid potential setbacks. Some products have quota restrictions so be familiar with this area as early as possible. A broker or an agent should be able to guide you along the way. If you can not find a broker, you can try searching for agents who directly deal with a factory. Another good resource for this are online international trade organizations. You can use leverage the data provided by these organizations to research companies and their capabilities.
Above are just a few of the many ways to finding an overseas factory. To build confidence in your decision, follow your instincts. If you feel something is not right when dealing with a manufacturer, then do not engage business with them. In the end, there is always another manufacturer who will work well with you so be patient when searching, be resourceful and careful when choosing one.