Identifying & Vetting New Chinese Suppliers During the Coronavirus Epidemic in Early 2020

In light of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak, are you concerned about how you’re going to be able to get your products made in China in 2020?

In several provinces, factories are authorized to open only today — at the earliest. Let’s all hope this Coronavirus epidemic will be under control soon and the special measures taken by Beijing will no longer be needed.

However, you still have orders to fill and production projects to start right now, so, with this in mind, what can buyers do to identify and vet new suppliers in China?


Manufacturing in China is affected, but will still proceed following Chinese New Year

We are not aware of any official forecast about the end of the current controls that have delayed many factories from restarting operations. If anything, we are worried extra controls might be necessary over the next few weeks, and the situation may only return to normal in May or June.

You can read more about how logistics & manufacturing will be affected here.

However, manufacturers will slowly begin to welcome back staff, which means that China will likely have the capacity to handle your orders this year, albeit things may not run as smoothly or quickly as before straight away.

Even if you need to find a new supplier, many foreign buyers are rightly concerned about visiting China…


In practical terms, what does the coronavirus’ effect on China mean for foreign buyers?

  • Most purchasers will be actively discouraged from travelling to China or maybe even Hong Kong, for a number of reasons (fewer flights, quarantine upon return, etc…).
  • They also won’t go to trade shows (or, if they go, most Chinese exhibitors might be missing). Some trade shows won’t even happen, anyway, such as the Canton Fair.
  • They won’t visit factories (in fact, many factories may not even permit outside visitors on to the premises).
  • Their local employee(s) might be blocked in their city, or might also stay out of China if they had left before this situation deteriorated.


If you can’t, or won’t, visit trade shows and potential new suppliers in China, what can you do?

Sofeast is here to help if you need to search and qualify new suppliers, and to make the process simple we are offering a special package that includes all of the steps you need to take to identify and verify new Chinese suppliers.

This package starts at 990 USD for 1 type of product. It includes the following:

  • A 30-60 min discovery call with you to understand your needs, set the expectations on deliverables, and plan for the work ahead (note: for new clients, we are happy to have  a call before any commitment and payment.)
  • Identification of 3-5 potential suppliers*
    *(Assuming the product is relatively simple and not excessively difficult to find. We can confirm eligibility before confirming the quotation).
  • Business registration check on the 3 best potential suppliers.
  • On-site quality evaluation, or visit by a project manager, on the best candidate (note: extra expenses apply if the factory is far away from our technicians).
  • Collection of existing samples (sample cost, if any, charged to the client on top of the price of this package).
  • A 30-60 min summary call, to ensure that you understand our findings.

Note: we are happy to discuss and expand this program, or simply to work on an hourly basis, to fit your needs. If you have any specific questions about this, please contact us.

By the way, the situation in Vietnam is not as critical as in China, but people are very concerned and there is a risk that extra controls be set in place there soon, too. The package described above also applies to Vietnam.


Are factory audits even going to be possible?

That’s an open question. Different cities have requested the companies they host to follow different guidelines, and many factories have developed their own internal procedures.

From what we have seen so far, by default, many factories refuse to welcome outside visitors. This is a safety measure, and we expect it to be enforced tightly when it comes to outside auditors (who typically talk to many people, and could infect all the key people of an organization).

This is why we are working on an e-audit solution.

If you're worried about the Coronavirus' effect on your business, we can help.
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