Wednesday 20 Sep 2017

Distributors & Middlemen

Alibaba.com suppliers are either direct manufacturers or distributors and middlemen who sell products from an inventory – or on behalf of manufacturers.

Many middlemen on Alibaba.com try to pass themselves off as direct manufacturers. They’ll post pictures and videos of “their” factories – and even arrange for tours of “their” facilities. But you can always spot them, because they sell the same products as other middlemen.

Middlemen are usually more expensive than direct manufacturers, but may provide value in terms of: better English skills, better location (in a port city), better familiarity with international trade, and better inventory of products.

A good middleman may help you deal with local manufacturers and keep an eye on quality. He can also help you with things like shipping and customs. So, while a direct manufacturer is probably cheaper, a good middleman may be more useful.

Ultimately, however, it doesn’t really matter if a supplier is a direct manufacturer or a middleman. What really matters is finding a good honest supplier – whom you can trust and rely on for high-quality products. And that supplier is as likely to be a middleman as a direct manufacturer.

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