This article offers simple and effective strategies to solve this problem.
Understand what you need. You need to first know what is available and have a way to categorize the information. Here are some categories to help you think about Chinese suppliers: manufacturer vs. 3rd-party supplier; Big corporation vs. small family-owned; 3rd-party supplier with in-house product development capability vs. 3rd-party supplier that just buys-in and sells-out; vertically integrated manufacturer vs. assembly-based manufacturer; etc. Properly categorizing the suppliers will help you understand what you need. For example, if you need to import products in a narrow range, you may choose a manufacturer other than a 3rd-party supplier. If you are a small business and need dedicated attention, you may want to develop a good relationship with a small family-owned business.
Do some preliminary Internet research to further develop your category system towards your specific needs. Create a data table to help you record the search result, so the job can be done more efficiently and effectively. The table should include columns like company name, contact information, business scale and scope, category check boxes (important), and notes.
Use search engines to search information related to your product name. The first 100 results would be the most relevant websites related to the product of your concern. You can also find your competitors' information and develop a better sense of market segment and marketing channels.
Use trustworthy B2B websites or popular business directory websites to obtain very structured information for Chinese suppliers. Famous B2B websites providing valid information of hundreds of thousands of suppliers are great choices. Be sure to use local ones, such as alibaba.com, bossgoo.com, made-in-china.com, as you can contact Chinese suppliers on these websites and get quick responses. The directory websites are also excellent resources to obtain industrial knowledge.
Narrow down the list of suppliers you want to work with to a manageable amount. At this stage, you may already know what your real needs are and what is available. Initiate contact with the suppliers you want to work with, and further develop relationships with them. Eventually, you will find the one. The process can be a fun and friendly experience.
Find a Chinese local business to help you. The local men know how to check the supplier, some special business manner is unknown by the foreign ones, once you have a local guide, all your business work will be easy.