Supplier audit: explaining some tips

Searching through some China forums I’ve found some advice about supplier check. In this article I’ll speak about such “inspectors” mistakes and explain every step on practice so that you can see how uneffective these steps and advices. Let’s start.

From the forum:

1) Official registration certificate

My explanation: Such kind of documents must be checked for originality of datas in appropriate authorities. Customers are foreigners who don’t even speak Chinese to be able to that.

Conclusion: a professional interpreter or translator should help the client verify the documents are original.

2) Export licence.

My explanation: the same as NO 1: the document should be cheked by someone who know Chinese and can prove the mane of the company is the same.

3) See the registered capital of company.

This sum is written in the official registration certificate which throws us back to paragraph NO 1. First thing that you need to know is that a company can’t be registered without charter capital. Second thing is that since 2016 the obligatory payment of the registered capital has been cancelled. That means a company may write 1 000 000 CNY and not neсessary pay it.

4) CE certificates check.

The same as in paragraph 1, need to make request to the authority which issues those cetificates. 

5) Websites of the company.

Chinese companies do not always think about their Internet pages at all. Sometimes it can be a manufacturer with 15 years history and 50 employees making high quality products. Chinese Internet content is pooper than European. 

6) Company status on b2b sectors

In China there are local websites for b2b sector. But in English websites there aren’t any of them. For instance, there is one very poor single-paged website on Chinese domen which has not been updated for ages and is not indexed in Chinese search systems.

7) Domen information via Whois

It may be or not be there. The same topic as in paragraph 6.

8) Searching the company in black lists

Here is the question: what is the list? Who is the author of the black list? Where does it come from? If it is a private website then i doubt the objectiveness of it.

However, in some Chinese official sources there are some lists where you can find status of suppliers. 

9) Searching the company in official map systems

It’s more convinient to register where economical districts are located, but it way more profitable to manufacture where labor payment is lower. For example, no one will register and locate factory in the downtown but why not register a company there? That’s about separating “manufacturing company” from “trading one”.

Those who works in foreign trade and manufacturing in China know that there are area, cities and provinces that specialize on special products. For instance, if we speak about bearing, then the manufacturers are mostly located in Ningbo, not in Shenzhen.  Car tires are produced in Qingdao not in Beijing. So experienced inspectors should know where manufacturers can be situated. 

10) Analysing photos from website

Go back to paragraph 5: no website no photos. 

11) Analysing phone nubmer and photo in PL

In PL any information can be used, managers can write their own mobile numbers or company numbers or even don’t write any of them. 

12) Visiting the supplier

Experienced inspector should know all the questions above and then visiting supplier will surely bring results.


Here you can find how to make supplier audit, you can also watch video of audit here.