Contact Chinese suppliers– Why Chinese Suppliers (Alibaba) Keep Ignoring your Inquiries

Aug 24, 2021 Chapter 1. Sourcing

When import from China, all you need to do now is go online, send out a few inquiries on the China wholesale websites, and wait for the reply! Well, at least that’s the way most importers wish things worked. But, as many of you are painfully aware, the reality surrounding suppliers’ sourcing and price research are very different. Getting the supplier’s attention is one of the main issues when a new small businesses owner sourcing products from China.


It may sound ridiculous!


The buyer, should be the one fighting for attention rather than the supplier. However, Chinese suppliers do indeed have very good reasons to be somewhat picky. In this article, we will explain why Chinese suppliers don’t reply to your inquiries and how to improve that. 

“I am a buyer. Why should I persuade Chinese suppliers to cooperate with me?” This is indeed a sensible question. However, please put yourself in the supplier’s position for a moment: Chinese suppliers are accustomed to manufacturing products according to buyer’s specifications. This requires a serious commitment from the buyer. Suppliers listed on the e-Canton Fair and other B2B catalogs receive many inquiries every day. Like any business, they do everything they can to get out of the mess to avoid wasting time on leads that are unlikely to bring rewards.



Chinese supplier inquiry8 reasons why Chinese suppliers didn’t reply to your inquiry


1. Your inquiry is too vague to make you look like an outsider

Not long ago, I found a comment from a Chinese sales manager in a forum. He explained why they were too passive to answer most of the inquiries:

“I am also a supplier. It would help if you informed some professional questions about your products, such as your raw materials, packaging, national regulations, and whether it is OEM.

As a supplier, I only respond to a specific inquiry. When your question is very broad, it is difficult for the supplier to understand and follow up with you. Describe the product you are interested in detail. “

The easiest way to distinguish opportunists from real buyers is to look at their exact understanding of the product. For example, professional buyers of LED lights will ask whether they meet foreign standards (such as FCC and EN LVD), LED chips and other quality factors. On the other hand, when opportunists buy a very small amount of products, they will straightforwardly demand the lowest-priced, high-quality products (whatever they are). Let’s compare, suppose you have a factory in China and see which factory you are more willing to spend time in:

It is crystal clear and easy to follow. A professional buyer knows that it is unrealistic to ask suppliers to quote their entire product line. Instead, you start with some models and work from there. You also provide highly clear product specifications and allow suppliers to fill in the gaps. In this way, you show that you know one or two things about the product in question. This is the kind of buyer that Chinese suppliers are looking for.


2. You describe yourself as a (too) small buyer

So, you have just started your own online store, and you lack business experience before. Well, you have to start somewhere, but there is no reason to tell your Chinese supplier. Chinese manufacturers are not entrepreneurial incubators. They want serious business now, not five years later. Let’s make another comparison:

This is true. Although the order quantity required for these two inquiries is the same (300 pieces), the impression is entirely different. First of all, China is a hierarchical society, and the people respect authority. It doesn’t matter if the company’s senior purchasing manager happens to be the sole owner and employee or if the “e-commerce department” is a simple Shopify store. The key is that you give the impression that you are a valuable customer. This is a must if you want to attract attention.


3. You only contact a few suppliers

Purchasing means finding the best products from Alibaba’s best suppliers. Given Alibaba’s enormous supplier resources, you may want to build a shortlist of potential suppliers so you have a wider choice. You shouldn’t limit yourself to a few suppliers at all.


4. You sent the inquiry at the wrong time

make sure it is not a Chinese holiday, such as Chinese New Year, National Day, etc.


5. Your email may have entered the provider’s spam folder. 

To prevent your email from ending up in the supplier’s spam folder, you may want to avoid subject lines that sound misleading, especially if it has spam trigger words such as urgent, money order, dear friend, order now, promise you, etc. 


6. You are not sure about the product you are looking for. 

Before finding the right supplier, you must first identify the specific product you are looking for and always make sure that the email you send is to a supplier that provides a specific product.


7. The quantity is too small, and the supplier is not interested.

Although we encourage you to negotiate with suppliers, a too low MOQs/price will immediately discourage them. It is okay to ask for the minimum order quantity (MOQ), but if you require a product with a minimum order quantity of 150, then your inquiry may be ignored.

Solution: Ask in the initial email whether the minimum order quantity is negotiable (maybe you want to make an initial order before mass purchase to test the quality of the supplier’s product), but don’t immediately put forward a lower number. Most suppliers are willing to lower the MOQ, but not to an absurd level.


8. Poor supplier reputation

You may come into contact with low-quality suppliers who are more concerned about large orders than winning repeat customers because low quality will be discovered after the first order is completed.

If you are serious and use the above tips to format your inquiry, you need to find some high-quality suppliers interested in your order. This can also prevent you from being cheated or receiving inferior products.




How to Get Chinese Factories to Respond to Your Inquiry(e-mails)

Now that we know why Chinese factories don’t respond to your emails, let’s look at some tips to improve our response rate.

1. Detailed product requirements

Planning detailed product requirements can greatly increase your response rate.

2. Provide order details

It is also essential to add product details and provide details about the “size” of the order. Every time you offer a supplier in China, the first question is, “What is your quantity?” If you don’t provide it, they will quote the MOQ.

3. Potential hot customers

Just like you are a candidate supplier, suppliers are also candidates and qualified potential customers, so they can invest limited human resources to chase the best potential customers, that is, “potential hot customers.” Therefore, it is important that you act like a potential hot customer.


4. Follow up by phone

This is where the “cultural differences” really stand out. Just because you sent an email to someone in China does not mean they are obliged to reply. Give them a call and let them know that you sent them an email so that they will take your email priority.


3. Consider hiring a local sourcing agent

Since most Chinese suppliers do not speak English well, you can always rely on a local sourcing agent to represent you in China and negotiate for you. Many companies provide this service, such as SUPPLYIA Sourcing agents. We will ensure that you get better contracts and prices that match your import budget.

5. Visit China

Finally, if you really don’t have the opportunity to get feedback from the supplier, or your product is unique, and your supplier is a monopoly, or, if you are a state-owned enterprise, visit China and personally meet the supplier is the best solution.



Skill for Sending Inquiry to Chinese Suppliers


There will be cases when you genuinely don’t know much about the product as it might be a new product you are looking for. In such cases, try to get at least 1 or 2 quotes before sending messages in bulk to Chinese suppliers.

The first couple of suppliers will give you a lot of product info if you ask the right questions and allow you more prepared when you connect with other suppliers.

Another benefit of the second quote is that when suppliers feel you know the product & the industry, they tend to quote you lower prices. If you act like a complete newbie, they are more likely to offer you higher quotes. Suppliers have the skill of identifying inexperienced importers from a distance.

Finally, The idea will help you understand the nuances of the Chinese supplier’s products so that you can choose more likely reasons for the price difference between suppliers.



If you treat contact with suppliers as a “sales process,” you will find that making some adjustments in your approach will have a huge impact on your response rate.

Now, I want to know more experience and questions when you communicate with the Chinese suppliers via email in the comments below.



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4 months ago

hi there

Top 16 Best China Wholesale Website to Find Chinese Supplier
4 months ago

[…] Many China suppliers in Asia do not speak English very well. But as long as you communicate by email and real-time chat, things will go much smoother. How to contact Chinese supplier? […]