Letter from China: Post Shanghai Purchasing

Paul Wray, Managing Director of Furntec Ltd and Modern Outlook Furniture, shares some tips of buying from China following the return of the Shanghai Furniture Fair.


Here we are, October and post the Shanghai Furniture Fair 2023 following its return after a three-year absence due to Covid. Did you go?

The furniture show is always a great place to source and meet with suppliers and colleagues within the industry, but not everything is quite as it seems.

There were many foreign buyers attending the show this year and buyers had to beware for a number of reasons. Due to many suppliers in China showcasing their products, buyers were certainly looking at ordering at the show, without even looking to see where the products have been produced.

Now the show has concluded, my advice before placing any orders is to do your due diligence, research the company background and visit the factory to start with, as well as request golden samples. Once you have your golden samples then, and only then, place your order. However, it is still vital to re-visit when production is underway. You need to make sure that it is the factory that you initially visited making your product and it’s not being made by a sub-vendor. This happens on quite a regular basis in China.

You must also be aware of the factories financial background as there are many closing down, due to lack of business. Remember, you will have placed deposits for your orders. Make sure you check or have someone on the ground here who has a relationship with the factories to carry out these vital checks.

There is a lot of work required but the time and effort put in, will pay dividends. Visiting the show is only a small part of what’s needed when purchasing from China. I have been working in China for over 25 years in the furniture industry and lived here over 12 years, and our team would not be able to fulfill our customers’ needs without being on the ground here.

We take away the headache and all the traveling and time costs associated with making sure your products are what you ordered. Yes, there is a cost, but the cost of this service far outweighs the potential pitfall of losing, not only the product being substandard, but also your profit.

Modern Outlook Furniture assists businesses of all sizes in procurement from China at any stage of your project. If you would like a no obligation conversation about how we can assist you and help you avoid any costly issues or nasty surprises, please do get in touch!


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