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How to Ensure the Quality of Products Imported from China?

China has emerged as the most popular sourcing destination since its initiation of opening up policy. Many international companies may resort to importing products given its low labor cost, material cost, and high quality. However, it may be a challenging task for business beginners given the demographic and cultural differences. This is because you are unable to make sure the quality of the imported products.

Generally, the quality of products plays an essential role in the success of your business. That’s why you have to keep an eye on the quality of your outsourced products. Products with bad quality will definitely take toll of your business. For importers, the quality control should be an essential part of your sourcing process. This means you have to make sure products in great quality before they are finally shipped to your warehouse.

You may think of the quality check of the manufacturers. That’s true. The factory has its own QC team to inspect the raw material and manufactured products. However, the truth is that the factory QC is not enough for quality inspection because of the possibly loose quality standards, cultural barriers, and the lack of training inspectors and testing equipment. Besides, quality control will ensure the quality of the imported products and monitor their manufacturing schedule.

There so many uncertainties. How can you ensure what you import from China are of good quality? We will dwell on the question and give you the best tips when you source from China. Let’s get started.

How to Conduct Quality Control When Source Products from China?

1. Understand the value of your products

When you plan to source products from China, you must have a full understanding of the products. With the product value in mind, you are allowed to figure out the quotes from suppliers which may help you settle on the market. You have to figure out the raw material, basic process, functions, and even the design.

The most important thing you have to understand is about product quality. You have to know the price range of the product at a certain level of quality. Normally, you will find a different price on the market for similar products because of different quality standards. As such, you have to understand the value of the product.

The full understanding of your products will definitely help you to specify the quality standards in detail in the contract when you cooperate with manufacturers.

2. Cooperate with a quality supplier

Remember to cooperate with quality suppliers when you start souring from China. First and foremost, you have to reach them to check their qualities. You can find these suppliers on different platforms such as B2B websites, Google, trade shows, and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Find them, and get their contact info and background info to know much more about the supplier.

What if these suppliers are scammers? It’s time for you to check and testify their info. How can you make it? There are a number of ways to identify. Firstly, you can arrange an office visit if possible. Jump a flight, and check the business license, quality certificate, financial status of the factory, and inspect the manufacturing base. This is a good way for you to verify the supplier. Secondly, you can ask somebody you trusted in China to visit the manufacturer on behalf of you. This is a great way for you to save time. Thirdly, you are allowed to entrust a third-party inspection company to inspect the manufacturer. Remember to ask for the inspection report if you entrust someone you familiar or a company. This helps you narrow down your choices.

Then, it comes to the sample orders. You order samples to test if the product qualified or not based on your quality standards and function value. It may be costly in this period. You have to ship the samples to the quality network owned by yourself to check the quality of the sample.

Finally, you identify the most suitable supplier. You want to contract with the supplier. The key is to keep the relevant quality specifications in black and right. Draft all key quality items in the contract. This is absolutely important as the supplier will follow the specifications as contracted.

3. Quality Control over Imported Products

When it comes to quality control over the imported products, there is a wide variety of stuff to do on the list. It covers all possible links ranging from the beginning of the production line and the ending of pre-shipping management. We’ve divided it into three different periods for the product.

  • Pre-production Inspection

The first comes to the pre-production inspection. At this period, you have to check the raw material and components. Generally, manufacturers are inclined to source the cheapest material and components, and they are not aware of the raw material restrictions of your country. To make sure the quality of the raw material and components, you are allowed to draw a few samples randomly for the lab testing. Besides, you have to check the prototype of the product to ensure a successful design. In addition, you have to communicate frequently before it enters the mass production period. All this is to make sure that your quality specifications, materials, components, and process are completely understood by the manufacturer.

  • In-process Inspection

Then it should be the in-process inspection. This means the inspection during the mass production. You have to make it in case of possible unsellable products produced. During this period, you have to check the quality of a few products that were already manufactured and avoid possible issues on the rest production. You should never check it too early or late given its turnover of the product manufacturing.

Try to find out the non-conformity products based on the buyer’s requirement. Besides, you have to pay attention to the visual defects of the products. This is of great importance before it enters the market.  What’s more, you have to monitor the process for the product such as the forging process, and the assembling requirement. You can supervise the manufacturing process. If possible, you have to keep frequent communication with the supplier to follow up on the manufacturing process and give specific details about the product. Frequent communication delivers a better understanding of the products specification. Get the manufacturing update from the suppliers, and find possible revisions, and correct it during the production period.  You can get the potential problems fixed before it’s too late.

Most Chinese manufacturers are likely to produce the product that nearly up to the required standards. The in-process inspection will help you to prevent possible loss for the “almost” attitude. You also have to pay attention to your intellectual property and your schedule during the period. This will help you get clear about the lead times. Remember to follow up these key issues for your business and make necessary changes based on the market.

  • Pre-shipment inspection

Literally, pre-shipment inspection means the product inspection prior to the shipping. Normally, you will get the finished product quality control from the manufacturer. But that’s not enough. Pre-shipment inspection is normally carried out once 100% of the order is produced, and almost 80% packed. Some may even wait until all orders get packed. This is to identify possible faults and errors in the batch orders before you ship the items. This is how you make it easier for suppliers to rectify an issue.

For this part, you may not be able to check the product one by one. The best solution is to carry out the sampling test onsite. Sampling plans are available for you to determine the acceptable number of defects. Pick randomly, and figure out an accurate overview of the quality of the batch order. Get the test report, and evaluate if it is up to your quality standards.

The problem you may face the product, dimensions, and color doesn’t match the ordered samples. You may also find the scratches, holes, and other damage to the product. You have to pay special attention to these defectives.

4. Who will carry out Quality Control?

It’s important for you to entrust quality control to a reliable partner to ensure quality product sourcing. As such, you can make it by yourself, hire inspectors, or entrust a professional quality inspection agency. Make sure they fully understand the requirement of your products. Normally, there are three ways for you to get the right person to conduct quality control over imported products.

  • Travel to China to Inspect Products Personally


You are the one who set up the quality requirement. Definitely, you understand the quality standard comprehensively.


You may not know the best way to conduct product inspection. Remember to take the details of the process into account, and get the necessary training. You have to figure out the inspection quantity. As we know, it is impossible for you to inspect all the products one by one. You have to know the sampling inspection process, the on-site testing procedure, and the equipment for inspection. Besides, traveling to China takes your time, money at the expense of the opportunity which may neglect other business activities at home.

  • Hire a Full-time Inspector

To ensure the regular product quality inspection, you are allowed to build your own QC team in China. This means you can hire full-time inspection staff to conduct quality control.


Your inspection team is able to communicate with you on your own terms directly, and they are professional inspectors of your industry. As such, they have strong inspection expertise. And they are allowed to determine if the products they inspected can be shipped or not according to the inspection result. All of these local inspectors have to be employed under your company, and they have to be accountable to your company culture and contractual obligations. They will inspect your imported products based on your company-wide standards. What’s more, it will be cost-effective if you have to inspect regularly and frequently.


To establish a team means that you have to set up your own office in China legally, and comply with the local applicable labor laws. This may be challenging for you given the possibly complicate requirements and procedures. For the hiring local employees, you have to meet the particular tax and salary required by the Chinese authority. And once you have to terminate the contract with the employee, you are required a severance payment and relevant proof for your employment termination. Besides, it will be not worthy of maintaining a full-time salaried inspection team if there are not so many inspections on a regular and frequent basis. Given the long idle time for the inspectors, you have to pay their salary.

  • Hire a third-party inspection company

A third-party inspection company will be the best option for those who don’t have a big budget to fly to China or hire your own inspection staff.


The third-party inspection company will offer you their best service with their expertise. First and foremost, you will get detailed and unbiased report of quality issues including the total quantity of finished and packed units, the number and types of defective units, the nonconformance with the contracted specifications, and the results of any on-site testing, even the photos of the inspected units, packaging, test result, and any defects or other findings. Make sure the entrusted company can work for your business interest and keep integrity during their inspection work. Besides, you have to know that the inspection conducted by the third-party partner is not long-term cooperation typically. You can choose them according to their price and time spending on the program.


Working with third-party inspection may not be stable. Besides, you have to investigate the real relationship between the inspector and the supplier, and the business integrity of the inspector.

When you decide to hire a third-party inspector, remember to choose it based on your product. If your products are technology-intensive, professionals should be invited to your inspection program.  But if your products just need to check its appearance and function, video inspection will be the best option for you. Remember to keep the communication of your products specifications and inspection requirement clear to your supplier and inspectors, review the inspection reports carefully, frequently notifying the supplier of the corrective actions, and update the product specifications for future orders with the supplier and inspectors.

In conclusion, we do hope the above tips will be helpful for importers. Incorporate some of them into your importing practice. Now, it’s time for you to go ahead and get started. If you still have any problems, Leelinesourcing will be the best partner for your sourcing business. If you have any inquiry, leave your message in the comment section.


About the author

Sharline is the founder of LeelineSourcing.com. With 10 years of experience sourcing in China, She loves to share knowledge and ideas in sourcing bussiness.She writes only the truths which others are normally not willing to tell. This makes her posts distinguishable from other import & export articles.

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