How to define a China supplier is a manufacturer or a trade company?

No matter traditional B2B business or the B2C/C2C cross border trading, many customers have a common doubt for the seller:

Am I finding a trade company or a manufacturer?

They have reason to doubt, buyers prefer to buy from direct manufacturer because they believe the price will be cheapest---in most of the cases they are right, and a manufacturer will be more prefessional about their products, which means better quality.

In one hand, the international buyers keep looking for real manufacturers, in other hand, the China trading companies--who know the preference of buyers well--keep camouflage to be a manufacturer in many ways.

All these made the questions more complicated.

So in this passage, I will share some knowledge about how to define a China supplier is the manufacturer or just traders.

Check the company business scope

This method is most accurate way. If, in a seller's business scope description on their business licence does not include any production activity, there is no doubt they must be a trader.

But there are some difficulties for a foreign buyer to obtain the seller's TRUE business license, not to mention to understand the China language on it.

If you ask the seller to give you their business license, in one condition they will refuse to give, in other condition they may give you a fake license which states they are a manufacturer. So what to do? We don't ask them to give you the license.

There is a website by China government which has all company information and we can search the seller's name in it. (

Note this website is divided in provinces, you have to switch to the supplier's provinces first.

Input supplier's name in the column

Once we have input the supplier's name in it and click the red button, the supplier information will displace like below

The Chinese sentences that I put in yellow rectangle is business scope, then we will check if they are allowed to conduction production activity.

The answer is NO.

Although this company include many industries in the business scope such as: fashion, leather and made product, bags, packing materials, toys, electronics, etc. But there isn't any words relates to production which means they can only be a trade company.

Some difficulties for this method

  • Require buyers can read and understand Chinese language

  • Require buyer can get the Chinese company name of the seller and able to type


If you can't get the supplier's Chinese company name and if they are Alibaba seller, check its TrustPass profile, you can get their business license registration number, input the number in the website given above, you can still check its business scope.

In this passage I shared one method on how to define a company is a manufacturer or a trading company, but don't think its that simple. Because a company with production business scope does not mean the products you are buying are produced by them.

We have to judge with some other factors together.

If you are not able to read and type China language and you have the same problem, please contact me at for help, thanks.