Verify the Factory

I have recently discovered the CSIC website and appreciate your advice about how to engage with business in China.  I have followed some advice to help me verify the authenticity of potential Chinese manufacturers to do business with.  In an email reply from a certain manufacturer, I received a copy of a Chinese business license, PQM document and a statement claiming that they are not ISO compliant right now.  To start, I am not too happy that they are not ISO compliant.  Also their Business license is not translated (except for two rows of Arabic numerals).  Doing research I am lead to believe that companies must register not on a national level but on city level.  Is this true?  Also I have been researching a clear way to verify if a Business license is valid, but have found no concrete answers.  If you could head me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it.  Thanks for your time and for your advice listed on your website.

Glad you enjoyed the video and I am happy to see you are doing your due diligence on a potential supplier. So important!

Regarding ISO, all things being equal I go with the ISO certified suppliers. BUT, I also respect the companies that have a plan to get ISO and are taking the time to train and really respect the ISO once they get it.  Many firms think of ISO as a marketing tool and rush to get it, then don’t respect the system once the poster is on the wall. So as buyers we need to find suppliers who live the ISO system rather than just use it for window dressing. A supplier that doesn’t yet have the ISO approval, but is working hard to train up, is better than a supplier that has ISO but ignores it.

It is correct that companies register on a city level to formalize the business, but certain approvals and licensing may need to go all the way up the chain to Beijing. But the cert you mention is most likely issued by the local government.

You asked about verification and I know the perfect people to help you. I would like to introduce Kevyn of CBI consulting in China.  (  He is from the USA originally and his firm conducts business intelligence which may include verifying documents and/or undercover look at a potential supplier to see if they are everything they say they are.  Via separate email, I would like to put you two in touch.

Best wishes on your sourcing program.

Question answered by Mike Bellamy, host of “Ask the Experts” at the China Sourcing Information Center.

Mike Bellamy is an Advisory Board Member & Featured Blogger at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center ( He is also the author of, “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” ( and founder of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions ( )


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