What’s the difference between a Chinese Sourcing & Trading Company?

This is one of the favorite questions that I like to ask candidates when recruiting people for our sourcing team and a lot of them find it difficult to establish a clear distinction. Among a lot of our clients also the line seems to be blurred and a lot of people believe that a sourcing and a trading company are one and the same thing.

There are good reasons why this line is blurred as sourcing & trading companies often step into each other’s domain so I will cover that in a future post. However, I hope I can address some of the key differences between a sourcing company & trading company in this post.

sourcing vs trading company

Process specialization Vs. Industry Specialization:

While there may be sourcing companies specializing in an industry, especially for highly technical industries like automotive, in most cases sourcing companies in China tend to be specialists in systems & processes related to quality control, international trade & supply chain management.

These processes & systems can be plugged into most industries & products. Traders on the other hand tend to specialize in specific products or industries.

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