How to Choose a Quality Control Company in China

in Selling on Amazon

You Have Found a Supplier in China and Placed an Order, What About Quality Control?

Once you place an order with your supplier you have to also make sure the products meet the specifications and quality you ordered. The best way to conduct a quality inspection, is to send someone from your own team. There is nothing better than that, however, with large distances and expensive travel and accommodation, sending someone from your own team isn't really an option. Professional quality control services are an often acceptable alternative to own inspection and there are tons of companies and freelancers that provide these services. If you are new to importing and to quality control inspections you may be unsure which one to pick or how they differ from each other in the first place. Many articles online list quality control companies in China, but they don't really explain the difference or provide any tips on how to choose the best partner for you.

In this article we explore in detail what quality control companies do, and how to choose one that is best for your project. We also offer a list of some better known companies and their individual advantages.

Types of Quality Control Services

Quality control services generally fall into the following categories:

- Inspections

- Audits

- Lab Testing

- Certification


Inspection can be done at any time of the production process to check the quality of the goods. The most common type of inspection if the pre-shipment inspection, this inspection is done after the manufacturer has produced and packaged all the goods. An inspector will go to the manufacturer and randomly open some cartons. Then from each opened carton some products will be selected and tested. The tests range from visual tests, to functionality tests, material check, dropping a carton to see if it is sturdy enough for the weight inside etc, depending on the product. The number of cartons opened will depend on the AQL (Acceptable Quality Limit) selected for the inspection.

Other common inspection types are During Production Inspection, where the inspection will check goods that are still being produced to catch any errors early on. During production inspections are typically more useful for very large orders. Inspections can also be done during the loading process, these inspections are mostly aimed by making sure the loaded quantity is what you ordered, and a few cartons will be opened and products inside counted.

All types of inspections can also help you check whether the order is being manufactured on schedule, so you can avoid a manufacturer promising one day, and then telling you to wait one more day and one more day, until you find out they haven't even started making the lot yet.


An audit checks whether your manufacturer is compliant to certain requirements you have. Audits are typically useful for companies who place large orders and can help you verify that you new supplier can indeed the the job you hire them to do in terms or equipment, skilled personnel, ethical standard, and sourcing practiced.

Lab Testing

A lab testing is a test of randomly selected samples in a lab. They are useful for products where the material composition can't be confirmed by a visual test, so a test at a lab will show whether the materials used match the materials requested.


You may need to certify your product if you want to sell to certain retailers or if you want to gain the trust of your customers. For a product to be certified lab tests need to be done to confirm the product meets the requirement of the Certification you are trying to receive, the process also requires checks at the manufacturer's facilities to ensure the manufacturer is also compliant to the standard of the certification.

How to choose a quality control company in China and what to look for?

Now that you have decided what kind of quality control services you need, you can go ahead and select the company that will be best for you.

For inspections the first thing you need to look at is the AQL (Acceptable Quality Limit) level they will use to do the inspection. The information you should be looking for is how many pieces from the total quantity will be randomly checked, what are the exact tests will be performed, will any special tests be done for the product and how many pieces will be checked for the special tests. Usually, quality control companies will not be able to do a custom checklist for you, or if they do the price will be quite high. But in most cases the quality control company will give you the checklist their inspectors use for your product category.

After that you need to look at the reports format. Are reports clear and easy to understand for you. Do they provide the information you are interested to receive before making the decision to ship the order or ask the manufacturer to do some corrections. Many companies offer sample reports on their website that you can download and have a look. Go a step further and ask them to give you a sample report for your product type. This will give you a better idea of what the inspector will do and also show if the company has experience in the product category you need. See the photos, are they clear, are they informative. Ask them how the report will be delivered.

What is a Man-Day.


Overall quality control can be a good solution for businesses that don't have staff that can travel to the manufacturer's location to inspect the goods.

Word of caution

While inspection services are very affordable and useful, one thing you need to keep in mind is that most quality control companies will only ever give you compensation in the form of a refund for the maximum amount equal to the cost of the inspection. So if the inspection showed approved, but you received a container full of defective items, the quality control company cannot be held accountable, ultimately, you are the one making the decision to accept or reject a lot of goods and the responsibility is your alone. Choose wisely.

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