Vietnam is becoming one of the world’s premier manufacturing hubs, preferrd by many well-known top-tier brands. Western companies are increasingly turning to the mid-sized SE Asian nation as a way to diversify-out of China (and all its headaches with Covid lockdowns), drawn to Vietnam for its exquisite craftsmanship and high work-ethic.
If you are looking to source products from Vietnam, this article reviews several websites to find Vietnamese suppliers & manufacturers such as B2B marketplaces and exporter directories, including a few that are natively Vietnamese.
One caveat is that most of Vietnam’s vast manufacturing talent is not online. This means that arm-chair importers are increasingly chasing-down a limited stock of Vietnamese suppliers who do have an online presence. Therefore, if you really want to get a competitive edge, be sure to read Part II of our post: creative ways to reach other Vietnamese businesses who do not necessarily broadcast themselves on B2B sourcing platforms like Alibaba or Global Sources (read Part II)
1) Tìm Nhà Phân Phối – A Forum for Vietnamese Distributors and Wholesalers
- Website: https://timnhaphanphoi.vn/
- Type: B2B social forum
Tìm Nhà Phân Phối is a small B2B marketplace and forum, like the Craigslist of small Vietnamese businesses. The platforms is mainly written in Vietnamese — the benefit being that the site attracts a wide audience of suppliers and manufacturers in Vietnam, and not just the few with dedicated English-speaking teams. On the downside, you’ll need a fluent-Vietnamese speaker to use the site and communicate effectively.
Tìm means “finding” and nhà phân phối means “distributor”.
Tìm Nhà Phân Phối has all the usual search functionality and filters to find products and/or suppliers. One nice functionality is chat through Zalo — which is the preferred communication method for many Vietnamese.
The postings are organized by company as well as by products, with a hodge-podge of inconsistent information provided by suppliers: some postings may include pricing information, minimum order quantities, sample policy, pictures, detailed specs, whether or not you can visit the factory — but many do not.
The site is tailored for B2B search and communications within Vietnam among Vietnamese businesses, rather than facilitating international trade. This means there are plenty of product-offerings that aren’t attractive to Western consumers (like Vietnamese jam, or weird energy bars), nor are many businesses likely to have ISO Certifcations or Certificates of Origin, etc. There are lots of distracting posts about job-recruiting and franchising opportunities. Nonetheless, there are postings from Vietnamese exporters targeting an international audience — just keep in mind that such exporters are a subset of the overall postings on Tìm Nhà Phân Phối.
You can post in English asking for solicitations from suppliers (link here), which is a nice reversal of how most other websites work.
Basic Vietnamese Terms for Screenings Suppliers
Here are some helpful terms to learn if you want to screen suppliers on Tìm Nhà Phân Phối:
- Zalo – Vietnamese messanger app
- Gửi tin nhắn qua zalo – Send a mesage on Zalo
- Tình trạng – Inventory status
- Còn hàng / hết hàng – In-stock / out-of-stock
- Điện thoại – Phone number
- Địa chỉ – Location/address
- Mua tối thiểu – Minimum order quantity (MOQ)
- Cái – Unit(s)
- Ngành hàng – Product category
- Sản xuất hàng thiết kế theo yêu cầu riêng – Option for custom designed product
- Xưởng – Factory
- Có thể ghé trực tiếp xưởng – You may visit our factory
- Mẫu – Samples
- Đặt mua – Place order (for this item)
- Xem sản phẩm khác – See more products (from this seller)
- Bảo hành 2 năm – 2-year warranty
- Thời trang nữ – Women’s Fashion
- Thời trang nam – Men’s Fashion
2) VietnamExport.vn – An Export-Promotion Website by the Vietnamese Government
- Website: https://www.vietnamexport.vn
- Type: Business directory
VietnamExport.vn is a relatively simple government-run online directory of exporters. The site was developed by the Vietnam E-commerce and Information Technology Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam. The website has two types of listings: verified exporters and non-verified exporters.
As of the date of this article, there were 34 Verified Exporters on VietnamExport — these companies’ had detailed contact information and notes about their business-registration. To be verified “enterprises must be certified through Authentication and Verification (A&V) process including 17 essential fields of information to help partner contact directly to the right person.” Aside from contact details, there is very limited information about the exporters, aside from product-keywords and vague descriptors of their business. Details like MOQs, lead time, and pricing tiers, are mostly absent.
NOTE: we spot-checked some of the contact info of verified exporters: ~40% had out-of-date contact information. However, often the businesses did exist on Facebook, which is the preferred communication tool for many legit businesses (read more about Vietnamese businesses’ love of Facebook here).
The website is mostly targeted at agricultural and fisheries products, but it also has a large number of manufacturers of other products. At the time of writing, the number of categories (and number of suppliers in parentheses) were: Cashew nuts (23), Machines and equipment (85), Chemical (30), Paper (34), Coffee (50), Pepper (20), Construction (66), Plastic (49), Electrical wires and cables (24), Rice (81), Fisheries (126), Rubber (46), Foods and beverages (71), Garments and textiles (72), Tea (71), Handicrafts (35), Wood (64), Leather & footwear (33), Mineral and metals (56), Others (236).
3) Global Sources – The B2B Sourcing Platform of Blackstone
- Website: https://www.globalsources.com/
- Type: B2B product marketplace
Global Sources is perhaps the next-best competitor to Alibaba. It was founded by an American in Hong Kong in 1971 as a trade-show organizer for suppliers and importers. In its modern incarnation, it is a premier B2B global marketplace, exceeding Alibaba in reliability and quality of products. It is currently owned by the Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private equity groups.
Many big box stores use Global Sources. For a example, we recognize several Canadian Tire products advertised by Chinese suppliers on the platform. Global Sources claims that 95/100 of the world’s largest retailers find suppliers through their platform.
Global Sources hosts a wide diversity of product-groups and countries — although it is a little underwhelming for products specifically from Vietnam. For example, as of Dec 2022, it had 24 Vietnamese suppliers in the furniture category, 12 suppliers in women’s fashion, and just 8 suppliers for electronics from Vietnam. Nonetheless, they do cover thousands of Vietnamese-made products.
Global Sources has some of the best product filters and details about suppliers. Suppliers have comprehensive details like: lead times, MOQ’s, pricing tiers, product dimensions and weights, photographs, payment details, companies’ certifications, and contact methods (including an online messaging system). When you search for products, there are search-filters to limit the results to specific suppliers and product such as: country, port, lead-time, companies’ years in business, certifications, whether the company is a manufacturer or wholesaler or agent, product material and fabrication technology, and more
The platform includes a star ranking-system to disclose the extent to which each supplier has been verified (P1 – P6). Global sources uses a 3rd-party verification system to validate suppliers, including onsite visits, checks of business registration, and checks on credit-worthiness.
4) MFG – Marketplace for Machining Services and Suppliers
- Website: https://www.mfg.com/
- Type: B2B business directory, including some product postiings
MFG is an online marketplace of suppliers and manufacturers who focus on industrial and technical products from around the world, such as machining services, assembly, injection molding, metal fabrication, and more.
MFG vets all marketplace participants for accuracy and completeness of information (but you should take this with a grain of salt in regards to Vietnam).
MFG has a location filter for Vietnam, letting you hone in on a few Vietnamese suppliers, per category — the results are tiny compared the actual reservoir of raw manufacturing talent that isn’t online. For example, a search for metal and woodworking reveals just 5 Vietnamese suppliers. Nonetheless, MFG serves an important niche that is underserved on other retail-centric B2B platforms.
On each supplier’s profile page, there are a few pieces of important information, like the company’s number of employees, product speacialties, and sometimes product brochures.
There is a messaging service within MFG to send RFQs. Sign-up is required but the service is free to use.
5) Kompass Vietnam
- Website: https://vn.kompass.com/
- Type: Business directory
There are 1144 suppliers and manufacturers from Vietnam on vn.Kompass.com. The website is operated by a French company who offers in a comprehensive suite of business applications, including marking, lead-generation and prospecting, as well as the B2B marketplace known as “Kompass”.
Kompass has bare-bones infomation about suppliers and their products — It is basically just a business directory, with contact info, product categories (e.g., “clothes for babies”), and a few hints about the suppliers’ size and capacity.
But, for what Kompass lacks in detail, it makes-up for in comprehensiveness: there does seem to be more suppliers listed on Kompass than on other marketplaces.
One nice aspect about Kompass is that it includes professional and corporate services, with postings from engineering firms, accountants, and legal consultants.
6) Invest Vietnam – Basic Business Directory
- Website: https://investvietnam.vn
- Type: Business directory
“Invest Vietnam” is a small Vietnamese-owned consulting company offering corporate services, including a curated business directory focused on exporters/suppliers.
Their business directory offers solid search-functionality and a good categorization scheme that makes it quick and easy to find dozens of businesses in Vietnam, especially those supplying goods for export.
Like other Vietnamese business directories, the businesses’ profiles are sparse, with dubious contact information and vague descriptions of products. The company offers other interesting services that you may be interested in, including acting as a sourcing agent, business-formation, and compliance.
7) Alibaba – Find Vietnamese Suppliers on the Chinese B2B Giant
- Website: https://www.alibaba.com
- Type: B2B product marketplace
Alibaba is perhaps the top-dog of B2B websites to source products, with industry-driving innovation and continuous expansion of options and details (however, it is not without its share of scams and misleading-products from dubious suppliers).
Alibaba is not just for Chinese suppliers: there are plenty of Vietnamese manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers available on the platform — perhaps more so than on other platforms.
Searching for Vietnamese products and suppliers is easy — there are filters for country, entity-type, and quality assurance toggles to filter suppliers by the extent of verification (A&V Check, Onsite Check, Assessed Supplier), which are mostly remote and/or video verifications.
Each supplier has a little landing-page, often with comprehensive information about their sampling procedures, pricing tiers, MOQs, packaging, certifications for importation, lead time, and bespoke labeling options. To Alibaba’s credit, their suppliers seem to have the most products online, unlike other B2B marketplaces, which are little more than a business directory.
There is also an integrated messaging tool on each suppliers landing-page. The suppliers we’ve messaged seem to be quick to respond to queries in English.
Many Vietnamese manufacturers on Alibaba will work with you on custom designs. Sometimes, a product-page will have an integrated Customization Wizard (see “Customize Now”) to allow you to directly upload your own image for labels, packaging, and more.
Alibaba Scams and Issues
The internet is rife with horror stories about Alibaba scams and misleading-products. These mostly revolve around producers & suppliers from China, but there is no reason to believe similar issues won’t arise among Vietnamese suppliers.
Be sure to acquaint yourself with these common issues, and be aware of potential remedies…
Common Scams on Alibaba
- Ordered products are different from sample-products.
- Order has a mixture of products with high-quality materials and some products made of low-quality materials (i.e. they’re hoping you won’t inspect all products in a large order).
- The product is the result of intellectual-property theft (i.e. they stole the design and IP from someone else).
- Alibaba’s “Gold”-rating can be purchased by low-quality suppliers (i.e. a high-quality founder can flip their account and business to someone else).
- The quality of product deteriorates over time as you let your guard down.
- Theft of your intellectual property, such as your designs, molds, trademarks, etc.
- Faked certificates; faked testimonials; fake reviews on Alibaba.
- Being asked to send payment to a personal account.
Tips to Avoid the Worse Alibaba Scams
- Conduct a factory visit, or pay for a third-party audit.
- Pay for pre-shipment inspections.
- Negotiate a tiered-payment schedule, including release of payments conditional on successful pre-shipment inspection, as well as following shipment confirmation.
- Know your Inco terms, and if possible, negotiate for “risk of loss” to be insured through shipment and arrival at destination.
- Use Alibaba’s “Trade Assurance” program, including specific contract provisions for:
- delivery time;
- product quality and materials;
- intellectual property protections; and
- specific “remedies” (such as a refund) in case of failure of the supplier to meet the contract terms.
- Sign an intellectual property agreement and confidentiality agreement to protect your IP.
- Get an “representations and warranties” declaration that the goods are designed and produced using the producer’s own intellectual property, including a provision that the “Producer indemnifies the Buyer for all third-party intellectual property claims and disputes” — in case anyone comes after you for stolen IP.
B2B Websites to AVOID
- VietnameseMade.com – VietnameseMade.com calls itself a “Global B2B Marketplace for Vietnamese products”. However, It is just a fresh-installation of a B2B WordPress theme, whose (so-called) products are just default fillers from a WooCommerce-like plugin, with comical Latin descriptions. Avoid VietnameseMade.com for now. We showcase it here only to alert readers of the nonsense that other websites are providing.
- VTown.vn – Once a Japanese database of Japanese companies manufacturing in Vietnam, now defunct.
- VietAZ.com aka VietnamAZ.com – defunct.
Please let us know if you’ve found otherwise!
Sourcing Companies Specializing in Vietnam
Sourcing companies do more than find suppliers — many of them also conduct factory due-diligence, product inspections, and provide logistics services, including:
- price and competition analysis
- factory audits
- on-site product inspections and quality checks (tests for defects, check compliance with specifications, laboratory tests)
- pre-shipment inspection
- legal guidance and contract templates (e.g. IP protection, Non-Compete Agreements, Incoterms)
- facilitating country visits
Sourcing companies often make money through supplier-based commissions, or by earning a percentage of the Buyer’s sales, or as an ongoing fee for their services. It is recommended to avoid commission-based models that create a conflict of interest between prominent suppliers and the sourcing agent (however, it may be difficult to know whether such arrangements are not happening “informally” in Vietnam).
Here area list of sourcing companies that specialize in Vietnam:
- Dragon Sourcing – www.dragonsourcing.com – Hong-Kong based sourcing company working in countries like Vietnam, China, India, Brazil and Turkey. They source a wide variety of products, including foodstuffs, retail products, raw materials, technical instruments and professional services. Dragon Sourcing also specializes in sourcing consultation and analysis, such as price and competition analysis, and ESG/CSR overlays. They claim to have many well-known clients including H&M, Ann Taylor, Tetra Pak, Nespresso and more.
- Vietnam B2B Direct – vietnamb2bdirect.com – Founded in Ho Chi Minh City in 2004, Vietnam B2B Direct is a relatively large sourcing and supply-chain management company, offering a full-suite of services including: sourcing, supplier due-diligence, facilitating visits by Buyer, sample procurement, negotiation, manufacturing agreements, quality control and inspections, and shipping. They have a representative office in Cobourg, Ontario. Their clients include Mattel and Advanced Auto Parts.
- Source of Asia (SOA) – www.sourceofasia.com – SOA was founded in the early 2000’s in Vietnam and is head-quartered in Ho Chi Minh City. SOA provides a suite of corporate services for companies looking to source from and/or expand into Vietnam (including other SE Asian countries like Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia,Singapore,Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar). SOA historically specializes in furniture, wood products and construction materials, but also purports to provides general services for sourcing, using a +7500 supplier database. They offer services like: country comparisons, facilitating supplier visits, negotiations, quality control and factory audits, shipping and storage. They also provide Vietnam-focused corporate services, such as market-entry consulting, staffing and payroll management, accounting and compliance, import/export processes, and more.
- Seditex – seditexvn.com – With their head office in Ho Chi Minh City, Seditex is a sourcing and factory-auditing company founded in 2000. Seditex provides sourcing consultations, as well as a variety of inspection & auditing services including: factory audits, “social audits” (e.g. worker treatment and environmental conditions), product quality controls and compliance with agreements, including possible laboratory tests.
- Cosmo Sourcing – www.cosmosourcing.com – Based in Ho Chi Minh City, Cosmo is a a simple Vietnam-dedicated sourcing company founded in 2014. The company provides bare-bones sourcing services: obtaining quotes, procuring samples, providing a contact list, arranging introductions, and providing template contracts.
- AGS Vietnam – agsvietnam.com – Based in Ho Chi Minh City, AGS is a small upstart who specializes in home-ware, furniture, textile, and foodstuff. They offers services including: vendor sourcing, negotiation, monitoring and compliance and quality assurance.
- Mekodexim – mekongsourcing.com – Founded in 2006 with offices in HCMC and Hanoi, Mekodexim is a small sourcing company with relatively unknown clients. Their services include: finding suppliers, sample procurement, supplier negotiation, monitoring & compliance, and organizing shipping.
- Cut and Sew – cutandsew-vietnam.com – A large sourcing company specializing in clothing and textiles, including footwear, accessories, uniforms, suits, backpacks, sportswear, swimwear, and even pet apparel. They act as a one-stop-shop intermediary between buyers/designers and over 1000 textile factories throughout Vietnam. They do also drop-shipping.
- V&S Sourcing – vnssourcing.com – Operating since the late 1990’s in Ho Chi Minh City, V&S Sourcing is a small and nimble company offering a variety of sourcing and supply-chain management services. They specialize in products and commodities including: garments and fashion, medical apparel, bedding, travel accessories, home-ware and furniture, and raw materials like cotton. They also offer business consulting services, such as developing a market-entry strategy for Vietnam.
- Modern Sourcing – modernsourcing.com – Founded in 2013 and based in Ho Chi Minh City, Modern Sourcing is a small sourcing agency with a comprehensive suite of whole-process sourcing services, including: sourcing consultation, finding suppliers, negotiation, factory audit and inspection, sample & prototype development, production management, quality control, and shipping. They are mainly focused in eco-friendly/nature-fibre products, garments & fashion accessories, furniture and garden-ware, and packaging. They have a small client base.
- Vina Concepts – www.vinaconcepts.com – With offices in the USA and Australia, the little-known Vina Concepts has been around since 2018. They help Buyers design and manufacture products in Vietnam, including development of standard operating procedures and quality-control protocols, as well as more generic sourcing services and shipping-coordination.
- Sourcify – www.sourcify.com – An American company founded in 2018 with a heavy focus on a sleek and user-friendly interface (like Shopify for sourcing), as well as training programs for all-things sourcing, including organized country-visits (like Vietnam). The company purports to handle the end-to-end details of product development through to fulfillment, in a low-cost, high-visibility and low lead-time methodology, including initial product design, to manufacture, to shipping and warehousing. The company has a dedicated Vietnamese office and team. The app costs $299/month.
- Vico Logistics – www.vico.com.hk – A Hong-Kong based shipping & logistics company operating across SE Asia, including services to help Buyers find suppliers within Vietnam.