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Tips to Find the Best T-shirt Price in China

by Simmy

For years, China has been a leader in T-shirt manufacturing because buyers get various options at apparently unbeatable prices. However, navigating this market requires understanding the key factors influencing the final cost.

Breakdown of factors influencing the cost

Labor costs

Much of the price for things made in China depends on labour costs. In recent years, wages in China have increased but are still lower than those of many Western nations. It is important to consider regional variations within China. The coastal provinces have higher wages than inland areas.

Additionally, complex designs require more intricate stitching, increasing labour costs.

Production & machinery costs

The type of machinery used in production significantly influences the price. Screen printing is a popular choice for bulk orders with simple designs. It is less costly than advanced techniques like digital printing, which is suitable for intricate designs. Using energy-efficient machinery can increase costs but enhance efficiency and reduce waste in the long run.



It is vital to strike a balance between price and quality. The quality of the T-shirt mainly determines the fabric and construction. If you choose organic cotton, the price is higher than standard cotton. In the same way, a higher thread count means a more durable and comfortable T-shirt at a higher price point.

Order Quantity

Large orders allow the supplier to spread fixed costs like maintenance or factory setup, significantly decreasing per-unit cost. This drives buyers to make bulk purchases, but ensuring proper storage and avoiding dead stock is crucial.

Supplier’s reputation

Low prices are tempting, but prioritising the supplier’s reliability is paramount. Look for companies with a proven track record for quality, transparency, and ethical labour practices. Aaron Li, the MD of Maple Sourcing, has been helping importers verify suppliers, perform quality control inspections, ensure on-time delivery, and more. They even help foster a long-term relationship between you and the supplier. This can lead to better pricing and a consistent supply of quality T-shirts even in the future.

Strategies to get the best price for T-shirt orders

Clearly define your needs

Before you start looking for a supplier, determine the specifications—fabric type, weight, quality level, and design complexity. Clearly defining your needs will allow suppliers to send accurate quotes and help you compare quotes precisely.

Request multiple quotes

Never sign up with the first quote. Request quotes from 3 to 4 reputable suppliers to compare pricing and identify the potential areas for negotiation. Discuss your needs and expectations clearly and ask questions about their production procedures and quality control policies.

Negotiate fairly

Negotiation is expected in China. Make sure to aim for a win-win situation. Focus on building a long-term relationship by offering consistent business and respecting fair pricing for quality work. If you use negotiation tactics to exploit, you may secure a lower price initially, but this can lead to quality issues and a lack of trust in the future.


You can secure high-quality T-shirts at competitive prices by understanding the various cost factors that influence the T-shirt production cost and using strategic negotiation tactics. The ideal price point is the one you can afford regarding quality and responsible manufacturing protocols.

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