Do Chinese Factories Provide UPC Codes?

In today's globalized marketplace, Chinese factories have emerged as key players in the manufacturing industry, offering a wide range of products at competitive prices. When it comes to sourcing products from these factories, one might wonder if they also provide Universal Product Codes (UPC) codes, which are essential for selling products in many markets. While the issue of UPC codes isn’t exclusive to Chinese factories, it’s an important consideration for businesses looking to import goods from this manufacturing giant.

Where Do You Find a UPC Code?

The UPC code is an essential element in the retail industry. It allows products to be easily identified and tracked, making inventory management and sales reporting more efficient. When it comes to finding a UPC code, you can typically locate it on the product packaging. This code is a unique 12-digit number that’s displayed as a barcode, making it scannable by barcode scanners in stores.

It may be located on the back, bottom, or side of the packaging, depending on the product. Manufacturers and distributors understand the importance of including the UPC code on their packaging to ensure smooth sales and tracking processes.

This is particularly common for sellers on e-commerce platforms who want to provide accurate information to potential buyers. Including the UPC code in the product description allows customers to easily search for the item and compare prices across different platforms.

These resources are commonly used by retailers, wholesalers, and e-commerce businesses to verify product information, check prices, and manage inventory effectively.

How UPC Codes Are Generated

UPC (Universal Product Code) codes are generated by GS1, a global nonprofit organization that develops and maintains standards for supply chains. The process begins with a company becoming a member of GS1 and obtaining a unique company prefix. This prefix, combined with a unique product number assigned by the company, forms the basis of the UPC code.

GS1 provides guidelines and specifications for creating UPC codes, including the symbology, structure, and size requirements. To generate a UPC code, the company assigns the appropriate numbers to the company prefix and product number, and then calculates a check digit using a specific algorithm. The check digit helps ensure the accuracy of the code when scanned at the point-of-sale.

While Chinese factories themselves may not provide UPC codes, companies working with these factories can acquire them through GS1 or authorized resellers. It’s important for businesses to obtain legitimate and unique UPC codes to comply with global standards and ensure proper product identification and tracking.

This unique numerical identifier is generated and assigned by the GS1 US, a non-profit organization formerly known as the Uniform Code Council. Referred to as the “Company Prefix,” it consists of the first six to nine digits of a UPC code. This number remains constant across all products of a company, ensuring their distinctive identification.

Who Generates UPC Codes?

The remaining digits of a UPC code, known as the “Item Reference Number”, are generated by the company itself. These digits are used to identify specific products within a companys inventory. The Item Reference Number can vary for each product, allowing companies to differentiate between different variations or sizes of a product. For example, a clothing manufacturer may use different Item Reference Numbers for small, medium, and large sizes of a particular shirt.

Chinese factories, like any other company, must obtain a Company Prefix from GS1 US in order to generate UPC codes for their products. This ensures that each factory is uniquely identified and that their products can be accurately tracked and managed. Without a Company Prefix, a factory wouldn’t be able to generate legitimate UPC codes that comply with industry standards.

It’s important for Chinese factories to have UPC codes for their products, as it’s a requirement for selling goods in many countries, including the United States. UPC codes are used by retailers to track inventory, streamline the checkout process, and manage their supply chains. Without UPC codes, factories may struggle to get their products onto store shelves or may face difficulties in selling their products online.

When it comes to selling products, many makers and small retailers may be relieved to know that UPC codes aren’t always a requirement. In fact, the majority of online marketplaces, craft fairs, trade shows, and even small retail stores don’t need UPC codes to sell products. This flexibility allows for more accessibility and opportunity for makers and small businesses to showcase their unique creations and reach a wider customer base.

Do All Products Have UPC Codes?

Do all products have UPC codes? The majority of online marketplaces most often used by makers don’t require UPC Codes. These platforms, such as Etsy and Shopify, are popular among small businesses and artisans who sell unique and handmade products. Similarly, local craft fairs and trade shows, where vendors showcase their one-of-a-kind creations, also don’t require UPC codes.

These establishments often stock unique or specialized items that aren’t mass-produced or commonly found in larger retail stores. Therefore, they’ve different systems in place for inventory management and product identification. In such cases, UPC codes may not provide any significant benefits to these businesses.

Therefore, it’s essential for sellers to familiarize themselves with the specific requirements of the platforms they use or the stores they wish to sell their products in. By understanding these guidelines, sellers can determine whether or not they need to obtain UPC codes for their products.

How Do Sellers List Products Without UPC Codes on Online Marketplaces?

  • List the products you want to sell
  • Observe if any of the products have UPC codes
  • If no UPC codes are available, proceed to the next steps
  • Create a unique identifier for each product without UPC codes
  • Use the unique identifier as a SKU or product code
  • Ensure the unique identifier is distinct for each product
  • Include the unique identifier in the product’s listing information
  • Provide detailed and accurate descriptions for the products
  • Add clear and high-quality images of the products
  • Mention in the listing that the product doesn’t have a UPC code
  • Specify any alternative identification methods used for the products
  • Select appropriate categories and keywords for better visibility
  • Set a competitive price for each product
  • Choose a reliable shipping method and clearly communicate it to buyers
  • Monitor your listings and promptly respond to customer inquiries
  • Regularly evaluate and update your product listings as needed

Source: Do Retailers Expect UPC Codes on Makers’ Products?

They’re responsible for managing the unique identification numbers used by businesses to label their products and participate in global trade. These codes ensure accurate tracking, efficient inventory management, and seamless communication between trading partners. The process of obtaining UPC codes involves becoming a member of GS1, which grants businesses access to a range of other valuable resources and tools. Let’s explore further how GS1 and it’s affiliated organizations play a crucial role in providing UPC codes to businesses worldwide.

Who Provides UPC Codes?

GS1 is the only legitimate global producer of UPC codes, which are essential for product identification and supply chain barcoding. As a not-for-profit organization, GS1 has established the global standard for these codes. In the United States, GS1 US is the designated entity responsible for providing UPC codes to businesses. However, it’s important to note that GS1 has over 100 organizations worldwide, each serving a specific region or country.

These organizations adhere to the same global standards set by GS1, ensuring consistency and compatibility across countries. They play a crucial role in facilitating international trade and maintaining supply chain efficiency.

When it comes specifically to Chinese factories, they don’t have the authority to provide UPC codes. Chinese businesses must obtain their UPC codes from the designated GS1 organization operating within their region or country. This ensures that the UPC codes are legitimate and internationally recognized.

These codes may not be recognized by retailers or may even be duplicates of existing codes, causing confusion and potential legal issues.

This allows for seamless inventory management, efficient tracking, and accurate pricing and data exchange. Additionally, it fosters trust and transparency among retailers, manufacturers, and consumers around the world.

Ensuring accurate inventory management and seamless transactions is essential for any business. When it comes to selling products, having unique UPC codes for every variation is crucial. Whether it’s different sizes, colors, or package sizes, each variation requires a distinct barcode to distinguish it. This article explores the importance of incorporating UPC codes for every product variation and why it’s necessary for efficient operations.

Do I Need a UPC Code for Every Product?

When it comes to UPC codes, it’s important to understand that each variation of a product usually requires a unique UPC. This means that if you’ve a product available in different sizes, colors, or package sizes, it’s likely that you’ll need separate UPCs for each of these variations. This is because UPC barcodes can hold different types of data, and having a unique UPC for each variation allows for accurate and efficient inventory management.

To elaborate further, lets take an example of a clothing brand that offers a t-shirt in multiple sizes and colors. Each size-color combination would typically require a unique UPC code. This allows retailers to easily track and manage each specific variation of the t-shirt in their inventory. It also enables them to accurately place orders with the manufacturer, reducing the chances of errors or confusion.

Chinese factories can provide UPC codes for products, and it’s advisable to communicate your specific requirements with the factory to obtain the necessary codes for each variation you offer.

The Benefits of Using UPC Codes for Product Tracking and Traceability

  • Improved inventory management
  • Streamlined supply chain processes
  • Enhanced accuracy in product tracking
  • Efficient recall management
  • Reduced instances of counterfeiting
  • Seamless integration with barcode scanners
  • Increased productivity and cost savings
  • Facilitates data sharing and analysis
  • Enables better customer satisfaction
  • Regulatory compliance and reporting

To create a unique UPC code for your product, you need to follow a simple five-step process. Firstly, estimate the number of barcodes your company requires. Then, apply and obtain a U.P.C Company Prefix or GTINs from Once you’ve your GTIN, utilize it to generate accurate UPC barcodes for each of your items directly from GTIN.

How Do I Create a UPC Code for My Product?

Creating a UPC code for your product is a relatively simple process that can be done in five easy steps. The first step is to estimate how many barcodes your company needs. This will depend on factors such as the number of products you’ve and if they come in different variations or sizes.

Once you’ve determined the number of barcodes you need, the next step is to apply for a U.P.C Company Prefix or GTINs. This can be done through websites such as, where you can obtain a license for your prefix.

After obtaining your GTIN, you can then utilize it to create your UPC barcode. This can be done using barcode generating software or through online barcode generators, which will convert your GTIN into a scannable barcode.

This ensures that each product has a unique barcode that can be scanned and identified correctly.

How to Choose the Right Barcode Generating Software

If you’re looking to generate UPC codes for your products, it’s important to choose the right barcode generating software. There are various factors to consider when making this decision. First, you should ensure that the software supports UPC codes specifically, as some barcode generators may not include this specific code type. Additionally, look for software that offers customizable options, allowing you to adjust the size, format, and other specifications of the barcode to meet your needs. It’s also helpful to find software that can generate barcodes in multiple formats, such as PNG, JPEG, or SVG. Lastly, consider the ease of use and user-friendly interface of the software, as this will make the process quicker and more efficient. By considering these factors, you can choose the right barcode generating software to help ensure that your Chinese factory provides UPC codes for your products.


In conclusion, the practice of Chinese factories providing UPC codes isn’t a widespread or standardized practice. While some factories may offer this service, it’s important for buyers to clarify and negotiate the inclusion of UPC codes before placing an order. Communication with suppliers is crucial in order to ensure that all necessary product identification requirements are met. Ultimately, buyers should carefully assess their specific needs and work closely with suppliers to address any potential issues related to UPC codes or other aspects of product identification.

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