Many brand marketing companies ("brand companies") that source their products from China have, over the past few years, moved from simple third-party manufacturing-to-specifications manufacturer relationships to a new model that has the manufacturer involved early in the production process to develop new products. This expanding role by manufacturers into product development (including even conception and design) has often come about as a natural progression in the relationship between customer (brand company) and provider (supplier or manufacturer), as manufacturers have grown in their capabilities and sought to expand their footprint into new value-add areas. These developments provide benefits to brand companies as well, including increased speed and efficiency in product development and savings through reduced capital investment and lower employee headcount.

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