Alternative Connectors – Complete Guide

Table of Content

What are alternative connectors?

Alternative connectors are connectors that have the same fit, form, and function as branded connectors (for example, TE, Molex, JST). They are compatible or equivalent to branded connectors but made by other connector manufacturers (mainly in China) by copying or simulating the design of branded connectors.

Alternative connectors are usually priced lower than branded connectors.

alternative connectors

Are alternative connectors of good quality?

It can’t be answered with a “Yes” or “No”. It depends on the manufacturers which make the alternatives.

Some alternative connectors are branded (with the brands’ logo on the connectors), and some are generic.

It’s a misconception that generic connectors are of low quality. Branded alternative connectors don’t necessarily mean good quality, and some generic alternative connectors are trusted by world-famous manufacturers.

Focus on finding alternative connectors that are compliant with your quality level. We have successfully helped many people navigate through the minefield of alternatives to help them overcome their supply chain issues and keep production going.

Why use alternative connectors?

1. Cost Saving

Compare with the prices on Digikey or mouser, prices of alternatives are usually 60% ~90% lower. A considerable amount of our clients change from branded to alternatives due to the big cost savings.

2. Stable Supply

It happens during your design stage when you selected a branded connector to use, but later find it is out of stock. The standard lead time is 20 weeks.

Or after smooth production for some time, and later when you want to purchase for future production, but it is out of stock. Or the brand announced obsolete for the item.

Both are nightmares!

You have to admit the market is unpredictable. It is too risky to make a purchase for production going for 1 year or more. Worse if your quantity is large.

Alternative connector manufacturers usually produce on demand. The lead time is usually 2~4 weeks. And they don’t have any intention to plan obsolete for any items they make.

Short lead time and no worry of obsolete, which are appealing to manufacturers who regularly use connectors in their production.

3. Service

When you have a problem using the connectors, you are more likely to get a prompt response from a supplier of alternative connectors than a brand manufacturer or distributor.

Bands do offer detailed specifications that you can refer to. But sometimes you just want a simple answer, not dive into the specifications.

Also, there are issues you face that aren’t covered in the specifications.

Furthermore, suppliers of alternative connectors are helpful when you need other items and services. For example, we help our clients source items in China and gather their shipments to make one shipment. Even make small payments to their suppliers in China.

How to find suppliers of quality alternative connectors?

We recommend you find suppliers of alternative connectors based on your required part(s). Could be a part number or a list of part numbers. Or a series name. For example Molex Micro-Fit series. Because suppliers of alternative connectors have only limited items available, but the connector is a large category used in different sectors.

Finding overseas suppliers could be a headache. If you aren’t experienced enough, it could be like walking in a minefield without a detector.

We are an experienced company in the connector & cable assembly industry. Backed up with the knowledge and understanding of the alternative connector field. We helped thousands of clients from 60+ countries save money and stabilize the supply chain. Contact us!

The following are three ways for you to find suppliers of alternative connectors in China.

1. Find suppliers on Google or Bing.

google search

Finding suppliers on Google or Bing is easy to do. Just search with your computer, tablet, or cellphone.

For example, if you are looking to find suppliers of Molex Mini-Fit connector alternatives in China. You can type “Molex Mini-Fit connector alternatives in China”. You may find some B2B (business-to-business) platforms on the search result page. Try the organic results that seem to be pages of companies that offer connectors.

2. Find suppliers on B2B platforms


B2B platforms like,, or are famous online marketplaces to find suppliers in China.

You can search like what you do on Google or Bing.

But to contact a supplier, you will need to register as a buyer. It requires some basic information about you. Such as name, contact number, country, company, etc.

If you are regularly active on B2B marketplaces, your email address could be full of selling emails.

3. Finding suppliers at exhibitions


Visiting an exhibition requires much more work to do. Especially when the exhibitions are not in or near your country.

But it is good to meet with suppliers face to face and look & touch the products you are interested in.

Following are 3 famous exhibitions in which you can find suppliers of alternative connectors in China.

3.1 Electronica


It is the world’s leading trade fair for electronic components, systems, and applications. It is held in three locations.

3.1.1 Munich, Germany
Electronica has been held at the Messe München trade-fair center every other year in November. The coming one is electronica 2024.

3.1.2 Shanghai, China
Electronica China is held every year in Shanghai, China since its foundation in 2002. The coming one is electronica China 2023, from March 22-24, 2023.

3.1.3 India
Electronica India is held every year in India since its foundation in 2000. The coming one is electronica India 2023 in Bengaluru, India from September 13-15, 2023.

3.2 Global Sources Consumer Electronics

It is held in Hong Kong, China by Global Sources. It is the global sourcing destination for the newest and most in-demand consumer electronics. The coming one is in April 2023.

3.3 Carton Fair

Carton Fair (China Import and Export Fair)

The Canton Fair or China Import and Export Fair is a trade fair held in the spring and autumn seasons each year since the spring of 1957 in Canton (Guangzhou), Guangdong, China. It is the oldest, largest, and most representative trade fair in China.
The National Pavilion (export section) of Canton Fair is sorted into 16 categories of products, which will be exhibited in 51 sections. If you are looking to import multiple products from China, you don’t want to miss this trade fair.

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