China Go-Between

This company is why you can buy silk ties on the street. Its shares may be a good deal, too.

Say you're an importer sitting in Chicago. You could be a retailer, a wholesaler or a manufacturer in search of cheap goods. Whether you seek electronics, fashion accessories, toys or hardware, the supplier of choice is probably a low-cost factory in China. But how can you find that competitive but anonymous Chinese manufacturer?

Merle Hinrichs, a native of Nebraska and longtime resident of Hong Kong, has built a surging and highly profitable business around just that challenge. Hinrichs's Global Sources Ltd. (symbol GSOL) operates a vast electronic marketplace that connects factories in China and elsewhere in Asia with buyers around the globe.

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Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Andrew Tanzer is an editorial consultant and investment writer. After working as a journalist for 25 years at magazines that included Forbes and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, he served as a senior research analyst and investment writer at a leading New York-based financial advisor. Andrew currently writes for several large hedge and mutual funds, private wealth advisors, and a major bank. He earned a BA in East Asian Studies from Wesleyan University, an MS in Journalism from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and holds both CFA and CFP® designations.