I see many companies in the US that are starting to try to figure out how to break into the China market and there usual idea is to set up their own office. This may work well for the major multinational companies but there is a better way for smaller corporations.
First change your tactics for China manufacturing. Instead of looking for the cheapest manufacturer, start looking for a strategic partner. Find a manufacturer who has an understanding of distribution in China (this is not an easy thing). I typically find that manufacturers between Shanghai and Qingdao to be better equipped for this since the pearl River Delta is about export.
Look for manufacturers who have good government contacts in as many provinces as possible.
Build a long term oriented relationship with this partner where things are done for each other without constant penny-pinching to show you are interested in the long term.
If you are not ready to spend a lot on marketing, allow your partner to sell a knock off version of your product at a cheaper price in order to get your name out there until you are ready to spend marketing money. Think about it this way - it is better to receive a little money off of your own knock off than none when others knock you off. your much cheaper knock off will make it much less interesting for others to knock you off.