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The Importers Guide to Global Sources Trade Shows – By Meghla Bhardwaj

Meghla Global Sources

Global Sources started as a media company more than four decades ago, and has now evolved into both a leading supplier directory (2nd largest after Alibaba) and trade show.

This combination makes Global Sources unique, as it acts a hub for both buyers and suppliers – both offline and online.

In this interview, with Meghla Bhardwaj, head of content marketing at Global Sources in Singapore, explains why startups and e-commerce businesses should use their directory – and attend the upcoming trade shows and conferences in Hong Kong.

1. Meghla, please tell us a bit about yourself and how you started working at Global Sources

I’ve been working at Global Sources for about 17 years. I started in the India office where I wrote sourcing-related articles for our magazines, and managed the freelancer network there.

Then I moved to the Philippines office in 2003, where I led a team in Manila and China producing the company’s research reports, China Sourcing Reports. This is when I started traveling to China, touring factories and meeting with suppliers there.

In 2006, I moved to China where all the action was. I lived in Shenzhen for 9 years, where I visited hundreds of factories, worked with suppliers and buyers, and got a good understanding of how the supply chain works, and the issues buyers face when sourcing from China.

More recently, I’ve been working with Amazon and online sellers, trying to understand their pain points, and helping determine how Global Sources can meet their specific needs.

I’ve been organizing Global Sources Summit, a conference for online sellers sourcing from China. The conference is held every April and October and is co-located with our trade shows in Hong Kong. Continue Reading →

How to Utilize Freelancers for Your Ecommerce Business: By Mike Michelini

Asian Freelancer

Managing RFQ procedures and day to day communication with your supplier, can be very time consuming. Especially when you consider the time zones. Before, the only option would be to hire a procurement agent, and adapt to their procedures (and perhaps even use their suppliers).

Or, setup your own office in Asia – which is not a realistic prospect for startups and small businesses.

But things have changed. Today, you can go on Upwork.com or Freelancer.com, and tap into a huge pool of freelancers, that you can pay by the hour or on a per project basis.

A Freelancer, that will likely be based in Asia, can keep up to date with your supplier, coordinate shipments – and even negotiate prices, while you spend your time doing something else (rather than calling your suppliers at 10 PM).

In this article, the Shenzhen based founder of Global From Asia (www.globalfromasia.com) shares his best advice for hiring and managing Freelancers, and how they can free up hours of work, every week.

How have you been using remote workers in your businesses?

I have been using remote workers on my team even before I read the Four Hour Work Week in 2007. It started with customer service for my e-commerce business when I hired “military spouses” who wanted to work online as their spouse (normally husband) was traveling often for work so they couldn’t get a “normal job”.

I was blown away (this is 2006) that I could have a work at home professional customer service rep help me at all hours of the day or night. These were “moms” based in USA (Kansas and Texas – Michelle and Janet – you rock) who really were moms of my business.

The hardest part about working with remote workers is the setup of tools and systems – which is a ton of upfront work.

Once you get a good flow with you and your remote team, it is like working next to them.

I have used remote workers for almost every part of my various businesses now for over 10 years – starting with customer service to graphic design, video production, web design, app development, community management, marketing – basically every kind of role except meeting clients face to face (waiting for the teleport technology to develop more for this).

Basically, if a task can be repeated, it can be delegated. If it can be delegated, 95% chance it can be done by a remote worker. The trick again is the upfront training and tools, and then the ongoing management. Continue Reading →

How to Get a Prototype or Sample Made in China: By Kevin Lee

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Importers order product samples to both test their new design, and the suppliers production capabilities. It’s also a way for the supplier to learn how to make the product, and create molds and other necessary tools.

The prototyping and sample order process can take months, and sometimes suppliers just give up – even without telling the customer. In this article, Kevin Lee of Asianconn, shares his best advise to Startups and SMEs looking to get their prototype or product sample manufactured in China.

Kevin, please tell us a bit about your background, and current business

In early 2000, China became what many call “World Factory”. She had reliable and cheap labor pool, friendly business ecosystem and low production cost. However, that “potential” came with certain issues that make the business full of risks.

Compared to big companies, many middle and small business didn’t have the ability to implement international purchasing strategy. On the other hand, excellent local suppliers totally didn’t know how to deal with customers abroad.

In 2009, I finished my work in Hong Kong and built this business with my friend Vincent to connect reliable Chinese suppliers to Western purchasers and help them hold the entire trade process to avoid various kinds of risks.
Continue Reading →

Should Importers and Amazon Sellers Incorporate in Hong Kong?

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This article is written by Michael Michelini, founder of GlobalfromAsia.com

I remember when I first moved to China in 2007 and I immediately wanted to register a Chinese company to “go direct”. I really had no idea what I was doing except for the limited blogs from incorporation services trying to push me to pay them their fees.

But the idea was, by registering a Mainland Chinese company, I would be on the “inside” of the game and be able to get special discounts and benefits. As I dug deeper, while in China, I realized most people were using Hong Kong companies for their trading.

Then it started to make sense to me, Alibaba and all the other supplier sites were loaded with Hong Kong flags – yet it is such a small area, how could that be?

I realized that many Chinese factories were using the benefits of Hong Kong for their own business, and by being in

Hong Kong alongside them, I could also reap those trading business benefits. Continue Reading →

Finding the Right eCommerce Sales Channels: By Manuel Becvar

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Manuel Becvar, originally from Austria and now based in Hong Kong, is one of few experts that master both the domain of sourcing and production, and that of eCommerce and retail sales.

In this article, he explains what every importer must know to remain competitive on Amazon.com in the future, what sales channels he is currently using (and avoiding) – and why the number of sellers is likely to be reduced.

Manual, what brought you to Hong Kong in the first place?

I used to work for an Austrian DIY retailer called bauMax in one of their stores where I did an apprenticeship. I worked there until I was called in, to work in their head office near Vienna.

I was offered a position in the import department of that company. 6 months later I was asked if I wanted to do an internship in bauMax’s buying office in Hong Kong and I immediately said yes. Continue Reading →

How to Find the Right Products to Sell Online: By Pilar Newman

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E-commerce is not only changing the way we buy products, but also how we sell them. Competition is fierce in the age of Amazon and Alibaba, and sellers must work even harder to make sure that their products don’t drown in the sea of identical private label and unbranded products.

In this interview, Pilar Newman – a leading Amazon and E-commerce expert based in Brooklyn, NYC – explains what you must do to ensure that your products stand out in a crowded marketplace.

She also explains why product selection is not only about data or statistics, and why the lowest price point is not always the key to success.

Before we get started, please introduce yourself to our readers

I’m an 8+ year veteran Amazon seller. I started off doing retail arbitrage as a means to supplement my income. Once I started to make a significant income on the site, I quit my job and took my business to full-time status.

That was 4 years ago. I pride myself on having learned how to sell on Amazon from the school of Trial and Error! This is also what gives me my unique perspective on finding profitable products to sell.

Now, I sell Private Label items across various niches on Amazon using the FBA program. The freedom that the FBA program has given me, allows me time to travel the world and work from my laptop.

Additionally, I’ve spent the last two years doing one-on-one coaching with Amazon Sellers of various levels. This experience led me to put together a comprehensive course for sellers looking to start and excel with selling on Amazon FBA. But before they can go through the course, I have them take my free Product Research Training Videos. Continue Reading →

How I Started a Wallet Brand: An Interview with the Founder of Axess Wallets

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Finding the right product and then having it manufactured in Asia, is what we are all about. While we tend to share stories from an insiders perspective, we thought it was about time to let you see things from the eyes of a successful Entrepreneur, selling products made in Asia.

The person in question is Tomas Ericsson, found of Axess, a fashion end wallet brand. In this article, he explains why he picked wallets as his product, the challenges of finding the right manufacturer – and how everything took off after a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Tomas, please tell us a bit about yourself and what you did before you started Axess Walletstomas ericsson

Before starting my e-commerce business I was working as a marketing mana
ger for a Swedish sourcing consultancy firm in Shanghai, helping companies find and vet suppliers in China.

I came to China in 2012 when I was finished with my university studies, and it has been a lot of fun to live and work in Shanghai.

You have lived in China for many years, and worked with product sourcing. How did that help you to start your business?

Shanghai is a very entrepreneurial environment, at least among the expats living here.

Everyone has some kind of business idea, it seems, and in general, people who come here seem to have a more can-do attitude than what is usually encountered back home in Sweden, so that creates a feeling of possibility.

That helped motivate me to go through the steps to build a business. Anything is possible in Shanghai, it seems. Once one has taken the rather big step to actually move here, anything following that doesn’t seem so difficult to imagine or follow through with.

I know Sweden has a big startup-scene and such entrepreneurial spirit exists there as well to some extent, but speaking from a personal experience I did not encounter such an atmosphere where I lived back in Sweden. Continue Reading →

Amazon FBA: A Practical Shipping Guide for Importers: By Ron Berger

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Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) enables e-commerce companies to completely outsource storage and delivery of goods, domestically. Amazon applies a strict set of rules and procedures, to ensure this their massive operations runs smoothly.

Many questions about the logistics aspects of Amazon FBA is answered by Amazon themselves on their site. However, things get slightly more complicated for importers, facing the task of moving goods from a factory floor in China – to a fulfillment center in the United States or elsewhere.

There are many things to consider. Insurance, incoterms and packaging labeling. The lists goes on.

So we decided to an ask expert; Ron Berger, COO of Fleet, an online marketplace that connects shippers with freight forwarders and other logistics service providers.

In this article, Ron explains the entire process in a step by step manner. Keep reading, and learn more about packaging labeling requirements, customs procedures and how you can find an ‘Amazon FBA ready’ freight forwarder.

Ron, please tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Fleet

I am the COO at Fleet. With over 30 years of experience through different executive positions in the logistics industry, now at Fleet, together with the CEO and CTO, I develop the overall strategy and direction for the company. I oversee the daily operation, lead the processes that engage freight forwarders with our platform and curate the partnership with them.

As Fleet is a startup, I also do anything that needs to be done in the company: help out with marketing, sales, HR, phone, internet. Etc. And I also cut-up and recycle our inflow of Amazon boxes.

Continue Reading →

Declaration of Conformity for EU Importers: By Ferry Vermeulen

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Product compliance is much more than just laboratory testing. European importers, in virtually every industry, are obliged to issue certain documentation – to demonstrate compliance with all applicable product regulations.

Perhaps the most important of all documents is the Declaration of Conformity (DoC).

It’s a rather complex topic, so we decided to ask an expert. His name is Ferry Vermeulen, founder of INSTRKTIV.com.

In this article, Ferry explains what every EU based importer must know about drafting a Declaration of Conformity, and the various other documents you need.

Ferry, tell us a bit about yourself and Instrktiv.com

I am founder and director of business development at INSTRKTIV. After starting my own industrial design agency back in 2006, I co-founded the company Manualise in 2009.

As the CEO from 2009 – 2015, my content strategy brought the company over 15 #1 Google positions on main keywords like ‘creating user manuals’ which led to many international clients, such as Electrolux, AkzoNobel, Schneider Electric and Lid.

In 2016 I founded INSTRKTIV GmbH and moved from Amsterdam to Berlin. INSTRKTIV helps companies and brands to produce their technical documentation.

The company stands for content quality, both in the field of usability and liability: The manual as a legal document, which not only serves the keystone in terms of liability but also promotes safe and proper use, is at the core of this.

It makes me happy to help German and international companies developing appealing and compliant documentation which contribute to a better user experience.

In my ‘Man-Machine-Blog” I give hands on tips & techniques to improve the quality of content and improve the user experience. I cover topics like CE marking, the Declaration of Conformity (Read more) and Simplified Technical English. Continue Reading →

Buying in Asia and Selling On eBay & Amazon: By Mike Michelini

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Mike Michelini (LinkedIn) is a serial entrepreneur from New York. After a few years on Wall Street, he moved to Shenzhen – a place he has called home for close to a decade already.

Mike is a veteran, and that’s why you don’t want to miss this piece. Keep reading, and learn how Mike built his five figure bar accessory online businesses on Amazon and eBay – from the ground up.

Michael, tell us a bit about yourself and how you first started your business

I always wanted to do my own business, but first took a job on Wall Street after college. Immediately I was finding ways to make money online and started to sell anything I could find on eBay and my own websites. Continue Reading →