Tag Archives: general

Importing Medical Devices from China: By Jason Lim of Stendard

Importing medical devices from China requires full compliance with all applicable safety standards and regulations in the destination market. For many Startups looking to import medical devices, it can hard to even know where to look for information.

So, we decided to ask an expert.

In this Interview, Jason Lim, co-founder of Stendard, explains everything that you must know before importing and selling any product that may be classified as a medical device.

Jason, please introduce yourself and Stendard

I’m Jason Lim, CEO and co-founder of Stendard, a cloud-based platform that help companies generate documents to meet international regulations, such as ISO 13485 and US FDA 21 CFR of the medical device industry.

Having experience working with the local government, technology incubators and innovative companies here, I personally feel there are still a lot of improvements to be done when it comes to the entire compliance ecosystem (both from the industries’ and authorities’ standpoint).

That’s why I started the company together with Vincent Lim, COO of Stendard.

Our aim is to make compliance easily understood for businesses so to encourage standards adoption. This includes the usage of technology to accelerate the speed of document creation and management.

We are also planning to include partners to make the entire training, certification and registration process a breeze, and that’s what we meant by the term “compliance ecosystem”! Continue Reading →

The Art of Finding the Right Supplier on Alibaba – By Gary Huang

Gary Huang 8020 Sourcing

You can find a supplier for anything on Alibaba.com. There are often too many supplier, rather than too few. As such, you might find yourself trying to navigate between hundreds of different suppliers in the same product category – all with varying levels of expertise (or lack thereof).

Rather than flying to China and visit 200 suppliers, you need to use information available on Alibaba.com, to identify the supplier that is the right choice for your business.

And that is exactly what this interview with Gary Huang, founder of 80/20 Sourcing in Shanghai, is about.

Gary, tell us a bit about yourself and how you started 80/20 sourcing

I’m originally from the US and born and raised in Los Angeles. I’ve been working and living in Shanghai since 2008. Some people say the sourcing is like a black box.

Since I am a 2nd generation Chinese American and being culturally and linguistically fluent in both cultures and countries – I have an unfair advantage in being able to do better business between China and the US.

I started 80/20 Sourcing because I saw that a lot of online Sellers and small business owners were struggling with sourcing products from China.

So I decided help online sellers and small business owners save time and money when sourcing products from China and to scale their online businesses. 80/20 Sourcing offers video courses, webinars, coaching, and free articles which can be found at www.8020sourcing.com. Continue Reading →

Exclusivity Agreements with Chinese Suppliers: A Complete Guide

Exclusivity agreement

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An Exclusivity Agreement grants a company with the right to be the only importer and seller of certain products.

The purpose is to prevent other buyers from importing the same product, and compete with the buyer on their home turf. Or, prevent the supplier from doing the same thing.

In this article, I will explain how such contracts work, and why they rarely make sense for most businesses looking to import products from China.

1. Does the Manufacturer even own the product design and IP?

Most suppliers are not actively developing new and unique product designs. Many factories have their own brands these days, mainly for the purpose of selling on Taobao or Tmall.

However, in most cases, such products are relatively generic, and largely based on their customers OEM designs. Most suppliers simply don’t have any Intellectual Property to speak of, and therefore, an Exclusivity agreement is a non-starter.

If you intend to buy a private label product, or create your own OEM product, an exclusivity contract is also irrelevant.

Keep in mind that not any product can be patented or protected. In order to patent or protect a product, the following criteria must be fulfilled:

a. The product design must be new

b. The product design must be unique

c. The product must have a new and unique function Continue Reading →

The 8 Best Books on Importing from China: An Overview

Best Importing Books

As an Importer, you must act as a jack of all trades. You need to understand everything from product development and sourcing, to shipping, customs and taxes.

It can take years of real life experience to truly understand the ins and outs of managing a supply chain stretching halfway over the globe.

But it’s not all about technical specifications and legal terms.

There’s also the human element. The mindset of your supplier, belonging to a culture that has developed in a very different way from us from the West.

What is common sense to you, may not be so in the mind of your supplier.

I’ve been in China for years, and I am still but a learner. In this article, I share the 8 Best Books on Importing from China – that you simply have to read.

Poorly Made in China: An Insider’s Account of the China Production Game

Whether you’re working on a small scale or run a huge corporation that imports or plans to import goods from China, this book is a must-read for you in any case.

The author of this book, Paul Milder, not only has a degree in Chinese history, he has also had a vast amount of experience in the Chinese work industry, which enabled him to understand the mindset of Chinese suppliers and manufacturing over there. Continue Reading →

Yiwu Fair 2017: Everything Visitors Must Know

Yiwu Fair

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The Yiwu Fair is one of the largest trade shows in eastern China.

Located just a two hours by train from Shanghai, the Yiwu Fair has suppliers in virtually all product categories, including electronics, textiles, children’s products and more.

In this article, you will learn how to get to the venue, how to obtain an invitation letter and get free admission by getting your trade badge in time.

In addition, I will also explain why you should consider hiring an interpreter, before arriving in Yiwu.

When is the Yiwu Fair held?

The Yiwu Fair, or China Yiwu International Commodities Fair as it’s officially called, is held yearly in Yiwu City, Zhejiang province.

Since 1995, the Yiwu fair has been held twice per year, in May and October.

How do I get to the Yiwu Fair?

The Yiwu Fair is held in the Yiwu International Expo Center (义乌国际博览中心). There are few, if any, international flights to Yiwu.

Instead, you can either fly to Shanghai or Hangzhou, and take the high speed train to Yiwu.

It will take you 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on where you get on the train.

Despite being a fairly small city (at least by Chinese standards), there are plenty of international hotels in the city.

You can take a taxi directly from the train station, but keep in mind that local taxi drivers don’t understand English. Make sure that you print out your hotel address before you arrive.

To get to the venue, show your driver the following address:

English: International Expo Center, No.59 Zongze Road, Yiwu, Zhejiang, China (Post code: 322000)

Chinese: 浙江省义乌市宗泽东路59号义乌国际博览中心综合楼三楼

Continue Reading →

Yiwu Wholesale Market: 14 Facts Importers Must Know

Yiwu Wholesale Market

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The Yiwu Wholesale Market is the largest in the world. Here, you’ll find thousands of Wholesaler offering all sorts of products at rock bottom prices.

Sounds fantastic? Well, not so fast.

In this article, I will explain the 13 things that every buyer must know before visiting the Yiwu Wholesale Markets, in Zhejiang province.

Keep reading, and learn how to get there, visa requirements and how to find the right agent.

You will also learn how to make payments the right way, coordinate shipments – and how to deal with disputes.

1. What is the Yiwu Wholesale Market?

There are in fact many wholesale markets in Yiwu city. Yiwu International Trade City is, however, the largest market – and often referred to when talking about the Yiwu Wholesale Market.

Unlike the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, or the Yiwu Fair, the Yiwu International Trade City is permanent, and open the whole year, apart from national holidays.

The Yiwu Wholesale Market is gigantic, and mainly catering to buyers from India, Africa and the Middle East.

Many ecommerce businesses also procure products from Yiwu wholesalers.

It’s famous for really low prices. Then again, you get what you pay for. Continue Reading →

List of Shipping Companies in China: An Overview

china shipping companies

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Finding the right shipping company or freight forwarder in China can be a serious challenge. Logistics account for a tenth of the world GDP, and includes everything from small scale bookings agencies to online platforms with live tracking.

In this guide, we help you select the right shipping company for your import business.

Some of these companies are traditional freight forwarders, while others are shipping marketplaces, where you can get quotations, book, pay and track your shipments.

Keep reading, and learn what you must know about Fleet,Freightos, ChinaDivision, FloShip, Flexport and many other companies – as we compare them based on their services offered, locations and ratings.

Disclaimer: Most of these companies are not headquartered in Mainland China or Hong Kong S.A.R. However, all listed shipping companies and forwarders have partners or local offices in China. Some are also headquartered in China (including Hong Kong S.A.R), such as FloShip, ChinaDivision and Freightos.


Tryfleet.com is the official website of Fleet Logistics, a logistics and supply chain company that also offers shipping services by connecting freight services with the clients and importers.

Founded in 2014, fleet acts as an online logistics marketplace where you as importer can connect with shippers and other service providers.

The service helps you find the best possible solution for your goods shipment for the best price and make you take an informed decision.

The head office of the company is based in Portland, Oregon, United States, but it offers its services to clients from all over the world including China.

The website with simple user interface allows you to choose air or ocean freight, provide details of country of origin and destination, and get instant quotes from a wide range of freight services.

All the freight forwarders listed on the website are verified by Fleet. Each forwarder is also rated and reviewed by the clients on the website so you can have a good idea about the forwarder’s reputation.

In addition, the service also provides an online dashboard to streamline all communication with the forwarder, track shipments in real time, get quick support, and easy and fast payments.

All in all, it is a good solution for small importers who want a quick and cost effective shipping solution for their import from China. Continue Reading →

Importing Cosmetics & Personal Care Products from China: A Complete Guide

Cosmetics and Care Products

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Buying cosmetics, beauty and personal care products from suppliers in China can be extremely lucrative – and we’ve seen a surge in interest from Startups all over the world in recent months.

However, venturing into the cosmetics and personal care space can be complicated. Many of these products are strictly regulated in practically all developed markets, such as the US, Europe and Australia.

In this article, we explain what ecommerce sellers must know, before importing beauty and care products from China, including the following:

a. How to find the right manufacturer

b. Mandatory safety standards and labeling requirements

c. How to sell cosmetics and beauty products on Amazon

d. Trade Shows in Mainland China and Hong Kong

e. Questions & Answers

Beauty and Personal Care Products Manufacturers in China

The beauty and care industry is very diverse, and include everything from chemical processing plants and R&D facilities, to smaller workshops and manufacturers producing makeup accessories and other related products.

In China, you can find manufacturers within the following categories:

  • Hair extensions
  • Wigs
  • Hair Salon Equipment
  • Makeup Tools (i.e., Brushes)
  • Cosmetics
  • Skin Care
  • Lip Treatments
  • Electrical Beauty Equipment (i.e., Hair removal lasers)
  • Nail Art and Equipment
  • Cosmetic Bags
  • Jars and Packaging

Manufacturers in the beauty and care space are primarily located in China’s most developed provinces, including Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu.

Some factories have sales offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong, but most companies located in the two cities are traders – without their own production facilities.

How do I find the right manufacturer?

There are only two supplier directories that really matter; Alibaba.com and Globalsources.com. There you’ll find thousands of manufacturers and trading companies for all sorts of beauty products.

When you source suppliers in this space, you must look for the following:

  • Product focus: Are they specialized in your product category?
  • Product compliance: Can they comply with EU and US safety standards?
  • Registered capital: Is it more than 1,000,000 RMB?

Continue Reading →

List of Quality Control and Inspection Companies in China

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Quality control is a mandatory part of the process when importing products from China, regardless of the order volume. Hence, finding the right quality control partner is crucial.

In this guide, you will find some of the leading quality inspection companies, with offices based in China.

We compare them based on capability, pricing and customer focus – to help you choose the right partner for your quality assurance needs in China.

Sofeast (Qualityinspection.org)

Sofeast is a Shenzhen based project management and quality assurance company that offers a wide range of QA services to importers, buying from suppliers in China.

The range of their services includes in-depth factory auditing, quality consulting, and assessment of technical documents.

In addition, the company also provides project management software specifically designed for importers – which makes Sofeast rather unique.

The company is founded in 2006 by Renaud Anjoran, from France, and is well known from his blog – qualityinspection.org.

Sofeast is a full service quality agency, helping all types of business. We have worked with Renaud’s team for several years, with fantastic results. Inspections start from $299, which is slightly lower than many of Sofeast’s competitors.

Our Starter Package customers can request a free quotation from Sofeast, directly via the Dashboard.

Continue Reading →

Price Negotiation with Chinese Suppliers: A Complete Guide

Suggestion: Watch the 10 minutes video tutorial before reading this article

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Price negotiation is on every importers mind when engaging with suppliers on Alibaba or Globalsources. Yet, it’s misunderstood as the practice of forcing the supplier to squeeze their margins to right above the production cost.

Going to hard on the price negotiation can result in terrible quality issues, and unanswered calls.

In my opinion, successful price negotiation is about finding the right equilibrium, where you pay the right price for the right quality, while the supplier can make enough money to stay in business and pay their shareholders and employees.

That’s not asking for too much.

Keep reading, and learn why you should not haggle your way down to poor quality, how you can prevent your supplier from jacking up the prices – and why you must be ready to stand up and walk away if they try do so.

This is the complete guide to price negotiation with Chinese factories.

1. Accept that the supplier must also make a worthwhile profit

Rather few importers are aware of the (very) low profit margins that most Chinese suppliers struggle with. It’s simply not possible for them to offer a 10 to 20% price reduction, unless the price was way off to begin with.

Asking them to lower the price more than 3 to 5% is the same as asking the supplier not lose money on your order.

Yet, many importers are obsessed with price haggling.

If you’re lucky, the supplier will simply tell you to go somewhere else.

If you are not as lucky, they may actually give in and lower themselves to your (unrealistic) target price – but with a nasty twist.

You see, a product can be made using various different quality standards, materials and components.

For example, a zinc alloy watch can be made for less than 5 dollars, while the same design made in 316L stainless steel can cost four times as much – around 20 dollars.

In such a scenario, you have successfully priced yourself out of a good offer, only to pay a premium for a low quality product. Not to mention the number of defective units.

You will also get less attention from the supplier, as they will focus on customers that they can make a worthwhile profit from.

All of this makes sense. Yet, in the west of come from the viewpoint that a ‘deal is a deal’ and that it’s up to the supplier to ‘produce high quality products on time’ regardless of whether or we price them down below the production cost.

Because you have more orders in the future.. And the supplier should for that reason ‘invest’ in you. Because your product is special, and so on.

But the mindset in Asia is different. Don’t forget that they have salaries to pay too, and it’s not like they are swimming in cash to begin with.

Customers that pay slightly better get much better quality, lower defect rates and better treatment. Not always, but often.

Go ahead and try to shave off a few percentage, but don’t become obsessed. In the end of the day, what will a 10% or even 20% reduction on the factory price even do for your business?

Perhaps you should be more focused on cutting costs elsewhere if that is so important.

price negotiation in China
2. Be clear about your quality requirements before you start negotiating

A product can, as I mentioned, be made using different materials and components. You need to have a ‘fixed’ product specification, and understanding for what makes or breaks the quality of your product.

Otherwise, you can’t say if a price is good, or bad.

18 dollars is a decent price for a stainless steel watch.

11 dollars is a terrible price for a zinc alloy watch.

If you don’t understand the specifications and customization options for your product, you cannot successfully engage in a price negotiation.

3. Price negotiations must be done at the right time

You can’t start negotiating after a supplier has made the tooling and prototypes for you. At this stage, they already know that they got you.

They already know that you will place an order.

Hence, they have no incentive to reduce the price.

What else will you do at this stage? You have spent months, and possibly hundreds of dollars, on samples and molds.

Will you just dump the supplier and spend six months developing new samples elsewhere, for the sake of shaving off a few dollars on the unit price?

No, you won’t, and they know that.

Negotiate the price before you make any commitments to the supplier, not when you are stuck.

4. Walk away if they  try something funny

Now, let’s look at it from the opposite side.

What if the supplier decide the raise the price, just when you are about to place the order?

This happens, and the suppliers tend to have all sorts of reasons. Labor costs went up. Taxes went up. Material costs go up. It’s their ‘most busy season’.

It doesn’t matter. They got you, or at least they think they do.

If a supplier try to rip you off at this stage, you must be ready to walk away.

Yes, even if that means you have to start over from scratch. Or well, at least go back to the product sampling process.

If you let the supplier bully you even before you have placed an order, you are safe to assume that they will continue such behavior afterwards.

5. Stay up to date on raw material costs

You don’t want to make an impression that you are gullible.

When you engage a supplier, you should mention that you have read up on current commodity and raw material prices.

This will weaken the case for the supplier to offer a higher price, or raise the price between orders.

You can, for example, use the following two sources:

Chinese suppliers also cite increasing labor costs and taxes, when providing a context for a price increase.

However, labor costs increases have panned out in recent years, and the Chinese government has been quite diligent in lowering taxes for small to medium sized businesses too.

Ready to import and launch your own product?

We know how hard it can be to go from an idea, to a mass produced and profitable product. The Starter Package is the only all-in-one solution that includes everything you need to get through every step of the process:

a. Private Label & OEM Product Manufacturer Lists

b. Product Specification Templates

c. Product Label Samples

d. Compliance Document Samples

e. Tutorials, Video Walkthroughs and Task Lists that guide you step-by-step through the entire process

In addition, you can also book quality inspections, lab testing and shipping directly from the platform. Click here to learn more.