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Buying from Wholesalers in China: 5 Things Importers Must Know

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Buying customized goods from manufacturers can be a hassle. It takes months to even get a sample, and you need to buy hundreds of units per product design, or even color.

Long lead times and high MOQs are a major barrier of entry for cash strapped startups, looking to import from China.

So why not just skip the factory and go to a Wholesaler instead? For starters, there no MOQ to worry about. Pick and mix whatever products you want. And you don’t even need to wait for six months to see them.

It sounds fantastic.

But things are not always what they seem. In fact, buying Wholesale goods from China may not even be an option for your business. If you are based in the US or Europe – you can be quite sure that it’s not.

Keep reading, and learn whether or not ‘buying Wholesale from China’ is on the table for your business.

1. Looking for a Wholesaler? Go to Yiwu.

Wholesalers can be found all over China. However, if you are looking for one geared towards export markets, there is only one place to go – Yiwu.

Yiwu is an old trading city, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. The city is home to thousands of big and small trading companies and wholesalers.

As it is established as a cluster for export oriented wholesalers, you will find that the ‘infrastructure’ is far more developed, when it comes to finding local agents, quality control companies and export agencies – all of which are needed to buy, inspect and ship products from the wholesaler, to your warehouse.

But, if you keep reading, you will find out why ‘buying wholesale’ may not even be on the table. Continue Reading →

Do NDAs Work When Importing from China?

NDA in China

Many Ecommerce business owners are, rightfully, worried about their suppliers duplicating their products. For many, a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) seems to the logical method to prevent suppliers from ever making replicas.

It makes sense in theory. Make your supplier sign an NDA, and you go perpetual exclusive rights for that power bank or handbag you plan to sell on Amazon.

The reality is, as you will learn in this article, very different.

What is the purpose an NDA?

An NDA is a confidentiality agreement that is meant to prevent, for example, manufacturers from disclosing product information. This may include the following:

  • Design drawings
  • Technical drawings
  • Bill of materials
  • Artwork
  • Software

In theory, an NDA prevents a supplier from using your product specifications to manufacture products, or share them with other companies. The NDA also sets penalties, in case the supplier would fail to comply with the terms.

In addition, an NDA can be set to be terminated after a certain time, or when a milestone (i.e., the product is officially launched) has been reached.

When dealing with Chinese manufacturers, however, things are not that straightforward. Continue Reading →

[Case Study] SonicBeer: The Device That Makes Your Brew Taste Better

sonicbeer

We’ve been working with Ivan De Miguel, from Spain, for about a year now. Back then, Ivan only had a concept, for an innovative electronic device now called SonicBeer.

Today, after developing his prototype in Shenzhen, he has finally launched his product on Kickstarter.


Do you want to support SonicBeer on Kickstarter?

The Kickstarter campaign is currently active. Visit this page to get your SonicBeer before everyone else.


In this interview, Ivan explains how he came up with this idea, and the challenges he faced along the way.

Ivan, please tell us a bit about yourself

I’m originally from the Basque Country, a region in northern Spain. I studied Biology and Biomedical Physics, with electromagnetic fields and its impact on live systems.

I also participated in the maker and biohacker community, co-founding various associations, and organizing conferences.

I got into various entrepreneurship programs to research about using Ultrasonic technology in fermented beverages, which lead me to develop a product called SonicBeer.

You have a unique product. What exactly is SonicBeer?

SonicBeer is a minimalist and elegant beer enhancer, revitalizes the beer. Let me explain how this work.

“As we drink the beer the foam disappears and with it the aroma and flavor. The beer foam is the natural defensive layer that protects it from oxidation and retains volatiles.

That’s why for all those beer lovers who value the small details we have created SonicBeer.

We use technology to generate ultrasonic waves that excite the carbonated volatile components inside your beer by cavitation breaking some of the intramolecular interactions, generating foam with aromatic compounds in just a few seconds.

Now you can experience a better beer tasting experience with original foam, aroma, and feel.

The technology itself is related to the “cavitation effect” of the ultrasonic waves into carbonated liquids. Ultrasonic waves create small vacuum bubbles or voids in the liquid. Continue Reading →

EN 71 & Toy Safety When Importing from China

EN 71

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EN 71 compliance is mandatory when importing toys to the European Union. Yet, many Importers fail to understand that EN 71 compliance is more complex than a printed CE mark.

In this article, we explain what EN 71 really is, and what you must do to ensure that your imported toys are compliant. The alternative is not an option.

What is EN 71?

EN71 is a set of European Product Safety standard that applies to all toys sold in the European Union.

EN 71, which is also a part of the CE directive, has been put in place to ensure that all toys sold in the EU meet certain minimum safety standards on the following factors: Continue Reading →

Yoga Mat Suppliers in China: A Complete Guide

Rubber yoga mat

About to import Yoga mats from suppliers in China? In this article, we list some of China’s leading Yoga mat suppliers, and explain what US and EU importers must know about material options and product regulations.

Yoga Mat Material Options

Manufacturers make Yoga mats according to specification. As such, the quality is defined by the product specification, rather than the factory itself.

Before you even approach suppliers, you need to define your Yoga mat in terms of materials, and other technical specifications:

1. Thickness (1.5 – 7 mm)
2. Material (PVC, Natural Rubber or EVA Foam)
3. Surface material / texture (Laminated PU, No Lamination, Other)

Keep in mind that some Yoga mat suppliers are specialized in natural rubber, while others exclusively manufacture PVC products. Their product and material focus is the first thing you must confirm when approaching a supplier. Continue Reading →

Silk Suppliers in China: A Complete Guide

silk fabric

About to import silk scarves, fabric rolls or other silk products from China? In this article, we list some of China’s established silk producers and trading companies, based in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai.

We also explain what all Silk importers must know about chemical regulations, silk labeling requirements and minimum order quantity.

Production Clusters in Mainland China

Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, in eastern China, are the traditional production clusters for silk. Today, suppliers are not entirely concentrated to Zhejiang and Jiangsu.

However, as you can see in this supplier list, companies based in this region are still among the top silk exporters.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that their silk is exclusively produced there. In fact, many Silk suppliers are trading companies, buying raw materials from local producers in various provinces.

Also notice that many Silk suppliers are not apparel makers. They supply silk fabrics, but you may need to work with another factory to produce the final goods. Continue Reading →

Electrical Safety Standards For US Importers: By Joey Kwok of CMA Testing

electrical safety

Today, US ecommerce companies and Amazon sellers, import electronics directly from Chinese manufacturers – without even having a basic understanding of product safety requirements and liability.

Electronics are high risk products. Reports of unsafe lithium batteries and chargers are frequent.

A major reason for this is the lack of information on what US electronics importers must do to ensure compliance. Believe it or not, but for many electronic products, there are not even mandatory safety standards.

Hence, many believe that they don’t need to care about compliance when importing power banks, or any widget that comes with an AC adapter.

That is not the case.

If, or when, something goes wrong – you will be liable. If someone is injured, or if property is damaged, you might be looking at millions of dollars in losses. It’s game over.

Instead, Importers and Amazon sellers must rely on ‘voluntary standards’ from UL and ETL, that are ‘de facto’ mandatory. At least for anyone who want to sleep at night.

These things are complex, but absolutely essential.

Luckily, we have worked with Joey Kwok Deputy Manager of CMA Testing in Hong Kong, and a leading expert on US electronic product regulations.

Notice: Be sure to read this one at least two or three times, and feel free to ask questions in the comment section below.

Joey, please tell us a bit about what you do at CMA Testing in Hong Kong

CMA Testing, is a well-known third party assurance body with rapid global expansion, specializes in testing, inspection and certification services.

Our worldwide networks have been spreading out rapidly to Asia, Middle East, Europe and North America.

Our compliance services cover toys, consumer electronics and electrical products, textiles & garments, materials, chemicals, food & food contact articles, furniture, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, environmental and more. Continue Reading →

Underwear & Lingerie Manufacturers in China: A Complete Guide

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In this product guide, we explain everything you must know about Underwear & Lingerie Manufacturers in China, including industrial clusters, supplier qualification and design customization options.

We also explain what you must know about potential quality issues and applicable labelling requirements – and substance restrictions in the United States and the European Union.

Underwear and Lingerie Manufacturing Clusters in China

China’s export oriented underwear manufacturers are largely concentrated in the country’s primary textiles production centers; Guangdong Province, Fujian Province and Zhejiang Province.

If you intend to visit manufacturers in Mainland China, you are likely to find yourself in one of the following cities: Continue Reading →

How to Find the Right Ecommerce Product: 5 Inspiring Concepts

Finding the right product

 

I’ve spent the last 8 years helping Entrepreneurs go from idea to finished product. While I’ve dealt with both good and (really) bad product concepts – I am a firm believer in a more creative product conceptualization approach.

The Entrepreneurs that succeed are not the ones who happen to find a ‘best seller product’, or by chance identify a one in a million market gap on Amazon.com.

I’d even go as far as saying that I can’t see much of a correlation between how much money they put in, and their chance of success.

I know Entrepreneurs that made it big, investing less than US$10,000 on the whole product launch. I know others that spend ten times that amount, and didn’t even get a final prototype ready.

It’s all about coming up with something new and finding a unique niche in an increasingly crowded ecommerce space.

But, as I will explain in this article, that is a whole lot easier than you probably think.

1. Use public domain artwork and photographs

public domain artwork

Old paintings and photographs are generally open for anyone to use. This is also a huge resource that is very underutilized by Ecommerce companies.

There’s a wealth of beautiful European and Asian artwork, that can be applied to apparel, watches, accessories, phone cases and many other product categories.

Any textile, plastic or metal can be printed or engraved with classic artwork or photographs.

This is certainly where I would look for inspiration today, if I was about to launch a new product.

Examples

  • Waxed cotton watch straps
  • Classic artwork printed on textile wallets
  • Photography etchings on aluminum phone cases
  • Chinese art puzzles
  • Rembrandt card game collection

Continue Reading →

US China Tariffs: How They Hit Importers & Amazon Sellers

China US tariffs

We have received many emails from worried Importers in the US about the risk of a new trade war. We see daily media headlines about a looming trade war, but at the time of writing, things are still very open ended.

With this article, I hope to help you better understand the situation, and how it might impact your business, as I cover the following:

  • Which products are affected by the new tariffs?
  • Which products are not affected by the new tariffs?
  • What does this mean for US importers?
  • Why the new US tariffs might benefit Chinese ecommerce companies
  • Why EU businesses might benefit from a US China trade war
  • What happens next?

Keep in mind that this is a developing story, and what you read in this article might be outdated in a matter of hours. I will try to keep it somewhat updated, but I make no promises.

I also want to highlight that we are not in the business of politics. We take no stand for or against the United States, or China.

Our job is only to report how this might impact startups and SMEs importing goods from China.


2018-07-20 Update

This article was originally published in April 2018, a few months before the implementation of these tariffs. At the time of writing, increased tariffs are imposed on US$34 billion of imported goods (total value).

As expected, these tariffs mostly apply to industrial parts, chemicals, vehicles and other related products.

Apparel, accessories, electronics and other consumer goods are not affected as of today.


Continue Reading →