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China banned Bitcoin trading in 2017, but the country is still the number one manufacturer for types of cryptocurrency mining hardware.
The country is not only home to OEM mining hardware manufacturers, but also some of the first brands – such as Antminer, developed by Bitmain in Beijing.
In this guide, you will learn everything mining hardware importers must know about buying brand name mining hardware, and how to find the right OEM supplier on Alibaba and Globalsources.
You will also learn why you should not rely on supplier warranties, and why product regulations are not to be neglected. Even in the fast growing space of crypto miners.
Can I buy Bitmain Antminers directly from China?
Yes, and no. There are a number of ‘brand name’ crypto miners on the market. At the time of writing, Antminer is perhaps the most well known.
At least when it comes to consumer grade bitcoin miners.
Antminer is not an open source platform. It’s a brand, owned by Bitmain in Beijing, but with offices all over the world.
There are hundreds of suppliers on various B2B supplier directories, claiming to sell Antminers, and almost as many online stores doing the same thing.
Some of these claim to be affiliated, or approved, by Bitmain. Yet, their official policy is that you should only buy Antminer hardware directly from Bitmain.
At best, you will find a supplier offering the same product, but for a higher price. There is no way they could undercut Bitmain on their own products.
Further, buying from an unauthorized seller may not only be costly, but it can also result in something much worse.
There are multiple scam reports on Bitcoin mining forums, and others telling of OEM replicas being delivered, rather than the real thing.
As we all know, the crypto hype knows no boundaries, and this attracts all sorts of sleazy fly by night online stores – that may or may not deliver a knock off.
What kind of OEM Bitcoin mining hardware can I import?
With that said, there are plenty of qualified bitcoin mining hardware manufacturers in China. Virtually all of these are based in China’s southern Guangdong province, and assemble components from subcontractors.
For example, you can find suppliers for the following products on Alibaba.com and Globalsources.com:
- ASIC Bitcoin Miners
- USB Dongle Miners
- Power Supplies
- Fans & Cooling Systems
How do I find the right supplier for Crypto Mining Hardware?
The main problem you will face when sourcing crypto mining hardware suppliers, is filtering out the vast number of low end suppliers.
I include all non-value adding agents, traders and wholesalers in this group of suppliers.
With so many opportunists jumping into this industry, without being qualified to assemble the hardware, this is a serious challenge.
You should work with a manufacturer that is specialized in Bitcoin mining hardware, or at least a supplier that has previously assembled other types of computers
This could, for example, include Android TV boxes, PCs or tablet computers.
You can make this assessment based on their product listings on Alibaba.com or Globalsources.com.
However, it doesn’t stop there, as I will explain below.
a. Sourcing on Alibaba.com
Alibaba.com is the largest supplier directory, not only in China, but the entire world.
At the time of writing, a search for ‘Bitcoin miner’ results in 833 suppliers, and 7,925 product listings.
That’s a lot of suppliers to go through.
Yet, Alibaba.com also provides the most comprehensive databank for verified supplier data – which you can use to filter out non-value adding middlemen.
All Alibaba Gold Suppliers are verified. Each supplier has a TrustPass profile, were you will find the following company information:
- Registered capital (Minimum RMB 500,000)
- Year of registration
- Product scope
- Company type (Manufacturer or Trading Company)
In addition, you can also find uploaded factory audit reports, and product certificates.
The latter is crucial, when sourcing Bitcoin hardware manufacturers, as I will get back to in a bit.
b. Sourcing on Globalsources.com
Globalsources.com is the 2nd largest supplier directory. However, they really kick above their weight when it comes to electronics.
Here, you will find miner rigs, power supplies and PCBs from highly qualified suppliers in China.
In addition, Globalsources.com also provides company data for all verified suppliers, and uploaded product certificates.
c. Trade Shows
There are, at least so far, no trade shows specifically for crypto mining hardware in Mainland China or Hong Kong.
However, many mining hardware suppliers still attend the electronics trade shows that are held multiple times per year in the region.
If you want to meet bitcoin mining hardware suppliers face to face, and check out samples on site, then these are the trade shows for you:
- HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair (HK)
- Global Sources Consumer Electronics Show (HK)
- Canton Fair Phase 1 (Guangzhou)
- CEF Shanghai
- CEF Shenzhen
- Computex (Taipei)
- TAITRONICS (Taipei)
You should check the supplier list for each of these trade shows, before you book your tickets. As mentioned, these trade shows are for all types of electronics, and not exclusively focused on bitcoin mining hardware.
At best, a small fraction of the attending suppliers is in that space.
Should I expect a warranty?
Some mining hardware suppliers, and component manufacturers, claim to offer a warranty. Sometimes for a few months, up to a year.
Keep in mind that what most of these suppliers really mean with a ‘warranty’, is sending a few spare parts with the shipment – parts that you will end up paying for.
And, provide free replacement parts, whenever needed.
In reality, however, there are a number of issues you should be aware of:
a. Few, if any, suppliers offer any real support. If you find quality issues, you will be on your own.
b. Many suppliers make the warranty impossible to claim, by forcing their customers to provide extensive ‘evidence’ or even returning defective units for troubleshooting in the factory. And, of course, you pay for the air freight back to China.
c. If they will eventually agree to offer replacement parts, you are expected to pay for the air freight charges. This can sometimes be more costly than buying replacement parts locally. At least if the shipment only contains a few units.
d. Your supplier may not even exist in a year. What will happen to this market if the Bitcoin price goes back to 2014 levels? And, not to forget, many suppliers in this industry are very small companies. Many of them will not be able to operate for more than a few months.
So, am I saying that you should not even bothering buying hardware from China?
No, not at all.
What I’m saying here is that you should not assume that you can fall back on a warranty, that is not really a warranty – but the promise of buying new replacement parts.
Applicable product regulations and labeling requirements
The world of cryptocurrencies is exciting. Everyone is talking about it. Yet, Bitcoin mining hardware is subject to the very same product regulations and safety standards as all other electronic products.
As an Importer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your product is fully compliant with all applicable regulations.
Be it a cooling system, power supply or USB mining dongle.
The crypto mining hardware space is like the wild west. Most small suppliers don’t have a clue what regulations apply to mining hardware in overseas markets.
Nor do they care.
And that’s alright. It’s your job. Yet, many importers know even less than their suppliers.
Below follows an overview of the regulations that apply to mining hardware in the European Union and the United States.
a. European Union
All electronics products sold in the European Union are subject to various electronic product directives. Some regulate safety aspects, while other regulate wireless communication or heavy metals used in components.
A few examples follow below:
- Low Voltage Directive (LVD)
- EMC Directive
- Radio Enabled Devices (RED) Directive
In addition, you must also ensure that the device is CE and WEEE marked. A CE mark by itself is not enough though. You must also create the following documentation:
- Declaration of Conformity
- Component list / Bill of Materials
- Design Drawings
- PCB Drawings
- Risk Assessment
- List of applicable directives / standards
- Test reports
Notice that a large number of suppliers cannot manufacture products that comply with EU standards and regulations. Hence, you should request test reports before you place an order.
Keep in mind that you are the one taking the risks, when importing electronics into the EU.
b. United States
Electronics regulations in the United States are very different from those in Europe. On a federal level, electronics regulations mainly concern wireless communication and electromagnetic interference.
This is regulated by FCC Part 15.
You must also ensure that the power supplies, and other components, are safe for the user. You can choose to comply with, for example, UL standards – which are not mandatory, but still highly recommended.
Keep in mind that you are responsible for all imported products, and despite the hype, crypto mining hardware doesn’t get a pass from the CPSC, FCC or other regulators.
Electronics is complicated, and you will need to verify that the hardware is compliant.
c. Other Countries
Based in Australia, Canada, New Zealand or Singapore? Then you must ensure compliance with local EMC and electrical safety regulations.
Many are based on either US or EU standards, but you must still contact your local authorities to confirm the exact requirements.
Keep in mind that these regulations are not applicable specifically to cryptocurrency mining hardware, but all sorts of electronics.
In other words, don’t even bother asking them what regulations apply to bitcoin miners, as they probably will not have a clue what you’re talking about.
What is the MOQ for Bitcoin Mining Hardware?
Many suppliers offer MOQs as low as 1 unit per product. Notice that these suppliers tend to be wholesalers, that don’t manufacture the product.
As mentioned, you should stay away from non-value adding middlemen, if you want to avoid importing hardware that is potentially dangerous.
If you sell hardware that injures someone, damages property – or worse – you will be held responsible. Not your supplier.
Being held responsible in such a scenario is not only resulting in a slap on the wrist. At a minimum, you are looking at a forced recall and major fines. Or worse.
How to manage quality control
Quality control is essential when buying all types of electronics. Crypto miners are not different.
As mentioned, it’s basically impossible to return defective units, get a refund or even rely on the warranty offered.
Instead, you must verify that the product is the fully functional, before shipment from China.
Hence, you must order a quality inspection, that takes place in the factory. Once on site, the inspector can check the functionality, and verify the components.
This should also be backed up by a signed and stamped sales contract, before you even pay the initial deposit.
As you must also comply with all applicable product regulations, you should also get the components lab tested.
Do you want to import Bitcoin mining hardware from China?
It can be hard to go from a design drawing to finished product. To help you manage the entire process – from creating a specification, to sampling and quality control – we created a Starter Package for Electronics:
a. Manufacturer Lists
b. Product Specification Templates
c. Label Samples (USA & EU)
d. 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.