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Paying Chinese Suppliers Using Western Union: A Complete Guide

western union payments

Even to this day, we keep receiving reports from importers getting scammed by anonymous traders in China. In many cases, they have one thing in common – the buyer sends money using Western Union.

While Western Union as a company is legit, it was never intended as a platform for paying Chinese suppliers.

In this article, I explain why and how scammers exploit Western Union to defraud importers, and which payment methods you should use instead.

What’s the benefit of using Western Union?

Western Union operates a global payment network that enables individuals to transfer money from one place to another, in a matter of hours. While payment services like PayPal and TransferWise offer fast payments today, that was not the case until only a few years ago.

At a time when telegraphic transfers, normally taking 4 to 5 days to arrive, was the only option, Western Union was the go-to place for fast payments.

While they may not be the only option for fast payments these days, they still have a strong position across the globe. Especially when you need to send emergency funds to a friend or family member that lost their credit card or passport in a foreign country.

Continue Reading →

Import Duties in Australia When Buying From Asia: An Essential Guide

Australia import duties

Understanding the Australian import duty and tariff system, with many its exemptions and country of origin classes, can be rather complicated. In this article, we explain what Australian importers must know about import duty rates, HS codes, and tariffs:

  • Country of origin classifications
  • How to confirm the applicable HS code and duty rate for your product
  • Chapters and sections
  • How to (legally) reduce the import duty rate
  • When to pay import duties
  • How to calculate the customs value and import duty
  • Other import taxes in Australia

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Top 8 Sourcing Companies and Agents in China

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A Sourcing Company can be an invaluable partner when importing products from China. Or, they can be a useless middleman that offers nothing but delays and higher unit prices.

This is not a regulated industry, so anyone can claim qualifications to manage product and supplier sourcing.

In this article, you will learn what a sourcing company can do for you – and how much you should expect to pay them.

In addition, we also list some of the leading sourcing companies in Mainland China and Hong Kong S.A.R.

Why should I work with a Sourcing Company?

The core function of a sourcing company is to identify qualified suppliers, based on the customer’s needs and technical requirements.

There are no industry standards for how the supplier sourcing process is managed. Some Sourcing Companies have a more relationship-based approach, funneling customers to their existing supplier network.

This can be a win-win for both you and the sourcing companies, assuming they select suppliers based on the product’s technical specifications – rather than the size of the kickbacks they receive.

I’d say that most sourcing companies put kickbacks before selecting the supplier that is the most qualified to make a certain product.

Most sourcing companies can do a lot more than just, well, sourcing products.

For example, some can help you with factory audits, quality inspections, contracts, quality assurance and day to day administration.

As said, there are no set industry standards, so you need to discuss this with your Sourcing Company.

How do sourcing companies charge for their services?

Previously, most sourcing companies charged a commission based on the order value. However, in recent years, more and more sourcing companies have adopted fixed pricing.

Thus, they charge based on a per project or service basis, rather than a commission.

Of course, the final cost depends on what exactly you want the sourcing company to do for you. Continue Reading →

List of Sourcing Companies in the United Kingdom: Top 7 Agencies

UK sourcing agencies

Importing custom designed products from Asia doesn’t always require that you look overseas. In some cases, you can find the best partner closer to home. In this article, we list some of the UK’s leading Asia sourcing and product development companies.

What are the benefits of working with a UK based sourcing company?

If you’re looking to import goods from, for example, China, it’s natural to assume a Chinese sourcing agency know more about their own country – compared to one based outside. While that may be true to some extent, importing products from Asia involves a lot more than finding the right supplier.

In reality, most sourcing companies know little about UK safety standards, product labeling, VAT and customs procedures, which can have severe consequences for you as an importer.

A sourcing agency based in the UK, on the other hand, is far more likely to understand these requirements. Besides, sourcing agencies headquartered in the UK always have subsidiaries or other forms of representation in Asia. Continue Reading →

List of Sourcing Companies in Australia: Top 6 Agencies

australian sourcing companies

Sometimes it actually makes sense start looking for a sourcing agency closer to home, rather than trying to find the right partner in China, Vietnam or India. In this article, we list some of Australia’s leading sourcing companies.

You will also learn how you can benefit from working with a local sourcing company, rather than one that’s based overseas.

What are the benefits of working with an Australian sourcing company?

Most Importers may assume that a company that’s located in the manufacturing country is always superior to one that’s headquartered at home. That said, the opposite is more often the case.

While a sourcing company based in China or Vietnam can disappear with your product designs and supplier network by tomorrow, an Australian agency is far easier to hold accountable when something goes wrong.

Further, sourcing companies based in Australia, or those based in Asia but with Australian ownership, tend to have a better understanding of the following:

Further, all Australian sourcing companies have representation in Asia, be it through partners or a directly owned subsidiary or representative office. Continue Reading →

Chinese New Year 2019: How Importers Can Prevent Disaster

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The Chinese New Year (CNY) of 2019 starts on Tuesday, February 5th, and lasts officially for 7 days. While many of us who work in Asia are painfully aware of the Chinese New Year, and the coming disruption to all production, many Importers are caught completely off guard.

As if the rush to get your shipments in time for Christmas is not enough, you now have to make sure that your goods are ready well before your supplier close the shop for CNY 2019. During this holiday, all factories are shut down. Without exception.

While the official holiday only lasts for around a week to ten days, most factories are closed for an entire month. With severe delays to be expected once they open up again in March.

This time is especially risky for products that are due for shipment in the spring and summer season. Think swimwear and outdoor furniture.

Now is the time to prepare, and in this article, I will explain how you can avoid delayed shipments and quality issues during the Chinese New Year of 2019. Continue Reading →

Australia Import Processing Charge When Importing From Asia: A Complete Guide

import processing charge guide

About to import products from China, Vietnam or elsewhere, to Australia? If the total importation value is above AU$1,000, you’ll need to submit an import declaration and pay an import processing charge of at least 50 Australian Dollars.

In this guide, we explain what Australian importers must know about the Import Processing Charge:

  • Import Processing Charge Overview
  • Reduced rates for warehoused goods
  • When and how to pay the Import Processing Charge
  • Exemptions, small volumes, and sample orders
  • Import Processing Charge for online purchases and private importers

What is the Import Processing Charge when importing from China, Vietnam or India?

The importing processing charge depends on the customs value (CVAL) and whether you submit the import declaration manually or online. However, unlike import duties which may differ depending on the country of origin, the import processing charge is always the same.

As such, you’ll pay as much for a shipment coming in from China, as one from Vietnam or any other foreign country. Continue Reading →

List of Sourcing Companies in India: Top 7 Agencies

India sourcing agency

While some Indian suppliers are listed on and, they are few and far in between compared to their Chinese competitors.

An India based sourcing agent can bridge this gap, as you can utilize their vast network of domestic manufacturers and wholesalers, that you’d otherwise have a hard time locating.

In this article, we list some of India’s leading sourcing companies in various industries:

  • Apparel and home textiles
  • Furniture
  • Hardware
  • Construction materials
  • Promotional products
  • Handicrafts

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List of Sourcing Companies in Vietnam: Top 5 Agencies

vietnam sourcing company

Vietnam is quickly becoming a serious manufacturing alternative to China, especially for American importers vary of the ongoing US-China trade war. That said, Vietnamese suppliers are not as easy to find on or, compared to their Chinese counterparts.

As such, many importers turn to Vietnam based sourcing companies, with vast local supplier networks.

In this article, we list five of Vietnam’s leading sourcing agencies, all located in Asia’s fastest growing manufacturing hub – Ho Chi Minh City.

Do I need a sourcing company when importing from Vietnam?

You can of course attempt to source Vietnamese directly, using or even a Google search. However, Vietnamese suppliers tend to have a rather small online footprint, making them harder to find.

Those that do have a larger online presence tend to be larger suppliers, which tend to have little interest in working with small buyers.

Vietnam based sourcing companies can bridge that gap, using their local network and expertise to match you with a qualified supplier.

I’d say that sourcing agents provide more value in Vietnam, compared to more developed manufacturing countries like China. Continue Reading →

Escrow Payments to Chinese Suppliers: A Complete Guide

excrow payment

Escrow payment solutions require the supplier to meet certain conditions (e.g., ship products) before the funds are released. In theory, Escrow payments ensure that the buyer is not scammed and that products are actually shipped.

In practice, however, Escrow payments are only as good as the ‘money release conditions’ the supplier is forced to comply with. Keep reading, and learn how Escrow payments in China work, and the various solutions available for importers.

What is Escrow?

Normally, a buyer transfers funds directly to the supplier’s bank account. This is risky, as the supplier could then disappear or deliver an insufficient product. There’s no ‘refund’ or ‘chargeback’ mechanism in place when paying suppliers by telegraphic transfers.

Escrow, on the other hand, involves a middleman receiving the funds from the buyer – only to release the money once certain conditions have been fulfilled.

These conditions can either be set by the buyer and seller, or by the Escrow payment services. Common ‘escrow payment conditions’ include the following:

  • The seller can prove that the documents are shipped (e.g., provide a tracking ID)
  • The products are approved by the buyer after delivery

Continue Reading →