Chinese New Year 2020: How Importers Can Prevent Disaster

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The Chinese New Year (CNY) of 2020 starts on Saturday, January 25th, 2020, which is earlier than most years, and officially lasts 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 and Amazon sellers are caught completely off guard.

As if the rush to get your shipments in time for Christmas was not enough, you now have to make sure that your goods are ready well before your supplier closes the shop for CNY 2020. During this holiday, all factories are shut down, without exception.

While the official holiday only lasts for about a week, most factories are closed for an entire month, with disruptions lasting even longer.

This time of the year is especially risky for businesses importing seasonal products, such as outdoor furniture and swimwear.

Article Overview

  • How importers can prepare for CNY
  • Why and how CNY disrupts manufacturing in China
  • How to avoid delays to the CNY
  • CNY 2020 timeline and dates
  • Lunar holiday disruption in Vietnam and Southeast Asia

Note: The general trend is that the CNY holiday is becoming shorter. Chinese manufacturers understand that this is a major disruption for both them and their customers. Many suppliers are also perfectly aware of competition from other countries in the region and how a month-long supply chain disruption is not exactly a big selling point. My best guess is that factories will limit their closure to around 2 weeks in the coming years.
Continue reading Chinese New Year 2020: How Importers Can Prevent Disaster

List of Quality Control and Inspection Companies in China

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china quality control

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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 Limited (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 List of Quality Control and Inspection Companies in China

Using Eco-Friendly Materials When Manufacturing in Asia: A Complete Guide

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Eco friendly materials

Looking for ways to make your e-commerce product more eco-friendly? You’re not alone. I estimate that roughly half of the customers we work with today have some sort of ‘eco’ dimension as part of their product concept.

After all, if Adidas can make shoes from recycled ocean plastic, then I guess anyone can?

While I wish it was that simple, it does take more than a cool website and good intentions to make your product more eco-friendly.

Keep reading, and learn what it takes to use eco-friendly materials when manufacturing products in China, Vietnam and other countries in Asia.

It’s not as easy as you might think.

List of Eco-Friendly Materials

Shufen Lee, an independent research collaborator with Asiaimportal (HK) Limited, contributed to this article. She did extensive research to create a list of various types of eco-friendly materials.

  • Recycled materials
  • Natural materials
  • Bio-plastics
  • Organic cotton
  • Wood and paper
  • Types of Eco-Friendly Materials

Continue reading Using Eco-Friendly Materials When Manufacturing in Asia: A Complete Guide

US-China Trade War Tariffs: An Essential Guide for Importers & Amazon Sellers

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US-China Trade War

Like many others, I assumed the US-China trade war would be a short affair. I envisioned some deal involving mutual trade concessions taking place in a matter of weeks.

How wrong I was.

Now we are facing the prospect of a decade-long trade war, that will possibly mark the end of an era. Given that the United States is our main market, in terms of users, the trade war has a severe impact on our business too.

I’m not here to discuss which side is morally right or wrong. But I do have an obligation to share my views of how the US-China trade war may impact small businesses in the US, importing from China.

  • Why the trade war could massively benefit Chinese sellers
  • Which products are affected by the new tariffs?
  • Which products are not affected by the new tariffs?
  • What does this mean for US importers?
  • Will China or the US win the trade war?

The trade war also comes with some unintended consequences, that have the potential to backfire massively. Continue reading US-China Trade War Tariffs: An Essential Guide for Importers & Amazon Sellers

Payment Methods when Importing from China: A Complete Guide

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About to pay a manufacturer in China? The payment method, and the process, often have a major impact on the outcome. In fact, it can spell the difference between success and failure, when buying from overseas suppliers. In this article, we introduce you to four common payment methods, used when transferring funds to Chinese suppliers.

Content Overview

  • Telegraphic Transfer (T/T)
  • Letter of Credit (L/C)
  • Alibaba Trade Assurance
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
  • Payment frauds and scams
  • USD bank accounts for importers
  • Sending Money to China: Q&A with Neat in Hong Kong

Telegraphic Transfer (T/T)

The Telegraphic Transfer is standard bank transaction, placed either through your internet bank or in a local bank branch. This payment method is accepted by all Chinese manufacturers with a bank account. Virtually all, that is. Albeit common, it offers no protection by itself, unlike the Letter of Credit, which I’ll get back to in a bit.

That is, however, not saying that T/T is necessarily an unsafe payment method. Continue reading Payment Methods when Importing from China: A Complete Guide

Buying Private Label Products in China: A Complete Guide

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Planning to import private label (ODM) products from manufacturers in China? While it can definitely save time and money, private labeling also comes with intellectual property risks and potential quality issues.

Keep reading, and learn what importers and Amazon sellers must know before buying private label products from China.

This is covered
  • What is private labeling?
  • Examples of private label products
  • Pros and cons of private labeling
  • How to find private label factories
  • Why most factories don’t offer ‘true’ private labeling
  • Logo and labeling costs
  • Printing specifications
  • Product packaging
  • Product safety, labeling, and compliance

Bonus: Selling Private Label Products on Amazon – Q&A with Rachel Greer Continue reading Buying Private Label Products in China: A Complete Guide

Sea Freight & Shipping from China: The Ultimate Guide

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Shipping by sea is the most cost-effective transportation method when importing from China, and elsewhere in Asia. That said, understanding how the shipping process works is as error-prone as it is tedious and mind-numbing – especially for small businesses without prior experience.

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn everything Amazon sellers and small businesses must about sea freight when importing from China.

This is covered

  • Incoterms
  • FCL and LCL Shipping
  • Shipping Insurance
  • Shipping Lead Times
  • Container Types
  • Export Packaging
  • Shipping Documents
  • Freight Cost Overview
  • Shipping Scams

Continue reading Sea Freight & Shipping from China: The Ultimate Guide

Customs & Taxes When Importing from China: US, EU, Australia & Canada

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Understanding import duties, port charges, VAT and other taxes is crucial when importing products from China, especially in a time when trade tensions are at an all-time high. However, each country or market have its own import duty rates and customs value calculation methods.

In this article, we explain what every Importer must know about import duties, customs valuation methods, and other taxes when importing products to the following countries and regions.

  • United States
  • European Union
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom

Continue reading Customs & Taxes When Importing from China: US, EU, Australia & Canada

Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) – Why It’s Required by Chinese Suppliers

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The Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) requirement sets the lowest quantity of a certain product (e.g. 500 pcs) that a supplier is willing to sell. If the importer cannot reach the MOQ requirement, then the supplier is not willing or able to enter production.

In this article, I explain why the MOQ requirement exists, and what you can do to reduce the number of units you need to buy.

What is the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)?

The MOQ requirement is the minimum number of units you need to order from a supplier. It can be set per order, per product, per material or per color. For example, if a supplier sets their MOQ at 500 pcs, then you must purchase at least 500 pcs before they can accept your order.

How do I find out the MOQ of a supplier?

The MOQ is often specified on the suppliers Alibaba page, or website. You can also contact them directly to ask for their MOQ.

Keep in mind that the MOQ is fluid, as it varies depending on a range of factors. In addition, there are also different MOQs to keep track of, not just one.

What is the Minimum Order Value?

A Minimum Order Value is the lowest value of goods a supplier is willing to sell on a per order or product basis. If the Minimum Order Value is set at US$5000, then they will not accept orders below this figure. That said, manufacturers almost exclusively set a minimum quantity rather than a minimum value.

1. Low-profit margins require larger volumes

Most Chinese manufacturers tend to operate on razor-thin profit margins. Often as low as 3 to 4%. Low-profit margins require the supplier to produce a large number of products in order to break even. Continue reading Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) – Why It’s Required by Chinese Suppliers

Canton Fair Autumn 2019: The Ultimate Guide

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The Canton Fair is the longest-running and the largest trade show in Mainland China. Think of it as the ‘offline version’ of Alibaba.com, and you’re getting close. In this guide, you will learn everything importers must know about the Canton Fair:

  • Why should I visit the Canton Fair?
  • Canton Fair Products and Phases
  • Canton Fair Dates 2019
  • Traveling to the Canton Fair
  • Visitor Registration
  • Visa Requirements
  • How to get an invitation letter

As a bonus, I also explain how to prepare and attend the Canton Fair, and manage follow-ups.

  • Why you must prepare a product specification before your visit
  • The questions you must ask each supplier at the trade show
  • How to follow-up with the suppliers after the trade show

Continue reading Canton Fair Autumn 2019: The Ultimate Guide