Chinese New Year 2022: How Importers Can Prevent Disaster

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The Chinese New Year (CNY) of 2022 starts on Tuesday, February 1st. This is earlier than 2021, when the new year didn’t start until Feb 12th. Hence, the time to get products shipped in the window between Christmas and CNY is even shorter than in 2021.

In Mainland China, the holiday officially lasts for 7 days – starting from Jan 31st until February 6th. That being, many workers don’t return for another week or two – resulting in a longer production halt.

In short, you can expect production to be closed for the first three weeks of February – with many suppliers not taking new orders starting as early as December.

Article Overview

  • COVID-19 situation and CNY 2022
  • How importers can prepare for CNY
  • Why and how CNY disrupts manufacturing in China
  • How to avoid delays to the CNY
  • CNY 2022 timeline and dates
  • Lunar holiday disruption in Vietnam and Southeast Asia

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Ocean Plastic Manufacturers in China: Our Top 8 Picks

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Ocean plastics have a wide range of applications, including in the apparel, footwear, and accessories industries. That being said, ocean plastics are still not that widespread, and using ocean plastics requires that you purchase materials from specialized suppliers.

In this guide, we list Chinese manufacturers and international companies with distribution centers offering plastics made from ocean-collected materials.  We also list suppliers partially specialized in manufacturing products using ocean plastics.

Listed Companies

Recycled Ocean Plastic Based Materials

  • RSP
  • Wujiang Tangsheng Textile
  • Greener Fabrics
  • Unifi
  • Ocean Material
  • Xuzhou Seagor Import and Export Company

Recycled Ocean Plastic Based Products

  • Pack Tech
  • The Better Packaging

Disclaimer

We are not affiliated with any of the companies listed in this guide. We have selected these companies based on their claimed product scope, history, certification, and capabilities. Continue reading Ocean Plastic Manufacturers in China: Our Top 8 Picks

Manufacturers & Wholesalers in Vietnam: A Complete Guide

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Looking for manufacturers in Vietnam? In this guide, we give you a high-level overview of what to expect when manufacturing products in Vietnam – and how the country compares to China on many aspects, such as pricing, MOQ, lead times, and more.

Overview

  • How has COVID-19 impacted manufacturing in Vietnam?
  • Sourcing suppliers in Vietnam using Alibaba.com
  • Sourcing suppliers in Vietnam using Globalsources.com
  • What kind of products can I import from Vietnam?
  • Importing private label products from Vietnam
  • Dropshipping products from Vietnam
  • Are Vietnamese factories cheaper than Chinese suppliers?
  • Are Vietnamese suppliers easier to work with?
  • Quality Inspections in Vietnam
  • Lab testing in Vietnam
  • Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) Requirements in Vietnam
  • Primary industrial cities and clusters
  • Shipping & Ports
  • Visas for visiting suppliers
  • Trade Shows in Vietnam (Pre-COVID 19)

How has COVID-19 impacted manufacturing in Vietnam?

Vietnam closed its borders in early 2020 as the COVID pandemic was taking hold all over the world. However, the country remained open internally which allowed its manufacturers to continue operating as usual.

A larger outbreak occurred in the summer of 2021 which did impact manufacturing in Vietnam – but a fast vaccine rollout starting in August the same year allowed the country to open up faster than almost anyone expected.

Sourcing suppliers in Vietnam using Alibaba.com

There are multiple supplier directories in Vietnam. Yet, Alibaba.com is the largest online supplier directory for those looking for Vietnam-based factories. Alibaba.com has a dedicated section for Vietnamese suppliers, and they are becoming increasingly prominent when searching for many product types.

Alibaba.com allows users to filter suppliers based on country. Thus, you can decide to limit your sourcing to Vietnamese suppliers only.

Alibaba.com also verifies all Gold Suppliers, including those based in Vietnam. Thus, they provide one of the few reliable sources of supplier data in the country, including the following:

  • Company name
  • Registered address
  • Legal form
  • Registration No.
  • Issuing Authority
  • Date of issue
  • Applicant name
  • Applicant job title

Sourcing suppliers in Vietnam using Globalsources.com

Globalsources.com also has Vietnamese suppliers listed in their directory. However, the number of suppliers is far lower than on Alibaba. Some of them also attend the Globalsources trade shows in Hong Kong.

Despite having relatively few suppliers from the country, Globalsources.com does actually provide more data on Vietnamese suppliers than anyone else does:

  • Registered Address
  • Incorporation date
  • Legal form
  • Registration No.
  • Authorized Capital
  • Paid-Up Capital
  • Legal Representative
  • Import & Export License Status
  • Business Scope

The business scope, legal representative, and registered capital (i.e., paid-up capital) is important to know when selecting a supplier.

Other Supplier Directories

Then there are the local supplier directories. I have never used these myself, but they could perhaps be of interest:

  • Vietaz.com
  • Vietnamesemade.com

I still feel that Vietnamese suppliers have some catching up to do when it comes to making themselves accessible online.

vietnam manufacturer

What kind of products can I import from Vietnam?

Vietnam’s manufacturing base is not as large as that of China. However, it’s possibly a strong second in Asia, when it comes to OEM production. If you are importing products in one of the following product categories, then Vietnam might be a good manufacturing destination:

  • Apparel
  • Home textiles
  • Luggage & Bags
  • Furniture
  • Packaging & Printing
  • Promotional Products & Gifts
  • Food & Agricultural Products
  • PVC Plastic
  • HDPE & LDPE Plastic
  • Tarpaulins
  • Wood Products
  • Hair Extensions

Vietnam is also becoming a manufacturing center for electronic products. However, the electronics industry in the country is largely concentrated on multinationals like Samsung, or major contract manufacturers such as Foxconn. You will likely be disappointed if you expect to find a large number of private-label electronics manufacturers like you can i Shenzhen, in China.

saigon port terminal

Importing private label products from Vietnam

Vietnamese factories are, generally speaking, accustomed to working with professional buyers and international brands. These companies have their own product designs and technical specifications and do not attempt to source “ready-made” products.

I think this also explains why private labeling is not common among Vietnamese manufacturers, which are more geared towards OEM.

This may change in a number of years when some of these OEMs decide to launch their own domestic brands, that then become regional and in some cases global brands. This is also what happened in China in the last 10 to 20 years.

Private labeling is part of this development, as it relies on existing tooling.

Dropshipping products from Vietnam

Dropshipping as a concept emerged from traders based in Guangdong province and Hong Kong in the late 2000s. However, we have not seen this take hold in Vietnam and I don’t think it ever will.

If anything, many of the Chinese companies operating as dropshipping suppliers are now focused on selling B2C to consumers in Vietnam and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Are Vietnamese factories cheaper than Chinese suppliers?

Labor costs are lower in Vietnam, compared to China. However, lower labor costs only have a serious cost impact at a macro level – which certainly matters to big businesses like Foxconn and Samsung.

However, this does not automatically translate into lower unit costs for small to medium-sized importers buying products from Vietnam.  For starters, wages are increasing in Vietnam as a result of high demand from major brands. Some contract manufacturers that set up in Vietnam in recent years have been forced to double salaries – and offer bonuses on top of that – to attract enough workers.

Further, there are other costs that impact the unit price, such as logistics costs (keep in mind that materials are often shipped from China) and electricity.

The calculation is different for US importers though, as the China tariffs are still in place and must be factored in.

Are Vietnamese suppliers easier to work with?

The assumption is that “Chinese factories are difficult” so Vietnamese factories must therefore be easier to work with. While I certainly admit that there are communication difficulties when dealing with Chinese factories, I don’t think you should expect things to be that different when dealing with Vietnamese suppliers.

Further, oftentimes issues are more about the complexities of manufacturing rather than anything else. Manufacturing is difficult, be it in China, Vietnam, or even Europe.

Quality Inspections in Vietnam

There are many quality inspection companies present in Vietnam – many of which are based in Hong Kong or Mainland China. The standard cost per inspection is normally around 300 to 400 USD, which is comparable to other countries in the region.

Here is a list:

  • Sofeast
  • Pro QC International Ltd
  • Quality Control Inspections Vietnam
  • Vietnam Quality Control
  • OFCO Group
  • AS International
  • Vinacert
  • QIMA

Lab testing in Vietnam

In recent years we’ve seen a significant number of companies setting up lab testing facilities in Vietnam. Some are operated by TUV SUD, SGS, Eurofins, and other major testing companies – while others are more local operations.

Here’s an overview:

  • Quatest 3
  • SGS Vietnam
  • UL VS Vietnam
  • TÜV SÜD Vietnam
  • Intertek Vietnam
  • Modern Testing Services Vietnam
  • Eurofins Vietnam
  • Kotiti Vietnam
  • CTC Vietnam
  • DT & C Vina

There are still instances in which we cannot find a suitable testing facility in Vietnam. In these situations, the product samples can be sent to a facility in China, Europe, or the United States instead. Lab testing doesn’t necessarily have to take place in Vietnam simply because the products are manufactured there.

Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) Requirements in Vietnam

Vietnam is a smaller country than China, which automatically translates into lower MOQ requirements – right? Not exactly.

Since the trade war really took off in 2018 there’s been a soaring demand for Made in Vietnam products.  Vietnamese factories were not known for offering lower MOQs before 2018, and have since had even less of an incentive to offer lower MOQs.

If you cannot reach at least 500 to 1000 pcs per SKU and color you may not be able to find a suitable supplier in Vietnam. There are of course exceptions, but this is generally what you will encounter when looking for suppliers.

Primary industrial cities and clusters

In many Asian countries, it tends to be the southern parts that dominate economically. Vietnam is no exception, where Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon) is the nation’s economic and manufacturing center.

There are also large industrial areas in the north. Especially in, and around, the capital Hanoi and the port city of Hai Phong.

Click on the map below to get a better understanding of the geography of Vietnam

Vietnam Map (Click for large version)

Shipping & Ports

As mentioned, Vietnam’s economic center is in the southern parts, making up 70% of all exports. Saigon New Port is naturally the largest container terminal in the country. That said, there are suppliers all over Vietnam, from north to south.

If you start importing goods from Vietnam, it’s likely that your cargo will pass through one of the following ports:

  • Hai Phong Port (North)
  • Da Nang (Central)
  • Saigon New Port (South)
  • Cai Mep International Terminal (South)

Freight Forwarders

You can find information about shipping companies in Vietnam on this page. Here is a list of companies:

  • Saigon Ocean
  • Royal Cargo
  • Head Way
  • JAS Vietnam
  • Logistics Network Vietnam
  • T&M Forwarding
  • Tien Phong Trade and Transporting Services
  • APT International
  • Fast Delivery International
  • Toll
  • Agility
  • AIT Worldwide Logistics
  • Crane Worldwide Logistic

Air Freight

Most air freight cargo passes through Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, and Tan Son Nhat International Airport, in Ho Chi Minh City.

All major freight forwarders and air couriers, such as DHL and FedEx, are present in Vietnam. Further, there is no difference in terms of shipping and customs process, compared to other countries.

Visas for visiting suppliers

Many nationalities can receive a visa stamp on arrival, which allows you to stay in the country for 2 weeks. You can also apply for a business visa if you intend to stay for up to 3 months.

Before you can apply for a business visa you will need to obtain an invitation letter from the company you intend to visit.

Trade Shows in Vietnam (Pre-COVID 19)

As mentioned, Vietnamese manufacturers and wholesalers are not as accustomed to using online supplier directories are their competitors in Mainland China. If you’re serious about sourcing products in Vietnam, you might want to attend one of the following trade shows:

Textiles & Accessories

  • Saigontex
  • Vietnam textile & garment expo
  • Vietnam International Maternity, Baby & Kid Fair
  • Vietnam International Jewelry Exhibition Fair

Furniture & Home

  • VIFA Expo
  • VIETNAMWOOD

Electronics

  • NEPCON Vietnam
  • The Solar Show Vietnam
  • Wire & Cable Vietnam

Materials

  • Complast Vietnam

Guide to Alibaba Gold Suppliers: What Importers Must Know

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Alibaba Gold Supplier

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The Alibaba Gold Supplier program is often misunderstood as a ‘seal of approval’ while it’s more comparable to a verified business directory. What makes the Gold Supplier program unique is the information you can access about each supplier – information that can in turn be used to source qualified suppliers in China, Vietnam, India, and many other countries.

In this guide, I explain what Alibaba Gold Suppliers are – and what they are not. I also explain how you can use the information made available in the TrustPass profile to your advantage. Continue reading Guide to Alibaba Gold Suppliers: What Importers Must Know

Buying Product Samples from China: A Complete Guide

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Product samples are essential when importing products from China, and elsewhere in Asia. Obviously, you want to see and feel the product before you start production. However, ordering product samples is also a way to test if your supplier is truly up to the task.

In this guide, you will learn everything importers must know about product samples, including IP risks, payment terms, cost examples, sample types, and lead times.

Product sample types

  • Factory samples
  • Custom made product samples
  • Production samples
  • Virtual samples
  • 3D printed samples
  • Counter-samples

Other Topics

  • Supplier-led product development
  • Intellectual property risks
  • Payment terms
  • Product sample costs
  • How to pay for product samples
  • Injection molds and tooling costs
  • Sample production time
  • Import duties and taxes

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List Freight Forwarders & Shipping Companies in China: 7 Options

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Finding the right shipping company or freight forwarder in China can be a serious challenge. Logistics accounts for a tenth of the world’s 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 platforms, where you can get quotations, book, pay, and track your shipments.

Keep reading, and learn what you must know about DocShipper, Flexport, and many other companies – as we compare them based on their service offering, locations, and ratings.

Listed Companies

  • DocShipper
  • Flexport
  • Freightos
  • Fleet Logistics
  • ShipWire
  • Floship
  • FBA Forward

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Customs & Taxes When Importing from China: US, EU, UK, 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 has 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

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List of Freight Forwarders in Australia: Our Top 10 Picks

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Planning to import products to Australia? In this guide, we list Australian freight forwarders offering a wide range of ocean freight (LCL and FCL), air freight, and domestic (rail and truck) freight services. Each freight forwarder profile includes their company history, services, location, certificates, and other relevant information.

Listed Companies

  • JAS Australia
  • Across the Ocean Shipping
  • Platinum Freight Management
  • CT Freight
  • BCR Australia
  • Magellan Logistics
  • Cargoclear International
  • JTM Cargo Management
  • Yusen Logistics Australia
  • CTS Australia

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BSCI and Sedex Audits in China: What Importers Must Know

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BSCI Sedex audits in China

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Importers are facing more pressure from customers to ensure that their products are, at least to a certain extent, ethically produced.

However, actively monitoring working conditions in a country far away, costs millions of dollars. In other words, ensuring social compliance in China is out of reach for any company that’s not on the Fortune 500. That’s where BSCI and Sedex come in.

In this guide, we explain what importers must know about BSCI and Sedex audits, including rating systems, finding audited suppliers, and much more.

Overview

  • What is BSCI?
  • What is Sedex?
  • What does it mean when a supplier BSCI or Sedex audited?
  • Is it risky to buy from non-BSCI or SMETA audited suppliers?
  • Where can I find a sample BSCI or SMETA report?
  • How do I know if the audit report is valid and authentic?
  • How can I find BSCI or SMETA audited suppliers?
  • Can we find BSCI and SMETA audited suppliers on Alibaba?
  • Are BSCI and SMETA audits common among suppliers in China?
  • Can our company pay to make a supplier BSCI or Sedex certified?
  • How much does a BSCI or Sedex audit cost?
  • Why are not all suppliers BSCI or Sedex audited?
  • Can BSCI and SMETA audits be conducted in any industry?
  • Which companies offer BSCI audits in China?
  • Which companies offer Sedex SMETA audits in China?

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Permits and Licenses When Importing from Asia: A Complete Guide

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Licenses and permits

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Importing certain types of products requires that you first obtain a permit or license. Failing to obtain the necessary permits and licenses can be disastrous, as it can result in your cargo being seized by the customs authorities.

Keep reading, and learn what you must know about import permits and licenses in the European Union, United States, Australia, and many other countries.

Continue reading Permits and Licenses When Importing from Asia: A Complete Guide