Tag Archives: general

CE Marking When Importing From China: A Complete Guide

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Importing from China to the European Union? Then CE marking, and compliance with at least one EN directive, may be mandatory. Yet, many small businesses importing from China remain unaware of how to determine whether CE marking is required for their products, and which party is required to ensure compliance.

In this article, we explain the basics of CE marking, including documentation, labeling requirements, regulated products and relevant EN / EC directives.

What’s more, we also explain why companies importing from China, and other Asian countries, must never assume that their manufacturer is able to ensure compliance with EU standards and regulations. Continue Reading →

Alibaba Request for Quotation (RFQ): A Complete Guide

Alibaba RFQ

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The free Alibaba RFQ service enables you to receive quotations from multiple suppliers, in a matter of days. All you need to do is to fill in a form, and click on the submit button.

If used the right way, Alibaba’s Request for Quotation service can help you save hours of work, as you don’t have to contact suppliers one by one.

But as always, you need to use it the right way.

In this article, you will learn how you can save time and money using the RFQ service, while making sure that you provide enough information for the suppliers to calculate an accurate unit cost.

In addition, you will also learn what to look for once you receive the quote.

How can the Alibaba RFQ service help me?

Alibaba.com is the world’s largest supplier directory. Even the most obscure product search can result in hundreds of suppliers.

It can take forever to shortlist suppliers and contact them one by one.

Even worse, many of them don’t even reply.

Now, what if you could turn the table, and let them come to you? That’s the idea behind Alibaba’s RFQ service.

In essence, you add product information, and a number of suppliers will submit quotes based on your requirements.

All you need to do is wait. Or well, that’s the idea at least. Continue Reading →

Chinese New Year 2018: How Importers Can Avoid Delays

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The Chinese New Year of 2018 starts on February 16th, and lasts until March 2nd. 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 2018. 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 2018.

1. No New Orders Accepted. Mass Production and Sample Development is Halted One to Two Weeks Before the Chinese New Years Eve.

While the Chinese New Year Eve is set on January 16th, 2018, all suppliers start to wind down operations one to two weeks in advance.

As such, the CNY puts a halt to mass production, and even sample orders, far earlier than many buyers anticipate. This is not always in your suppliers direct control.

One component and materials subcontractor closing doors a few days earlier can essentially result in an unexpected, and early, shutdown of the supply chain.

This partly explains why different companies close their doors on different dates. Get a confirmation on their schedule well in advance to prevent delayed orders.

However, administrative functions tend to be operational a week or two longer, than the production lines. As such, you can, at least, save some of the runways on sample development and contract negotiations, that may take place at this time.

Chinese New Year 2017

2. Production is Halted for At Least Two Weeks After the Chinese New Year Eve

While the official holiday is only lasting for roughly 5 working days, plus two weekends, most workers remain in their home provinces for an extra week or two.

This explains why most suppliers are not back in business until two, sometimes even three, weeks after the Chinese New Years Eve.

Continue Reading →

How to Launch Your First Custom Design Product on Kickstarter: By Ivelin Demirov

Kickstarter Journal

What do you do when you’ve spent months, or even years, developing a new product – only to see it fail? Ask Ivelin Demirov, a Bulgarian-Canadian Industrial Designer, with more than 240 (!) products launches under this belt.

And, he designed them all, including these:

  • Learn Javascript Visually Book
  • Enigmaze Secure Password Journal
  • Clever Kebab
  • Radiance Planner

Ivelin is one of our readers, and in this article, he explains his framework for finding the right product idea, and how you can test it out on Kickstarter – before spending too much time and money on a product concept that will not sit well with the marketplace.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you did before starting your current business

Ivelin DIn 2001 I was working as a graphic and web designer while doing my master’s degree in Industrial Design Engineering. I was very interested in marketing and online sales at the same time. It felt naturally to combine both worlds and my first product was born “10 fingers typing system”.

It did well enough to spark my interest in developing custom designed products and sell them through different channels.

16 years later, I designed, developed and manufactured over 240 products, successfully funded and delivered 9 Kickstarter projects and was an “American Dreams” guest on HSN TV.

How did you decide which products to launch?

Most of my early products failed because i was going after my gut feeling about the ideas i had. Some did okay. I wanted to know why some product sell well some don’t.

They were all brilliant to me. This first thing i learned is that I need to understand the market very well and the product should Solve a problem.

I came up with a S.E.X. formula which i use to this day.

Every product should: Solve a problem. Elevate status. eXcite.

The Solving a problem criteria is the most important but not always enough. If i had the 3 in a product that i was sourcing or developing, i had a winner.

Now, every time i go for a new product, I follow a passion of mine (guarantees that i know the market) and I check for my S.E.X. formula. Continue Reading →

Importing Gym & Fitness Products from China: A Complete Guide

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Are you planning to import gym, health or fitness products? Then keep reading, to learn more about how you can find the right supplier and relevant product regulations.

We also cover trade shows in the fitness space, MOQ requirements and how you can make sure that you get the quality right – regardless of whether you’re importing protein bars or treadmills.

How do I find a qualified Gym & Fitness product manufacturer in China?

There are thousands of suppliers in the gym and fitness space the two largest supplier directories, Alibaba.com and Globalsources.com.

First, you want to avoid trading companies, which tend to offer all sorts of products. For example, if you find a supplier claiming to sell foam rollers, treadmills and protein powder, you can be sure you’re dealing with a trading company or wholesaler.

So, why should you stay away from trading companies or wholesaler when importing fitness and health products?

There are a few reasons. But, the main one is that traders cannot ensure comply with overseas product regulations, such as REACH or California Prop 65. I will get back to that in a bit

Instead, you should look for suppliers that are specialized. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they must focus on one single product.

For example, a factory can make both yoga mats and foam rollers. Continue Reading →

Importing Pet Products from China: A Complete Guide

Pet Product Supplier

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Are you planning to import pet toys or accessories from China? In this article, you will learn what you must know about pet products manufacturers, applicable regulations and how to find the right supplier on Alibaba.com or Globalsources.com.

This is covered:

  • Pet Products Manufacturers in China
  • How to find suppliers online
  • Product regulations
  • Quality control
  • MOQ Requirement
  • Trade shows

Pet Products Manufacturers in China

As in all industries, Pet Products Suppliers in China are to a varying degree specialized in a certain subcategory. Continue Reading →

How to Deal with Post-Sales Quality Issues: By Renaud Anjoran

after sales quality issues

When quality issues are found during a pre-shipment inspection, there’s still time to correct them before the product enters the market. However, some quality issues only appear after the product’s been used for a few weeks, or even months, by the consumer.

At this stage, your product may still be covered by a warranty – but don’t expect any replacement units or refunds from your supplier.

For example, chargers explode, and glued parts may start falling off. Or the batteries die out long before they’re supposed to.

Such quality issues are not only hard to prevent, but can also ruin your business – especially if you’re selling on Amazon.com.

In this post, Renaud Anjoran at Sofeast in Shenzhen, explains how you can identify and prevent potential after sales quality issues – using a tried and tested framework for Importers.

Can you give us a few examples of typical quality issues that may show weeks or even months after a product is sold?

Let’s first look at electronic product Failures.

Anything electronics-related inherently has a percentage of failure at some point, and this percentage probability depends on the complexity of the product. A simple switching mechanism driven by some logic control would be more robust than something with a printed circuit board involving thousands of components.

Another major factor is the environment in which the product is used. If the product is submersed in water, used in a harsh environment, or under constant vibration, it might stop working much earlier.

One product comes to mind immediately. A time-delayed fault caused worldwide news headlines, for the wrong reasons. I bet you remember the hoverboards whose lithium-ion battery packs overheated and caught fire. Continue Reading →

Quality Control and Inspections in China: A Complete Guide

Quality Testing

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Once your products are paid for in full and shipped, you’re beyond the point of no return. If you were to find quality issues once the goods arrive in your country, it’s game over.

Forget about getting a refund or returning goods to your supplier.

Instead, you need to be sure that your products are matching all technical specifications and quality requirements before you pay the balance.

In this article, I answer the most common questions about the practical aspects of ordering a quality inspections in China.

Keep reading, and learn how much you should pay for an inspection, how to book one online – and why you should not let your supplier do the inspection by themselves.

Why do I need quality inspections when importing from China?

Manufacturing is not an exact science. The question is not if, but how severe the quality issues are.

I have inspected hundreds of orders in person, and this is what I often found:

  • Scratches
  • Dirt
  • Marks
  • Minor cosmetic issues

This is even to be expected. However, there are also more severe quality issues:

  • Loose parts
  • Incorrect labels
  • Incorrect design
  • Incorrect colors
  • Damages

Quality issues are, in a way, as certain as death and taxes. This is not unique to China, but the case when manufacturing in any country.

However, what is unique to China, and most other countries in Asia, is that you cannot return goods if you find quality issues in your own country.

For this reason, quality inspections are a crucial step of the process. You simply cannot skip this part of the process. Continue Reading →

How to use Hong Kong as a Fulfillment Center: By FloShip

floship interview

These days it’s common that Ecommerce companies don’t start with one target market in mind. Instead, European importers start selling in the US and EU on day one, and vice versa.

For Startups, it’s expensive to ship stock from the manufacturer to several countries – not to mention how complicated it can be to get a grip of taxes and customs procedures in all those countries.

This is why more companies are using Hong Kong as their main fulfillment center. From Hong Kong, a freeport in southern China with no import duties, you can ship products directly to customers in the US, Europe and the Asia Pacific Region.

In this interview with Steve Suh at Floship in Hong Kong, you will learn how your business can save time and money using Hong Kong as a fulfillment center.

Steve Suh, please tell us a bit more about yourself and your work at Floship in Hong Kong

I am Korean-American from Philadelphia. I Embarked on my start-up career in Shanghai, where I got involved with a Sequoia Capital backed start-up called MyLuxBox, a cosmetics subscription box start-up that later got acquired by jumei.com.

After that exit, I joined China’s largest cross-border e-commerce logistics company 4PX, where I gained knowledge on the industry and led me to kick-start Floship, a platform catered to international merchants – whereas 4PX was China merchant focused.

Regarding work at Floship Hong Kong, started in February 2015, went though a couple rounds of funding led by prominent Asia VC’s and angel investors.

To date we’ve raised more than USD 7 million and, as we continue growing and adding new products, for example, we are soon launching a FBA prep service, a China ecommerce B2C inbound channel, global warehouses and a few other projects we are excited about but aren’t ready to disclose yet that will continue to make it easier for online sellers of all sizes to take advantage of marketplaces globally and participate in the world economy in ways never before possible.

Many of our readers want to know if it’s possible to deliver products, one piece at a time, directly from Mainland China or Hong Kong – to their customers all over the world. Is this possible today?

Yes. This is one of Floship’s most popular offerings.

As far as whether or not this model is possible – it is now at a mature state: it has been going on for over 10 years .

Due to the high volume of e-commerce cross border shipments from China and Hong Kong, there are now cost effective and fast shipping options that have opened up to facilitate cross border trade. Continue Reading →

Barcodes for Amazon Sellers & Ecommerce: By Ricky Jones of GS1UK

Ricky Jones GS1UK

Do Amazon sellers and Ecommerce companies really need barcodes, or is it a mere relic that is about to be swept aside? And, if you really need a barcode, how do you get them? These, and many other questions, are answered by Ricky Jones at GS1UK.

In this Q&A, you will learn how Amazon sellers and Ecommerce companies can use barcodes to track and protect their brands, save on logistics costs and cut delivery times.

Ricky, please tell us a bit about yourself and your work at GS1UK

I work in the marketplaces team at GS1 UK. We focus ourselves on our SME members and helping them to trade online.

Before joining the marketplaces team I’ve worked in quite a broad range of marketing roles. I’ve always had more of a digital focus with expertise particularly around SEO and launching websites for international markets. Although, have had the chance to lead much wider marketing projects also – brand development as well as content and communications. Continue Reading →

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