Top 10 Sourcing Companies and Agents in China 2019

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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 Top 10 Sourcing Companies and Agents in China 2019

List of Sourcing Companies in Thailand: A Comparison

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Thailand sourcing agencies

Thailand is often overlooked as a manufacturing destination these days. While there’s a lot of hype surrounding Vietnam, and other “anywhere but China” destinations – Thailand is a more realistic option for small buyers and Amazon sellers.

In order to find qualified suppliers, you’ll likely need a sourcing company based in the kingdom.

In this article, we list some of Thailand’s leading sourcing companies covering a wide range of product categories.

Continue reading List of Sourcing Companies in Thailand: A Comparison

Top 9 Fulfillment Centers in China and Hong Kong 2019

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HK Fulfillment Centres

A Hong Kong or Mainland China-based fulfillment center can help you distribute products directly from the factory to customers all over the world.

In this article, we list the leading China-based fulfillment centers, including ZhenHub, Floship, Easyship, Exchain, Shipwire, and others.

In addition, we cover the following:

1. Potential tax issues with cross border e-commerce fulfillment

2. When does it make sense to use a fulfillment center in Hong Kong or Mainland China?

3. Should you select a fulfillment center in Hong Kong or Mainland China?

4. Interview with Floship founder Steven Suh

What is a fulfillment center?

Fulfillment center offers e-commerce merchants warehousing (storage) and shipping services, that allows online businesses to operate without owning their own warehouse or physical storage space.

Sellers or e-commerce merchants can directly send their inventory to the fulfillment center from where it is shipped to their customers.

Most fulfillment centers are integrated with e-commerce marketplaces and platforms like Amazon (which also operate their own fulfillment centers, Shopify, and eBay, making it easier for merchants to manage inventory and delivery products. Continue reading Top 9 Fulfillment Centers in China and Hong Kong 2019

List of Sourcing Companies in Vietnam: Top 7 Agencies

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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 Alibaba.com or Globalsources.com, 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 Alibaba.com 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 List of Sourcing Companies in Vietnam: Top 7 Agencies

Importing from China to Switzerland: A Complete Guide

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Complete Guide-Importing from China to Switzerland

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Need help on importing goods from China to Switzerland? Confused by the fact that Switzerland is in Europe but is not a member of the EU?

Since many regulations are only published in French, German and Italian languages (i.e. Switzerland official languages), sometimes it might be difficult to find specific information about regulations in the English language.

While you can find thousands of documents online and spend nights reading about the topic, we decided to write this guide to save you time and make your life easier.

In this article, we will guide you through the requirements and regulations that you must know before importing products from China to Switzerland. In particular, we will cover the following topics:

  • Switzerland-China Free Trade Agreement
  • Switzerland Product safety regulation
  • Switzerland Labeling Requirements
  • Import Taxes
  • Import licenses and permits
  • Shipping from China to Switzerland

Note: It is impossible to break down every detail in this article. Instead, our goal is to provide an overview and index for you to better understand the general rules when importing goods from China to Switzerland and links to the main regulations that apply in the country.

Switzerland-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

Let’s start with the Free Trade Agreement that was signed between Switzerland and China in 2013. This FTA explains the requirements when importing goods from China.

What is the Free Trade Agreement?

In short, it is an agreement that states the terms of the cooperation among the two countries, in order to reduce trade barriers such as import quotas and tariffs.

Therefore, it’s important for any Switzerland’s importer to know what are the benefits of this agreement.

We outlined the key point of this agreement for you:

Continue reading Importing from China to Switzerland: A Complete Guide

Importing from China to the United States: A Complete Guide

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About to import products from China to the United States? Then keep reading! In this guide, we explain what US-based businesses must know, before buying consumer goods from trading companies and manufacturers in China, and other Asian countries.

This article explains what startups and small businesses must know about US product regulations, labelling requirements, and transportation restrictions.

In addition, we also give you an introduction to customs bonds, customs value calculations, import taxes, and freight costs.

Important update regarding the increased US-China tariffs

As of today, the tariffs on the $200 B goods levied in September 2018, has increased from 10% to 25%. This is also what US President Trump stated when he levied the initial 10% additional tariff on listed products. As trade talks have seemingly stalled, it’s essential for importers worldwide to prepare for what is likely the new normal:

1. All companies importing to the US are affected by the new tariffs, including non-US companies importing as a foreign importer of record

2. The tariffs are not yet expanded to cover most consumer products (e.g. textiles and electronics), although that may come later this year

3. For many product categories, it’s still not an option to simply shift orders to suppliers in other Asian countries – because for most categories there simply are no factories outside of China. Hence, your option is most likely to either pass on the new tariffs so your customers – or not buy products at all.

Is China finished for US importers?

This is the questions on everyone mind today. If you’re buying textiles or furniture, you may want to consider other manufacturing countries at this stage.

However, if you’re importing electronics, watches, fitness equipment – or a range of other products – you’ll quickly find that alternative manufacturers outside of China are either few and far in between, or completely non-existent.

Large companies can, and are, shifting production to other countries, but small businesses cannot afford to set up their own production facilities and must, therefore, rely on existing manufacturing infrastructure to come into place.

For now, many small US importers (and non-US small businesses selling into the US) will either need to absorb the new tariffs or stop importing altogether.

Product Safety Regulations

Importers based in the United States must keep track of two sets of product regulations:

  • Federal regulations (applicable in all US states)
  • State regulations (applicable in certain states only)

Let’s start with the first category, as this is what affects everyone. Below follows an overview of relevant government bodies and regulations, in the United States:

a. CPSIA: This is a framework regulation, which applies to (at least so far) to toys and other children’s products. The definition of a Children’s product is, currently, any product that is marketed as appropriate for children aged 12 or younger. Continue reading Importing from China to the United States: A Complete Guide

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

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Understanding import duties, customs fees, 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 their own customs duty rates and tax calculation methods.

In this article, we explain what every Importer must know about custom & taxes when importing products to the following countries and regions.

US-China Tariffs: How They Hit 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 Tariffs: How They Hit Importers & Amazon Sellers

Plastics Manufacturing in China: A Complete Guide

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plastics granule

Many products made in China, and elsewhere in Asia, include components made of plastics that were melted and formed with the use of a mold or a die. And yet, not many buyers are familiar with that material and the related fabrication processes.

This article, written by Renaud Anjoran, founder of Sofeast in Shenzhen, will help you with the design, development, production, and quality control stages. Don’t rely on your suppliers for all the information about your products. Continue reading Plastics Manufacturing in China: A Complete Guide

List of Product Packaging Manufacturers in Vietnam

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Vietnam packaging factories

As some of our customers have explored alternative suppliers in Vietnam, they also face a situation in which they must also rebuild their network of complementary suppliers and service providers.

Product packaging manufacturers definitely fall into this category.

Luckily, Vietnam already has a relatively sophisticated packaging and print industry, covering a wide range of packaging needs:

  • Shopping bags
  • Watch & jewellery packaging
  • Plastic packaging
  • Food packaging

Continue reading List of Product Packaging Manufacturers in Vietnam