Tag Archives: general

How to Start a US Company to Import & Sell on Amazon.com

John Gordon

It’s increasingly common that ecommerce companies in Europe and the Asia Pacific not only want to sell cross border to the US – but also sell within the country.

By incorporating in the United States, you can import and locally distribute products, for example via an Amazon fulfillment center (FBA) – even if you are based overseas.

In this article, John Gordon, founder of USA Corporate Services, explains what foreign ecommerce companies must know about the following:

  • LLC or Inc?
  • EIN Numbers
  • Incorporation fees
  • Required documentation
  • How to open a business bank account
  • Yearly maintenance costs
  • US taxes (and penalties) for non-resident foreigners

John, please introduce yourself and USA Corporate Services Inc

I’m John Gordon. I started the business now known as USA Corporate Services two years after graduating college. I was working in a low-paid job for a boss I didn’t get along with, and didn’t want to work for another boss ever again.

That was 35 years ago, and although it took several years to really get going, it’s a pleasure to still be here.

Twelve years ago I signed up for the Global Executive MBA program at Columbia Business School and London Business School. This was a very eye-opening experience that taught me more ways to give value to our customers.

Since that time, we have leveraged our knowledge and experience to focus on helping foreign firms and entrepreneurs set up businesses in the US. Continue Reading →

How to Make a Telegraphic Transfer (T/T) to a Chinese Supplier

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Telegraphic Transfer (T/T), which commonly called ‘Wire transfer’ is still the most common payment method, when transferring money internationally.

Yet, making Telegraphic Transfer payments is not without risk. In fact, the risks involved are far bigger than most importers might think.

In this article, we explain why a slight misspelling could result in tens of thousands of dollars being withheld by the receiving bank – and why you should never pay privately held bank accounts.

Keep reading, and learn how you can avoid payment delays, scams, and other Telegraphic Transfer related issues.

1. Get the beneficiary name, address and other account details right

When writing money to your supplier’s bank account, you need to make sure that all beneficiary and bank details are correctly, and fully filled in.

If, for example, the beneficiary name is not correctly typed in, the money will be withheld by the Chinese bank – and finally returned back to you.

This is indeed a good security measure, but this will cost you at least 2 to 3 weeks. In addition, you don’t get the bank transaction charges from neither your bank or the suppliers. But, that quite irrelevant, in comparison to what a month long delay could cost your business.

So, why is this even an issue to begin with? Continue Reading →

Patent Search When Importing Products from Asia: By John Goodhue

john goodhue patent lawyer

Picture that you’ve found an interesting product on Alibaba.com, or at the Canton Fair – only to find out the hard way that the product is actually infringing on an existing patent.

Given the potential consequences, you got to be sure before you order your next ODM product. However, it’s often hard to assess if a products design or function is protected by a patent, and to what extent.

Thus, we decided to ask an expert – John Goodhue, patent attorney at Goodhue, Coleman & Owens, P.C.

John, please introduce yourself and Goodhue, Coleman & Owens, P.C.

My name is John Goodhue, I am a patent attorney at Goodhue, Coleman & Owens, P.C. (“GCO”) in Clive, Iowa USA. GCO is an intellectual property boutique law firm helping clients protect their innovations and providing legal counsel to help avoid infringing the rights of others.

I also have purchased the Chinaimportal Starter Package myself and believe it has a wealth of information.

I also want to make clear that although I am providing valuable legal information, this should not be construed as legal advice.

Legal advice should only be provided to you by an appropriate attorney in the relevant jurisdiction after being apprised of the specific facts of your situation. Continue Reading →

Shipping Costs When Importing from China: 7 Key Facts

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What makes the topic of shipping and logistics complicated is not really the process itself, which is the case with most other procedures importers need to deal with when importing from China. It’s the shipping costs.

Moving cargo from Country A, to Country B, involves a myriad of companies and government authorities, on both sides. For small to medium sized enterprises, especially those without previous experience, there are plenty of pitfalls.

In this article, we explain what you must know about the main shipping costs that arise from the factory floor in China, to final delivery in your warehouse.

This article refers repeatedly to Incoterms. If you wish to fresh up your memory, first read our guide on Incoterms when shipping from China


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Local Transportation (Factory to Port of Loading)

When production is completed, and the batch is approved by the buyer, the supplier shall arrange for transportation from its warehouse to the nearest Port of Loading.

The shipping cost for transporting an FCL 20’’ container range between a few hundred, up to around RMB 3,000 (Around $480), depending on the distance.

As most export oriented manufacturers are still based around the coast, and thanks to China’s infrastructure, a port is rarely more than a three to four hour drive away. Continue Reading →

Freelance Sourcing Agents in China: A Complete Guide

Sourcing freelancer woman

Tired of endless Skype conversations with pig headed suppliers at 4AM in the morning? You’re not alone. Luckily, someone else can manage the more tiresome parts of your Ecommerce business for you – leaving you with more time to spend on making money.

In this article, you will learn how a sourcing freelancer can free up hours from daily schedule – for a price that anyone can afford. That said, things will go wrong, if you don’t manage your sourcing freelancer the right way.

What can a freelance sourcing agent do for my business?

A sourcing freelancer can act as your extended hand in China. They can do background checks on suppliers, gather quotations and other time consuming tasks that you rather leave to someone else.

They can also break down language barriers, and deal with suppliers in their own time zone.

Managed the right way, a sourcing freelancer can help you save countless hours on a weekly basis, for a fairly low cost.

However, sourcing freelancers are ‘everything experts’ that can help you with everything from product safety, to NDAs or patents. Yet, that is exactly what many Importers assume. Continue Reading →

Air Freight When Importing from China: A Complete Guide

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Air freight can bring your cargo from a factory floor in China, to your warehouse, in a matter of days. However, Air freight is not a viable option for all sorts of cargo.

In this article, you will learn more about Air shipping costs, customs procedures, cargo restrictions and insurance options when importing from China.


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air cargo loading

1. Air freight is the fastest mode of transportation

Air freight is superior to Sea freight in many ways. However, the primary reason to get your cargo delivered by air, is shorter delivery time.

While Sea freight can take a month from port to port (that depends of course on the destination), with a few more days spent on administration and wire transfers – Air freight can get your product from the factory floor, to your office, in only 5 days.

The specific delivery time depends, as there are various classes of Air freight, such as express and economy. Regardless, you will save plenty of time.

An interesting fact is that only 5% of the world’s international transportation, in terms of cargo volume, is delivered by air. However, if we instead look at the total value, that figures jump up to 30% of the world’s total. Continue Reading →

Interpreter Services Providers & Freelancers in China: A Complete Guide

chinese Interpreter

An interpreter can be an indispensable partner while visiting manufacturers in China, if managed the right way. Managed the wrong way, they might communicate incorrect and conflicting information about your expected order terms, and product specifications – something that can result in disastrous quality issues further down the line.

In this article, you will learn how to prepare your interpreter, whether you should work with a freelancer or agency, and how much you should expect to pay.

What can Interpretation Service providers offer?

The role of an interpreter is to provide oral translation between two parties, for example during a negotiation. Translators, on the other hand, only deal with texts.

Importers often make use of Interpreters as representatives and assistants during factory visits and negotiations.

While most export focused factories have English speaking staff, an experienced interpreter can help buyer’s get their points across to the (often non-English speaking) factory boss, negotiate prices and prevent misunderstandings.

In addition, interpreters also tend to help their customers with booking hotels, trains and other transportation between factories – something that can be hard if you don’t speak a word of Mandarin Chinese.

As such, interpreters often work as all round assistants for people coming to China. Continue Reading →

Buying Product Samples from China: A Complete Guide

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Ordering Product Samples from a supplier is a key part of the import process. However, there are various types of samples, that each has a unique function.

In this article, we explain everything you must know about buying product samples from China: Including factory samples, pre-production samples and batch samples.

We also answer many of the most common questions we receive, related to sample development, including how you can protect your Intellectual Property, shipping methods and how much you should expect to pay for samples.

Types of Product Samples

product samples

a. Factory Sample

A Factory sample is a ‘ready made’ product sample that is not manufactured according to the buyer’s design or customized specifications.

It serves as the most basic form of ‘evidence’ of the manufacturer’s production capability.

Commonly, factory samples are purchased as part of the vetting process, as they can be obtained from a large number of suppliers rather quickly.

However, a factory sample doesn’t demonstrate a supplier’s ability to manufacture a customized product. As such, the factory samples serve as a first introduction, rather than a signal for final selection of a supplier.

In addition, factory samples can be divided into two main categories:

  • Material samples (i.e., fabric samples)
  • Standardized products (i.e., Machine parts)
  • Previous Batch Samples (i.e., Products manufactured on behalf of other buyers)

Continue Reading →

Alibaba OneTouch: 4 Ways Importers Can Benefit

OneTouch Platform

The OneTouch platform is an Alibaba owned platform, helping Chinese manufacturers and trading companies streamlining the exporting process. From their Alibaba account, suppliers can access order financing, manage logistics and export procedures.

In return, Alibaba got access to a wealth of trade information, offering direct benefits to Importers in other countries.

Keep reading, and learn how the Alibaba OneTouch helps both suppliers and their customers around the world.

This is covered

  • What is Alibaba OneTouch?
  • How does OneTouch help manufacturers?
  • How can OneTouch help me as an Importer?
  • What is the difference between Trade Assurance and OneTouch?

What is Alibaba OneTouch?

OneTouch is an Alibaba owned platform, mainly focused on helping Chinese suppliers streamlining the exporting process.

From a supplier perspective, the exporting process can be fairly complicated, as it involves:

  • Order financing
  • Export tax refund (months later)
  • Booking shipments to customers around the world
  • Export licenses
  • Export customs clearance
  • Customs inspections

Order financing and the overall bureaucracy have been more of an issue for Chinese exporters, compared to those in more developed countries.

Unsurprisingly, Alibaba is taking the lead and bridge the gap using technology.

Apart from the obvious benefit the OneTouch platforms offer Alibaba Gold Suppliers, there’s something even bigger.

The OneTouch platform helps suppliers transition from old fashioned export receipts and company seals – to an all-in-one digital export dashboard. This in turn gives Alibaba.com access to Chinese export data, in a way that has never been done before.

For example, Alibaba is already using the OneTouch platform to set Trade Assurance limits. Continue Reading →

Buying from Wholesalers in China: 5 Things Importers Must Know

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Buying customized goods from manufacturers can be a hassle. It takes months to even get a sample, and you need to buy hundreds of units per product design, or even color.

Long lead times and high MOQs are a major barrier of entry for cash strapped startups, looking to import from China.

So why not just skip the factory and go to a Wholesaler instead? For starters, there no MOQ to worry about. Pick and mix whatever products you want. And you don’t even need to wait for six months to see them.

It sounds fantastic.

But things are not always what they seem. In fact, buying Wholesale goods from China may not even be an option for your business. If you are based in the US or Europe – you can be quite sure that it’s not.

Keep reading, and learn whether or not ‘buying Wholesale from China’ is on the table for your business.

1. Looking for a Wholesaler? Go to Yiwu.

Wholesalers can be found all over China. However, if you are looking for one geared towards export markets, there is only one place to go – Yiwu.

Yiwu is an old trading city, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. The city is home to thousands of big and small trading companies and wholesalers.

As it is established as a cluster for export oriented wholesalers, you will find that the ‘infrastructure’ is far more developed, when it comes to finding local agents, quality control companies and export agencies – all of which are needed to buy, inspect and ship products from the wholesaler, to your warehouse.

But, if you keep reading, you will find out why ‘buying wholesale’ may not even be on the table. Continue Reading →

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