Why bother with making custom-designed or private label products when you can simply import off-shelf items from one of the many Chinese wholesale websites?
While importing wholesale products is not as straightforward and risk-free as you might think, you should still be aware of the top China wholesale and dropshipping websites in 2020 – and learn how they all differ.
Alibaba is known as the world’s largest B2B supplier directory. While a significant number of wholesalers and trading companies are listed on Alibaba.com – it was not created as a wholesale website.
Since it was launched, and until today, Alibaba.com is primarily a manufacturer directory.
Electronics sold on Taobao.com are made to comply with Chinese regulations – not those in the US.
Toys sold on the Chinese market are made to comply with Chinese toy safety regulations. Not CPSIA or EN 71.
Simply put, you can’t just buy products online and assume that you can sell them at home. It doesn’t work like that.
Yet, many of these ‘Made for China’ products make their way to online wholesale websites, as those listed here.
Many of these websites are B2C focused, and based in China, so they don’t need to comply with, for example, EU textiles labeling requirements.
But if you, as an importer or dropshipper, do the same thing – you are breaking the law.
This means that the might be confiscated by the customs, or that you’ll face a lawsuit.
This is what I recommend you to do:
1. Use Alibaba.com and Globalsources.com to source proper manufacturers, that can produce goods according to your specifications (and the regulations in your country).
2. Use Aliexpress.com and other wholesale platforms for filler products. However, avoid products that are strictly regulated, such as electronics, cosmetics, and children’s products.
3. Make sure that all ‘wholesale products’ you buy are correctly labeled (i.e., Country of Origin mark). Most wholesale products are not labeled according to EU and US regulations, so you must check this before you buy products.
Many think that it’s up to these platforms to comply with overseas regulations. But I disagree. Sellers on Aliexpress.com, and other platforms, cannot be tasked with keeping track of regulations in every single country.
Further, the old ‘generic product’ dropshipping model is coming to an end. There is no money to be made when everyone is selling the same product.
If you want to succeed in 2018 and beyond, you simply have to create your own product. Or, at least, brand an existing design.
Co-founder of Asiaimportal (HK) Limited and based in Hong Kong. He has been quoted in and contributed to Bloomberg, SCMP, Alibaba Insights, Globalsources.com, China Chief Executive, Quartz Magazine and more.
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