Paying Chinese Suppliers Using Western Union: A Complete Guide

western union payments

Even to this day, we keep receiving reports from importers getting scammed by anonymous traders in China. In many cases, they have one thing in common – the buyer sends money using Western Union.

While Western Union as a company is legit, it was never intended as a platform for paying Chinese suppliers.

In this article, I explain why and how scammers exploit Western Union to defraud importers, and which payment methods you should use instead.

What’s the benefit of using Western Union?

Western Union operates a global payment network that enables individuals to transfer money from one place to another, in a matter of hours. While payment services like PayPal and TransferWise offer fast payments today, that was not the case until only a few years ago.

At a time when telegraphic transfers, normally taking 4 to 5 days to arrive, was the only option, Western Union was the go-to place for fast payments.

While they may not be the only option for fast payments these days, they still have a strong position across the globe. Especially when you need to send emergency funds to a friend or family member that lost their credit card or passport in a foreign country.

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Manufacturing Steel Parts in China: CNC, Die Casting & Steel Grades

Steel Parts

Manufacturing steel parts in China requires a thorough understanding of steel grades, production options (e.g. Die Casting and CNC), and material analysis options to ensure that you’re getting what you’re paying for.

In this article, Renaud Anjoran of Sofeast Limited in Shenzhen, explains what every importer must know about importing steel parts and products from China.

This is covered

  • When to use CNC machining
  • When to use die casting
  • CNC and Die Casting cost calculations
  • Chinese Steel Grades (and their international equivalents)
  • Importing steel from other countries (for China manufacturing projects)
  • Material analysis
  • On-site inspection of steel parts

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[New] Starter Package: Upload & Share Files With Suppliers

We have added a function to the Starter Package Dashboard that enables our users to upload files and share them directly with team members and suppliers. For example, you and upload, store and share:

1. Product specification files

2. Product images

3. Design drawings

4. Logo files and packaging files

5. Contracts

6. Quotations

7. Test reports, certificates and quality check reports

8. Shipping documents

This is available as of now for all Starter Package users. Continue Reading →

Import Duties in Australia When Buying From Asia: An Essential Guide

Australia import duties

Understanding the Australian import duty and tariff system, with many its exemptions and country of origin classes, can be rather complicated. In this article, we explain what Australian importers must know about import duty rates, HS codes, and tariffs:

  • Country of origin classifications
  • How to confirm the applicable HS code and duty rate for your product
  • Chapters and sections
  • How to (legally) reduce the import duty rate
  • When to pay import duties
  • How to calculate the customs value and import duty
  • Other import taxes in Australia

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List of Shipping Companies in Vietnam: Top 7 Forwarders

Vietnam forwarders

Exploring your options to shift production from China to Vietnam? You might find that your existing freight forwarder network doesn’t even operate in the latter. To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of shipping companies based in Vietnam. In addition, we also cover the following:

  • What should I look for when selecting a freight forwarder?
  • How do I get the cheapest freight rate from Vietnam?
  • I need to ship materials and components from China to Vietnam. How do I arrange that?

What should I look for when selecting a freight forwarder?

You don’t necessarily need to work with a forwarder that is headquartered in Vietnam, to import goods from the country. That said, far from all freight forwarders operate in Vietnam, which is, therefore, the primary selection criteria.

Keep in mind that most forwarders covering Vietnam don’t have their own offices or warehouses there, but work closely with local agencies. There’s nothing odd with this setup. It’s simply the way the logistics industry works. Once you’ve worked out whether your forwarder can manage shipments from Vietnam, I suggest you ask them the following questions:

  • Which ports in Vietnam are covered in your network?
  • Do they have their own offices in Vietnam, or do they work with third parties?
  • Do they offer land transport between Vietnam and China?
  • Do they offer domestic land transportation?
  • Do you handle both sea and air freight?
  • Do you offer LCL shipping?

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Top 8 Sourcing Companies and Agents in China

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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 →

ASTM Standards When Manufacturing in Asia: By Maegan Burkhart

ASTM standards

ASTM standards reflect industry-standard best practices in the United States and internationally, covering both product quality and safety. While most ASTM standards are voluntary, some are referenced by mandatory product regulations – including CPSIA.

In this article, Maegan Burkhart of InTouch Quality in Shenzhen, explains what every importer must know about ASTM standards:

  • Which product categories are covered by ASTM standards?
  • How do I know which ASTM standard apply to my product?
  • How do I know if an ASTM standard is mandatory or voluntary?
  • How to design a product according to an ASTM standard
  • How to verify if a product is compliant with a certain ASTM standard

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List of Sourcing Companies in the United Kingdom: Top 7 Agencies

UK sourcing agencies

Importing custom designed products from Asia doesn’t always require that you look overseas. In some cases, you can find the best partner closer to home. In this article, we list some of the UK’s leading Asia sourcing and product development companies.

What are the benefits of working with a UK based sourcing company?

If you’re looking to import goods from, for example, China, it’s natural to assume a Chinese sourcing agency know more about their own country – compared to one based outside. While that may be true to some extent, importing products from Asia involves a lot more than finding the right supplier.

In reality, most sourcing companies know little about UK safety standards, product labeling, VAT and customs procedures, which can have severe consequences for you as an importer.

A sourcing agency based in the UK, on the other hand, is far more likely to understand these requirements. Besides, sourcing agencies headquartered in the UK always have subsidiaries or other forms of representation in Asia. Continue Reading →

List of Sourcing Companies in Australia: Top 6 Agencies

australian sourcing companies

Sometimes it actually makes sense start looking for a sourcing agency closer to home, rather than trying to find the right partner in China, Vietnam or India. In this article, we list some of Australia’s leading sourcing companies.

You will also learn how you can benefit from working with a local sourcing company, rather than one that’s based overseas.

What are the benefits of working with an Australian sourcing company?

Most Importers may assume that a company that’s located in the manufacturing country is always superior to one that’s headquartered at home. That said, the opposite is more often the case.

While a sourcing company based in China or Vietnam can disappear with your product designs and supplier network by tomorrow, an Australian agency is far easier to hold accountable when something goes wrong.

Further, sourcing companies based in Australia, or those based in Asia but with Australian ownership, tend to have a better understanding of the following:

Further, all Australian sourcing companies have representation in Asia, be it through partners or a directly owned subsidiary or representative office. Continue Reading →

Chinese New Year 2019: How Importers Can Prevent Disaster

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The Chinese New Year (CNY) of 2019 starts on Tuesday, February 5th, and lasts officially for 7 days. 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 2019. 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 2019. Continue Reading →

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