Importing from Hong Kong – The Ultimate Guide

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While “Made in Hong Kong” is a thing of the past, this city is still going strong – especially for consumer products and electronics. Hong Kong is home to a huge number of small and big Trading Companies and dealing with them is often a lot easier than their counterparts in Mainland China. That alone is a reason why you should consider making a stopover in Hong Kong on your way to China. Keep reading and I explain why.

Why you should consider purchasing from a Hong Kong supplier

Hong Kong used to be the manufacturing powerhouse in Greater China. Today the city is known for its low taxes and service industry. There are basically no manufacturers left in Hong Kong, but brilliant Trading Companies are plenty in the former British colony. While some importers would consider purchasing from a Trading Company a waste of money, my own experience tells me that it’s often the opposite. Continue reading Importing from Hong Kong – The Ultimate Guide

Payment Fraud in China – How to Avoid Going Bankrupt

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A true story from Qingdao

Afraid of losing (all) your money when you’re importing from China? You should be, and you’re not alone. Paying frauds are one of the most common forms of scam, and they are targeting small to medium sized businesses sourcing products on and other online B2B platforms. In the last few years I’ve seen small importers losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in this type of scam.

The first time I had to handle a payment fraud case was in late 2011. It was late on a Friday evening and I’d barely opened my first beer when I received a desperate phone call from a long term client. She had, without telling us, contacted a suppliers, in Qingdao, selling food supplements. They had previously imported the same product from this supplier and my client experienced no problems whatsoever. This time she wasn’t so lucky. The supplier stated that they did not receive a single dollar from her, something which made my client nervous considering she had transferred around US$ 40,000 two weeks before she called me. Continue reading Payment Fraud in China – How to Avoid Going Bankrupt

Product Certification & Suppliers in China: A Cautionary Tale

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A few months ago I got a phone call from a business owner in Northern Europe. His company had purchased a small volume of jet skis from a Chinese supplier. Upon arrival in the port of destination the cargo was inspected by the customs and they requested the buyer to show proper certification. This should not be much of a problem, if it wasn’t for the fact that this guy had no clue what he was doing.

The importer didn’t even consider certification an issue until he was notified by the customs, and they refused to release the products until the certification papers were presented. The next logic step in this story would be that the supplier stepped in, FedExed some paperwork and saved the day. It was a dead end though, because the supplier was equally clueless. This was in fact the first time they had exported to Europe. Continue reading Product Certification & Suppliers in China: A Cautionary Tale

The Importers Guide to Shanghai – Products and Suppliers

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This is the first article in a series of five where we have a closer look at Chinese cities, and what opportunities they hold for importers. Today we cover Shanghai, Mainland China’s showpiece and financial center.

Suppliers and industries in Shanghai

Unlike most other major Chinese cities, its economy is not based on manufacturing or agriculture but finance, retail, services and real estate. Few suppliers in Shanghai are manufacturers, most are in fact Trading Companies or Representative Offices of Manufacturers in neighboring Zhejiang and Jiangsu Province.

Most of them are purchasing from manufacturers, or operate a factory, in the following cities: Hangzhou, Ningbo, Jinhua, Taizhou or Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province or Changzhou, Nantong, Suzhou, Wuxi, Xuzhou, Yangcheng, Yangzhou or Kunshanin Jiangsu Province.

Some suppliers are still manufacturing within Shanghai Municipality, but exclusively in the outer districts such as Pudong, Fengxian, Jiading, Songjiang or Baoshao Disctrict. Continue reading The Importers Guide to Shanghai – Products and Suppliers

Recommended import from China forums & blogs

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It can be quite hard to find accurate and up to date information on the internet. There are plenty of blogs and e-books but only a few are worth reading if you ask me. Forums are largely underestimated as a reliable source but offer a wealth of free information for startups and small businesses looking to import from China. The best thing is perhaps that you can get lots of free advice from the existing members, of which quite a few are professional sourcing agents based in China.


The Wholesale Forums

I’ve been reading this forum for a couple of years by now and it’s one of the most active forums that covers import/export and China sourcing topics. The content tends to be of a fairly high standard and can pride itself with contributors from plenty of professional sourcing firms, such as Continue reading Recommended import from China forums & blogs

Buying from Aliexpress: A Guide to Safe Imports

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Buying from Aliexpress

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Asia Import Platform: General Products is a transaction-based wholesale platform for importing small volumes from China. It’s a huge resource for innovative and profitable products that cannot be found elsewhere in low quantities. While ordering products from Aliexpress is simple, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risks and increase your chances for long-term success. This article tells you why!

Based in America, Europe or Australia? Read this first!

Many products listed on Aliexpress are manufactured for the Chinese domestic market. These products may be just fine, but most are not compliant with product safety directives in Europe, America and Australia. Importing non-compliant items is illegal, and may result in a forced recall or major fines, in case anyone is injured or damaged.

Notice that it’s always the importer that is responsible for ensuring that imported items are compliant with relevant standards and directives. Chinese suppliers, including those selling on are not responsible.

If you still wish to import items from an Aliexpress supplier, you shall consider a laboratory test before making a larger order. You must also confirm which standard and/or directive is applicable to your product, in your country.

But there is help to get. You can either hire a China sourcing consultant, or purchase our Starter Package – which includes confirmation of applicable product safety directives for your product, and sourcing of compliant suppliers. Click here to read more.

Step 1: Source products and suppliers

Aliexpress is home to small Chinese trading companies and unlike, where you have a lot of verified information on each Gold Supplier, you have very limited information on a Aliexpress supplier profile. This makes the supplier selection harder to define, but Aliexpress ]compensates for this shortcoming with customer feedback. For this reason, the supplier selection shall be based on buyer feedback to a large extent. The positive feedback number is a good start, but you’ll get a more balanced impression of the supplier if you review the negative feedback as well. Continue reading Buying from Aliexpress: A Guide to Safe Imports

What to import from China as a startup?

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This blog has been quick to mention that certain products are harder than others to import from China. In this post I’ll focus on product categories that are a bit more suitable for startups and beginners looking for what to import from China. I begin by explaining what you shouldn’t do.

Avoid OEM / Customized Products

Products that are highly customized requires higher MOQ requirements. This is simply because the supplier has to purchase components and materials from a larger number of subcontractors. Each subcontractor has its own MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) requirements and this can quickly add up to an MOQ that you cannot reach.

Instead of importing an OEM product (custom designed) you can purchase a “standard product” and achieve customization through branding, such as the following: Continue reading What to import from China as a startup?

4 reasons why importers need to write contracts with their Chinese suppliers

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Importing from China and other Asian countries is a risky and complex process. Signing a contract can be the antidote against a wide range of common mistakes and issues when importing from China. This article will give an introduction to why a signed and stamped contract with your supplier can make a huge difference on your bottom line.

Reason 1: Clarity regarding product specifications can prevent disastrous misunderstandings

Misunderstandings between the supplier and the importer regarding materials, design, components, colors and other product specifications are the most common reason why quality issues arise when importing from China. We list a few reasons below:

  • Important product specifications are easily lost in translation when communicating over email or Skype

Continue reading 4 reasons why importers need to write contracts with their Chinese suppliers