The Chinese Way: 8 Important Things To Know About Importing From China

important things to know importing products from China manufacturing Chinese factory goods

The word is out. China has become all the buzz in eCommerce and retail for production. In 2011 China overtook the United States to become the world's largest producer of manufactured goods and hasn't looked back. 

But why is everyone going there? Can you save money and get a better product overseas? We answer that question in this post. 

Keep reading to learn the eight things you need to know about importing from China and how it can help your business. 

1. Why Import From China? 

China offers an affordable way for companies to enter the market. With manufacturing costs on the rise, even large companies are turning to China for production to reduce costs. 

To manufacture in the United States, you run into a wage problem. There is a higher standard of living so your employees will expect a higher salary. That standard isn't as high as in China, so you can use fast and efficient factories to produce your product. 

To see the history of China imports read this article by Simplify for more insight. 

2. Look Into Factory Reputation 

How often do you buy from an unknown store that doesn't have much business? The same concept applies here. Make sure you get references for any factories that you consider doing business with. 

Many factories are members of Jack Ma's Alibaba marketplace. From here you can look at feedback from other members to gauge the trustworthiness of the business. 

Alibaba also provides its own verified status, so you aren't talking with an unknown entity that hasn't been checked out. 

3. Ask For Samples 

Everything may seem to be going well, but manufacturing isn't a simple process. Communication barriers can cause problems and lead to misunderstood instructions. 

Before you commit to a big order make sure your manufacturer sends you samples of the final product. This oversight allows you to inspect the quality of the product before sending in a big order. 

4. Know Your Rules And Regulations 

Not every product is the same. They each have their own rules and regulations. When you buy from China, your manufacturer may not follow the regulations for your country. You will need to investigate the product to make sure everything is up to code. Some product categories have more oversight and regulation than others. Keep the following categories in mind: 

• Toys 
• Food 
• Vehicles 
• Electronics 
• Lighting 
• Textiles 
• Furniture 
• Chemicals 
• Cosmetics 

Not complying with the rules in your region is a serious matter. You can find this information out on your local and regional government websites. 

5. Put Everything on Paper 

Have you ever been in the "he said, she said" situation? It's not fun, and you don't want to be there in a business deal. 

Once you pick your manufacturer, make a contract that details what each party is responsible for in the process. Don't leave any aspect out. 

If you have a unique product design make sure you protect it and every detail of it is on paper. Don't leave any room for interpretation. Every person in the process should be able to look at the design and know what every piece means. 

Hire a good business lawyer to get everything laid out for everyone to agree to. 

6. Find The Right Shipping Method 

Finding a supplier is only part of the battle. You have to get your product here after that. There are three ways to ship products from China. 

Express 

Express companies take charge of the whole shipping process. These companies include UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Businesses use express shipping for orders that are smaller in size. You don't need to worry about customs or any import problems. It is a reasonable choice for starting orders and is a good value for the money. 

Air Freight 

Like express shipping, air freight ships through the air. But, you will be responsible for the import and customs procedures. You will need to do the work to find import and export brokers to get everything shipped. Because of the cost, it isn't typically advised to use air freight for orders under 1,000 pounds. Most businesses are better off using express shipping in this case. 

Sea Freight 

Like air freight, sea freight requires you to handle the import and export process yourself. But, unlike air freight, sea freight has the lowest cost of the three. This shipping method does come with one drawback. You will be waiting 25-40 days before you receive your goods. 

7. Product Label Requirements 

There are several different labeling requirements for product imports. 

Country of origin requirements is one of the critical labels. This label should be visible and readable on your product. 

There are a few exceptions to this rule. These exceptions include items not for resale, hard to label, produced 20 years before importing, and items that are ruined if marked. If your product is not made entirely in China, then this label should still be applied. Only in cases where the product has changed drastically after leaving can this label be avoided. For products that are made in China but assembled elsewhere the label should still be applied. You should distinguish between these labels in your packaging to establish the product origin. 

8. Work Around The Chinese New Year 

You've got everything nailed down. Your product is selling, and you need to order more. Unfortunately, the factory is shut down for the next month for the Chinese New Year and can't fill your reorder. 

Many businesses lose money when they don't research the Chinese production schedule. Some factories close for a week while others will shut down for an entire month. Speak with your supplier, so you have the details and plan around it. 

Start Importing From China Today 

It's time to get started. You now have what you need to know to begin importing from China to get your business up and running. Do your research, and you will be on your way to launching. 

Or are you still in the design phase? In that case, check out our guide on the most cost-effective way to get your product designed.

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