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Import from China Mini-Course - Part 5 - Section 6

"China Fever - Don't Get Left Behind"

Here is my quick roundup of all my previous advicevin this mini-course:

Part One:

  1. China is now open for business and you can't afford to get left behind.
  2. There are now more and more English speakers in China, and the universal spread of the internet through China and Chinese businesses means it's not that difficult to start your importing business, even if you have no connections or previous knowledge of China.
  3. Your competitors are already importing from China, and it is the only way to buy cheap enough to establish competitive prices and good profit margins.
  4. Don't try to copy the product lines of the big chain stores. Search for Chinese sources of products which aren't easily obtainable in your country. Even in mainstream product categories there are hundreds more models available from China factories which will be unique products back home.
  5. You should research the possibilities for importing from China online. You should be planning a long-term China import strategy.

Part Two:

  1. Visiting China will put you at a huge advantage when you start importing.
  2. Search online for trade fairs in China which are relevant to your product area. You will find some shows! And attending the trade fairs is an excellent investment of time and money.
  3. Deal with factories if you are ordering in large quantities, and deal with wholesalers / distributors if you need medium or small quantities.
  4. Play it safe and don't blindly send money to people you don't know. But Chinese companies won't be trying to cheat you. You just need to set up each deal with clear expectations.
  5. Focus on building contacts in China for long-term business opportunities. Products and suppliers may appear out of nowhere if you have the right connections, and these are sources your competitors won't have access to.

Part Three:

  1. Don't expect - or demand - instant results when you start out importing from China. You need to build relationships with your future suppliers.
  2. Work for harmonious communications, and have patience if your contact person's English isn't perfect.
  3. Don't blast Chinese suppliers with long, detailed questions in your first emails to them. Make sure your emails are easy to answer and establish a friendly and professional feeling. Don't expect first-class customer service if you are a new customer... this will come when you prove over time to the Chinese side that the cooperation has value!
  4. Do your research, go slow when building up lists of suppliers, and start with small orders to allow both sides to test each other out.
  5. Understand Chinese culture: communicate in a harmonious way.

Part Four:

  • Make sure you know about the different stages involved in shipping products from China as it could produce unexpected costs and delays. Understanding incoterms helps you clarify price quotes you get from suppliers.
    Also you need to think about goods packaging and insurance before you make big orders.
  • Import tax is practically unavoidable and you need to do your research in your home country before importing from China.
  • Get information about import tax and customs regulations directly from the government source.
  • Under-declaring goods value for customs is a common way of avoiding tax but is actually not permitted. If you do so the risk and responsibility is with you, the importer.
  • The best way to find out about import taxes is to keep track of the actual taxes on your import orders.

(Don't forget to read my recommended internet research resources, linked at the bottom of this summary page, and the last page of each of the previous parts of the mini-course.)

Looking Ahead To The Future Of China Importing

These are my predictions about importing from China in the coming 10 years:

  1. The power of the internet in letting small businesses access China suppliers has only just begun to be tapped.
  2. The online business-to-business internet portals will grow and grow in importance. But Chinese companies will also learn how to market themselves directly online, without having to rely totally on big directories.
  3. Import taxes are going to get higher, regulations and certification more complex, and quotas more restrictive. There is no need to go into the reasons - this prediction is inevitably true!
  4. The RMB (Chinese Yuan / CNY) is going to get a lot stronger and this will make Chinese products steadily more expensive than they are now. Strike while the iron is hot!
  5. a) Chinese companies will soon start to use improved logistics systems to sell online directly from China to overseas end consumers.
    b) More and more well-established western businesses will start dealing effectively with China and improve their logistics too.
    c) Most of the juicy profitable product niches will soon be cornered by large business players and minor Ebay-type sellers will be mostly pushed out.

    Together those three factors (5a), (5b), and (5c) mean that importing from China is getting easier, but much more competitive, so you need to start your import business now so you aren't lagging behind in experience, market share, and Chinese business networks.

A Final Word From Rose Li

Well done for reading all of my Import From China Mini-Course.

I hope that, whatever your business and level of experience, you got something out of it!

It can be bewildering to start dealing with Chinese people and try to build a profitable import business. But China is such a complex and rapidly changing country that no one can really call themselves an expert.

Everyone, even in China, always has a lot to learn.

I would encourage you to get into China importing as soon as you can and not get left too far behind! Now you've finished reading this mini-course I am sure you have more questions for me, which you can submit to me and my team here. I will do my best to cover the most important and frequently asked topics in the free Chinavasion Import From China Newsletter, which you are probably already subscribed to if you're reading this!

Your Mini-Course Part 5 Research Resources

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