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The keys to Import Goods Successfully from China

The current article provides the key benefits of importing goods from China, the key considerations for importing from China, the potential risks attached, and the appropriate risk mitigation strategies.

China is the most popular market among global importers. The wide variety of products available in China at the most competitive rates make it the most preferred destination for importers. The ability of the Chinese suppliers to meet the bulk orders in short notice also gives them a competitive edge over their global peers. The quality of the Chinese manufactured goods has also increased exponentially over time which makes it the most attractive market for importing goods. However, while importing goods from China, the clients need to be cautious of unscrupulous sellers who may spoil the deal for them.

Benefits of Importing from China

There are many benefits of importing goods from China. Some of the most important benefits are as follows:

Competitive Rates

The biggest and the most popular reason for importing goods from China is the cost-effectiveness offered by the Chinese sellers. China is the world renowned for its manufacturing prowess and is the global leader in the manufacturing of cost-effective products. China has state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities and infrastructure which helps to position it as the world leader in the manufacturing sector. In addition to virtually unlimited manufacturing infrastructure, there is an abundant supply of highly skilled manpower in the country at a low cost. These factors combined ensure that the products are manufactured in a cost-effective manner which provides a competitive edge to the sellers from China. This helps the clients have a higher profit margin while importing from Chinese sellers.

Readily Available Stock

As discussed above, China has world-class manufacturing infrastructure which means that they manufacture goods in bulk. Due to this, the Chinese sellers can manufacture and keep goods stocked in large quantities as per the requirements of the clients. This provides leverage to the clients to import bulk quantities of products on short notice. This flexibility allows the clients to be sufficiently stocked for meeting the demand of the products. This also means that they do not suffer any business losses due to the unavailability of the products.

Tips for Importing from China

Importing products from China can offer tremendous benefits to the importers. If they are able to find a good supplier, the vendors can expect to procure high-quality products at the most competitive rates. This can help them to enhance their profitability. They should plan their imports from China properly to have the maximum advantages. Some tips for importing products from China are discussed below:

Understand the Import Rights

Purchasing products from China and getting it shipped to their country effectively makes the purchaser an importer. If the product is meant for personal consumption and is ordered in small quantities then international cargo companies can get it delivered to the recipient at cost-effective rates. However, if the products are being imported for commercial purposes, then the purchaser needs to check if they have the import rights in their country. The purchaser can import the products for commercial use in their countries only if they have the import rights, else they may face issues with the authorities.

Identification of the Goods to be Imported

Before importing the products, the importers should be clear on what they intend to import and why. They should clearly define their import objectives. They may be importing from China to take advantage of the cost-effectiveness which the Chinese sellers offer, or the imported products may not be available in their country. The import should fit with the business strategy of the importers. The importers also need to identify the right product to be imported. Importing an incorrect product lead to significant losses for the importers and also erodes their credibility among the customers. They should also read and collect sufficient information about the product they want to import before placing an order with a Chinse supplier.

Verify if Imported Goods are Allowed in their Country

Once the importers have identified and finalized the goods they want to import, they need to verify if those goods are allowed in their country. Specific goods are prohibited in some countries due to existing regulations and existing laws. They should also check and ensure that the planned import goods are subject to any regulations, permits, and restrictions in their country. Complying with the existing laws and regulations in their countries is in the best interest of the importers. Due to lack of knowledge also if they import goods which are not permitted in their country projects them in bad light and they may face penalties and also potential business losses.

Verify the Classification Code and Duties

It is important to verify the tariff classification number for each specific item that the clients wish to import. Tariff classification code is a 10-digit code which along with the Certificate of Origin are used to assess the import duty which needs to be paid. The importers should carefully determine the total landed cost of their shipment before they place the order.

Select the Ideal Seller

The most crucial aspect of importing from China successfully is selecting a reliable and professional supplier. A supplier should only be selected after subjecting them to a rigorous due diligence process. this will ensure that only the best suppliers end up getting selected. Once the vendor has been selected, the importers can work out the details of the order and how to intend to place the same. They can start with a trial order in small quantities. This will help establish the credentials of the seller and also help the importers to verify if they can meet the supply deadlines or not. Trial orders also help the clients to assess and check the quality of the products supplied by them. While the importers can look for cost-effectiveness but cost should not be the sole criteria for selecting the ideal supplier.

Negotiate the Best Deal and Place Order

After the supplier has been selected, the importers need to proceed with placing the order. Before placing the final order, they need to work out and negotiate the best possible deals for themselves. They should provide clear and detailed specifications of the products to be supplied to the sellers. They should focus on developing long-term and mutually rewarding professional associations with the suppliers which will help both the parties grow.

Always Have Clearly Documented Contracts

It is absolutely essential that the importers and the suppliers enter into a written and well-documented contract. This will clarify their roles and responsibilities and eliminate any ambiguity in the contract. The different aspects of importing the products like payment terms, shipping terms, delivery terms, etc. should be clearly mentioned and agreed to by both the parties. The contract should also clearly specify the payment currency, payment method, and payment milestones. A written contract will help to reduce or minimize any potential conflicts between both the parties which may arise later due to ambiguity in terms of the importing process.

Plan for Effective Shipping of the Products

After placing the order, the mode of transport of the products should be worked out. the importers need to decide if they want to handle the logistics part themselves or plan to outsource it to another party. While importing products from China air and sea cargo is the major mode of shipping. The decision to select the appropriate shipping channel will be based on the urgency of the importer. If they do not need the products urgently and the order has been placed in bulk, then sea cargo is always the preferred mode of shipment as it is cost-effective. The importers need to factor in the potential delays which may happen in their selected shipment mode and place their orders and manage the same accordingly.

Collect the Shipment

Once the shipment arrives, the importers should make the necessary arrangements for the customs to clear their shipment. Once this happens, they can claim their imported shipment.

Barriers from Importing from China

While importing goods from China offers a lot of benefits to the importers worldwide, there are some potential downsides to it also. The importers should take proper due diligence and assessment measures to select a professional seller who will be meeting their product requirements. Some of the potential risks associated with importing goods from China are as follows:

Sub-Standard Goods

One of the most common problems which the importers globally face while importing goods from China is the sub-standard quality of sellers and products. Though not all the sellers are unreliable, there can be few sellers who may provide sub-standard products than what was originally ordered by the vendors. The importers need to be cautious of such sellers and sub-standards products supplied by them. They should do a thorough assessment of the sellers before finalizing their contracts to be safe later.

Greater Lead Time

The lead time for importing goods from China is high. Lead time is the duration which it takes for the order to be placed and the products to reach the vendor. Greater lead time negatively impacts the business of the vendors. If the products arrive late to them and they are not adequately stocked, the customers are likely to move over to other sellers. Generally larger the order, the greater is the lead time for the order to get delivered. The importers should plan their quantity ordered and lead time judiciously for ensuring they do not lose business.

Regulatory Barriers

Though the trade barriers in China have reduced considerably over time which has enabled the smooth flow of goods and services between countries. However, the Chinese economy still remains highly regulated for trade. There are many regulatory barriers and restrictions which hamper free trade between countries in a perfect sense. The importers should carefully study the different regulatory barriers which exist in China and how they can manage the same for importing goods from China.

Difficulties in Importing through E-Commerce

With the technological advancement, the import of goods is increasingly being done over the internet. E-commerce is playing a pivotal role in expanding imports in China to other countries. Doing business over the internet through e-commerce platforms like Alibaba has considerably reduced the problems and made it much convenient for importers. The time is taken for closing the deal and the lead time has been reduced by importing from e-commerce platforms. However, e-commerce platforms in China have some unscrupulous sellers who can cause potential damages to the importers. They also deter the trust of the importers for doing business on e-commerce. It may also lead to huge losses for the importers in case of any fraudulent traps on such e-commerce platforms.

Minimizing Risks

Though there are risks associated with importing goods from China, the importers can have appropriate mitigation strategies in place for overcoming these potential risks. Some of the key mitigation strategies are discussed below:

Thorough Due Diligence

The most effective risk mitigation strategy while dealing with sellers from China is to undertake comprehensive due diligence of them. The importers should have proper mechanisms and processes for the assessment of the capabilities of the sellers. A comprehensive due diligence process helps the importers to assess and understand the sellers and with whom they are doing business. Entering into a professional agreement with a professional seller will enhance the productivity and profitability of the business. A good due diligence process focuses on factors like supplier’s manufacturing and supply capabilities, assessing the quality of the products, monitoring the track record of the supplier, etc.

Trial Shipments

After completing the due diligence process, the importers, if satisfied with the sellers, can place their orders. However, before placing orders in bulk, it is highly recommended to order trial shipments from the sellers. This will help to understand the shipping capabilities of the sellers and their capabilities to meet the supply deadlines. Trial shipments will also provide an understanding of the quality of products being provided by the sellers. This will ensure that the importers do not end up ordering bulk orders and face the unfortunate situation of getting sub-standard products delivered to them. This also helps to build trust between both the parties and foster long-term association between them.

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Hi, I'm Mao Lida, the Founder of I am based in Shanghai, China. How to do business in Shanghai, How to set up your company in China? GWBMA provides one-stop business services for enterprises like registering companies, finding office services, Accounting & Tax, HR outsourcing, VISA & working permit, Marketing, and legal services.

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