Importing items from China can be an affordable way to acquire materials for use in manufacturing or products for sale. However, when importing items on your own there are a number of things you will have to consider. This may range from establishing and managing long-distance relationships, organising shipping and navigating the regulatory channels of Customs.
If you are considering importing from China, then our top eight tips should help you get started.
- Determine your import goals
You should be very clear about what you are trying to achieve, prior to importing from China. China might be a source of cheaper goods, but importing from China should fit in with your overall business strategy.
- Finding the right suppliers
Identifying the right supplier involves finding suppliers that are legitimate, reliable and able to meet your quality standards. Once suppliers are selected you must undertake extensive due diligence.
You may want to do this yourself, but we advise that you hire a reputable professional sourcing agency with experience and knowledge in China sourcing and most likely located in China to handle this part of the process on your behalf.
On selecting the preferred supplier(s) to manufacture your product you must submit detailed product specifications. This will help to minimise any price changes and will help when negotiating the terms and conditions of trade between both parties.
This step in the importing process is critical to your success and we encourage you to read our article on Finding the Right Suppliers.
After finding the right supplier, you need to obtain product samples from the supplier. Sometimes product samples are free but often times it can be costly depending on the complexity of your product and how customised your design is.
- Once you have obtained the product samples and it matches your specifications and requirements, you can proceed to issue a purchase order (PO).
A PO stands as a contract between you and the supplier and details the product specifications and the terms and conditions of your transaction. On receipt of your PO the supplier will begin production of your product.
- Quality control
Quality control should commence during the production stage of the import process. A Quality Inspector should visit the factory and make sure that the quality of the products produced is based on your product specifications. How often you require the inspections during the production process is up to you but an inspection should be carried out at least one time especially if the production run is considerably large.
Quality control ensures that the products you import from China will meet the quality standards you specified at the beginning of the process. To learn more about quality control read our FREE Product Quality Inspections in China article.
Choosing which method of transportation you are going to use to import your product is a very important step. Decide whether you will handle logistics yourself or outsource this function to a freight forwarder.
When importing from China your main shipping options are air and sea. When purchasing large quantities with a modest delivery date, sea freight may be more suitable. However, if you require your items quickly, shipping by air might be more appropriate. Besides the length of the delivery time between these two options, the shipping cost should also be factor in your decision.
- Import Licence
You may need an import licence to import goods from China to your home-country. There are import controls on a wide array of goods including food, clothing, raw materials and more. Obtain information from your local customs division on the requirements for importing your products. Hire a custom brokerage firm if you do not have the time or require help in this area. The firm will manage the entire customs clearance process and possibly deliver your goods to your door.
- Taxes and duties on imports
As a trader it is important for you to know whether you pay import VAT and duty on your goods before they can be cleared for entry into your home-country. Imports maybe liable to import duty, depending on the classification of the goods and where they come from. VAT is normally charged on goods imported outside of your home-country at the same or at a different rate as if you bought the goods locally.
In conclusion, these tips are considered key steps in the importing process. However, successful importing from China involves planning especially in light of Chinese holidays with the case of Chinese New Year being the largest celebration on the calendar. Manufacturing in China is halted for a few weeks. As an importer you need to be aware of these holidays and plan for them in advance. Many times delays are inevitable, so planning for your China imports is critical to your success.
Should you require any direct purchasing / import assistance please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (868) 271 3438.