This blog introduces how to import toys from China, find Chinese toys manufacturers, markets for wholesale toys in China, toy certifications, and low cost shipping.
Want to Get the Best Price Toy Manufacturer in China?
When buying China toys in bulk, everything is important. Cost of shipping, quality, delivery date, price and so on. and of course, the toy itself. Is it a hot selling toy? Will you make money with it?
The single most important thing I cannot say enough is this: good toys come and go, what you need is a long term good supplier. Focus on finding a good supplier first. Once that is out of the way, you can focus, together with your supplier, on finding the right toys for you that will make you make money.
The good new and money making toys in China are often kept as a secret. You may not find them by simply looking at toy suppliers’ websites or going to a trade show like Hong Kong Toy fair.
Once you have established a good working relationship with your supplier, he/she will offer you the new hot toys all the time, on an on going basis, and they will also arrange for on time production, quality inspections and shipping arrangement at low prices.
There are thousands suppliers for each type of toys in China. It’s hard to identify who is the real factory, who offer best price or quality.
China Toys Certifications
Your supplier will guide you what certifications you need for importing toys to your country. Help apply for certification or get it for you from the toy factories.
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Your toys supplier or trading company will suggest the best shipping solution among express, sea and air. Shipping cost is always very low, even sending by small quantity.
How to Import Toys from China: Complete Step By Step Guide
This blog will give you a comprehensive introduction of how to import toys from China, including how to select products, how to find suitable suppliers, and some common problems with buying factory direct.
What kind of toy to import from China
Where to find real China toy factories
Two major toy wholesale markets in China
Famous toys fair in China you should know about
How to search toy’s suppliers from China online
Problems may have when import toys from China
What Kind of Toys Will Bring You Business?
So far with my experience, importers from different countries most prefer importing classic toys such as balls, cars, plush animals, because all these classic toys have large and stable demand every year. It’s not necessary to worry about the sale as there is always customers who want them.
Besides, there are usually hot selling toys each year in the world, such as loom bands during 2015-2017, kinetic sand and balancing scooter during 2010-2011, fidget spinner and finger monkey most recently. If you can discover the potential of these products and import them earlier than your competitors, then you will already make much money when other people start to sell. At that time, you can start to find next product.
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Toys made in China have lots of categories, and I divide them in the following form by types and manufacture areas.
Classification of Toys Produced in China
Remote control toys manufactured in Chenghai Shantou area: RC Helicopters, RC Cars, RC Boats, RC Drones,
Die casts & Toy Vehicles, Cars, Trucks, Car Models, Chenghai
Toy Figures, Lego Toys, Animation Figures.
Doll& Stuffed Toys: Toy animals, Puppets, Mascot, Costume Mainly in Yangzhou and Qingdao, but there are also some factoriess in Yiwu, Shenzhen and other cities.
Classic Toys: Yoyo, Balloon, Balls, Kaleidospce produced in Chenghai, Yiwu, and other cities depending on products.
Learning & Education Toys: Toy Musical Instrument Yunhe (Zhejiang Province) for wood made toys.
Outdoor & Playground Toys: Kid’s Slide, Seesaw Yongjia (a small town closse to Wenzhou), the capital of playground toys in China.
Models & Building Toys: Building Blocks, Chenghai, Yiwu
Baby Toys, Baby Rattles, Baby Walker.
Puzzles & DIY Toys: Puzzles, Magic Cube, High quality Puzzles mainly produced in Chenghai. DIY craft toys mainly produced in Yiwu.
Where most China toy factories are located/Where to find real China toy factories;
Travelling in China costs a lot of money, and takes a lot of time. There is NO need to travel to all the toy manufacturing hubs; the cost will destroy you. It is best to focus on the Chenghai, Shantou area factories, where you will find almost any toy available on earth!
1.1 What kinds of toy manufacturers are located in Chenghai
Many toys around the world come from here. The main toy categories include: Novelty toys, plastic toys, electric toys, pretend to play toys, remote control toys, outdoor toys, summer toys and any other kind of toy you can think of!
For instance, if a factory in Chenghai wants to produce a remote controlled car for you, they just need to purchase the main accessories of the toys from the local circuit board factories, wheel factories, and from other toy accessory factories, then assemble them. They don’t have to purchase accessories from outside Chenghai. So, the cost will be greatly reduced, a lot of time will be saved, and the quality will be guaranteed.
How do toy manufacturers in Chenghai work? How to find them?
Most of the factories in Chenghai don’t have their own sales team, and their English level is not very good as well. So, toy factories located in Chenghai usually send their samples to toy trading companies. Trading companies upload all products to their Alibaba pages or personal websites and place orders to these factories when foreigners order. Of course, there are also several large toy trading companies who have their own showrooms which can be thousands of square meters. Customers can visit their showroom, choose products, and place orders.
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Besides, there are also many showroom companies in Chenghai where factories can show their samples by renting display racks (one rack costs $500-$1000 per year). If you are interested in displaying a product there, the companies will offer you the full factory’s contact information. But most of the toy factories don’t have good English-speaking salespeople, so you’d better have a Chinese translator to assist you. If you are planning to visit showrooms and contact factories directly or toys trading companies, this is a good thing to do.
Trading companies and showroom companies located every corner of Chenghai, and you can get their information from the hotel you are staying easily.Yiwu—Where Low-Value and Small Toys Are Mainly Produced
What categories of toys are made in Yiwu
The toy manufacturers in Yiwu mainly produce low-value toys like kids DIY craft toys, which are popular and you can see them everywhere in your countries. The toys include fad toys, loom bands, magic sand, etc. If you just want to find these small items, then Yiwu is the right place.
Just like Chenghai, Yiwu also produces lots of plastic toys. The advantage is that these toys are a lot cheaper in Yiwu, like DIY craft toys which are of low-value. And there are many similar toy accessory factories in Yiwu, which are also the toy accessory suppliers for Chenghai.
Apart from some DIY toys and low-value plastic toys, Yiwu has many Pool Rafts & Inflatable Ride-ons factories, such as the Floating Flamingo, which was on a very high demand a few years ago.
If you want to find Yiwu toy factories, then you can go to the Yiwu Wholesale market directly (I will be talking about Yiwu market in the next chapter). But if you are not familiar with Yiwu, then its better if you find a sourcing agent to help you.
Maybe, you want to ask me if you can find Yiwu suppliers on Alibaba. Of course, you can. There are lots of Yiwu suppliers on Alibaba and you need to identify whether the suppliers are real factories or not. In my experience, if a supplier has a variety of toys, then they are probably not the real factory. Because a real factory just produces a particular product and not a variety of products.
Maybe you’re still confused about the toy markets in Chenghai and Yiwu. Don’t worry, I will give you some practical advices according to your true situation.
In general, regardless of the price, Yiwu gathers the most complete toy categories. You can easily find plush toys, plastic toys, simple electronic toys, etc… at the lowest price in Yiwu market. There are some remote controlled and other high-tech toys suppliers in the market, but the price is not good. Because there are no manufacturers of complicated remote controlled and high-tech toys in Yiwu.
Usually, the price of Yiwu toys is the lowest, but the quality is not as good as you would expect.
Take a plastic toy as an example; the materials, glossiness, and color of the plastic toys produced in Chenghai are much better than those of Yiwu. Of course, the price of Yiwu will be half cheaper than that of Chenghai. To sum up, you need to make a balance between the price and quality according to your real demands.
If you are visiting China personally and your specialization is in plastic or electronic toy business, then you can visit Chenghai. (Check the first part to know how to source suppliers in Chenghai)
If toys are only a part of your business and you want to buy many other products in your container, then Yiwu will be a suitable place. Because it‘s very convenient to buy all your products in Yiwu wholesale market. Even if you buy Chenghai made toys in Yiwu, the price here won’t have a great difference from buying from Chenghai.
Yangzhou/Qingdao—Where Plush and Stuffed Toys Are Mainly Produced
Although you can also find the plush toy manufacturers in Chenghai and Yiwu, the scale is relatively small. And in recent years, these plush and stuffed toy manufacturers have gradually moved to Jiangxi Province in China (Neighboring Zhejiang province) due to the high cost of production.
If you have a large order, I suggest that you go to Yongjia directly. You can take around 1-2 days and visit the factories with a local guide in the area. Generally, some factories of Yongjia and Wenzhou have booths in the Yiwu market, so you can also go to the Yiwu market directly to find the educational toy manufacturers.
Yongjia, Zhejiang Province: China’s Capital of Learning and
Qiaoxia, a small town located in Yongjia City, is the main place where learning and playground toys are produced in China. If you plan to visit China to source suppliers for this kind of toys, you can go to Qiaoxia town as many factories are gathering there. If you are searching suppliers online, it’s better to pay attention to their locations in China, and make sure they are from Wenzhou City, because Yongjia is belong to Wenzhou.
Yunhe, Lishui – Wooden toy city
If you want to find a wooden toy factory in China, you can go to Yunhe, Zhejiang Province. Yunhe is rich in wood, which led to the development of the wooden toy industry. There are many wooden toy factories in this area. Also, there is a wooden toy market in Yunhe, where you can find a supplier.
However, I suggest that you bring a translator or agent to help you follow up on production. Because there are very few foreigners who visit Yunhe and just a few locals can speak English as well.
If you have large purchases, you can find a larger factory there. Yunhe has various large factories that supply many well-known brands abroad. However, if you have a small order, you may be able to buy stocks there and it’s also almost impossible to produce your own customized products. Or else, you can take 1-2 days to find a small factory with the guidance of a local guide.
Two major toy wholesale markets in China
I’d like to introduce you to the two major Chinese toy markets:
The two markets have their own characteristics. You just need to choose one that meets your demands.
- The Toy Wholesale District in Yiwu Wholesale Market
Many toys are produced in Yiwu city and nearby cities. Yiwu Wholesale market has lots of toy suppliers from all over China, including toy suppliers from Chenghai. It’s very convenient to source toys as the wholesale market is just like a large fair. (To know more about the Yiwu wholesale market, please check another blog: 6 Facts of Yiwu Wholesale Market-World’s Biggest Market-Guide 1)
Yiwu market has five districts in total. Most of the China toy factories are based on the first floor of the first district. You can find any toy that you want here. The Yiwu toy market is divided into three parts: ordinary-toy area, electric-toy area, and the plush-toy area. You can look for toy suppliers in different areas depending on the type of toy that you want.
In the Yiwu market, many of the similar products are gathered in the same area. So, you can easily find the same product at various booths, which is very convenient for you when it comes to comparing the price and quality. In the Yiwu market, many toy manufacturers can only speak a few simple English words. They normally discuss the price with you using a calculator.
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Usually, a product has a MOQ (Minimum order quantity) of more than $200. If it’s a relatively high-value toy such as a drone, then the MOQ may be relatively small.
When you ask the suppliers for the price, their offer for 1000 products and 5, 000 products may be the same. This shouldn’t surprise you. Because the suppliers don’t know if you can place an order and what your real and specific needs are. They need to communicate with you in depth and calculate the cost before giving you an accurate quote.
One thing that you have to pay more attention to is that many toy suppliers don’t provide certification. If you don’t have the experience of importing toys from China or with your own freight forwarding, then you will come across many difficulties in the importing process.
So, if you don’t know Yiwu market very well and aren’t familiar with how to import from China, then you’d better find a professional sourcing agent to help you.
Toy Wholesale Markets in Guangzhou
Unlike the Yiwu toy market that gathers many toy suppliers together, toy wholesale markets in Guangzhou are scattered and every market is in a separate small building. So, you will find the toy wholesale markets are scattered in every corner of Guangzhou.
There are several small buildings on Yide Road, Guangzhou. But the classification of toys in these buildings is quite mixed up. The MOQ is also relatively low, but the price is much higher. Usually, customers from Southeast Asia prefer to go there to purchase toys and a few Europeans as well.
There are a few real factories in Guangzhou markets. So, if you want to find a real toy factory, I don’t recommend going there. In addition, suppliers of toy wholesale markets in Guangzhou can’t speak English very well, so you need to find a Chinese translator as your purchasing agent to help you communicate with the suppliers. It’s not easy to find a suitable purchasing agent temporarily in Guangzhou. Hence, I suggest that you look for a professional one online before going to Guangzhou.
In particular, if you mainly want to purchase clothing, bags, watches, jewelry, and just to get a small number of toys, then you can entirely purchase at the toy wholesale market in Guangzhou.
However, if you have a larger order, for example, you want to purchase more than $1000 for each kind of toy, then, I suggest you to go to Chenghai or Yiwu markets. Because the Guangzhou Toy Wholesale Market is only suitable for people who buy toys in small quantities.
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Address: Yiwu International Expo Center
Period: 21st – 25th, Oct. 2018
Address: No. 382, Yuejiang Middle Road, Haizhu District, Guangzhou
Period: 15th, Oct-4th, Nov. 2018
Guangzhou International Toy Fair(广州国际玩具展)
Address: Guangzhou Pazhou Poly World Trade Expo Center
Period: 8th – 10th, Apr. 2018
China Toy Fair(中国/上海玩具展)
Address: Shanghai New International Expo Center
Period: 16th – 18th, Oct. 2018
Beijing International Toys and Preschool Supplies Fair(北京国际玩具及幼教用品展览会)
Address: No.7 Tianchen East Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Period: 11th – 13rd, May. 2019
Hong Kong Toy Fair (mainly for the export market)(香港玩具展)
Address: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Period: 20th-23rd, Oct. 2018
Chenghai International Toys & Gift Fair(澄海国际玩具礼品博览会)
Address: Chenghai Exhibition Center, Shantou City, Guangdong Province
Period: 28th, Apr. 2018
How to Search Toy’s Suppliers from China Online
Do not be deceived by Chinese suppliers online as they all tell you that they are factories, and they can produce whatever kind of toys you like. Actually, most suppliers you can contact on Internet aretrading companies. Because the scale of many Chinese toy factories are usually not big, and most their orders are getting from trading companies. Some of toy factories also have shops on Alibaba, but they seldom get orders from foreigner buyers.
You can also find many big scale and professional toy factories in toy fairs, such as Canton Fair, and Global Sources Fair.
Searching suppliers online is the only way if you are not coming to China, and I suggest you to use Alibaba.com. To learn how to find good suppliers on Alibaba, please check another blog: Tips for Sourcing Good Suppliers on Alibaba: You Never Knew Before.
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Some of you may consider some small wholesale platform such as Aliexpress or DHgate, but Idon’t recommend you to source toys from this kind of platform, which choose international express as the shipping method. Because toy’s value usually is not high, but product’s size is always big, so the shipping cost is very high when use air freight and express, sometimes higher than the product’s price. So the most economical shipping way is by sea freight, and purchase in large quantity, at least 2-3 CBM, otherwise your average shipping cost for each product will be very high.
Problems May Have When Import Toys from China
Toy products are usually used by children, so many countries have strict rules and high requirement for toys. Except for this, toys products still have other problems that make it little more complicated than other products, and here are several main problems you may have when import toys from China.Problem of Compliance and Safety
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Certificate and safety are the biggest one among all problems, and different countries have different required standards for imported toys. Here’s some certification required by US and EU for toy products.
United States: The first three tests of ASTM F963: Mechanical/Physical testing, Flammability testing, and Chemical testing. The another is CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act): lead and phthalates test, and labeling test.
European Union: Toys exported to Europe have to pass Toy Safety Directive (EN 71 -1,2,3) and have a CE mark.
If you are importing large quantity of toys, you’d better do all required tests. But if your quantity is small, then the costs of all these tests are very high. The best way is to ask your suppliers to offer these test reports which they had done before, in order to make sure their products are meet the safety standards. If the suppliers cannot offer you, then you have to change to another who can offer test reports.
Suppliers in China usually won’t do all these tests, most of them do part 1, 2, and 3 of EN 71 test and Phthalates test. When you get the EN 71 test report from them, be careful to check whether it includes EN71 part 3, which is the most important part, it can prove the hazardous substance in products are under required limits. Some suppliers will no test the part 3, because they are afraid that the test may fail.
Besides, there are many companies can do CE test in China, so you also need to check which testing lab the report is from. Famous institution such as SGS, ITS, and TUV will be the best. Some suppliers may offer reports from small Chinese testing lab to save money, but it may not be admitted by imported countries.
- Commodity Inspection Required by China Custom
Toys need to do commodity inspection when exporting to other countries, the cost is $200-$300 for 1 container. If you ship by LCL, and the cost depends on the material and volume of the toy, usually more than $100.
- Problem of Design Infringement
Many factories like to print some famous animation characters in their toy products, some make the shape same as these characters. For example, two same schoolbags, one has minions printed but another doesn’t, then the former one can be sold in higher price than the latter, and people still prefer to buy the former.
If the suppliers didn’t get animation company’s authorization, then all these toys with animation characters can be design infringed. Your products will be examined by both China custom and foreigner custom. Once they find you don’t have the authorization, they will destroy them.
Even if you are lucky enough to escape the custom’s inspection, you will run into the same problems as above when selling these unauthorized toys.
So if you want to import toys with famous animation characters printed, you need to make sure whether your supplier has the authorization. If not, you can change to another supplier, or you have to give up this product in case it may ruin your business.Problem of Shipping Toys from China
Sea shipping is the most economical way for toys, because the weight of toys usually are light, and product size is always big. If you only plan to import less than 3 CBM toys each shipment, then you’d better buy from local market, instead of importing from China directly. Because the average cost for each toy product will be very high, including freight, and commodity inspection.
Top Mistakes To When Buying Wholesale From China
In this blog, I’m going to show you the common mistakes that importers make when buying wholesale from China. This list of mistakes is gathered from our experience in serving more than 3,000 customers, and surprisingly, even the ones with 5-year importing experiences still fall victim to these common mistakes.
We are going to list the mistakes one by one based on the process of buying wholesale from China as the following,
Top 5 tips for choosing products
Best ways to select suppliers
How to avoid mistakes when buying from Alibaba
Top 3 tips when looking for and visiting suppliers in China
Top 5 tips before massive production of your toy begins
Common errors when communicating with Chinese suppliers
Mistakes in paying suppliers
Top 5 tricks when shipping products from China
Common Mistakes when Choosing Products
- Always going after the fad
With perfect timing, there’s no doubt that you can rack up millions from the latest product fads. For instance, the hot item of 2016 through 2017, the widely popular fidget spinner helped two of my customers earn big money because their timing was right.
But as time passed, the decreasing popularity of fidget spinners bewildered these two customers. Now they are faced with the problem of deciding what new products to sell.
To nurture a long-term business, we do not suggest this speculative behavior. The timing for exploiting product fads is critical. Being either a little too early or a little too late makes a huge difference. But identifying the perfect timing is difficult to do for most of you. Therefore, focusing on products that would sustain a long-term business would be the wiser choice.
- Never take your eyes off of the low-value products
There are a few problems with the low-value products that we can see:
Non-substantial profit caused by the shipping cost, though product price is low
Low-value-added potential, meaning any product enhancement will not increase its value. For example, the selling price of a cheap bottle opener will not significantly increase even if you put it in fancy packaging.
Besides, low-value products only seem cheap initially because the international shipping cost has not yet been taken into account. After doing a careful check, if there are already plenty of players in the field, consider stopping and giving a second thought to whether this business is suitable for you.
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Back in 2017, one of my customers once checked out disposable food containers with us and sold them on Amazon. Indeed, it seemed like a good business, especially because the product price from China is just $ 0.75/piece. But there were already too many sellers selling the same product on Amazon. As a result, many of the food containers are still lying in his warehouse until now.
- Thinking that highly consumed products equate to GOOD products
When talking about a good product imported from China, market demand is one of the main factors to be considered. This is definitely true.
Highly consumed products meet the criteria without a doubt. There were customers inquiring about the A4 printing paper. When they started selling some, they found out that it was not as easy to sell as expected.
Selling highly consumed products has had thousands of players sharing the cake. The profit is totally transparent. Moreover, they have been in this segment for a long time, they have already established their own stable sales channels for it. It is utterly a cut-throat competition.
- Choosing large-sized products, thereby paying high shipping costs
For large products, take the dressing mirror as an example, shipping will cost even more than the product itself.
large size product
Aside from that, the probability of the product breaking must also be considered. If the product will be sold through Amazon, there will be an extra charge in terms of storage and handling fee. Same goes if you plan to store it at your own warehouse.
For someone who is just starting out, picking a product with lesser value compared to a higher shipping cost and which takes up bigger storage space, nobody will agree that it is a good choice.
Common Mistakes When Selecting Suppliers
5.Thinking that cooperating with a factory is the best solution
People who import from China prefer to buy direct from China factory. In their opinion, factories would offer more favorable prices than trading companies, thereby enabling them to gain better profits. We can’t say they are wrong, but it is also not right to limit yourself to factories while ignoring your business model and scale.
Especially when sourcing suppliers from Alibaba, it is not easy to identify which are real factories despite all the suppliers claiming to be one. But you don’t have to worry too much about differentiating between factories and trading companies. Instead, making a tradeoff between products, prices, and services are the key aspects that you should consider.
Personally, I believe that all the good suppliers similarly have the following characteristics:
The right balance between quality and price
The expertise of the supplier’s salesman
Efficiency of communication
Responsibility – Attitude towards problems and ways of solving them
Both trading companies and factories have their own advantages. Previously, I wrote two in-depth articles: nothing on Google will tell you the same things except me. You can check to learn more:
Powerful Principles to Find Reliable China Wholesale Suppliers
Types of Chinese Trading Companies. How to Choose The Best
Cheaper prices make importers palpitate with excitement. There always exists the cheapest prices in the market. Not daring to tell you not to choose the cheapest options, but you should at least be aware that the cheapest prices sometimes mean more problems.
Many smaller importers have experienced such situations. Some suppliers will lure you in with cheaper prices. But once you remit the deposit, some suppliers will raise the prices using a variety of excuses. What will you do? Ask for the money back? Impossible.
You will lose a lot of time arguing with such suppliers and only end up feeling tired. If you insist on not paying the extra money, they will adjust the product quality according to the prices. In the end, you will spend more money and energy than necessary.
My suggestion is, don’t take any chances. Seldom will you get good quality products with the cheapest prices in the business? You should choose a reasonable price as plan B. Once you find something unusual, please shift to plan B immediately.
Common Mistakes When Buying from Alibaba
- Trusting “Alibaba gold supplier” too much
Some tutorials, online guides, or some, so-called, experienced importers may teach you to choose a “gold supplier” when sourcing products in Alibaba. They equate “gold” with “great” and think that the supplier would be wonderful.
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In fact, most of the suppliers in Alibaba are gold suppliers. Surprised? “Gold supplier” refers only to a paid membership in Alibaba, which means that anyone can pay to get it. Therefore, “gold supplier” is never the standard of judging the quality of suppliers.
So you have to think about the suppliers from these aspects:
Study the samples from the supplier.
Never avoid any responsibilities once problems arise.
- Trusting trade assurance too much
Many importers simply regard Ali trade assurance as to the third party e-payment (like PayPal). They believe that they could simply ask for the money back if they are not satisfied with the imported goods. Many of my clients once asked me the same questions by email. I will tell you the truth today.
It’s not that easy to get a refund from Alibaba suppliers. Trade assurance is not like PayPal which always protects the buyer’s interest. After all, we are talking about thousands of dollars or even more when placing an order on Alibaba.
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Three powerful pieces of evidence are needed if you request refund due to quality issues:
Sometimes, it’s very hard to define what the problem with quality is, so disputes usually happen between customers and suppliers for weeks and even months. This means that you have to spend both money and time during the whole process of requesting the refund, in which case, you may have missed the best time for selling and all your previous efforts on this order are wasted.
I am not saying that trade assurance is useless for buyers. Instead, what I’m saying is that trade assurance is not 100% safe when choosing suppliers. Buyers should highly consider the supplier’s professional experience, communication efficiency, attitude towards problems, product’s quality, and, of course, the price.
Common Mistakes When Looking for and Visiting Suppliers in China
- There are quite a few importers who won’t do any research about sourcing in China before coming to China.
Many foreigners still have some misunderstandings about China. When they talk about China, they will first think of Shanghai. There are some exhibitions in Shanghai, though, such as the China Beauty Expo (Shanghai), Shanghai International Cosmetics Packaging and Raw Materials Exhibition, etc.
Of course, there are also some local wholesale markets in Shanghai, but they cater to the locals. In other words, foreigners will get a very high price from them.
Often, I receive phone calls from strangers who got my contact details online via my company’s website. “Jing, I am in Shanghai now, but I didn’t find what I was looking for. Can I visit you to get some advice?” I can really understand how helpless these unprepared people are.
Last year, I met a customer, Jannie. She was planning to find a supplier for cosmetic packaging. And guess what? She flew directly to Shanghai and found nothing there. The thing is, she could have gotten the information she needed from Google before coming to China, and find out that the kinds of suppliers that she was looking for are more concentrated in the areas around Guangzhou or Yiwu instead of Shanghai.
- Not sourcing your product at the right place in China
In China, there are many industrial clusters. You may be familiar with the industrial clusters in Guangdong province including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan, Zhongshan, etc.
The industrial clusters in the southeast of China include Zhejiang province – Yiwu, Zhuji, Ningbo; Jiangsu province – Kunshan, Wuxi; Fujian province – Fuzhou, Quanzhou, etc.
Back when I have not yet started my own sourcing company, I met someone in Yiwu who wanted to import a crystal chandelier to the USA. However, a crystal chandelier is hard to find in the Yiwu wholesale market. He complained to me that there are very few crystal chandeliers in Yiwu market.
So I told him that each industry cluster has its own product specialization. For example, the main production area for chandeliers is in Zhongshan. Yiwu is definitely not the right place for that. This means that it would be harder to find a competitive price for chandeliers in Yiwu than in Zhongshan, right?
- Knowing about the Canton Fair but having no idea if the Canton Fair is suitable for you.
When talking about taking part in the exhibition in China, many foreigners will think of the Canton Fair, the largest exhibition (includes a wide variety of products) in China. But the suppliers there will have a higher demand for MOQ or have low MOQ but with an uncompetitive unit price. Moreover, many of the suppliers in the Canton Fair are big trading companies.
If you’re cultivating 1 to 2 products in a niche, Canton Fair is perfect for you. But, if you have lots of different items needed to be purchased (low MOQ), the Canton Fair may not be suitable for you.
For example, if you have a small supermarket chain in your country, you will need a lot of consumer goods. In this case, cooperating with a sourcing company or trading company seems to be the smart choice.
Common mistakes before massive production for your product
- You believe the mass goods will be better than your sample
The sample provided by the supplier is not the one you want. But the supplier promises you that when the mass-produced product comes out, it would definitely be the one you want. “It’s just a small problem with the sample” is the common excuse. Sadly, many experienced importers will still believe in such unreliable words.
You should pay attention if you are in such a situation. A supplier like that is irresponsible: how can a reliable supplier make such a bad sample?
Below are two solutions for your reference:
A. when there is a problem with the sample you should ask the supplier for another sample until you get exactly what you want. If this supplier refuses your request and would just tell you that they will produce it perfectly during mass production, you better change to a new supplier. Keep in mind: a reliable supplier will work well with you from the beginning to the end.
B. you need a QC or a third party inspection agency in China. They can help you in inspecting the goods during production. If the goods don’t match your quality standards, you can ask them to refuse to pay the balance payment unless re-work on the products is done. In this case, the risk of receiving unqualified goods can be greatly reduced.
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13.Consult your supplier about the details of your product certificates/patents
Many importers think that the supplier knows everything. Honestly, many Chinese suppliers don’t know much about product certification/patents. The certificates that are generally required are the Customs Clearance and a test report or certificate needed in the local market where the products will be sold.
So here are the 2 reliable ways to get information about the required certificates:
Consult with your local forwarders about the product permission in customs clearance.
As to certificates related to product sales, you better consult relevant institutions in your country.
Especially when you’re sourcing products on Alibaba, many vendors don’t really have an idea about the relevant certifications. A German customer once sourced bibs on Alibaba before he came to us, and asked us why the certificate from our factory is different from the one he got from his supplier on Alibaba. We found that it was a certification for the USA and not for Europe after we checked.
Sometimes, some suppliers won’t deliberately lie to you, it’s just that they themselves do not have a clear understanding of these certifications. But of course, there are a few actual dishonest suppliers who will offer you a fake certificate created through Photoshop, or send you an invalid one.
Regarding product patents, you should not rely solely on some suppliers’ words. You must verify it on the patent office’s website. Especially when you are intending to sell the product online, such as in Amazon, you will get into trouble if you sell a product with an infringed patent.
Common Mistakes when Communicating with Chinese Wholesale Suppliers
- Relying only on email for communication and having no other instant messaging tools
A delayed response from your Chinese supplier always gives you a headache, especially when there are urgent issues.
It’s generally important to use email for business transactions with Europeans and Americans. The email is more formal and makes it easy to keep evidence in the event of a dispute. But when it comes to more urgent matters, a number of instant messaging tools will be very useful including WeChat, QQ, and Skype.
However, the means of communication is much different in Chinese culture. What I recommend is for you to use WeChat when doing business with Chinese suppliers. It’s the most common communication tool in China that even a child or an old man’s mobile phone has a WeChat application that they use as their daily communication tool. You are more likely to get an immediate response if you send an instant message through WeChat than via email.
Especially when you’re following up the status of your order, checking samples or the production, or in cases when an email is not clear enough, the video and voice functions of WeChat can help you clearly get your message across and even help show you the actual state of your goods, or in which step in production it is currently in.
Unlike in other countries, Skype is certainly not the most popular local communication tool in China. In fact, not every supplier uses Skype.
- Your best time is not their best time
Many importers may think that Chinese suppliers have 24-hour customer service. But they are wrong. Many Chinese salesmen will not check emails after work. Therefore, it’s better to be aware of the time difference between China and your country.
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How to Develop and Manufacture a New Product in China to Gain a Decent Margin?
I want you to know that many suppliers usually work in high efficiency from 10 am to 4 pm. Even though they can still receive updates from you outside this time period, many of them will wait until the next day to reply. In other words, it would be best to contact them within this time period if you have something urgent.
For example, if you are from the Western US, it would be best to contact them from 9 am to 12 pm in your time zone. But of course, you can still choose to contact them early in the morning if you’re awake by then.
Common Mistakes in Paying Suppliers
- Many importers DO NOT check the holiday schedule in China during payment processing.
Generally speaking, it takes one work day to receive the payment from the US to China. Europe is slower, 3-5 days. As the delivery term usually states: production could be arranged after the deposit is received and product details are confirmed.
Now I want to remind you that you should avoid paying on Chinese holidays, such as during China Labor Day. In such situations, the time for the Chinese supplier to receive the payment will be extended by 1-3 days. Therefore, when Chinese holidays are approaching, it’s necessary to make sure that the transfer gets to your Chinese supplier before the festival in order to avoid production delay due to payments not received.
I prepared the following table of Chinese Holidays in 2019. If you want to know future holiday schedules, click here.
- Not familiar with the handling fee and arrival time of the common payment method.
When it comes to payment, the most common way is by T/T. But this is not a cost-saving method for all possible amounts of payment. For example, transferring $100-200 will deduct $30-40 as bank charges.
I have sorted out the details for four common payment methods to China, suitable for small and medium-sized payments, in the following table for your reference. It will help you make quick decisions based on applicable amounts.
Also, it’s very important to prioritize big banks instead of the small local ones. The latter will cause more bank transferring. At this point, I’d like to suggest that you try VEEM.COM, wherein you will only be charged $20 regardless of how much you plan to remit.
Common Mistakes When Shipping Products from China
- Always choosing sea shipment and thinking that it’s the cheapest even for very small volume shipments
To save on expenses in the import business, sea shipping has always been considered as the cheapest way of shipment. However, this is not the case.
Sea carriers charge per container rates for shipping in standard containers (20’ and 40’ being the most common sizes). While weight can factor into the price from sea carriers, the charge they make tends to be based more on the size of a shipment.
If you are shipping less than a container load, your price is often determined by cubic meter. With larger and heavier shipments, it is often much cheaper to ship by sea. As a shipment gets smaller, the margin between the prices gets smaller and sometimes, air shipment will even end up being less expensive.
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- Don’t take a risk for low cargo value declaration
It’s understandable that many importers want to declare a lower value for their goods to avoid customs duties. But don’t declare it too low. If your total declared value is deemed artificially low, the cargo is flagged, goods will be detained directly or the importer may be asked to provide additional evidence of the transaction value.
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Know 7 Types Chinese Trading Companies. How to Choose The Best
Undervaluing the declared value amounts to tax fraud and is a criminal offense, especially for European and American importers. You should pay attention to the fact that there is no chance of being lucky. Even if the event of getting checked by customs is just a probability, once it happens, it will bring you a lot of losses.
- Not avoiding shipping rush
Did your goods’ production finish during the Chinese New Year period? Are there no more available spaces in the loading port, and the sea freight prices have gone up?
TWO peak periods need your HIGH attention: before Christmas and Chinese New Year.
Christmas is the shopping festival. Many importers will choose to store up before Christmas in order to have enough supply for selling. On Chinese New Year, on the other hand, many places may have to take long vacations for 1 to 2 weeks, and many freight prices will rise during the festival period. So try to avoid the peak seasons as much as possible. They don’t only bring with them limited port spaces but also increases in shipment pricing and lower efficiency.
My suggestion is that it’s better to make a plan for staggered shipments during the holiday period. For example, ship 15 days earlier before CNY and 2 months in advance for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.