While many support with a fervor that importing from China is easier than ever, there are many measures to take into consideration before moving on to logistics.
Choose the right product to import. Do not think only of the price, but of various factors, including the consistency of your profit:
Opt for a product you love. Passion will keep motivation high, which will become contagious and involve other people.
Think about the costs of sending. Products that can be sent in large quantities are often much cheaper. Carefully consider the size of the item and how many units enter a load.
Estimate the uniqueness of the product: if it is a mass good, you will have less chance on the market.
Make a list of exporters, or Chinese suppliers who can send you the product. Use outsourcing lists, such as:
Made-in-China.com is a list of Chinese suppliers offering product and seller lists, complete company data, contact details, information on business culture and industry photos.
Chinese Yellow Pages. Contain lists of products and data of suppliers.
China.cn is a list of outsourcing with thousands of local products and data on sellers and suppliers. The site also offers a guide, information on trade fairs and sales resources for sellers and buyers.
Analema International is a company that offers sellers services such as the identification of the most suitable suppliers, assistance in negotiation and quality inspections both during production and during the preparation of the mailing.
Get in touch with each supplier on the list. Once you have a few names, you can begin to narrow down the search to the one that’s right for you. Here’s how to choose it:
Customer recommendation. A reputable supplier should be able to provide testimonials from other buyers. But then check the truth of the information in person.
Business license information. You will need to be absolutely certain that the company has all the permits and that it applies the laws of international trade; just so you can avoid any legal problems.
Production and staff information. You will need to understand the relationship between the exporter and the manufacturer and know where the products come from and whether the suppliers also work for the manufacturer.
The name and location of the company that produces. If an exporter refuses to give you the name or address of the factory, it is probably unreliable.
Information on the experience of the industry in the manufacture of a certain product. Cost is not the only variable to consider: quality is also important, and competence is a good indicator of the quality of work.
Product samples. By receiving them, you will have a better idea of the quality and you will know what you are paying for.
Negotiate an agreement with your favorite supplier. Remember that business interactions with Chinese exporters are governed by local culture and customs, so you may need to develop different trading skills than usual:
Focus on relationships. The Chinese do not do business with companies, but with people, and every business allows the creation of a personal relationship. Before signing a contract, Chinese exporters will want to meet you.
Reliability is related to the moral, not the legal, but this does not mean that you should ignore the wise practice of signing a contract. However, before coming to a conclusion, a relationship based on trust must be undertaken.
The hierarchy plays a not inconsiderable role: shaking hands with a low-ranking executive or calling the head of a company by name can jeopardize the relationship and weaken the desire to do business with you. Pay attention to the uses in the business environment.
Locate Italian retailers. This process may be difficult and take away a lot of time, but you can increase your chances of success if you follow these steps:
Get in touch with any potential retailer by phone and present to the boss both yourself and the company. They may ask you to send your details via e-mail and verify your e-mail address.
Send a short e-mail with an attachment made by a professional who describes the company and the product.
Call a few days later and ask if you can organize a meeting, where you can sell your product and sign the contract.
Think about the shipment. Each company will have a minimum order threshold and a sending agreement. Here are two companies and one of the most common shipping methods:
Express Mail Service (“EMS”), a global logistics service.
DHL International (“DHL”), also a global company of international shipments.
Free On Board (“FOB”). Expression of the Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) which defines the shipments by cargo starting from a specific loading port. Under this agreement, the seller assumes transportation costs up to the port of departure and cargo rates. The buyer is, however, responsible for paying transport costs up to the point of arrival, insurance, and discharge. According to this type of transfer, the buyer takes possession of the assets as soon as they are boarded from the port of departure.
The product will have to go through customs and you will have to pay the duties. For more information, get in touch with the port nearest you and ask to speak with the specialist assigned to the control of the items that you import, so you will be aware of the specific requirements and you can request assistance in completing the forms.
Organize the logistics. Get in touch with a cargo company to transport goods from the port to your warehouse or local dealers. Look for one on the yellow pages or online.
Opt for warranty deposit if possible. Third party deposit companies allow the buyer to deposit funds with an independent third party, who will send them to the seller once the latter has fulfilled his duty under the agreement.
Payment for Chinese exports is often made by credit card, but some sellers also accept other forms of payment, such as cash or PayPal.
Typically, the Chinese manufacturer requires an initial deposit of 30-50% to take care of your order.
The letter of credit is commonly used in China. Ask the bank for more details.
Eye on customs duties. The taxes depend on the customs code of the goods you import, from the country of origin (in this case China) and from the destination. If your Chinese supplier has export experience, you will surely know the customs code of the product you import. However, the definitions are sometimes vague. And a wrong code could delay the authorization of your shipment.
Visiting fairs is a great way to get to know suppliers face to face.
Chinese export agents are often hired by local exporters. Some of these professionals are also suppliers for third parties, while others offer only export services.
You should make a good estimate of landing costs before placing your order. Cost of landing = Cost of FOB Goods + Transportation Costs + Import Duties (if any) + Local Transportation Costs + Service Provision Costs (inspections, agents, etc.). There may be many hidden costs: you can consult an import management company, but to avoid unpleasant surprises, order a small amount to evaluate all expenses.
Neglecting the rules could cost you, ear, with the risk of incurring the anti-dumping duty and the delay of the authorization and with the consequence of having to deal with the storage tariffs at the railway station or in the containers.
During the first contacts, wholesalers could ask for a business license or VAT number.
Do not pay in advance the full amount of the purchase. If an error occurs with your order, you will not get your money back.
To make sure you’re dealing with a professional, try calling the wholesale seller. If he responds by saying “yes” or “ready” only, without mentioning his name or that of the company, you may be confronted with an impostor.
In the beginning, wholesalers state that they only acceptable forms of secure payment, such as a credit card or PayPal. Later, they also admit other methods. Not all wholesalers who resort to unsafe payment processes are dishonest, but, in principle, those who tend to act in this way. So try to get to know the other person well.
Websites have addresses and contact data. If the page of your business partner does not have this information, proceed cautiously. Ask them and check that they are real.
Wholesalers could argue that they did not have stocks but continue to ask for payments in advance. Be sent photographic evidence that retracts the stock and a daily: we do not guarantee a perfect operation of this method, but try not to hurt!
You should know all the import regulations at a glance. Consult a lawyer who has the experience to learn more about the application of laws.