Buying direct from China is not for everybody. This Q&A helps manage expectations.
If you fit the description of this buyer, you shouldn’t buy in China now!
Portia in South Africa writes in with the following question:
I am new in to buying goods/importing from China. I would like to visit China in May for a view of products that I will like to sell and buy some items just to test the market. I would also like to buy stock of some initial products and carry them back with me. Which city or town has the most popular commercial industrial place in China? My product interest at the moment are electronics such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc.
To help me answer your questions, please give me some feedback on the following:
- Chinese brand, your brand or famous international brand? Famous international brand
- How many units for the test order and for full order in future? 50 for now and 200 in future
- Do you need a warranty? Yes
- Where are you based and what is the destination market of the goods? Based in South Africa and destination is also South Africa
Based on your case, I would not advise you buy from China at this time for the following reasons:
At that volume, you are buying an international brand at the retail level in China. The price for these products at retail level will be lower in places like HK or USA than in China.
You would also have problems with warranty issues because how are you going to enforce a claim with a small retailer in China when you are based in Africa? (it’s possible, but the cost of enforcing the contract will eat into your margins because the volume is so small.)
Even if the order is small, you still need to do the QC. That will add costs.
Here are some links to give more details.
I wish I could tell you better news, but it’s important that you manage your expectations. If you need some more proof of what goes wrong in these cases, please check out www.SupplierBlacklist.com. Additionally, this video series may be of interest: Small Order Strategies Part 1 of 5
Feedback from Portia
Thanks a lot Mike for the in-depth information, it really helped me avoid some major pitfalls and financial loss. I’ll buy from a China importer here in S. Africa for the time being and when I have the scale and budget, I will go China direct in the future.
Wishing you successful China sourcing!