How To Import from China

the 10 step guide + toolkit

10 Steps to Profitably & Safely Import from China

This 10 Step Process has been developed over years of trial and error by David Elwood - an experienced import professional with almost a decade of experience - to ensure you profitably and safely import an existing or new product idea from China. Click each step to learn more, request a free guide, and scroll down to see how the actionable information and tools found in How To Import Kit can help you.

Step 1: Identify involves finding suppliers. This Step covers (Expand):
  • Understanding the different types of suppliers and what to look for
  • All the ways you can find a supplier, with pros and cons of each
  • How you can find suppliers on your own and cut out middlemen
  • 1.1 Types of Suppliers
    • There are various types of suppliers that exist and a multitude of ways in which you can reach out to suppliers, each with their respective pros and cons. Step 1 also entails looking for ways to find suppliers while cutting out middlemen, saving you time and money plus placing more control directly in your hands.
    • Distributors, also known as wholesalers and in some industries as brokers, often have exclusive or semi-exclusive relationships with several different manufacturers. Distributors tend to focus on certain product niches or markets. Distributors have no control over the manufacturing of goods or any capability to manufacture existing products, create new products, or private label lines that they carry. Private labeling refers to the simple re-branding of existing goods. Distributors directly source their goods from manufacturers, mark up the price, and sell to retailers who finally sell to the end consumer.
    • Trading Companies also act as middlemen between buyers and sellers, which can include distributors on both ends and of course manufacturers with goods to sell. Trading companies tend to have much less focus, and thus less expertise, in the types of products with which they deal. While distributors will often have goods on hand in their warehouse ready to ship to customers, trading companies mainly link any request they can get.
    • Manufacturers are the ones who own the factories, understand the products, can provide private label goods (also referred to as OEM or Original Equipment Manufacturer services) and are who you want to be talking to. Dealing directly with manufacturers ensures you get the best possible price because there is no one standing between you and them. Once you have followed the other techniques and strategies found in this Kit to find the best manufacturer possible for your product, you can also ensure the highest quality and maximum control over your product and intellectual property.

  • 1.2 Methods to Find Suppliers
    • Can connect with manufacturers through import agent or on your own, savings thousands in commissions.
    • Import agents usually charge a mix of flat fees with ongoing commissions based on the orders you place through them. This can add up to tens of thousands of dollars at the least over time. Compared to dealing with a trading company, an import agent has more incentive to keep your best interests at heart, since they want to keep earning commissions from your orders over the long term. However, the downsides of going through a trading company or distributor apply here as well. You have no control and minimal knowledge of the factory where production is taking place, and again must go through a middleman to get anything done. Less control and knowledge of your manufacturing base means more risk. Going through a middleman and paying ongoing fees and commissions means less profit to boot. In addition, using an import agent can open up your intellectual property to more hazard, since it is another pair of hands your ideas and designs must pass through. An agent could very well share your privileged information, or at least details such as your product cost if not actual designs, with competitors who are looking to use the agency’s services to import similar products.

  • 1.3 Trade Fairs and Exchanges
    • Trade Fairs are where many big buyers and sellers meet (be they conglomerates like GE or fashion houses such as H&M looking for sourcing partners or product ideas, or trading companies, distributors, and direct manufacturers). Trade Fairs can be industry specific or geography specific. They can be open to the public and the press or restricted to company representatives, or a hybrid of all these factors. If you don’t have the time, inclination, or money to trek over to China and visit hundreds of suppliers for your industry over a few days, not to worry. There are far more efficient ways to meet suppliers right from your computer chair.
    • Online exchanges are the method I recommend to get in touch with suppliers and start on the road to importing your own goods from abroad. Online exchanges are simply the most efficient and easiest way to:
      • Get in touch with a massive number of suppliers.
      • Save significant amounts of money in commissions and mark-ups from middlemen.
      • Find your way right to the manufacturer best suited to produce your product.

Step 2: Connect covers reaching out to your identified suppliers. Included concepts (Expand):
  • How to gain credibility and look like a legitimate buyer
  • How to receive big buyer treatment while being a little guy
  • How to weed out good suppliers from those that are a waste of your time
  • Tool: How to Video for Efficiently Dealing with Suppliers w/ short step by step walk through of process
  • Tool: Supplier Contact and Interview Templates
  • Tool: Appropriate sections from Case Study Booklet
  • 2.1 Gaining Credibility
    • Time is a precious commodity, and no one likes to waste it. This applies to you as well as suppliers all over the world whom you want to approach. Suppliers want to deal with people who they feel are worth their time. It takes a lot of effort to communicate with prospective clients, and a dedication of resources to ready factory lines, arrange production schedules, consult internal designers, and prepare samples for potential new business that may or may not materialize. This is why it’s important to take great effort to look like a large, legitimate buyer regardless of whether you own an existing business or have zero experience and are dreaming of the next big thing from your bedroom window.
    • Projecting the image of representing a serious business organization with the capital and resources to make large orders is very important.
    • By making suppliers feel it is worth their time to deal with you, you can:
      • Increases the level of service you receive.
      • Improve the promptness with which you hear back from good suppliers.
      • Boost the willingness of manufacturers to work with you on price and other points later on, since they see you as a valuable and potentially long term source of many large orders to come.
      • For tools and tips on projecting the image of having big buyer power, see 3 areas to focus on in Chapter 2 of How To Import Kit.

  • 2.2 Communicating with Suppliers
    • Initial contact with multiple suppliers should be treated like an interview. Ensure you have a set of standard questions you have prepared that deal with the manufacturing, design, and pricing aspects of a product you want to import, or a product similar to a new design idea you have in mind. At this point in the process, review the How to Video for Efficiently Dealing with Suppliers on Alibaba, as well as the Supplier Contact and Interview Templates and Part 2 Area of the Case Study Booklet.
    • Part of assessing the quality of a supplier before you even reach the step of verification is seeing how they respond to your initial requests for information. Judging the following will help you in your assessment:
      • Promptness: How long did it take a salesperson to respond to your query?
      • Professionalism: Were you sent information along with an invitation to communicate further with any questions?
      • Communication: Were your questions actually answered, or were you simply provided with a list of prices or link to a website with generic details about the company?
      • Language: Did the supplier understand your informational requests and did you understand their response?
  • Once you have found some suppliers that pass this initial quality step, it is time to move on to Part 3: Verification.

Step 3: Verify ensures you only deal with legitimate suppliers and avoid fraud (Expand):
  • Avoiding Scammers 101
  • The 11 Absolutely Necessary Verification Techniques to Utilize without having feet on the ground
  • Best Price Practice: Differentiating Trading Houses from Manufacturers
  • Tool: Resource Guide for Verification Tools
  • Tool: Appropriate sections from Case Study Booklet
  • 3.1 Avoiding Scammers - Basics
    • Scammers try to pretend they are either a legitimate supplier (which is actually fictitious), or pretend they work for an actual supplier in order to cheat you out of your money.
    • An obvious red flag of fraud on and other trade sites include suppliers who only accept Western Union as method of payment and/or require 100% of payment T/T upfront. You will see the term ‘T/T’ quite a bit in discussions on international trade and in communications with suppliers. T/T stands for “telegraphic transfer”, which is simply a wire transfer between two banks or financial institutions.
    • For further red flags, see Chapter 3 of How To Import Kit.

  • 3.2 Verification Techniques
    • Phone Verification:
      • Check to see whether phone numbers provided are registered in the same city as the factory is located in. Ideally, the number is a land line, also called a “geographic number.” Some scammers may utilize VOIP or virtual phone numbers to seem as if they are located within a manufacturing area or country. For China, numbers beginning with the prefix +4470 or +4487 are forwarding numbers that are rarely used by legitimate Chinese companies. Review the Resource Guide for Verification Tools (part of How To Import Kit)to learn how to carry out phone number verification.
      • Call the actual number and talk to your point of contact, as well as at least one other employee. Keep repeating the word “English” on the phone until someone connects you to an English speaker.
      • Call the fax number and make sure you hear the appropriate dial tone.
    • Registration Certificates:
      • Every legitimate company has to file some sort of registration with government authorities. In China, all commercial enterprises must file for a registration number with the Ministry of Commerce. Ask to see the supplier’s registration certificate. If they refuse, it is a sure sign you are dealing with a scammer. Suppliers can fake many things, but an official government certificate is one of the hardest to create. You will be all the better if you already know what such documents should look like, despite not understanding the language. Excellent examples of scammers reacting to requests for registration certificates and samples of what registration certificates look like can be found in the Case Study Booklet (part of How To Import Kit).
      • If unsure of the legitimacy of a registration certificate, contact the proper government authorities. For points of contact for every province in China, review the Resource Guide for Verification Tools.
      • For the rest of the 11 remaining verification tips and tools to carry them out, check out Chapter 3 of How To Import Kit as well as Best Price Practice – Differentiating Trading Companies from Manufacturers.

Step 4: Initiate the manufacturing process from existing or new product idea to prototype (Expand):
  • Capabilities Testing
  • Samples and Product in Hand
  • Course of Action for brand new product ideas
  • Smarter Prototyping: making new ideas into reality efficiently
  • Tool: Appropriate sections from Case Study Booklet
  • 4.1 Getting Started and Goal
    • This Part of the process is all about communication. Whether you are making small changes to an existing product, no changes at all, or trying to create an entirely new product, frequent and clear communication between you and the supplier is paramount. The initial part of the manufacturing process is not too difficult. You have done the hard work of finding suppliers, verifying their status in order to weed out scammers, and narrowed down your list of potential future partners to actual manufacturers. You already have an idea of the existing or new product you want to import. Now, it is time to link your idea with a supplier who can make it a reality, all at the best price and quality per your specifications.
    • At this point, you want to see what kinds of capabilities the suppliers you have shortlisted possess. The next few steps in this part of the process depend on whether you are creating a new product or attempting to import an existing one. The end goal of Part 4 is to get a sample in your hands. This will let you initially assess the quality of the product the manufacturer is capable of producing, as well as the ability of the company to meet your requirements as a buyer for timely communication and any customization requests you may have.
    • At the end of the day you want to be able to answer “Yes!” to the following question: Did the manufacture give me what they said they would, and is it up to my expectations?

  • 4.2 Sample Fees
    • It is standard practice for a factory to request you wire over the cost of shipping the sample to you. If you feel uneasy about the amount they are requesting, look for a few quotes online from different shipping companies to assess how much it would cost to send a package of equivalent weight to your sample from the factory to its end destination.

  • 4.3 Manufacturing Process and New Product Ideas
    • Usually in the process of dealing with a manufacturer, the negotiations and final pricing piece comes after samples have been requested and assessed. However this is not always the case, so it would be prudent to make sure you read the next few Parts of the guide before continuing. If you are working on an entirely new product idea or plan to make significant design or customization changes to an existing product, you must read Part 5 before requesting samples or continuing in the process in order to ensure your intellectual property is protected as much as possible.
    • For details on finding the ideal supplier to bring a new product idea to market, see Chapter 4 of How To import Kit.

Step 5: Cover to protect yourself, your products, and intellectual property including (Expand):
  • Overview of Risks
  • Framework of Law Abroad
  • Court Action vs. Arbitration
  • Protecting Intellectual Property
  • Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and why they are not nearly enough
  • The NNN Agreement: What is it and why you need it
  • Overview of Manufacturing Agreement
  • Trademark Worries, Brand Risk, and Mitigation
  • Enforceability
  • 5.1 Risks and Challenges
    • The legal risks and challenges that can face you when dealing with product development, international manufacturing, and importing depend to a very minute level on the individual circumstances around your product, the market you are competing in, your industry, and your personal cost vs. reward calculation associated with having various legal documents drafted, and more importantly, enforced. It is strongly recommended that you consult an attorney experienced with intellectual property (IP) and business law for the country you plan to import from and to. The following should in no way be considered as legal advice and is not presented as such. The author is not an attorney. This is simply an overview gained from personal experience.
    • This Part of the guide will begin by explaining the Types of Legal Risk, move on to explaining Legal Frameworks Abroad, and conclude with an explanation of several different legal agreements you may need and considerations for each.

  • 5.2 Types of Legal Risk
    • There are four main risk buckets that you can utilize legal contracts to hedge against:
      • Intellectual Property (IP) – Arises when sharing new product or design ideas with a supplier. You want to make sure your ideas aren’t stolen, produced for the manufacturer themselves, produced for other customers of the manufacturer, or given to other factories entirely.
      • Product Development – Based on how complicated the prototyping process is for your new product idea, it may make sense to develop a Product Development Agreement. Such an agreement works out who is covering which costs of developing new tools, molds, and so on. The agreement should further determine who owns these items once the manufacturing relationships has ceased.
      • Manufacturing Process – Risks associated with the manufacturing process arise once you have settled on a supplier. The agreement that nails down all details related to the actual manufacturing process is known by several names including Manufacturing Agreement, Supplier Agreement, and OEM Agreement. A well thought out Manufacturing Agreement covers issues such as dispute resolution, tooling, ownership of molds over the long term, quality control, intellectual property protection, warranties, pricing, shipment terms and so on.
      • Brand Risk – Protecting your brands and trademarks from infringement and wrongful ownership in every market you operate or plan to operate in.

  • 5.3 Further Details
    • The rest of Chapter 5 includes:
      • Framework of Law Abroad
      • Court Action vs. Arbitration
      • Protecting Intellectual Property
    • Legal Agreements to Draft to Protect from Risk:
      • Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and why they are not nearly enough
      • The NNN Agreement: What is it and why you need it
      • Overview of Manufacturing Agreement
      • Trademark Worries, Brand Risk, and Mitigation
      • Enforceability

Step 6: Three Pillar Negotiator Process to ensure the best price (Expand):
Tried, tested, and a personal secret to my own success. These three negotiating techniques when combined together help to ensure you get the best price possible from a supplier, and have saved me thousands of dollars during negotiations in the past year alone. Only available through your own copy of How To Import Kit.

Step 7: Graduated Order Process to maximize quality (Expand):
Proven to reduce risk and ensure higher quality of imported goods, this order process has saved me from making large orders with bad suppliers many times in the past. Only available through your own copy of How To Import Kit.

Step 8: Shipping & Logistics to safely and efficiently bring your goods to you (Expand):
Step 8: Ship (Logistics) teaches you the ins and outs of getting your product from far off factory to in your hands, encompassing dealing with logistics by:
  • Air, Land, Sea – which one for me?
  • Understanding the language of shipping
  • Costs, Terms, and How To Move Product
  • Full details available through How To Import Kit. For a sneak peek, check out the free downloadable guide.

Step 9: Compliance on navigating Customs & Regulations (Expand):
Step 9: Compliance (Customs and Regulations) is an extremely important step to ensure your imported products sell well and come with no nasty surprises:
  • Overview of Customs Requirements
  • Understanding Government Regulations
  • Understanding Industry Standards
  • Best way to deal with Customs
  • Major regulations to bear in mind
  • Tool: Launchpad Guide to Customs and Regulations
  • Tool: Costing Module
  • Tool: Margin Module
  • Further details available via our free downloadable guide

Step 10: Grow! with advice on scaling up your business (Expand):
Step 10: Grow! (Scaling Up) leaves you with some parting tips for scaling up your import from China business and ensuring success:
  • Handing Supply Side Risk going forward
  • Dealing with Demand Side Risk
As well as a few final reminders and words of wisdom to follow on your road to success.

Latest Blog Update - February 2019: Buying Wholesale from China with New Import Tariffs - Why Bother?
Blog Update February 2019: Buying Wholesale from China with New Import Tariffs - Why Bother?
We recently received this email from a potential customer:
How do you expect people to import from China when Trump keeps raising the tariffs? Bad time to import!
It definitely seems like the world is becoming a less friendly place for international trade. New tariffs against China from the United States, harsher import rules from China in retaliation, and a global trend towards more stringent and unfriendly importing rules are scary on the surface for a entrepreneur hoping to import a new or existing product wholesale from China or anywhere else. But, a deeper look at the situation reveals that things are not as bad as they seem:

1. At the end of the day, anything that increases costs over a certain period of time like tariffs usually gets passed on to the consumer. So even if the product you are considering importing gets hit with higher tariffs, your competitors and you can pass on the costs to the consumer and maintain your margins. This may slow demand but for most product categories won't eliminate a substantial portion of demand.

2. There are many products that will not be hit with higher tariffs that you can market in the Business to Consumer and Business to Business markets. If you haven't begun importing anything yet, you are actually at an advantage as you can research what categories may face higher tariffs and avoid those product types.

3. How To Import Kit focuses on China because of the huge demand for imports from there, but all the information, processes, and tools can be used to import from almost any other country as well.

Are you ready to possess all of the actionable information outlined above and the secrets, strategies, resources, and tools of How To Import Kit? Click here now to learn more.
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How To Import Kit – Everything You Need to Succeed at Importing

Facts About Importinghow to import from China
  • You can profitably import on your own without expensive consultants or import agency fees
  • Importing is not as hard or risky as it seems when you have the right tools
  • This Kit is not just actionable information - it is valuable tools and resources to let you get started safely and profitably importing an existing or new product

The 10 Step Guide & Toolkit to Profitably and Safely Import from Abroad

How To Import Kit includes indispensable information you need to arm yourself with in order to crush the import and sourcing process from anywhere in the world. It doesn't matter if you are importing from China to the USA, India to Europe, Vietnam to Dubai, or anything in between - Discover how to:

Safely Find Suppliers and Manage Legal, Compliance, Customs, and Transportation Aspects of Importing

  • How to avoid being scammed when dealing with any type of supplier
  • The 11 ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY verification techniques you need to avoid fraud when dealing with suppliers without having feet on the ground
  • Step by step guide to using the above techniques for finding and vetting suppliers on your own, saving you thousands in commissions that would otherwise go to an import agency
  • How to protect your INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP) – here is a hint, a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is not nearly enough!
  • What you NEED to make sure you are covered in all legal aspects of dealing with a supplier
  • How to understand the language of Logistics and Shipping
  • Where to begin to figure out your own Customs situation - everyone is unique

And Make Sustainable, Growing Profits

  • How to get your NEW PRODUCT IDEA manufactured in the safest and most efficient way
  • How to make sure you are working with a manufacturer and not a trading company to get the best price
  • How to gain credibility with suppliers even if you have no operating company or business experience
  • My time tested Three Pillar Negotiator Process to maximize your margins and reduce back and forth with Suppliers
  • My Graduated Order Process to ensure only the highest quality products are produced and that you don’t get burned!
The absolute treasure found within the How to Import Kit is my time tested Three Pillar Negotiator Process to improve margins and reduce back and forth with suppliers. These incredibly effective negotiation techniques combined with my Graduated Order Process will ensure high quality product from your suppliers and do the most to reduce your risk and maximize your profit! These two techniques have been the secret to my personal success.

How To Import Kit Includes

True Entrepreneur’s Guide to Importing Products from Abroad

A no fluff, step-by-step guide jam packed with actionable information and insider tips.

Costing + Margin Module Worksheet

(Microsoft Excel compatible) to allow you to quickly and efficiently figure out your Landed Product Cost and your profit potential.

Resources Guide for Verification Tools

To allow you to exercise all 11 verification techniques you will learn.

Launchpad Guide

To help you figure out your specific customs situation.

Short and to the Point How To Video

To efficiently contact many suppliers at once while piquing interest and getting suppliers hungry for your business.

Supplier Contact & Interview Template

The same template used by author David Elwood for all his importing.

Special Bonus Available for a Limited Time

FREE CASE STUDY BOOKLET (valued at $45 – while supplies last only!)

how to import from chinaThese are not generic stories with happy endings. View real email chains, real initial supplier catalogs, real supplier verification documents, and real invoices and price quotes from manufacturers in China from one of the author owned investment company’s recent product line explorations. This legitimate back and forth will allow you to get a further feel for the process before starting out on your own and applying all the techniques you have learned. The Case Study Booklet additionally includes analysis of included documents and tips that tie back to the information found in the True Entrepreneur's Guide to Importing Products from Abroad book.

Take the first step to import from China today!

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A 10 Step Guide + Toolkit to Profitably and Safely Import
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