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Product Sourcing For Your Online Business

Importing from China

Importing from China is not the most obvious product sourcing method for a new online business, as most online businesses start with the help of dropshippers and wholesalers based in the country where they are operating from. If your business starts to grow and becomes very popular then you might be interested in sourcing your own products from foreign countries.

By importing your own products from other countries you are cutting out the middle man which should mean that you can make a greater profit or pass this saving down to your customers.

China is often called the factory of the world and almost everything is made there. That’s why so many people are interested in sourcing products through importing from china. Anything can be imported from china fairly easily, but you do need to keep your wits about you.

Importing from China – finding a supplier

Finding a supplier in china is actually much easier than you might think. There are a number of websites set up such as SaleHoo.com and Worldwidebrands.com which list Chinese suppliers. You can then make contact with these suppliers directly and start discussing your requirements.

Importing from China is a fairly simple process, although the costs will be off-putting for many people. Shipping costs are very expensive and you must remember to include them.


If you search on the internet then you will find thousands of stories where people have been conned by Chinese firms. While there are a few companies in china that will take your money and then disappear most are not like that. You should stick to reliable suppliers by searching directories such as SaleHoo and Worldwidebrands which have ratings showing how trustworthy a supplier is.

You should be able to get an idea of what a supplier is like by just talking to them. You will be able to find out about their products and request a sample. Although a sample isn’t a guarantee that they are genuine it’s a good indicator.


If you are considering placing a large order then you should take the time to visit their factory. This is a very important step that many people overlook. By visiting their factory you will be able to tell whether or not they are genuine and also have the ability to test out all of their products first hand.

All Chinese suppliers should be willing to let you look round their factory and should make you feel welcome. If one is cautious about letting you visit then alarm bells should start ringing.


Making contact and talking to Chinese companies won’t be a problem because most of them will speak to you in English. However when negotiating you must make sure you are very clear. English is not their first language and you will need to confirm things several times, of course don’t be patronising.

Also make sure that you don’t assume anything. When you’re dealing with a company in your own country you may assume that they know something. When importing from China, you must tell them exactly what you want.

If you are ordering boxes for your product then actually tell them that you want the products packed inside the boxes before they are shipped. Otherwise you will receive a set of empty boxes along with your order of products.

It’s also essential that you request samples before you place any large orders. You will probably have to pay for these samples but this is not a major problem. Many suppliers will give you the money back for the sample when you place your first order. You must be explicit with your instructions as mistakes can be very expensive.

Don’t just communicate over the phone or instant messenger – it’s vital that you put something down in writing. When importing from China, email is an important communication method because you can prove what you have both said at a later date if required.

Importing from China – Lead Time

When importing from China, it’s important that you find out how long it takes to get the products made so that you can factor this into your business plans. It could be some time until you can start making a profit out of the imported products.

Importing from China – Shipping

If the exporting company is not taking care of shipping for you then you will need to find a freight forwarder to do this for you. Make sure you find out how expensive this is so that you can get a clear idea of how much the products will really cost.

When considering shipping you have two options, you can either send the items by air or sea. Sea freight is much cheaper but takes longer. Air freight gets to you very quickly but is normally very expensive.

You will not only need to bear in mind the process of getting the goods from china to your country but you will also have to have transport to get them from the port to your place of business. All of this will be at your expense. You should also insure your shipments to cover yourself should anything go wrong.

Repeat orders

Dealing with the same supplier again should be much easier the second time around because you have more experience with one another. You can’t relax though because you must still be careful. Sometimes Chinese firms continually improve their products so make sure you’re ordering the exact same thing as before.

Importing from China

Importing from China - Legitimate Manufacturers from SaleHoo