Wow! This week the wall street journal trumpeted the weakness of the Chinese economy and tells us the Chinese government is injecting billions of Yuan into the manufacturing sector to shore up businesses and support the labor force. And, on top of that, the government arbitrarily weakened the currency from a recent high of about 6.05 Yuan to the U.S. Dollar to 6.41 Yuan to the Dollar, making Chinese goods 6% cheaper than they were.
So, aside from looking for even lower prices at Wal-Mart where virtually everything but milk and eggs comes from China, how can I import goods from China to benefit my business bottom line and stay competitive?
The following are some hints and guidelines I have gleaned from 30 years of experience importing goods from China and Thailand:
1.) Don't look for the best quality, price, service and ethical treatment by searching online at Alibaba. All advertisers there profess to have English speaking customer service personnel at your service, often their English comprehension is on par with your grasp of Mandarin, so response time to your inquiry can be measured in days, or not uncommonly, never. Equally important is the fact that a majority of advertisers are "trading companies: not manufacturers, so prices vary from attractive to scandalous, depending on where the roulette ball stops on your spin of many choices. So, be vigilant and query more than one source. Often you can visit websites for a better idea of the company's capabilities.
2.) 50% deposit with order and balance due upon delivery of your order to the freight forwarder in Asia is standard policy so ask for references and check them out. Even an approved protoype or pre-production sample does not provide adequate protection as horror stories are abundant where samples were approved and yet when the container arrived the contents, already paid for, were sub-standard. Adding to this conundrum is a non-existent legal system for disputing or arbitrating quality or other problems in China.
3.) To capture the cost advantages and eliminate the attendant risks, find a hong kong based sourcing broker and buy through them. Depending on order size there will be a 10% to 20% management cost but all the risks above are absorbed by your English speaking intermediary. He/They will have people on the ground at the production site to provide quality control and scheduling assistance and assume full financial responsibility for your complete satisfaction. In addition, this firm will probably have ongoing relationships with honest and dependable suppliers forged over many years, they also can coordinate the export/import documentation and the fastest ocean or air transport for your goods.
Our company, Benchmark Displays LLC will be happy to consult with you here in the U.S, understanding quickly your requirements, providing manufacturers MOQ's (Minimum Order Quantities) and do so with you in a compatible time zone while Asia sleeps. You can speak with one of our knowledgeable staff at 800.600.2810