There are two basic objectives of importing from another country. One is to get products for personal use, and the other one is to do business and become a seller of the imported products. Getting products for personal use has become completely effortless due to various eCommerce avenues, efficient logistics providers, and courier services like DHL and FedEx unless one is exceeding the quantity specified for personal use or asking for a product that does not come under the category of personal use. However, while importing goods for business purposes, there are several challenges one has to overcome which include compliance with the law, cost and fee factors, product damage during transit, consumption of time, loss of a business relationship, etc. Again, the experience of importing varies from country to country because of some factors ranging from geographical dimension to business environment. Here are the things you need to know while importing from China.
The orders can either be placed online or on meeting the vendors in person. You can find a sourcing agency to cut down the risks, Fenam Sourcing is a leader in this field. The latter, though not always feasible, should be done by the first-time importers. Physically visiting the vendor’s warehouse has its advantage. The Chinese people trust ‘human beings’ more than ‘organizations.’ Moreover, one can be assured of the authenticity of products by personally observing the way the vendor operates. Once a positive relationship is established, one can manage even with a phone call. Placing orders online is as good as making a long-distance phone call concerning saving time. However, it is more cost efficient and offers a visual appeal apart from the descriptions. To place orders, one has to be ready with the funds to make a partial payment up to 50% of the total billed amount.
Getting a Chinese Visa
If one intends to visit the vendor’s site physically, one must possess the Chinese trade and commerce visa known as the M Visa. The merchants’ visa for moving around in China can be obtained by furnishing necessary documents such as passport, photographs, supplier’s invitation, etc. The Visa normally arrives within a few weeks of the application. The application form can be downloaded from the embassy’s website.
Getting customs clearance
Once the goods arrive, one has to get the customs clearance. This should be free of any hassle if all the required documents are ready. The required documents include original invoices, detailed list of items, legal bonds, and papers, credentials related to the origin and other relevant data. Once the total value of the items has been calculated, the import duties are finalized by the officials. After the payment of import duties, one is allowed to take possession of the consignment. It is wise to hire a customs broker who has expertise in dealing with this process. The next thing is to let a previously-contacted freight forwarder to transport the goods from the port to the said destination. In a case of online orders, the logistics part is taken care of by the vendor’s agents.
Checking for flaws in the consignment
The first thing one has to do after unpacking the items is to check for flaws regarding quality and resistance during transit. In case there has been any damage during transit, the suppliers have to be informed about the same, so that they are more careful next time. In the case of total damage, compensation may also be demanded.
Complying with the Law
One of the basic rules of importing is to know whether one has the right to import a specific product. One has to go through the rule books to know which products can be imported and which cannot. It is better not to be trapped in the red tape by violating the import code. Apart from learning about the Chinese law, it is also necessary to know what the natural law has to say on specific products. Knowledge of the export code of one’s country is, therefore, equally important. One should avoid wastage of money regarding penalty or fine.
Reducing Time Consumption
In business, time is money. There is less point in receiving the products when a festive season is over. One can ensure the timely shipment and delivery at the door by choosing the suppliers and logistics providers who are the nearest to the source vendors. Apart from reducing the cost, it significantly reduces the total time consumed in the process. Ocean freight is more time consuming than an air consignment. When one is in a hurry to receive products, it is better to spend a little more on shipment and go for air freight.
Managing the Cost
One has to do research on tariff rates before deciding on the products. Separate excise duty is levied on each category of products. One also has to keep the shipping cost in mind. Purchasing products in huge quantity can reduce the shipping cost drastically, but not all products can be purchased in huge quantities. Therefore, one should go for those products that can be purchased in bulk. To keep the overall cost low, one can invite quotes from various suppliers and choose the most competitive one.
Strengthening Business Relationship
In import business, it is important to establish a good rapport with the vendors and the suppliers. Losing business contacts can be costly. In order not to spoil one’s relationship, one should make payments in time, make oneself available for the delivery and not frequently cancel orders. Going to the same suppliers, again and again, helps one strengthen the relationship as well as get benefit regarding special discounts.
Although businesses thrive on mutual trust, one has to find out those associates that are trustworthy. While importing products in huge volume, one cannot take chances with the credentials of the suppliers. By all means, one should go for the likely ones instead of those who charge less but are unrecognized. Any online associate has to be validated before the transaction. One should go for trusted online vendors like AliBaba instead of hundreds of fraudulent sites that offer only picture galleries. Any supplier that AliBaba rates as Premium have absolute credibility.
Overcoming language barriers
Unless one is well-versed in Mandarin, one may need a translator, especially if one intends to place orders after meeting in person and interacting with the respective vendors. The English-speaking population among Chinese businessmen is so modest that one may have a hard time following various conversations, remarks and descriptions. This problem is not much there in the case of online transactions.