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Buying from Wholesalers in China: 5 Important Things Importers Must Know

Today, we are going to learn 5 important things importers must know when buying goods from wholesalers in China.

When doing importation business on a small or medium scale, you relate more with wholesalers than manufacturers. There is one single major reason for this, manufacturers usually require a large Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) which definitely would be out of reach for small or medium importers.

However, there are certain things you must know about buying goods from wholesalers in China. In this article, we shall be looking at top 5 things every mini importer must know when dealing with them.

  1. Wholesalers usually offer lower MOQS than Manufacturers

Basically, a wholesaler offers a lower minimum order quantity (MOQ) than manufacturers and that is the whole appeal with a wholesaler. That’s why most importers would consider buying from them in the first place. Mostly, Manufacturers would require a certain number of the goods you intend buying before they can transact with you. This is because they will have to produce the product from scratch, and for it to be profitable for them they have to ask you to purchase a certain number.

This is where wholesalers step in to make sure buyers who can’t afford the minimum order quantity of the manufacturers are still able to buy the product

  1. Many Wholesalers Lack Export Licenses

Primarily, wholesalers in China lack the licenses to carry out export. What most of the wholesalers do to get around this is to work with export agents to sell to international buyers. The reason is that, these wholesalers are primarily focusing on the domestic market. This atimes might be a big issue for a foreign buyer like you and me.

Though they would be willing to transact and do business with you but they most likely don’t have any English-speaking personnel. Communication will definitely be an issue and when it comes to exporting your goods, you would have to find an export agent to manage the whole buying and shipping procedures. That can be a hassle.

Also Read: 6 Things Experts Won’t Tell You About Importation Business

  1. Wholesale Products are Rarely Compliant with US, EU and Other Overseas Product Regulations

Not having an export licenses is actually insignificant when it comes to how problematic things get when we mix in product safety regulations. For every product out there, there is a certain standard regulation to conform with. There are regulations that limit substance chemicals in a product, while there are some regulations that are about heavy metals or electro safety.

Now, wholesale products are rarely ever compliant with overseas product regulations. In Nigeria for example, we modeled our products on US regulations. That means any product we are importing into this country must be US standard, and this is a serious issue because the goods we have in the country today are sub-standards.

Why should, say a wholesaler on Taobao.com invest tens of thousands of dollars to make sure that their products comply with the regulations in a market they don’t even sell too. Remember I stated earlier that wholesalers in China are majorly for their domestic market, they are not really for international buyers. It’s not their responsibility to keep track of safety regulations in every country in the world.

  1. Wholesalers Rarely Comply with Labeling Requirements too

Apart from complying with product safety regulations, another thing with wholesalers in China is that they rarely comply with labeling requirements. Wholesalers would just label products the way they want which most times might even be with a poorly crafted English.

The products they have are specifically for domestic market, they have no reason to go through the stress of having to properly label their product to conform with oversea suppliers. It’s a lot of work for them

  1. You Cannot Brand or Customize a Wholesale Product

One good and interesting thing about producing goods in China is that you can actually get a product branded, customized cheaply and with relative ease if you do your homework and understand how to draft the specifications.

However, with wholesalers you can’t do that. You can only buy the product they already have on ground with whatever product name and logo it carries. This can be a drawback because what this simply means is that you end up trading a commodity that other people are already selling.

Buying from wholesalers is not a bad thing to do, most especially for small importers. It’s just important you have adequate knowledge about what you are getting into. You can start with wholesalers and then grow your business till you are able to start buying directly from manufacturers.

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Since I was a 22-year-old undergraduate in University, I've run a home-based business importing products from China and generating millions of Naira on a yearly basis. Since then, I've made China and its culture not only a key part of my business but also of my personal life.

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