How do I Import From China? – Know the China Sourcing process and timeline

March 3, 2010 Articles 0 Comment

Have you been sitting on that awesome million-dollar product idea and you are keen to import it from China? To help with your china sourcing, you first need to take time to understand the process and the relevant timelines. This article will outline the China Sourcing Process and the relevant timelines and it will be followed by other articles which will outline in further detail each part of the process.

Initial Product Inception

Product Development

Before you can start to import your product from China you need to make sure that all of your product development is near to complete. This may include the design and specifications of your product, the design and specifications of your packaging, arranging quotes from local suppliers so that you can compare the local costs with the cost of importing etc.

Timeline – As long as it takes! This will depend on the type of product you want to sell including its design, packaging, complexity etc.

China Sourcing Process

Sourcing China Suppliers

In order to import from China you need to find the right suppliers. You will need to conduct serious due diligence or have it conducted on your behalf, on the suppliers you are considering engaging to make your product.  The safest way to have this due diligence done is by professionals with experience and knowledge of culture in China and the relevant negotiation skills, with a team on the ground in China who can speak the language. More information on conducting the due diligence can be found at The Importance of Due Diligence – Sourcing or Importing from China.

Right in the beginning, in order to negotiate the most accurate price for your product you will need to send detailed product specifications to the supplier. This will help minimise any changes to prices in the future. Remember it is your responsibility to comply with any product legislation or compliance standards when bringing the product into your home country.

Once you have found the right supplier you will need to understand and negotiate the terms of trade with them. This includes shipping terms know as Incoterms and the payments terms the supplier accepts. This is extremely important to get right in the beginning to save you problems or issues that may arise in the future. More information on International trading and payment terms can be found at International Trade Terms – What don’t you know about Importing from China?

More information on China Sourcing can be found at – Sourcing Products from China – Where to Start?

Timeline – Sourcing the right supplier in China can take anywhere between 1-2 weeks depending on the complexity of your product and the method you use to source them.

Sampling Process

Once you have found the right supplier to import from China, you will need to negotiate for and source the first samples of your product . In some instances this may be a free exercise or it may be costly depending on the complexity of your product or how custom you need it made. For more information on the China Sampling Process visit The China Sourcing Sampling Process.

Timeline – Sourcing samples can take anywhere between 2-4 weeks, once again depending on the complexity of your product but also on factory lead times, whether initial samples are correct or need changes etc.

Place Purchase orders for mass production

Once you have sourced product samples that are up to your standard including packaging, quality and price you will need to generate an initial purchase order to send to the supplier you have sourced in China. This will need to outline the specifications of your product in detail and the terms of trade. Negotiating these terms well in the beginning will help you immensely in the future, especially if any issues arise. Once your supplier in China receives this, they will begin the mass production of your product. More information on Purchase Orders and Supplier Agreements can be found at Chinese Supplier Agreements and Purchase Orders – How important are they?

Timeline – The time taken to place purchase orders will depend on your knowledge of the content required and your experience in placing orders. The amount of time can be reduced by employing the services of experienced professional to help you with this process. The timeline of mass production in general would be up to 4 weeks, but this will also depend on the complexity of your product and the amount ordered.

Quality Control

At some stage during mass production you need to make sure that the quality of your products is checked against your initial product specifications. It is a great idea to fill out a product specification checklist that can be used to check the quality against. This will ensure that the products you are wishing to import from China meet the required quality standards and legislation, are actually what you have ordered and paid for and are up to your quality standards.

Timeline- This will be completed during the mass production process and may have an effect of 1-3 days depending on any issues that may arise.

Importing your Products from China

Here is where you will need to engage a shipping company or freight forwarder to ship your products into your home country and clear them through customs, in order to get them to your door. You will be able to track the transportation and customs clearance of your products when they are in transit.

Timeline - It will usually take up to 4-5 weeks to import your products from China, have them cleared at customs and at your door.

Keep an eye out over the coming weeks for further articles on most of the steps above outlining them in more detail.

As you can see above, minus the product development stage, the process of importing from China can take up to 16 weeks or 4 months from initial China Sourcing to having the product at your door. This indicates that if you are looking at importing from China in the near future you best start as soon as possible ‘to get the ball rolling’.

Once you have sourced your products from China and received them, it is time to sell them and start making a profit!

Written by Matt Edwards

Related posts:

  1. Sourcing Products from China – Where to Start?

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