Importing from China

The key steps to ensure a profitable business importing from China are:

  • Identifying your local market before you place a Chinese order;
  • Sourcing a range of potential suppliers;
  • Ensuring your supplier is reputable;
  • Organising your freight forwarder / postal service;
  • Engaging a customs broker;
  • Organising freight pickup from port;
  • Checking the quality of the goods
  • Delivering to your market.
  • Identifying your local market before you place a Chinese order;
  • Sourcing a range of potential suppliers;
  • Ensuring your supplier is reputable;
  • Organising your freight forwarder / postal service;
  • Engaging a customs broker;
  • Organising freight pickup from port;
  • Checking the quality of the goods
  • Delivering to your market.

Sounds simple? It can be if you make a list, checking off each step along the way, without skipping any of the crucial components.

At Platinum Freight we have seen all the hiccups imaginable, from goods not matching the order, underdelivery of stock numbers, freight going to the wrong country and wrong port, massive costs when Customs Officers identify infested product or packaging, unexpected import duties, and failure to organise the delivery of the product, leading to mounting Customs’ warehouse storage costs.

Identifying suppliers

The Australian Government is there to service you. Trade advisers in China have lists of ‘qualified’ leads, so they should be on your contact list. Don’t go in having done no research, but once you are confident of your business model and market segment, they might be able to assist you. The more you are prepared and the higher your level of professionalism, the better service they will provide.

Many websites exist which identify suppliers and products. When you start web searching or emailing companies, be ready to be inundated, often in Mandarin or Cantonese.

Linking with a Chinese national in Australia

You might consider forming a business relationship with one of the thousands of Chinese students studying in Australia who can act as your translator and adviser.

If your products are in the engineering field, you will find many graduates with exceptional contacts in China who are desperate to get work (they are allowed to work for two years after their studies) and you might be able to create a joint venture or a more simple business/friendship relationship. Many of the engineering students have extraordinary contacts in China in companies where they were working before enrolling in Australian universities for postgraduate studies.

Using sourcing websites

This can be a timely and risky exercise, but who you know (even slightly) can make all the difference. Again, go and mingle with Chinese students and see what they would advise.

You can hire them on an ad hoc basis to sift through some of the thousands of potential sites, identifying the cities in which they are based (do you want to be importing from the outer reaches of Mongolia, with the associated freight costs?).

This might mean you can avoid going through trading companies, going straight to the supplier, cutting the commission in the middle, and building a stronger relationship with the manufacturer.

Trade Fairs in China

Many small businesses (that can grow into larger businesses) began by a potential business person visiting local trade fairs. But you can also decide to invest in travelling to China (where living costs are very low) and attending trade shows there. The Australian Trade Commissions might advise you on the best, or you can ask local business people and Chinese students to identify trade shows for you. An example is the Canton Fair.

You will need contacts in China to go around the tradeshows, here again that Chinese graduate could help identify people to help you.

Australian Sourcing Agencies

These international trading agencies can leapfrog all the hassles of identifying manufacturers, and are generally paid an upfront fee and or on an ongoing commission basis. However, you will still need to keep an extremely close eye on the importing of the products, especially through Australian Customs.

And this is where Platinum Freight Management can help you

Often for less than $200, we can arrange all the documentation, within hours of your goods arriving in the country (and even when they leave the foreign port), ensuring:

  • They don’t get trapped in the Customs warehouses over the weekend and on statutory holidays, when you will be racking up high warehousing costs
  • Cleaning and fumigation issues are dealt with
  • Your freight is picked up as soon as it has been cleared. This can save you thousands of dollars
  • Negotiations with Customs over any other issues are handled.

We are happy to talk to you as you begin you new importing business, as we like to establish long-term relationships sharing our knowledge to help you grow your business. Your success is our success!