eCommerce Blog / Over Coming Problems When Importing from China

Over Coming Problems When Importing from China

The prospect of importing goods from China is both exciting and terrifying for many sellers. On one hand there is huge potential for making money from reselling wholesale goods purchased very cheaply. But on the other hand, language and cultural barriers present a number of difficulties to sellers. The main issue that everyone is worried about is payment: How do I pay? Will my money disappear?, and so on.

The difficulty lies in the fact that most Chinese wholesalers will only accept Western Union and wire transfer payments. These are not secure payment options so they must be treated with caution.

However, the main reason why these are the only payments accepted is that they are in fact the only payment methods available to the Chinese. Getting a credit card in China is an extremely difficult task with a lot of government regulations and strict criteria for getting a card.

So then, despite the risks involved with using Western Union and wire transfer, these are the methods you have to use if you want to import from China with most suppliers. To minimize this risk, our advice is to start with a fairly small shipment of goods so you are not standing to lose too much money if everything falls apart. Then, as trust is established, gradually build up your order over time.

On the whole, most Chinese suppliers are genuine, hard working people who want to establish a long-term relationship with you. They need your business, so it’s unlikely they’ll try to deliberately screw you over!

Another big issue for sellers importing wholesale from China is communication. It can be extremely daunting trying to negotiate complex business issues when communication is so difficult.

To get around this problem, we always ask a new contact for their MSN or ICQ email address and chat to them online. They tend to be very friendly and enjoy talking to people who speak English as a first language (this helps them improve their communication too), plus it gives you a direct point of contact instantly.

With communication now established, you can proceed to ask questions and get them to send you pictures of stock and so on. Once we’ve built up a relationship, we then ask them to send me a sample order. For any genuine company, this isn’t a problem and it allows us to see the quality of the product first hand. We can then be fairly certain that the company is trustworthy, and that this is the product we wish to import.

One thing we haven’t talked about so far is quality. This can be another major concern for sellers who often have difficulty telling whether a brand name product is genuine or not.

In our experience, the vast majority of brand-name goods that come from China are either replicas or fakes. We strongly recommend that you assume that this is the case in the first instance. eBay is currently cracking down heavily on people selling fakes and it is not an area of business we suggest you get into!

Generally, we find that Chinese suppliers are best suited for cheap generic goods (they are manufactured there so you won’t find cheaper anywhere else!) that can be sold at higher rates in Western countries. For example, some of the latest trends are pocket bikes, scooters and generic electronic goods. These goods do not have to have a brand name in order to sell well and they can be purchased wholesale at very good prices if you are serious about importing from China.

This should give you a heads up if looking at dealing with wholesale suppliers in China! Remember, always keep an open mind, ask questions and do your research!


Comments (12)

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on 19:23 22 May
Hi, If I want to contact any manucfacturer from china could you get in touch with some.Thanks
on 19:40 22 May
Yes this is fine. Simply login to SaleHoo at and our support staff will happily help you out.
jodie on 18:59 5 Jun
how do you make contact with chinese wholesalers and how do you organise shipment of products ?thanks jodie
on 20:17 5 Jun
Hi Jodie, Thanks for your questions. The best way to contact the suppliers is by phoning them directly (although sometimes their English isn't the best) therefore the second most efficient way to make contact is to email them and ask them for an MSN email address or ICQ chat name. Then you can simply login to one of these online chat providers and chat with them instantly! They usually organize and take care of the shipping as most prices are quoted as door to door meaning less worry for you! Let us know if you need anymore help at all!
on 13:43 11 Jan
I site a warmly recommend to get in touch with suppliers in china is a site with the adress - you can register at a free member and start to send out buy leads to suppliers there. There are free members, trustpass members and gold members. My recommendations is that you stuck with the gold and the trustpass members because they are companies with good reputation . But beware of fraud anyway - be sure who you dealing with -if they only use WU be careful - when i talk with new suppliers in china i ask for their company name and if they have bank account and if the bank account is in the company name. If the bank account is personal name - i think more likely thats a fraud.
Striker on 4:17 13 Dec
Well I use sourcing company's help to Import my products due to bad experience importing on my own using B2B site Find a sourcing company in your country. Tough you might have to pay 5-10% extra but it will cover risk of not getting product or not getting item according to your specification.
on 15:16 23 Jan
Hi, have recently joined salehoo, ive found the information very helpful that has been sent to me in the few 2 weeks, really gets the mind ticking over and over with ideas and the like, and all of a sudden this whole bussiness of dropshipping doesnt seem so daunting, if treated with respect and caution. What does concern me, as im from australia, is the all mighty dollar, it has taken a real hammering here agaisnt the US dollar. Something i like for $130 as an exmaple, all of a sudden becomes $212 plus neg in shipping, this really digs into profit, and limits my competitve chances, wd like to hear your views on this.
Leila on 13:05 5 Oct
I have been in contact with a wholesaler in China. I want to import optical frames into South Africa. How do i find out if they are an authorized reseller of branded frames? How do I find out if I need a license to import these branded frames?
Irene Vallejo on 8:27 6 Oct
@Leula: You need to get in touch with your country's Custom and seek information about documents needed for importing. The tips on how to deal with Chinese suppliers and how to avoid being scammed have been discussed in the blog/article above. Let us know if you need further help. :)
Sarah on 12:57 21 Jan
I am wanting to import a fruit washing machine from China. How do I go about getting somebody trustworthy to check it out to make sure it is in perfect working order and to make sure I am not getting ripped off .
Irene Vallejo on 1:36 23 Jan
@Sarah: It would be best if you know someone in China who can check for you, but if you will seek someone to do that task, then it will just be another cost at your end, and a risk to trust a stranger's advice. How about doing a research on the supplier you plan to import from and read feedback on their services/products? Unsatisfied buyers tend to discuss and report their problems online, at forums and this is the easiest way for you to have an idea if the supplier had been trustworthy or not.
Leandro Leonardi on 17:49 11 Oct
hi I purshase 1 item from china at the value of £400. I received a email from seller saying that was a mistak on the posting of the item as they are no allowed to send only 1 item they had to send 4 instead. now they're saying that I have to pay another amount of money for them to be able to pay all the needed fees so I can receive my item. I have the tracking number and it says my delivery will be complete on monday the 14/0ct. I just want to know if there's a way for them to stop this delivery and I end up loosing my money? It's the first time I'm buying from there so I'm well scared about it.


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