How To Get the Most Out of Importing from China

Chinese custom manufacturing has always been tempting for retailers and business owners who are trying to save up on cost and production expenses. Many have tried and many have miserably failed in their attempts. Oftentimes, less isn’t always the best, especially when you come unprepared. Steer away from incurring losses by learning from the mistakes of others.


There are a lot of factors that lead to failure when it comes to low cost manufacturing in China. In many cases, the company might not have exercised due diligence in determining the right product prototype. There’s also the challenge of finding a reliable manufacturer that will be able to meet your product requirements, and still work around your restricted budget.

There’s a lot of things you can incorporate to successfully navigate the rough terrains of international manufacturing. The kind of due diligence and quality control mechanisms that you put into your product sourcing will make or break your business. It’s also important to give enough effort in optimizing the relationships with potential suppliers or manufacturers. Take a look at some of these actionable tips that you can apply when looking for a reliable Chinese partner:

Create the Prototype

The prototype is a very important element when it comes to custom manufacturing. If you lack the expertise to create one yourself, you can hire an expert to translate your ideas and concepts into a working prototype that factories in China can easily build into a finished product. There’s a lengthy process that companies need to follow when it comes to prototyping before they can actually outsource manufacturing to China. There’s a need for tweaking, quality testing and designing of the prototype so that you’re sure about the product you actually want. In international business, failure at this stage can be quite costly.

The Validation of Your Product Idea

Before you OK the prototype for custom manufacturing in China, you need to take several steps in order to validate your product ideas. Ensure that the product meets the risks, compliance and potential regulatory constraints before you commit to any import contract, or any contract for that matter. Calculate product development costs and determine its feasibility in the market. Lastly, you need to determine the minimum order quantity required.

Ensure the Supplier is Up to the Task

Once you have catered the risky areas associated with product development or prototyping, you now have to shop for the right supplier to turn your product prototype into reality. Here you can procure some help from trade experts or consultants who have good background in China custom manufacturing.

Protect Your Product

If you have developed your product prototype, then you will need to protect it from counterfeiting. While enforcing your Intellectual Property might be difficult in China, it’s possible for you to institute good protections of IP in your home market so that your home competitors do not clone your ideas. Take the initiative to enforce patents or trademarks.

In order to make the most of the lean manufacturing advantages that China offers, it’s always best to hire an expert that has solid knowledge of the China custom manufacturing environment.