With growth of e-commerce all over the world and with the emergence of sites like Alibaba, global trade has become easier than ever. Online sellers must take advantage of this opportunity and import from China to sell internationally if they want to build a huge business.
Importing products and reselling them on marketplaces or on your own store is a highly successful strategy to multiply profits. This can be more profitable if you import from China at a cheaper price because of low manufacturing costs.
The only way to make big money by selling online is to purchase the goods at a cheaper price.
Though in India people may not trust products sourced from China, you can order quality products from genuine manufacturers on demand as per your requirements. Once you deliver good quality products, your customers will have trust in you. Then, you can build a really big business.
People generally have a misconception that import business is risky and requires lots of investment. But, with online global trade, it’s become easier than you think. Now you don’t need to travel to China to start importing.
What do you need to import from China?
- Registered company/firm
- Current account in reputed bank that provides a SWIFT code
- IE Code
Sit with your CA and discuss about different legal requirements for the category of products you want to import.
Meanwhile, you can read this: Documents required for import customs clearance.
Also visit cbic.gov.in (Central Board of Indirect Taxes And Customs).
There are many B2B sites from where you can buy Chinese goods but we will discuss about world’s 2 best sites:
While Alibaba is mainly for buying in bulk, you can buy smaller quantities or even single pieces from AliExpress. But, prices are higher of course when you buy from AliExpress.
You don’t need to go anywhere else as these are the world’s best and secure websites trusted and used by millions.
Import from China to India using Alibaba
Alibaba is a great place to import from China. It’s the biggest global marketplace connecting buyers and suppliers worldwide. Here you can easily find millions of deals.
Not an easy task.
It’s really a tough job to find an ideal supplier.
You need to learn a lot before using Alibaba for importing.
This article aims to make import from China easier by helping you source great products from genuine, reliable suppliers.
Let’s first analyze the advantages of importing from Alibaba:
- As there are large no. of suppliers, you have a vast choice to select the products.
- Your transactions are secure with Alibaba guarantee.
- Chinese products can be sourced at a much cheaper price that can increase profitability.
How to use Alibaba?
You just need to enter your company name, email address and phone number to create an account on Alibaba.
For privacy and security, use separate email address and phone number.
It’s highly recommended to have a separate email account exclusively for use on Alibaba as your phone number and email id is visible to others. Many users prefer giving phone number using services like Viber to keep their actual number private.
You can buy in three ways:
1. Find ‘Ali Source’ Suppliers
Post buying requests and suppliers will send you quotes in 24 hours.
You can also hire a purchasing agent. Send your requirement to the agent who will help you find the right supplier for the products you are looking for.
Ali Source Pro is a great service newly launched by Alibaba.
2. Find a supplier of your choice
You can contact suppliers by clicking ‘contact supplier’ button, by contacting on phone/fax or by chatting. It’s better to check the mini site of suppliers, the link to which is given in the listings, to know their credibility.
There are three kinds of suppliers to choose from:
Trade assurance suppliers: Gold suppliers who participate in Alibaba’s Trade Assurance Program.
Gold suppliers: Verified by third party agencies and who have passed the A&V check or onsite check.
It is a smart decision to use Terapeak as a tool to identify hot selling and profitable products listed on Alibaba. This will save you countless hours of research as Terapeak will provide you real data about these products and will suggest suitable suppliers as well. This is just like hiring a market research expert.
Assessed suppliers: Suppliers are verified by a third party.
3. Alibaba Wholesale
For purchasing products in low MOQ, purchase online at ‘Alibaba Wholesale’.
‘Buy Now’ button is available in ‘Wholesaler’ only.
Use RFQ ( Request for Quotation) service by Alibaba to submit your buying requests. Multiple suppliers will contact you. This is quite a smart way to save time searching for suppliers yourself. You can use both free and paid service.
About Buyer Safety
The reason why Alibaba is the most preferred marketplace is that they have measures in place to ensure genuine deals. Inspection service (third party) at Alibaba is the surest way to avoid the risk of purchasing counterfeit goods and to make it sure that the products delivered meet the quality standards.
Before placing any order you can use the inspection service by hiring an inspector from the list provided who charge somewhere between 100 dollars to 400 dollars depending upon the kind of inspection you want them to undertake.
Alibaba recommends to make payment to Alibaba and not directly to the inspectors. Alibaba releases the payment to the inspectors only if you are satisfied with their service.
2. Safe sourcing
Alibaba offers two plans to protect buyers: Trade Assurance and Secure Payment.
You should buy from gold suppliers as gold suppliers are verified by third party agencies. Even then, you should use these services:
Trade Assurance: It is a free service that gives 100% protection for product quality and on-time shipment. You can avail of this service while buying from only those suppliers who are Trade Assurance partners.
Secure Payment: To get covered under Secure Payment you have to buy from ‘Alibaba Wholesale’ only.
Here’s the screenshot taken from Alibaba site:
Watch this video:
Services like ‘warehouse to warehouse’ delivery by air and ‘door to door’ express delivery service (for products less than 45 kgs) are offered to import from China to India.
You can also avail of LCL (Less than Container Load) service where your shipment is shared with other importers in the same container.
You also have the option to contact the supplier to discuss about other shipping options.
Calculate your shipping charges before placing the order.
What is FOB and CIF price?
These are international shipping agreements between buyers and sellers for transporting the goods.
CIF (Costs Insurance Freight):
Costs and insurance of goods are borne by the seller. Responsibility of the goods in transit till they reach buyer destination is solely of the supplier.
FOB (Freight On Board or Free On Board)
Delivery is considered complete when seller ships the products to the destination port. Here buyer has all the liability for risk of loss or damage in transit. He will bear all the costs including costs of insurance.
For in depth study about CIF and FOB you must read this article in investopedia.
Important things to keep in mind while using Alibaba:
- Find and deal with Chinese suppliers only.
- Finalize the category of product(s) you want to import. Make a list of unique products that have less competition in India and have a great potential. Highly competitive products have low profitability. You can find the list of latest trending items here: Trending import items from China to India
- Avoid buying heavy, bulky, costly and technically complex items. Instead, start with small, light weight products that are easy to ship.
- Buy from manufacturers directly and not from traders. Try to purchase from top suppliers.
- Make it sure to buy samples before placing your order. Sell these samples offline and get feedback from the customers.
- Before ordering, ask supplier about per piece rate, total weight, size and no. of cartons etc. to calculate the shipping costs. It’s better to compare shipping charges of different logistic solutions. For reselling these products online in India, calculate all the charges you will have to bear. After evaluating all the costs combined, fix the MRP.
- With most of suppliers, MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) and price is negotiable. So, don’t hesitate while asking for lesser quantity and for better price. But remember, don’t be pushy as Chinese don’t like that.
- Chinese don’t feel comfortable with English language, so don’t use complex words while communicating with them.
- Always have a choice. Check different suppliers before you finalize dealing with the best one.
Import from China to India using AliExpress
Aliexpress is a wholesale site owned and operated by Alibaba.
Advantages of buying from AliExpress:
- You can purchase wholesale goods as low as 1 item.
- Your purchase is covered with Aliexpress buyer protection service.
- Indian buyers can pay with Visa & Master cards, bank transfer.
- Multiple shipping options are available but most of the sellers offer free delivery service to Indian buyers.
You just need to enter email address and password to create account.
Here’s the screenshot taken form AliExpress official site:
- Carefully study terms, details about condition of the item & return policy before making a purchase.
- Contact the supplier for negotiation if you feel the price is higher.
This is what AliExpress has to advise all the buyers:
In India Paytm has partnered with Alibaba and Shopclues has partnered with DHGate to make Chinese products available in India. Customers will be able to make payment in Indian rupees. But, importing directly from Alibaba will still be an ideal choice.
If you are serious about making big money by selling online, make plans to start importing from China and to resell on marketplaces or your online store. You have to be very careful while selecting suppliers, so follow the guidelines before purchasing killer products.