Import of smartphones from China

China is the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer. In 2013, China produced 423 million units and the majority of them were exported to foreign markets. New models keep coming out and the demand is still rising. Import of smartphones from China needs some preparation, like getting to know Chinese smartphone features and deciding which fits our needs.

Import of smartphones from China – duty regulations, useful tips

In theory, the importer can purchase smartphones of three types: the first category is OEM products; the second is Chinese brands; the third is foreign brands manufactured in China. The last category should not be taken into consideration from the very beginning because foreign brands have their own channels of distribution. Smartphones sold by Chinese trading companies are usually fake ones. Let’s analyze two former categories.

OEM smartphones from China

OEM business is relatively easy. It stands for “original equipment manufacturer”. The Chinese company produces customized smartphones according to the foreign company’s wish. The product has a Western brand, the Western company sometimes participates in the design process and may be responsible for smartphone software. The Chinese market is very competitive and flexible – almost every kind of delivery requirement can be met.

Chinese smartphones

Another solution is to distribute the products of some dynamically growing Chinese brands. For example, Xiaomi was hyped comparably to iPhone popularity in the West. There are several other companies, such as Meizu, Oppo, Jiayu, and Gionee. The products of those companies are significantly cheaper than the corresponding products of Samsung or HTC. As far as memory cards, version of the Android operating system, and camera capabilities are concerned, these models do not fall behind the world’s high-end smartphones, but there can always be some issues. The operating system and applications are usually not optimized, so apps crash or work slowly.

Chinese OEM smartphones use cheaper chipsets manufactured by Taiwanese company Mediatek. Most of the world’s high-end devices use faster and more reliable chipsets from the Qualcomm Snapdragon series. From the end-user point of view, this difference can be important in the case of some 3D games and is almost non-visible in daily usage.

Chinese OEM producers cannot offer after-sale services and warranty repairs abroad. You have to find a suitable solution for your clients. Otherwise, every technical problem will seriously undermine your reputation.

Chinese smartphones can suit the needs of various users. Dual SIM is a well-known feature, but in several models, you can enjoy four SIM cards (quad SIM). Smartwatches? Less than half a year after the Galaxy Gear by Samsung appeared on the market, Chinese firms manufactured a variety of smartwatches. The phones may also be equipped with shock-proof and waterproof casting, but in order to know their real capabilities, we should have them certified by an independent research agency (such as IP57 – waterproof).

What is the duty rate for smartphones from China?

European and American duty rate for smartphones is 0%. The VAT tax rate may vary.

Where to source Chinese smartphones from?

The order can be placed online: Alibaba and Aliexpress are the best-known B2B sites, the former is used for big deals, the latter – for private orders. Of course, we should remember basic safety measures, only the usage of professional verifying tools may help us to determine the identity of our Chinese counterpart.

We have already analyzed the import of electronic devices in the previous blog posts: Guide for Importers of Electronic Equipment and Tablets from China.