What not to import from China?

For years, import from China has enjoyed the interest of entrepreneurs who strive to increase their companies’ competitiveness. It’s a beneficial business, but simultaneously it’s easy to make mistakes (especially for inexperienced importers). These can result in severe consequences for a company. Below, we answer which products are better to avoid when importing to minimize the risk.

What may not be worth importing?

Products of famous brands

Importing and selling goods of widespread brands, such as Apple, Nike, Adidas, Samsung, or Sony, without obtaining a special permit from the trademark’s owner is illegal. Thus, it’s subjected to high financial penalties. Acquiring a license may be highly time-consuming and problematic. Moreover, it’s nearly impossible in the case of brands with designated exclusive distributors.

You should always verify their Chinese supplier, even if your business partner claims to have permission to manufacture goods with a specific company’s logo. At all times, an importer is responsible for obtaining permission to place goods on the market. You should remember that even if a product is manufactured in a Chinese factory, it’s later sent to a company’s headquarters in the USA (or another location). Then it’s distributed worldwide.

If you want to buy an enormous amount of a branded product in China, you must do it via official distributors. However, their prices might not be beneficial for you. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the Chinese counterfeit market is extensive. If you somehow encounter some cheaper “branded” goods, they’re likely fake. They often closely resemble the original products and are of equal quality. Therefore, you must stay aware and verify your supplier to avoid getting scammed.

Seasonal products

When importing seasonal products, you should remember that time is crucial. Not many people are aware of the risks stemming from importing such goods. Importing from China is a long-term process that demands prior planning: finding a reliable supplier, inspecting a factory and products, and, most sensibly, ordering samples up to a few months before. 

Seasonal products are popular only temporarily, usually once a year for a short period. When a “hit of the season” appears on the market, it’s already too late to start searching for a Chinese supplier. You have to keep in mind that “a trend” cannot pass until your products arrive. Truthfully, there is no way to protect yourself from this kind of situation. An importer will have to reckon with the losses.

Thus, if you consider importing seasonal products, you must survey what will become popular in the following season in advance.

Raw materials

When importing raw materials from China to the European Union, one must know all the applicable requirements. Various permits will or will not apply to your product, depending on the raw material. For example, if you’d like to import steel from China, you need to remember that an additional payment of the anti-dumping duty will be applied. It’s been implemented to restrict importing Chinese steel to the EU and reduce competition for the European manufacturers of this raw material.

Keep in mind that looking for raw materials suppliers on the Internet is often pointless. Most likely, you’ll have to plan a trip to China and, for example, attend trade fairs. This way, you can get acquainted with the suppliers’ offers and check their goods’ quality. It’s also an excellent opportunity to converse with a seller face-to-face, negotiate, and establish a business relationship.

Low-margin products

If you decide to import many products, find goods that will benefit you. Remember that apart from the costs of your products, you also must consider the costs of quality control, transportation, and customs clearance. If you’re looking for the cheapest products in China, stay aware of the competition that will often sell goods for non-favorable prices. Thus, analyze the competition, your potential recipients, and their needs, and search for high-margin products.

Complicated goods

When you choose a particular item to import, it should be a product you’re familiar with and won’t cause any future problems. Before importing, entrepreneurs should check all the regulations they have to deal with. You must know what certificates are required for import, duty rates’ values, how to mark your product correctly, and whether a manual is necessary.

Furthermore, many products imported from China require accordance with the European Union’s directives. It can be complicated, especially when importing goods classified as dangerous.

Pricey goods

Before importing from China, you must assess your budget and adjust interesting products accordingly. In the case of a low budget, don’t look for expensive unit goods. Instead, try finding a suitable niche. Think about how you can upgrade your product and what to add to it to differentiate yourself from the competition.

What not to import from China? – Summary

Before importing from China, it’s worth conducting thorough research on a product that interests you. After all, choosing the right product is the first step toward success. In the beginning, find out when selling it will be the most beneficial, whether you can acquire all essential permits and certificates and for what additional costs you must prepare. Check which goods are worth importing from China.