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Importing electronics from China 101: what you need to get started

What are the risks of importing electronics from China? Why are most electronics made in China? All these burning questions will be answered, along with the basics of how to buy electronics from China and how to get the best deal. Let’s dive in.

Clea Sherman
February 8, 2023

When it comes to wholesale electronics, China is the world’s top producer. This manufacturing superpower has been the long-term hub for everything from cassette players to VR headsets.

If you’re an Australian retailer who deals in electronics, odds are you’ll be looking to China as your source.

With this in mind, take a look at why China is the world’s largest electronics producer and the best way to import them into Australia.

Why are most electronics made in China?

China is known as, according to Investopedia, “the world’s factory.” It is not only electronics that are largely manufactured in China but almost any other non-consumable product you can think of.

Why are electronics made in China? The reasons behind the country’s current dominance in manufacturing are complex, but these four points are the most significant in explaining how China has come to dominate:

  • High abundance of low-wage workers
  • A business ecosystem heavily geared towards manufacturing
  • A more permissive regulatory environment
  • Possible (though only rumoured) artificial depressing of the Chinese currency to keep the price of goods lower

Risks of importing electronics from China

Before you figure out how to buy electronics from China, it’s important to think about the risks involved.

These can include:

  • Importing goods that don’t work and will be returned by your customers (this can impact your reputation as a retailer)
  • Not receiving the goods you expected (or not receiving them at all)
  • Paying too much for your goods
  • Dealing with a manufacturer who isn’t reliable, won’t communicate effectively and doesn’t deliver what you asked
  • Waiting too long for shipping
  • Paying too much for insurance or shipping
  • Not having enough room for storage when your shipment arrives
  • Not having a market for your products in Australia
  • Shipments getting lost or damaged in transit
  • Rules around the exclusivity of product sales
  • Being unclear about the taxes involved

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to get things wrong. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t successfully import electronics from a reliable manufacturer, provided you know who to buy from and follow the right process.

How to buy electronics from China as a retailer

There are lots of ways to buy electronics from China to support your retail business in Australia or another country:

Use online marketplaces specific to China:  

Online marketplaces like Alibaba, Global Sources and Made-in-China are popular as a source of wholesale Chinese products. While the range and buying options are extensive, you can’t always be sure who you are dealing with, and the quality of the product is not always assured. It’s often a case of buyer beware, especially if you’re not experienced.

Find out more: Importing from Alibaba to Australia

Contact Chinese manufacturers:

Dealing with manufacturers can be a way to feel more confident about what you are receiving; however, it does take a lot of time. It won’t be easy unless you speak the language, for instance, and knowing who to contact in the first place is a challenge right from the start.

Work with a qualified sourcing agent:

While the above options can give you access to wholesale electronics from China, the best way to shop for electronics from China as a retailer is to use a professional and experienced sourcing agent.

Here’s why:

  • With a sourcing agent, you know you will get what you paid for and not an inferior product because they will vet all your suppliers and products will be tested.
  • You won't have to worry about any language barriers. A sourcing agent will have fluent Chinese speakers on the ground in China to deal with manufacturers for you.
  • A sourcing agent will liaise with manufacturers and make sure they are ethically responsible, so you know you are not contributing to the ill-treatment of low-wage staff or to environmental and ecological issues.
  • They will be able to negotiate on price to get you the best deals.
  • Your sourcing agent can manage ordering and shipping so the electronics you purchase do not go through multiple carriers and end up costing you more.
  • Your sourcing agent will help you to understand and manage insurance and import taxes.

If you are still wondering how to buy electronics from China, the answer is to work with a sourcing agent. This approach will take the stress and confusion out of the experience so you can get the best value for money and maximise your profits as a retailer.

Why choose Epic Sourcing?

At Epic Sourcing, we eliminate the frustrations Australian businesses face when importing electronics and other goods from China and other parts of Asia. We offer fully customised sourcing solutions to reduce costs and minimise hassle. Our team can put you in touch with reputable suppliers and walk you through any stage of the sourcing journey.

Ready to start importing electronics from China? Contact Epic Sourcing today.

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How to find reliable suppliers in China

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