Common Mistakes Importers May Make When Importing From China

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Table of Contents

There are some common mistakes that are easy to overlook when importing products from China for the first time. Due to these mistakes, you may lose a lot of money. In this article, I will tell you what these mistakes are and how to avoid them.

Mistakes & Solutions

Following is a list of common mistakes and the solutions to avoid them.

Mistake 1: Using the Wrong Shipping Mode

Assuming shipping by sea is the most cost-save option, and this is a mistake that many new importers will make. They believe that if they ship the products by sea, then they will have a leg up to the competition. However, it always doesn’t work that way. The truth is unless you ship in large quantity outside of China, then it can be cheaper to ship by air.


  • Shipping by sea is not always your first choice . You need to consider different shipping modes according to the product quantity, lead time and so on.
  • Find multiple freight forwarders to quote and choose the one that best meets your requirements.
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Mistake 2: Not Checking the Applicable Rules and Regulations

Knowing the trade rules for the product you are importing is part of the import process. Different countries have different standards for products. And it is very common that the products produced by Chinese manufacturers can’t meet international standards of the target markets. As a result, though the importers have received the products, they still can’t sell them and the importers have to take the loss.


  • Investigate not only the import laws of the importing country, but also the regulations that apply to the product of your target markets before importation.
  • Ask your supplier to provide the needed certificates to you and verify the authenticity.
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Mistake 3: Being Attracted by Low Price

Importers choose to import from China for a low price. Firstly, they may have some suppliers on list for reference and get some quotes from them. Some importers are easily attracted by the low price, but ignore the quality of the products. As a result, they may receive a batch of poor-quality products.


  • Order a sample and check the sample quality.
  • Price is not the only factor you need to consider when choosing a supplier, you should also figure out the production capacity of the supplier.
  • Check the reviews from other buyers.

Mistake 4: No Background Check on the Suppliers

It is very common that many Chinese trading companies pretend to be manufacturers. As middlemen, trading companies may not have the capability to control the whole manufacturing process, thus, neither delivery time nor product quality can be guaranteed. And many importers have been scammed by dishonest suppliers by various means.


  • Hire a third-party agent like SinoInspection to help you verify the supplier.
  • Conduct an on-site factory audit to check the manufacturing capacity.
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Mistake 5: No Quality Inspection

If you import multiple products from multiple suppliers, you can’t ensure all the products can meet your requirements because manufacturing and supply chain are hugely complicated. One change of a worker or a change of the raw materials can cause mass production problems. If you don’t stop and deal with these problems, you importers have to pay for these problems. However, many importers tend to neglect this important process. Following is a scammed experience shared by one of the visitors on our website:

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  • Don’t trust your suppliers’ production capacity just based on the pictures you see.
  • Inspect product quality during the manufacturing process via video conference or hire a quality inspection service. Also, inspect product quality before shipment again.

Mistake 6: No Planning

Importing from China is a pretty straifht forward business mode. However, many importers will not make a good plan for the importation in advance. As a result, they may fall into the following quandaries. A. Overestimate the profit margin B. No sufficient capital to complete the purchase plans C. Miscalculate the stock


  • Clearly calculate the land cost, sale cost and net margin.
  • Forecast ahead of Chinese holidays to solve the inventory problem.

Mistake 7: Bad Negotiation

China has an extremely old rich and complex history and things are often not as they seen apparently. Cultural differences may result in bad negotiation, thus you think your supplier has fully understood your needs, but that may not be the case. Relationship is highly important in China, thus,negotiating a good relationship with your supplier can benefit you a lot. And many importers just negotiate prices . As long as the price is right, the negotiation is done. Finally, even if you think it’s been agreed, there’s no record since many importers don’t get the negotiation result in writing.


  • Pay attention to differences in cultures and build a strong relationship with your supplier for long-term cooperation.
  • Negotiate everything such as exact specification, packaging, lead time and so on, not just the price ,and make sure you get everything in writing.
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Keep the mentioned mistakes in mind to make your importation more smoothly. And if you have any problems when importing from China, please contact us for help.

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