Importing from China


Finding a supplier:

There are a number of options as far as finding a Chinese supplier is concerned. We will lay out and break down the basics below:

Use the internet – Websites such as “Alibaba” and “Made in China” are not ideal but are not the worst of places to begin. As a rule of thumb, only contact suppliers that have a gold status rating as well as third party verification. This will not only reduce the risk of fraudulent mishaps but in most cases is a sign of a serious, well geared and quality supplier [there are of course exceptions]

Visit your supplier – Depending on the value of your intended import, you may want to fly out to your supplier or suppliers, once you have drawn up a short list. This is never a bad idea, provided the value of your intended import warrants such a trip. Also, remember to use your trip wisely and visit as many as possible.

Visit a fair – Many of our clients will contact us after attending a Chinese trade fair. Although most often rather costly, this can be a great way to locate suppliers as well as generate import opportunity ideas.


Dealing with your supplier:


  • Always be very clear as to what you are looking for. Should a certain standard apply, let them know this upfront.
  • Use as simple language as possible.
  • Ask all of your questions at once – do not waste your or the suppliers time with countless emails too and fro.
  • Indicate you order quantities upfront. Most Chinese suppliers / manufactures will have minimum order quantities.
  • If minimum order quantities are too high, ask if they can refer you to a wholesaler of their products.
  • Always state that you are contacting them from South Africa.
  • Always ask for two separate prices [EXW and FOB] – this is important as it will affect your import costs.
  • Always ask for the packaging sizes and dimensions – without this it is impossible to calculate any freight and land side charges.
  • As a rule, do not ask for delivery to SA, this is invariably quoted incorrectly and will cost you more in the long run.
  • Once you have completed the above steps it is time to submit a fast quote form – contact MALBE



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