Buying Product Direct from China For those of us in the home retailing business, we know that sooner or later, we’ll need to buy product direct from the manufacturer in order to get the best prices. To really go back in the supply chain, this means buying direct from Chinese manufacturers. There is still quite a bit of cost and uncertainty about finding China suppliers, flying to China, scheduling appointments with them, and figuring out how to buy their products for your business. It also takes a bit of work to find suppliers that will deal in smaller quantities. There are many ways to do this work and one is to go where there will be thousands of booths of Chinese manufacturers under one roof. Global Sources China Sourcing Fairs If you need to source products from China, the best way to meet face-to-face with suppliers you haven’t met before is to go to a trade show. The Global Sources China Sourcing Fair: Electronics & Components from April 12-15, 2007 in Hong Kong (www.chinasourcingfair.com) is an excellent opportunity to meet hundreds of direct manufacturers of: Consumer Electronics, Digital Entertainment, In-car electronics, Computer & Networking, WiFi & VoIP Products, Personal Care Electronics, Security & Safety & much more. Global Sources runs other shows in April for Fashion Accessories, Swimwear and Accessories, and Gifts and Home Products. Target Potential Suppliers When you start walking the show floor, you’ll need to gauge which suppliers have products you’re interested in sourcing. You’re likely to find several suppliers with similar products and you can & should talk to all of them. You need to ask lots of questions. For example, some suppliers have minimum order quantities of i.e., 2,000 for an MP4 player, which may be out of your range. Others may have 60 day lead times before they ship products. Once you have sorted through the suppliers and determined who you can work with, then it’s time to start the process of getting quotes, minimum order requirements, lead times for orders, etc.. You’ll also need a freight forwarder or customs broker to help get the product to the U.S. You may want to talk to a few before you make the trip to understand the logistics of it. Seminars for people new to sourcing from China In addition to meeting with the suppliers, the show also gives folks the chance to learn how to source product from China & Asia via a free conference program. Getting started is half the battle and these conference sessions may help you get moving in the right direction, especially the seminar called “Buying from China: What new buyers need to know”. Hong Kong as a show venue Hong Kong is easily accessible from anywhere by plane. It’s also a world-class city with all the amenities/food/sights that we need when flying halfway across the world. And, most everyone in the city speaks English, making it an easy trip. I’ll be there! I’ll be going to this show myself this coming April. If you can make it to the show, pre-register now at the show’s website at www.chinasourcingfair.com. Send me an email that you’re going and then we may be able to set up a meeting at the venue. If you can’t make it, we’ll post video footage on the site in late April, focusing mainly on what it takes to work with China suppliers. We’re new to this, so we’ll be asking all the questions and we’ll get the answers for you. Please email us any questions you’d like us to get answered. Year round sourcing If you’re not able to go to Hong Kong for the China Sourcing Fair in April, you can also use Global Sources website (www.GlobalSources.com) year-round. Or request a free sample copy of one of the Global Sources magazines at www.GlobalSources.com/magazines. It’s a great website for identifying potential suppliers, viewing products that they manufacture, and for emailing, chatting with, or even calling (for free!) the manufacturers. Yes, you won’t be able to meet them face-to-face, but it’s a great way to start identifying China suppliers and getting started working with them.

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