Sourcing Promotional Goods in China – The 5 Things You Need to Know

Sourcing Promotional Goods in China - The 5 Things You Need to Know


The most important reason to purchase directly from China is likely to have cost. However, there is no guarantee that suppliers selling directly to the end-users in Europe as well as the US will have the most competitive prices since these can be adjusted according to the market. A broker, usually with more purchasing power and larger quantities, is in a position to provide prices comparable or better than prices that a Chinese supplier would provide. Furthermore, as all business in Asia is done in USD the fluctuation in exchange rates can cause the cost of goods and services. An experienced sourcing business will generally take a defensive approach or at least have a notion of where exchange rates are headed. Also, there is the cost of shipping and import duties that are not usually factored into the cost of items purchased from abroad. The price of certain goods (such as flash memory items) can be extremely unpredictable and may alter over the period of the purchase.

Lead Time

The length of lead time is often the most important element in selecting which supplier to choose from in China. Large deliveries that can’t be shipped by air will typically remain at the sea for between 30 and 40 days and may take up to a week in order to be cleared through customs. It’s not a good idea if you require the branded tins to hold an occasion that’s in two weeks! Local suppliers can assist in many ways. For one, local suppliers occasionally have stocks of the raw material and branding could be carried out in the country where it is delivered. For example, screen or pad printing providers are pretty widespread, but there could be some differences in the price of this service however as the main expense is the product it shouldn’t result in an increase of any significant amount. A reputable sourcing company can also reduce the time to ship in the event that there’s no other choice. Bulk deals are typically made with shippers to negotiate lower costs. on smaller shipping than a container, there are air freight options that can cost a reasonable amount. Customs clearance through the agent for a business that specializes in imports from abroad is usually much faster and hassle-free than trying to make a single import.

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Communication / Customer Service

Chinese people are very honorable and hardworking overall. This is an assumption that is not a good thing, but there is a genuine attitude to work, efficiency as well as a willingness in China, for instance, that is not as prevalent in Western Europe. But, there’s no escaping the reality that English isn’t the primary native language for an employee who is from Shenzen (or any of the manufacturing regions in China). At most, they’ll be receiving additional training in English however until your Cantonese (or more importantly Mandarin) is adequate, you may struggle to communicate, and tensions may develop. Cultural differences could mean that something that is easy for people who are European cannot be understood by the Chinese. It is also a significant problem with time zones in that, by the time an employee in London is at work there are just 2 or 3 hours remaining in China. This can be utilized to your advantage in cases where orders are made late in the day. It is usually possible to receive confirmation and proofs early in the day. However, any modifications will typically be delayed for 24 hours. It’s not unusual for the longest time in production to be the process of communicating what your client needs.

Credit Terms

Credit isn’t something most Chinese firms offer. Even the most solid companies are required to provide huge deposits and a balance prior to shipping for orders of less than $10,000 or less. The most common method of payment for anything over just a few thousand dollars is to use a letter of credit. This type of contract is that is drawn up by a bank for trade finance that specifies the specifications of the product and promises that it will pay the amount stipulated upon the arrival of the item at the destination of the recipient’s choice. The contract may be quite elaborate, with not just specifics regarding quantities, tolerances, as well as technical specifications for the item itself. This is in essence a guarantee to both parties that if the product is in accordance with the agreed amount is paid. This document will also provide information regarding insurance. The shipping of goods across the Far East is not completely risk-free – piracy and storms, or accidents, could cause the sudden loss of your container filled with branded electronic equipment. So a watertight policy of insurance is demanded by the bank that is the guarantor of the bond.

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Goods that are suitable for the job

The final thing you’d like to do to happen is only to discover that they’re not in any way suitable for the task. For instance, bad memory chips in flash drives can make them inoperable or printing issues on promotional tins can require them to be redesigned. More serious are safety issues, such as tin items that are sold must be food-safe. This means that extensive tests are required to confirm that the levels of harmful chemicals and metals are within permissible levels. Importing products that do not comply with these standards (and possess the proper certification) could mean that at the most, they will be impounded and in the worst-case scenario, a substantial fine for violating these laws. If you’re working to deadlines, receiving goods that are not in compliance can result in a complete catastrophe.


Be sure to select the right Far East supplier and making sure they are experienced in the type of order you’re placing can go a long way to ensure flawless production of your customized promotional products. There are many benefits to the procurement of products in-house when your business has the funds to invest in the process. However, it is important to work with a local specialist sourcing business that can save you from the hassle of working with a supplier from the opposite side of the globe but also save you money in a longer time. Select a company that has qualifications and has an understanding of the goods you’re purchasing and the manufacturing processes that are involved.

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