A consultant who works out of Vietnam sent me a link to a download for a guide to sourcing in China and he asked me what I thought of it since the price is cheap, only $ 149.00. The guide is being marketed as guide to qualified suppliers in China. The company behind the guide promises that it can find one qualified suppliers, advise one on necessary inspections and testing and also on shipping rates. I looked over the website and the two people, self styled western “entrepreneurs” who are selling the guide have a combined seven years of experience in China. That is not a long time at all. My friend Andrew and I have a combined 50 years of experience in China. Anyway there are probably many people who are thinking about starting business and want to source in China and look at this and think “ wow, this looks great, and it is only $ 149.00” In fact the consultant who sent it to me I think had the same first impression and that is why he wanted to run it by me. So let’s look at it.
The company promises to find you qualified suppliers in 72 hours. Impossible. There are tens of thousands of suppliers over hundreds of industries in China. It takes a while to find qualified suppliers. It can take years. Even when you think a supplier is qualified you may do a few orders with them and find out they are not e.g. when your orders get bigger and they cannot handle them. The best way to find qualified suppliers is to do orders with vendors, visit them, build your relationships based on mutual benefit.
The company promises to confirm which regulations and or testing you need to do. Product testing and regulation can be a real minefield, not to mention that requirements vary from customer to customer. If you want to find out which tests you need to do you should discuss with your customer and the CPSIA or testing lab directly. Don’t rely on someone else to give you this info.
The company promises to figure the total cost of your order. Costs on a China order always seem to go up for some reason, usually because the vendor figures out they are not making as much money as they want to. Often what you think an order will cost is not what it ends up costing.
Anyway as I wrote to the person who sent me the link: “China is just a darned difficult place to do business. If someone tells you you can make it easy or eliminate risk by paying $ 149.00 for a “report” they are just misleading you.
POSTCRIPT: After I wrote this my Vietnam sourcing contact wrote me and told me that the company had lowered the price on the report to $ 99.00. I guess at $ 149.00 they had few takers.