Buying/Importing from China & India
October 14, 2011 8:59 AM   Subscribe

I want to buy products from Chinese and Indian suppliers to sell on my popular web site. I don’t have any buying experience and I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can. But so far I haven’t been able to find anyone with actual experience who is willing to advise me (and I have tried SCORE). And the advice I’ve found on the net has been too general and often not very credible. I also want to buy merchandise that is a little unusual, like stepper motors and CNC controllers. I’ve used services like DHgate and IndiaMart to identify potential vendors but I have no clue about what to ask and how to word my inquires so I don’t sound completely clueless. At this point I just want to find out if I can buy products at prices that will make selling them worthwhile. And if I do go ahead I want to start with some small orders. Will most manufacturers accept $500 to $1000 orders for items that cost $20-$50? Do you have any other advice you can give me?
posted by someonesomewhere to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
A friend of mine learned to deal with a Chinese supplier by working with another friend whose company already bought from Chinese vendors. They shared contacts, and my experienced friend gave the impression that the new business should be treated well if the old business was to be retained. This bridging got my inexperienced friend off on a good start with the Chinese contact and he was also able to see how to word things, ask for things, etc.
posted by michaelh at 10:35 AM on October 14, 2011

I have a good friend who took over her father's industrial components import business about five or six years ago. The company imports from China and Taiwan and, under her care, the company has flourished. I will ask her if she'd be willing to offer advice or insights. If so, I'll memail you.

One thing that has, no doubt, helped her a great deal is that she speaks fluent Mandarin.
posted by bz at 10:48 PM on October 14, 2011

That would be great bz, even if she was willing to talk for fifteen minutes with me.
posted by 14580 at 2:26 PM on October 15, 2011

I sent her a note. I'll let you know.
posted by bz at 11:42 AM on October 16, 2011

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