Import From China Business

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A practical guide for starting a small business

Product Requirements

Importance of Product Requirements

Getting the product right is vital to your Import from China Business. You must be able to translate what the customers want to your supplier accurately.  The supplier will take your product requirements and convert them into a manufacturing process.  

The goal is to deliver a product that mirrors what the customers need and willing to pay.  This will allow you to make a profit by importing from China.  Done incorrectly, you could end up with a product that is what you ask for but not necessary what you need.

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6 Influences on Product Requirements

Every product will be influenced by a number of factors which will impact the product requirements.  Here are some situations to be aware of:

1. Point of Purchase

Describe the location where the goods are purchased by your customers. Will the product be part of a multilevel shelf with hundreds of other products similar to a grocery store?  Will the product be individually displayed in a boutique with individual product demonstrations?  These factors will likely influence the design and configuration of the product that you wish to import from China.

2. Export Requirements

Are there any export requirements that you are aware of from your country of origin?  Do you need to consider the type of materials to use in your product?  How will wastes need to be processed?  It is better to know these export requirements early.  You can factor this in during your discussions with the supplier from China.

3. Transport Requirements

It is vital to know how your product will be transported during the export import process.  Do you have special handling requirements such as those for fragile products?  Do they need to be packaged in a certain way?  All these factors need to be conveyed to the product supplier and shipper.

4. Customs and Other Agency Requirements

Does the Customs department in your local country have any specific requirements for your product before they are permitted to enter? Marking and labeling requirements are common.   So you need to beware of these factors which will have a profound effect on your product definition.

5. Seasonality

Is there a seasonality to your product?  Is it primary used in the spring as in a gardening product?  Is it for teen proms during graduation time? The fluctuations in seasonal demand should be taken into consideration as it drives manufacturing and delivery of the goods.

6. Sales Requirements

Are there any unique sales requirements for your product which require consideration?  By understanding your local market for your product and how the product will be marketed, you will be able to determine the product requirements.  For instance, will you need sample or trial sizes? Will the product be sold in singles or in multiples.  Lipsticks and other cosmetics are often sold in color themes or product combinations.

To ensure that your import from China business is successful, you should take into consideration the above 6 factors as you are developing your product requirements with your supplier in China.


Product Design & Specifications

There are various elements concerning the product that will influence the product design and specifications.

Production Related Matters

Raw materials

Even though your products will be manufactured in China, you will still need to know where the raw materials come from. What is the typical markup for the raw materials?


What is the condition of the manufacturing plant? Is it modern and clean or is it dirty and unorganized?  Who will be working in the factory to produce your products?  Do they involve child labor?  Is the workforce stable?  How much do the workers typically get paid?  Does the manufacturing process require the factory to use unproven manufacturing techniques?  What is the definition of a quality product? Make sure that your supplier is in alignment with your expectations.

You must protect your investment and clearly have many of these issues documented and worked out with your Chinese supplier.