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It would seem to me that with the expertise displayed by most of the people in this forum...the membership here could go a long way in balancing the trade deficit the rest of the world has with China.
Shipping into the mainland is pretty easy, as long as you're shipping to the airport. Shipping dock to dock is harder. Our distributor had to set up a separate import/export company in order to do this.
Since we only sell through one main distributor there, we haven't worried about credit card fraud, although we have had problems because it seems Chinese credit cards (at least the ones our customer uses) do not automatically convert currency, so they need to load US dollars on to the card. That's my understand anyway, but there is a language barrier there.
Sticky me if you need further info!
Oh yeah, no wood pallets or crates...China has banned them because of some wood beetle...:)
However, with 6 billion+ population it is hard to ignore.
More like 1.3 billion. 6+ Billion is the world's population.
Set up a spreadsheet with all your risk factors and figure out how much work is it going to take for you to make your first million from China shipping products IN.
Forget the 1.3 billion people story. Most of them are in the villagers. The booming economies of the special economic zones are where the money is... even there, a small fraction have access to small overseas credit cards.
Now, set up another spreadsheet and figure out how much work it is going to take for you to bring products OUT of China.
Unless you're in a serious B2B niche, forget about sending products in. If you're in a serious B2B niche, get ready to invest (chinese way of saying .. loose money for a few years) while they reinvent your product.
I'm assuming you're not with Boeing, Nokia, IBM or SUN.. if you are, my post does not apply. Same goes for the poker, porno and pills market...
China is primarily peasant population - that 1.3 billion is more like the average US buying markets [100+ million]
Not to say that it still isn't lucative just that your 'target' is likely reserved to industrial centers.
It might be worth hooking up with them for more insight - pm and will send details.
Regarding to payment options, many Chinese banks are issuing CC. Many of them can only be used in China (Chinese Yuan CC). But still a lot of them are standard CC. But most Chinese are used to pay by debit card (because CC does not have password). If you are serious about your Chinese business, consider accepting Chinese debit card as one payment option. The pro is, for debit card, you'll seldom face charge back problem. The con is you have to set up another payment platform (or lease one). PM me for details.
I buy regulary via Internet. Usually I require to declare less than 30 USD, they ship via major couriers (DHL/TNT/Fedex/UPS) and - never any problems.
2Checkout does NOT accept Chinese CC.
Buying power is not bad in coastal areas and major cities (Beijing/Shanghai/Guanzhou path).
There is almost zero buying power for Internet sales in inland of China.
There is no market to sell any copyrighted material (CD, DVD), i.e. I can buy any movie on DVD for 85 cents. Software might have market if it has some aded value like www support etc., otherwise no chance.
Some items here are much more expansive than on Ebay, so big potential market too.
It is very easy for Chinese also to pay via Western Union, they can easily buy USD from black changemens and also officially. So they do not need CC. But if you'd request WU payment from me, used to use CC payment, I would not bother, too much hassle.