FAQ: HOW DO YOU MAKE IT WORK?
My product is restricted for sale because of [qualifications/consumer law/tariffs/quotas/food products/scientific submissions] in China and can’t be imported. How can you do this through personal exemptions?
If you travel abroad from Canada, you can bring back items in your luggage – duty free and legally – that would be difficult to import in bulk. The same is true for China for online direct-to-consumer deliveries, provided that they are imported by a registered agent like CAC. This is a formal process codified in law in 2015.
Chinese bulk import laws are notoriously cumbersome – our method completely bypasses that for small or midsized importers like you.
How well do you know my market?
Our flagship product is a prestigious Canadian health supplement brand. Our online customers have money, are accustomed to online ordering, and demand a variety of other products. We have approached you because it is a segment we have identified as in demand by our existing customer base.
I have a TMall shop and reach most of China's consumers from there. What more can you offer?
There is so much more to success in China than TMall! Every product in the country starts there, but if that's all you do, you will not be profitable. TMall's cost structure is just too high, and it is too easy to find competing products.
To really succeed in China, your product needs some combination of:
on-ground, person-to-person sales through a trusted network
placement in stores (we can do this even for health products that cannot be imported for retail sale)
other online channels
a systematic online branding effort
Casual distributors and TMall partners cannot offer these.
I already have a distributor I trust (or an exclusive one) in China. Won’t you undermine them? I want you talk to them first.
We are a Canadian company selling online. We have a large marketing and distribution office in China, but we typically do not approach brick-and-mortar stores or traditional sales channels. In fact, if our product starts selling online, your brand will be more popular and it will help your distributor. We do not wish to displace them and can work alongside a strategy you set.
To do the registrations correctly, we need to be factory-direct; it will not work through a distributor, though we can provide fulfillment services to them.
We know we should sell something to China, but we want to study it further before we choose a partner. Do we need a contract?
The first thing we will do is test your products with our own staff, our Chinese office, and our top online channel partners.
We need only to become a wholesale buyer, and will guarantee that our product will not be sold into the local market. Your Chinese trademarks and border registrations remain in your name, so you can end the relationship at any time. After some trial sales, we may wish to discuss an investment in branding, but there is no commitment until you are sure.
Mail order deliveries are expensive, so the economics will never work.
Quality products that are factory-direct are sold at a premium in China. Our marketing will reflect this, and we will work with you to control the online prices available nationwide. We grow your brand as a premium product; your volumes might grow more slowly but your partners will be able to make money consistently there.
We have been perfecting our model for more than three years, and we are confident that our shipping costs are as efficient as they could be.
Great - how do we get started?
If you already sell at a Canadian retail store, we will:
import some samples to our China office to verify the border logistics;
share your samples with our internal "product parade" team and some key channel partners in China. At no cost to you, we will report to you their assessment of its market potential;
undertake a price assessment, set against your wholesale prices, to outline the branding effort required for a premium market segment; and
discuss with you your own goals, and make a proposal.
We have spent three years exclusively marketing a prestigious Canadian brand, and have made a company decision to acquire a limited number of new suppliers in the food, cosmetics, baby/maternal product, pet product and health supplement markets.