Everyone has heard of Chinese imports and “Shenzhen goods” that have flooded every market in all the metro cities of the world.The reason i am writing this guide on how to import from Taiwan and not China, is because i have dealt first hand with sourcers from Taiwan and have seen more than a fair share of quality and price difference from their Chinese counterparts.Taiwan is much smaller an industry,and i believe is the real workforce behind most of all hardware production in the east. In fact it will come as a surprise to many that many Chinese traders themselves source goods from Taiwan and then resell it to the rest of the world as a “made in China” product.through my experience, Taiwan is the manufacturer and China is the distributor of a variety of electronic commodities.The Taiwanese factories source small segments of technology like Silicon Wafers from Japanese Semiconductor ,then make the Die which forms the basis of a microchip that is used in all forms of electronic components.Since Taiwanese factories manufacture most part of the electronic goods which is then imported,you’re sure to get a better deal on the package,as compared to China. Chinese Traders just CANNOT compete price wise with these small Taiwanese manufacturers.An other important reason to source your goods from Taiwan is the fact that Taiwanese traders are more honest to deal with and less compromising.Yes, you heard that right,it may seem that they are less accommodating,and will hesitate to come down on prices easily.That is the mark of an honest trader,as absurd as it may sound.The more easily the agent comes down on a price,the more weary you should be to do business with them.
how to import from Taiwan – Procedure through courier
The best way to get your goods shipped from Taiwan is through your own carrier or courier company.Every sourcing company will offer to easily dispatch your order through their affiliate courier, and give you 3-4 options ranging in price.The list starts off with one or two local couriers that are usually the cheapest and often take at least 7-10 days to offload your shipment.This can be an economical option if you plan on importing a small quantity of goods that are itself cheap produce.I wouldn’t recommend you using the smaller “fly by night” carriers as most of them don’t provide insurance against damage or loss for your goods.A good example of a courier that is used by many Taiwanese agents/exporters is EMS.
For a safer and quicker delivery option that will cost you an arm are the big guys like FEDEX,DHL or UPS.Since i import on a regular basis,it made sense to create an account with Fedex,which gives you two important benefits-it gets you a discount on the basic freight rates,not counting taxes and surcharges, as well as an extra months credit to pay that freight bill.
Before creating a company account with Fedex i gave Hongkong Post a try. Hongkong Post was a cheap shipping option comparable to EMS and would cost me almost half of any other courier.It was a good 16 days before i received my package.
The good part of importing anything and using your own account courier number saves you the trouble of customs,pickup, and delivery.The entirely automated process lets you have your shipment at your doorstep with duties paid.You pay a little more for the trouble,but its worth it.
Duty procedures,Fees and Costs
The varied costs associated with a Taiwan import can include shipping, clearing, duties, taxes and delivery charges.There are two ways to get your goods cleared at the port of entry,either through a commissioned agent or through a licensed courier company.You have to issue a bonafide certificate stating that they are entitled to clear and collect the goods on your behalf, as well as allow them to pay the duties and taxes at the time of clearance.
Besides duties,cess and agency fees that may also include packing,strapping,and moving charges,the customs duty procedure usually starts off with the inspection of the goods,along with the cargo particulars and the packing list.If the commercial invoice doe not match the value of the goods,an acessible value will be assigned to the goods.This value is used to determine the basic duty,any cess charges,transport clearance charges if any,countervailing and anti dumping duties in various percentages.This value of goods on the invoice is extremely important,and many importers resort to “undervaluing” thier goods so that they can pay less duty.
On a invoice value of $5000 for example,the basic duty is 7.5%,cess 3%,Other duties 5%.
Custom Duty=Basic+Cess+Other Duty+any other if applicable.Here Other duties refers to countervailing duty (CVD) and anti dumping duties.Basic duties can be anywhere from 5% onwards depending on the product as stated in the HS code handbook,which specifies different tariff rates for all kinds of imported products.Note that most electronic products and those used with computers,such as peripherals and other computer based hardware are all free from Basic duty.For these products,only other duties and charges are applicable.
A resonable estimate would be about 25% total for all charges.So on an invoice price of $5000 ,that works out to $1250.This does not include shipping fees.
- Airway Bill
Starting off your Taiwan Import
The easiest starting point for importers looking to source from Taiwan are the online trade houses and B2B directories.Even though most of these sites have fewer listings of Taiwanese traders compared to Chinese, its the most reputable and wide shopping brochure to start off from.The website id like to highlight here as a beginners block is Aliexpress.com because of it easy to navigate interface,its good repute and most importantly it is possibly the biggest index of Taiwanese business exporters that are willing to sell you anything from kettles to wine.
Lets begin by creating an account with your details.The amazing part of B2B listing websites is the daily promotions and offers that head your way consisting of coupons and discounts on all major products.Every few days,a fixed number of sellers are featured that offer some great deals on trending ware.The most noticeable featured items range from clothing,accessories to tablets or a mix of both.
I kept the best feature for last.As most of you reading this post im assuming are attempting an import from Taiwan for the first time.Let me re establish the fact that the transfer of money from you to your sourcer is the most delicate process that should be dealt with carefully.Majority of disputes between importers and traders arise due to conflicts due to faulty/defective goods,missing items or wrongly dispatched cargo,not to mention the flurry of scams that take place at many B2B websites. Aliexpress, thankfully is a little more vigilant and carefully screens all traders before letting them advertise on the portal.Taking it to a next level, Aliexpress has setup a third party escrow service that docks funds in an account, thus securing the interests of the buyers.This escrow that goes by the name of Alipay lets you safely and easily pay either by card or wire and holds the funds till you confirm the recepit of the goods in pristine condition without any flaws.Its only then that Alipay releases the funds to the trader.Even after you receive the goods and confirm delivery and are not satisfied with some aspect of quality of the product,you can appeal to Aliexpress under the buyer protection channel for a refund.
Remember the first rule of B2B wholesale import from a website-USE ONLY ESCROW.There are many traders that will try and entice you into using Western Union/TT or Bank transfer you will NOT be protected in case of fraud.Only traders with ulterior motives will not accept Alipay. In fact Aliexpress has made it mandatory for all agents/manufacturers to use the Alipay escrow and does not permit any other means of transaction on the website through its TOS. Just like Paypal, Alipay possibly charges a small transaction fee from the trader on each invoice.If you come across a trader not willing to take Alipay,report them immediately.
Best Taiwanese Import products
Since the last 20 years,even before the advent of the internet, Taiwan was an expanded auto hub.It was a constant source for automobile accessories and hi fi stereo systems, since the mid 90s,Taiwan has been an integral part of the entire computer hardware production industry.Its always been the underdog compared to China as far as reach of the import market is concerned.I too,must admit that i came across a Taiwanese Manufacturer by chance,but have never ever looked for a better deal,as a i was so impressed by quality and price.There is ONE incredibly amazing industry that the magic land of Taiwan has grown,that no one else can compare with. In fact Chinese traders buy from Taiwan and sell as thier own.If you cant beat em,join em.In my quest for the best memory modules and devices i came across this huge thriving industry in Taiwan.In fact the biggest DRAM memory module producer in the world,and the USA is of Taiwanese descent.As part of our import business,we source all our memory devices directly from Taiwan and memory accessories from China.
The best memory based products from Taiwan are SDRAM,Flash Memory products that include flash drives and pen drives, DDR memory modules for Laptop and Desktop and memory IC packaging products.The major difference between buying from memory from Taiwan and China is that Taiwan produces and China Trades.A fool will tell you where the better deal lies.
Here how it works-Semiconductor giants like Toshiba, Hynix,Samsung etc produce the semiconductor wafer,that is supplied to smaller Taiwanese Factories who cut a small section of the wafer called the “die” that forms the basis of the microchip/IC, which can be then impressed on a printed circuit board (PCB) by surface mount technology. It is then packaged or cased,ready to be used in the device.
It surprised me to know the extent of the Dram market in Taiwan.There even is Dram exchange in Taiwan where the live index price fluctuates just like the stock and forex index.So remember,the best import items that new importers are looking to source from Taiwan are Memory products.Go Get em’.
How to import from Taiwan -Getting around Taiwan OEM
While shopping for wholesale products,a term that you will often hear is OEM. It refers to Original Equipment manufacturers,but over the years it has taken a new avatar as traders and exporters use the term to distinguish it from branded labels.As an importer what you want is to look for an OEM product.This is a generic wholesale item that is customiseable to your needs,and acts as a blank slate.You approach an OEM trader with your MOQ (Minimum order quantity),specifications and target price.if they can meet all your requirements,they will brand your logo on the main product interface and supplementary cables and accessories.
In Taiwan and China, the biggest hardware vendors from USA source production to third party manufacturers called OEM to build them thousands of pieces of electronic produce,so the next time you look at your Ipad, or your HP scanning device,remember that it was created 10,000 miles away in a remote East Asian town by a quotation/tender process that went to the lowest bidder.
OEM is not only confined to computer hardware and electronic ware.I was approached by a Chinese salesperson who offered to produce OEM wine for me!
Shipping from Taiwan-ocean or air?
Something that you need to figure out before getting an estimate for your shipping from Taiwan is whether you want it shipped by air or sea.Accordingly, the process is quite different,the agent will change and you need to get documentation in place before the cargo arrives.A simple way to decide which mode of transport you need is by gauging the size and weight of your cargo.
All Taiwanese traders will give you dimensions and particulars and will even guide you to a mode of shipping.What you should know is that sea cargo is used for bulky,heavy and large volume based goods,whereas air cargo is needed for small light weight goods.The time taken for an air consignment t0 reach can be as less as 5 days whereas via sea route can take between 30-60 days.The fees and charges for both modes are calculated differently.
Shipping by sea is measured in CBM. More like a volume based metric,depending on how much space your cargo occupies in cubic metres(l*b*h).Cargo of this nature and of a massive quantity will be stacked on top of each other and each carton/crate will have a specific dimension which your trader will fill you in on.Almost Every Taiwanese business will offer to send via sea as Taiwan is an island nation.A term that you should be acquainted with is FOB-meaning free on board.Most Taiwanese traders offer sea shipping FOB.This means they will reach the cargo to the port on their expense,and that is where their liability ends,after that the onus lies on you.Its imperative that you appoint a CHA, who is a licensed agent that will clear your cargo and take care of all your port documentation.In some cases you might have to issue a power of attorney to the agent as well as letters addressed to port authorities transferring rights to the agent to clear the goods on your behalf. The big guys like Fedex and UPS also handle sea cargo but it doesn’t matter even if you go through a smaller agent as the procedure is a little more complex compared to air courier,and a personal agent can help manage and coordinate activities more efficiently.
Shipping by air or air courier is the quickest means of getting your shipment delivered,unfortunately its an expensive means of transport.For small electronic components like processors,memory units and memory cards,its probably the only option, as well as a smart choice because it would make more sense owing to its light weight.Even a 1oo pieces of memory cards will weigh less than 2 kilograms,so the freight charge for air shipping that parcel will be the minimum.As discussed earlier,there are many air couriers that you can choose from.In order of expense incurred and freight charge(high to low) i can list them as- Fedex-DHL-UPS Expedia-ted-EMS. Add to the freight charge a fuel surcharge and local service tax which is another 10%-12%.The best thing about air courier is that you don’t have to lift a finger,as they pay for and arrange all aspects of customs and documentation.
how to choose your carrier
Theres a list of 5 quick points you should keep in mind before choosing your air carrier company.Lets skim over them-
Internal Routes-Apart from International transport,make sure your transport company has an equally versatile track inside your country as well,so that it can get to you pronto. Most major carriers have excellent network hubs but some of them fail poorly getting the parcel is because i have dealt first hand with sourcers from Taiwan and have seen more than a fair share of quality and price difference from their Chinese counterparts.Taiwan is state,especially if you live in a second tier city or town.
Fuel Surcharge-Apart from charging a freight delivery charge,i was shocked to find an extra 14% by the way of fuel surcharge.Maybe i missed the fine print when i signed the Fedex account opening form,but an amount so huge should not have been fine print! Anyhow,take note and ask your courier before signing up with them.
Express Delivery-Most big courier companies offer Express Delivery,which should reach destination within 4-5 days.Some even promise 3-4 business days.A handy service for your expedited orders.
Freight rates-Something i should have put at number one,as shipping rates are possibly a major expense in the entire import plan.They can be as much as 25% of your total expense and hence must be trimmed to perfection to generate for you a healthy profit on each trade.As already discussed above,the most expensive to cheap freight rates are given above.
Insurance-Get a shipper that only provides insurance.For a few dollar more you can save yourself thousands of dollars worth of your precious cargo that can be covered against damages or lost goods.
scope of a Taiwan import
Lets put things into perspective here.As a final note,an import from Taiwan is just as good,or even better for certain goods.Its important to distinguish between a trader and a manufacturer before you settle on a price and quantity.Though it may not seem much at the time,but saving a dollar or two can go a long way.For a range of selected products,Taiwan is invincible.If you get the right manufacturer,you can make alot of money.A single import consignment of $5000 (which is considered small) can easily get you a net profit of anywhere between $7000-$9000, even if it takes you a few weeks to offload it into the market.