Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


1. What products can you source?

Most things! China is the manufacturing hub of the world. If you can dream it, we can probably source it.

2. What are the minimum order quantities?

It depends on many factors including product value, type of product, tooling requirements, product dimensions (how many fit in a container), frequency of purchase etc. Generally, if your order is currently at least $20,000 from a Western supplier/manufacturer, it may be feasible for you to use our services. If you'd like to determine the feasibility of sourcing your product from China, do our complimentary Value Check.

3. What about product quality?

No matter what or where you manufacture, there will be risks. ChinaDirect's role is to minimise these risks, using our rigid systems. We thoroughly research manufacturers, and use many other safeguards throughout the procurement process to ensure you receive exactly what you expect.

4. How will you work with me?

Virtually all relationships begin with you completing a Value Check.

If you've already calculated feasibility, or are already dealing with China, email us a short description, or phone us on (07) 3392 1421 to see whether ChinaDirect can add value to your project.

If it is feasible to source your product direct from China using our service, we'll ask you a few quick questions, either over the phone or in person, and advise options.

The purpose of this exploratory session is to find out more about your needs, tailor a solution, then advise what your investment would be.

At the conclusion of this meeting, one of two things will happen:
  1. Work is agreed to - typically Stage 1 of our sourcing process, 'Research & Tender' with agreed deliverables, and the option to continue.
  2. You have everything you need for the time being.


We will only agree to embark on a sourcing project if we believe we can add substantial value to your business. Either way, you'll walk away with valuable ideas for dealing with China.

To Find Out More

The fastest and most efficient way to enquire about sourcing in China is by completing a complimentary Value Check.

To find out more about any of our other services, please call us on (07) 3392 1421 or email us.

You can expect to receive a response within two business days.

5. How does your service work?

The process is simple:
  • Firstly we search for a product that meets your requirements. In the case of production outsourcing, we will negotiate with the factory for the production of a product that meets your specifications.
  • Samples are obtained and delivered for your inspection.
  • Prices and terms are negotiated
  • We carry out quality control, and, depending on your needs, inspect products prior to acceptance.
  • The products are shipped via an appropriate method, customs clearance performed and the products delivered.

6. Why should I use your services?


Extensive experience in dealing with Chinese manufacturers means that we avoid the pitfalls and provide the security you need to successfully gain access to the massive savings available.

We provide you with personnel on the ground in China who can determine the legitimacy of a manufacturer and provide quality control BEFORE the products are shipped.
  • Save TIME. We manage EVERYTHING
  • Locate
  • Negotiate
  • Manage delivery and get your product faster.
  • Save MONEY
  • Slash importer middle man margins
  • No extra margin on shipping etc
  • Product tendered to hungry suppliers
  • Inside knowledge - save $$
  • Negotiations - Chinese to Chinese
  • No extra legals to pay
  • Freight consolidation
  • Systemized quality control reduces risks
  • Protect INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
  • Strategies to reduce IP infringement risk

7. What makes you unique?

  • Independent - We're not tied to any suppliers.
  • Transparent - Both in how we operate and the suppliers we source for you.

8. What is my investment in you?

For product sourcing, you invest on a stage-by-stage basis as the work is completed. We believe our unique 'stage-by-stage' model represents the best value way to deal directly with Chinese factories, whilst reducing the risks involved.

9. Do you take a commission from the supplier?

No. Doing so would reduce our ability to demand changes, refunds or lead time reductions. One of the things that makes ChinaDirect unique is our independence. It's standard for secret commissions to be built into the quoted price in China, so when we inform manufacturers we don't accept payments, they think we're joking! However, our business model and investment structure are designed to maintain our independence as your purchasing representative, working solely for your interests.

10. I found a Chinese agent that will source products for 5% commission. Why shouldn't I just use them?

On the internet, you can find agents who will source your products for a commission of around 5%. However, these agents also receive a commission from the manufacturer or trading company who supplies your products, and to cover this cost the manufacturer or trading company build in their commission into the offer price for the goods. The result is the commission paid by you to the agent can be anywhere from at least 12% to 100% and not 5%... you can never be 100% sure. As most agents are profit driven, they may refer your business to the supplier with the cheapest price, resulting in substandard product, or to the supplier which offers them the highest commission (which isn't necessarily the one with the most suitable product for you!).

11. What do I need to be ready to source from China?

  • Find out if it's actually feasible to source direct from China (sometimes it's more feasible to source locally!). Use our complimentary Value Check
If feasible...
  • Compile detailed specifications of your item(s).
  • Arrange a prototype or example of your item(s).
  • It's generally quicker and easier to have this made locally, not in China.
  • Ensure timings work for you. Allow a minimum of 3 months to receive your goods.
  • Find out if any product standards, import licenses, permits or approvals apply.
  • Note: For many basic products, these are not applicable.

If you've already calculated feasibility, or are already dealing with China, email us a short description, or phone us on (07) 3392 1421 to see whether ChinaDirect can add value to your project.

12. What is the lead time on production?

Lead time for production of products is approximately 4 - 8 weeks if the product is not already in stock. When we get product details from you, we'll provide more accurate estimate of time frames.

13. What delivery methods are available?

The most appropriate method of delivery will be determined according to the urgency of delivery, cost and weight of the products being sourced. These include air freight for lower weight, or urgently required products. Delivery can occur within one week. For heavier products or larger orders, we generally use sea freight. Delivery in this case is usually approximately 4 weeks.

14. How is my investment for the goods made?

Your investment for goods is usually made direct to the supplier through a Letter of Credit or Telegraphic Transfer, or, if you prefer, we can arrange it through ChinaDirect on an electronic transfer.

15. What if my product doesn't exist in China and I need to get it specially manufactured?

Just provide us a detailed specification with a picture, and we will research and locate a suitable manufacturer for you. ChinaDirect will organize the manufacturing agreement on your behalf, and have the first sample made to your satisfaction. We use confidentiality agreements and other measures to help protect your valuable intellectual property.

16. I'm considering a trip to China. Where do I start?

From our experience it works best to initially have us research the item, tender it out, and shortlist potential suppliers. Then you can make an informed decision as to whether a trip is required. If a trip would be beneficial, we can arrange everything, including a trade assistant and factory visits to gain maximum value from the trip.

17. How do I protect my Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)?

There are many ways to reduce the chance of IPR infringement. The appropriate tactics will depend on your objectives, and we will advise you accordingly. China's intellectual property laws are similar to the laws governing copyright, trademark and patents in Australia. China's entry to the WTO has resulted in very positive developments on the legislative front, and enforcement of IP rights is catching up. If you'd like a free report on some of the ways we reduce the risk of IPR infringement, just email us.

18. Do I need an import license?

For most items, there is no requirement for companies or individuals to hold an import license, however we recommend researching whether one for your category is required. Also, depending on the nature of the commodity, and regardless of value, owners may need to obtain permits or approvals to facilitate clearance of goods through Customs.

19. Is sourcing from overseas taking jobs from Australians?

ChinaDirect is committed to helping Australian businesses compete, and thrive, in a global market. Countries must find their competitive advantage and develop them to offer their people the best jobs in the world. At this point of economic development, Australia's strengths aren't in manufacturing labour-intensive products. The economic reality is that most labour-intensive operations will inevitably move to where labour cost is cheapest, or else they become non-competitive and won't survive. Australian companies who have recognized this and have taken advantage of it have grown and prospered.

20. How long will I be able to maintain a cost advantage by sourcing in China?

The sourcing of goods from China is expected to last many years. The "window of opportunity", however, will no doubt get smaller and smaller as more and more of your competitors realise the benefits. So, the sooner you make China your competitive advantage, the better.

21. Does China use prison or child labour?

The employment of prison or child labour is not common practice in the Southern part of China. ChinaDirect has a strict policy of not dealing with factories that engage in the hiring of prison or child labour.

22. Why source from China?

China's entry into the World Trade Organisation has signaled it's willingness to assume a more important international economic role. There are a number of factors which enable Chinese manufacturers to produce high quality products , some of the main ones are:
  • Lower cost of production due to:
  • Lower wages and handling costs
  • Cheaper land and estate costs
  • Mass production lowers unit price
  • Tax incentives granted by Government to encourage industrialisation.
  • Abundant supply of labour without adding to cost of production.
  • Logistics, transportation and facilities at lower rates.
  • Export tax incentives.
  • Economy of scale
  • Lower currency exchange rate

23. How do I find out more?

If you're looking to source goods in China, the fastest and most efficient way to enquire is to complete our complimentary Value Check.

For all other enquiries, email us, or call us on (07) 3392 1421.

If you're not ready to talk to us just yet, you can also download a FREE report, "How To Choose An Import Agent/Broker" from the box on the left of this screen. Don't do business with China until you read this!

Glossary of International Trade Terms