China has been a manufacturing powerhouse for the entire world over the last decade. They started from manufacturing mostly dollar store items and other low-quality goods some 10 to 15 years ago to manufacturing pretty much anything you buy these days. “Made in China” doesn’t necessary mean bad quality, after all your $200 dollar Nike or Adidas shoes are probably made there. With that said, there is a lot of crap that has been made there, which are sometimes masked as decent quality products. So as an online retailer, you really need to be careful when sourcing from wholesalers in China.
There is often an issue of lack of accountability with many Chinese wholesalers. The reason for this deficiency is due to lack of emphasis on customer service and the prevalence of generic products. Not to say you won’t run into these issues when dealing with wholesalers in the U.S or other parts of the world, but it’s definitely more prevalent with Chinese wholesalers.
First of all, unlike in North America where customer service is emphasized and ideas such as “The customer is always right” are often touted or at least well known, Chinese businesses tend to emphasize on low prices and cost cutting instead.
Secondly, there is a surmountable amount of generic products that are made and sold. The lack of a brand results in a lack of accountability on those that produce the products. No brands means that there is no image or reputation to be maintained.
Let me give you one example from my personal experience. I had at one point sold powerbanks which were sourced primarily from different Chinese wholesalers. These little powerbanks I saw were selling at my local phone shops for $20-25 dollars. I bought them for only $2.75/per piece. Sounds too good to be true right? In this case, the saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” held true.
These powerbanks having a capacity of 2600mAh were supposed to be able to fully recharge a typical smartphone and then some more. However, when I tested them myself, they were only able to charge an iPhone 5S up to about 15% before the battery depleted. Sounds like either my patch of goods were either defects or I was scammed, right? I mean, you expect a powerbank with a 2600mAh capacity would charge more than 15% of a smartphone that has a 1570mAh battery capacity battery, right?
When I contacted the wholesalers about this and asked about the capacity that was advertised; they kindly and unflinchingly explained to me that the powerbank does house a 2600mAh battery (ie. no false advertisement), but the internal electronic components and circuits themselves were not of good quality and that it was normal to have power loss during the transfer process.
I know it sounds like a joke but unfortunately this type of things are not uncommon with wholesalers in China. They make products with a nice product casing, decent packaging, and attractive specs. Then they decide to cheap out on a few internal components making the unit essentially useless.
This is what I ended up doing with all of the units. I took them apart and recycled them because I sure wasn’t going to sell that crap to my customers.
Another interesting tidbit to realize is that while the units I bought were utter useless, you could get the same item from another wholesaler and they could be a lot better. The reason… the internals are different but they all share the same generic product casing, probably produced by some giant casing manufacturer. This is why it’s very important that you ask the right questions when buying from Chinese wholesalers before placing your order. The more complex the product, the more questions you should ask. And it is my recommendation that you ALWAYS order a few samples first when working with a new wholesaler. Even if you bought the product from a different wholesaler, it might not be the same; they might have just used the same casing.