If you have an in on the market, you can be incredibly successful importing Chinese products into North America or around the world; however, China is hard! Language, different business practices, and the sheer volume of manufacturers means you need to go into China with a plan if you want to have a leg up on the massive competition, and to actually take advantage of the low prices on goods. We will focus on electronics and mobile accessories in this article; one of the biggest current exports for small businesses.
1 Choose the right product(s). This can't be emphasized enough. The general rule is if you don't know a good deal about an industry outside of China you will never be able to make sense of it, or make good business decisions when jumping into China to find suppliers. Don't go into China just looking to take advantage of some mythical pot of export gold. Go because you know what product you want to sell, and you know you can find the best/cheapest supply in China.
2 Know the pricing and demand in your chosen market, and know how to find the quality goods. If you come in with a good overall sense of the products you're after, you're in good shape...what they go for elsewhere, what a version manufactured elsewhere would look like quality-wise. If not you'll be lost when presented with 400 different versions of the same item in a massive market where each vendor will naturally claim the superiority of their own manufacturing. That logic applies whether you're buying online, or heading directly to Chinese manufacturing cities like Guang Zhou.
3 Find an online supplier. Unless you speak Mandarin and have direct experience with on the ground negotiating and business in China, by far the best approach is to find an online supplier, preferably one that has connections to your global region.
4 Research the supplier online. You need someone who has a system in place and who is also reputable and trustworthy, right? Read reviews! Talk to others in the industry. The web may make the whole world accessible in a blanket, impersonal way, but business is still done person to person. Talk to someone DIRECTLY at the company, and talk to someone who has been their client, resale partner, or has significant experience in your industry.
5 Pinpoint a handful of good option suppliers on a wholesalers aggregate site. There are dozens of these. START there though and work to hone your search toward your specific industry and needs. Otherwise you're just basically going where anyone with a passive interest in reselling can go in a few minutes.
6 Understand the importance of getting the goods through the border and customs. Don't underestimate the potential cost and confusion of doing this improperly. The benefit to using a supplier with an established wholesale network is that it will be up to them to ship the goods through customs and they will already have the systems in place to get the goods across the border legally, safely, and timely...all of which can be a massive headache otherwise.
7 Be PROACTIVE and versatile, and don't settle, and you'll do wonderfully!