If you plan on expanding your tech business’s market to China, or you want to reduce overhead costs by purchasing parts, you’ll need to understand what goes into importing electronics from China. Specifically, computer parts require some special care and some know-how of importing.
In the past few years, China has revamped some of its industrial policies and has become a substantial computer hardware producer on a global scale. It’s important to understand these policies in order to work with a Chinese supplier. Luckily, these policies are not very difficult to be compliant with. Let’s take a look at everything business owners need to know about importing tech from China.
China is a major computer parts supplier on a global scale. In fact, between 2013 and 2017, China was responsible for providing 28% of the global exports of computers, computer parts, and electronics. When compared to earlier data, this contribution has increased by 13% since the previous decade. A majority of China’s exports in this industry include mobile phone parts, whole notebook computers, and color display parts for screens.
However, if you are in need of different computer parts to import from China, you have a wealth of options available. Computer fans, hard drives, power supplies, monitors, cables, power cords, laptop parts, and network cards are other parts that are manufactured across numerous suppliers in China.
The process of finding computer parts suppliers in China isn’t that difficult of a task. However, signing a contract with them should be taken carefully. You should always do some homework before trusting a computer parts supplier.
To start, look at English-language reviews for different suppliers and warehouses online. If this doesn’t result in any fruitful leads, your next step should be to work with an international law firm that specializes in translation, connecting business owners with Chinese suppliers, and working with intellectual property laws and patents in China. This will ensure that you’ll find a supplier that is reputable before you begin the process of signing a contract, which your lawyer will also help you translate and negotiate before signing.
If you want to import laptop and desktop parts from China, it is highly recommended that you work with a reputable and reliable freight forwarding company or possibly a law firm that deals with Chinese trade specifically.
An HS (harmonized system) code is a 10-digit code used by the U.S. to classify different products for export. You’ll need to be familiar with these codes before importing parts from China.
For example, the HS code for a Kino QM670 R20 Mini ITX motherboard that is manufactured in China would be 84733030. There are HS codes for every computer part that can be imported from China.
Some business owners are wary of importing electronics from China because of Chinese and U.S. regulations, which have been less than ideal for foreign businesses in the past. However, simply understanding how to work with these regulations can make the process fruitful.
To start, you should always look for suppliers that are 100% compliant with Chinese and U.S. import and manufacturing laws. This can be difficult, as many suppliers may not invest money into certifications and compliance for different markets.
The U.S. has relatively simple regulations for importing from China compared to other countries. The biggest certification you should consider is an FCC certification, which you can easily obtain for a few hundred dollars. The FCC regulates anything electronic, including computer parts and Bluetooth devices. Any part that you want to import from China that is electronic and remits radio waves should be certified by the FCC.
If you are a retailer, you will also need to have your parts and finished product certified by the UL in addition to the FCC. It isn’t required by law, but voluntary compliance will show your consumers the quality of the products you’re producing.
You will also need to consider product liability insurance. If you’re importing computer parts from China in large quantities, product liability insurance will protect you from possible issues.
Let’s consider an example:
A customer hires a lawyer after their business burns down as the result of a computer fan that ignited when he wasn’t present. He sends a letter to the retailer (you) explaining why the fire happened, why they want compensation, and a full lawsuit. Because this fan was manufactured in China through your supplier, you decide to contact the supplier to check on their certificates and check on their latest inspection.
Everything comes out fine, and the supplier suggests that the fan combusted because it was improperly handled by the customer. This, unfortunately, can’t be proven and the customer wins the lawsuit.
If you do not have product liability insurance, you’ll have to pay a handsome settlement and possibly bankrupt your business. With product liability insurance, the settlement is covered and you can focus on ensuring the situation does not happen again.
"Customs duties play an important role in your international shipment. How they're determined and calculated varies from country to country"
Klaus Lydsal, vice president of operations at iContainers