One of the expansion plans for any business is reducing the cost of supply and diversifying products on offer. In reference to data from the Kenya Bureau of Statistics, an article on the Business Daily notes that Kenya imported goods worth Ksh171b from China in May 2018. If you wish to import goods from China to Kenya part of your expansion strategy, there are several ways to find a supplier.
- Find a supplier online
- Visit China and scout for a good supplier
- Attend a trade fair in Kenya/China
Find a supplier online
Have you heard about Alibaba, Aliexpress, Dhgate, etc? They are wholesale websites that can help you import a variety of products. The main setback when dealing with online suppliers is fraud. Telling genuine sellers apart is difficult despite the number of security checks imposed on various China trading platforms.
However, there are business people in Kenya who have met and continue to work with suppliers they found online. Most importantly, buy in small quantities.
Get accustomed to shipping terms, and research on cheap shipping from China to Kenya. An item might appear cheap but when you add the shipping costs, it might not be profitable to your business. To learn more about shipping terms, check this list of shipping companies from China to Kenya. Features to check include
- Transit time (duration it takes to ship your order)
- Departure and destination of the cargo (does it ship to Kenya?)
- Cargo type
- Order tracking
- MOQ (minimum order quantity indicated in pieces per item)
- Payment method
If you are bothered about shipping, customs and clearing, here’s an article to guide you to taxes and other regulations when shipping from China to Kenya.
I found a great post on Mombasa Women Business group on Facebook about importing goods from China to Kenya. The admin details how she gets her supplies from China, the requirements and the process of finding a supplier. Among the factors highlighted in the post, you need sufficient capital of not less than Ksh200,000. Plan to spend at least a week in China, and to lower costs, book a hotel in Shanghai or other main city where you hope to get suppliers. In addition, get an English speaking guide to take you around.
Attend a Trade Fair
Check the listing of trade fairs at the KICC in Nairobi for Chinese trade fairs and events. Also, you can travel to China for trade fairs such as the China Canton Fair. Local tour operators organise such weeklong trade safaris. For example, Bonfire Adventure charges $1820 for an 8-day package to attend the China Canton Fair. This event is split into phases. There’s a week for electronics and electrical appliances, a phase for home décor and consumer goods, and a week for textiles, shoes, bags and office supplies. Find out the next China Canton Fair.
Cheap products to import from China to Kenya
Cheap products, going by the price per item indicated on popular online e-commerce platforms, include watches, phone covers, makeup brushes and acrylic nails. Some of these products cost less than a Dollar, and they often have free shipping terms.
Hot products to import from China to Kenya
Nobody can dictate what you should import because it depends on what you want to sell and its demand. If you have no idea what to import, look around you. If you want to import for your business, what are customers buying from you or asking for? If you want to import and sell to other businesses, what are they buying or do they need?
For instance, when the plastic bag ban came into effect last year, there was a huge demand for alternatives but limited supply. The ones who cashed in on this demand were the ones who had ordered for shipments months in advance. Once the supply flooded the market, the price fell.
The demand can be seasonal, such as demand for school bags at the start of every year. On the other hand, the demand can be sustained over a long period, such as the demand for jeans, make-up brushes, ladies tops, handbags, etc. These items will always sell. Therefore, import an item in seasonal demand only if you can get your shipment while the demand is still high.
Best import business in Kenya
There’s nothing like the best import business in Kenya. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. There’s someone who imports mitumba clothes only and etches a decent living from it. Somebody else will bring containers of new ladies handbags and become the top supplier in Kamukunji. Find an objective, find a niche, invest and be patient.
(Please note that the Fashion Parlour is not endorsing any website. This is an information article. Therefore, do your research before engaging any company mentioned).