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Summary:
This is a guide to purchasing ("sourcing") from China, and working with Chinese factories. It will probably be most helpful to people like me - entrepreneurs developing a new product or starting a new business that need to obtain parts and raw materials from China. It is written humorously, but hopefully there is some useful advice.



I've been doing a lot of shopping recently. I have one favorite store. I buy nearly everything there.

Do you think Home Depot is big? Wall Mart? Amazon? Ebay? McMaster Carr?

HAH!

They are all pathetic and insignificant compared to The Greatest Store The World Has Ever Known. I am sure you are wondering - "how is that possible? no store is bigger than Wall-Mart!" . You are wrong my friend. There is One Store bigger than Wall Mart. MUCH bigger. Where do you think wall-mart, amazon and mcmaster go when they need to buy something? Sorry jimmy - they don't go to another wall-mart. They go to The Store. It is where all goods come from. ALL of them. You know it as: China.

Perhaps you thought you had to be a "big player" to buy from China? Think again. You and me can buy direct from The Greatest Store The World Has Ever Known. It's easy and fun! I will show you how.

So, say thanks to your new friend Globalization, read on, and soon you too will be a global sourcing expert...

Step 1: A Little History

It used to be that buying stuff from far away places was hard. You had to send a ship across the ocean for a couple years, they might all die at the hands of a storm or bandits, and in the end maybe you get a few grams of Pepper for a piece of gold. woot!

In more modern times, international trade was not so expensive or risky, but it was inaccessible because you had to know someone. 20 years ago if i wanted to buy something from a factory in Mexico, how would I do it? If I didn't know someone my best shot would probably be to go to Mexico and start driving around until I found a factory, buy some samples on the spot and write their address and phone number on a piece of paper and drive home.

As you might expect, the greatest agent of change in our lifetimes - the internet - plays a central role here. In the last 5 years countless Chinese companies have figured out that if they make a web page and hire someone with enough english to process an order, they can bypass lots of middlemen and be far more accessible to their potential customers - YOU!

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Bio: Dan Goldwater is a co-founder of Instructables. Currently he operates MonkeyLectric where he develops revolutionary bike lighting products.
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