Recently I started to think about setting up my own drop-shipping business. I also heard a few things about import / export and I wondered how I could get into that.
Last night I talked to a man named Lawrence J. Liff. He’s about 75 years old and has been working on his own businesses since he was 19. Back in the late 60s / early 70s he bought component parts out of China, but China was closed to America for manufacturing stuff. So instead, he had to ship it out to Hong Kong, and then sell the parts from Hong Kong.
Once Nixon was not president anymore, China opened up. The businessmen who had been working in Hong Kong this whole time began moving back into the mainland. Eventually, Lawrence found himself owning a number of China-based factories. He was now heavily involved in the import / export business.
In 1990, Lawrence retired for “about 45 minutes”, and then decided to start a company that manufactured and sold seasonal novelty items. He kept that going along with his side business, which was to help Chinese companies get set up in the United States.
Eight years ago he sold his factory, and is now semi-retired.
The rising Chinese Middle-Class
The Chinese middle class is growing, and the total population of their middle class is higher than the population of the United States.
This is creating an interesting demographic. Nowadays, US products are very popular for the middle class here in China. There is a huge demand for US manufactured products, but it’s actually very hard to get those products into China.
Lawrence told me that he specializes in providing that service now. He finds a Chinese company that has a need, and then he goes to the States and finds a US company that wants to do business in China.
Of course, there’s a lot of hoops that Lawrence must go thorugh in order to protect both the Chinese and US companies. He also has to navigate taxation and tariff laws so that he gets paid well for what he does. It’s all pretty complicated!
Gotta keep hustling
Talking to Lawrence was a pretty eye-opening experience. I learned a lot from him, and I intend to keep in touch with him and learn as much as I can.
The biggest problem with doing business in China is that you need a Chinese partner. Not only does having a Chinese partner make a business in China easier, it also helps facilitate communication and prevent any misinterpretation.
There’s also the problem with the current Trump administration. It’s going to change things in the next two years between China and the States. No doubt about that, and it’s probably not going to be good. The USD will especially take a hit.
However, there’s still a lot of opportunity doing business with China.
China and the RMB
China is being very, very cautious with its money right now. The government doesn’t want any RMB going out of China.
Both Lawrence and I speculate that it’s probably due to China’s 5-year plan; China wants to open the RMB to the worldwide forex market by 2020. When that happens, it will disrupt the current market. The RMB will probably drop in value, and it will affect the rest of the forex market.
China is still the next big market to tap into. It’s just the business atmosphere is already changing. You gotta find your place!
My own business plans
I recently set up a shop on Shopify, which was easy enough… took me a few hours to get everything set up and running. Now I just need to find a few good products to sell and then market my store!
This is just a start for me… I want to make my own product and market it as well, but I think drop-shipping is a good way to make some money and hopefully make enough to support myself by the end of 2017. Once I can achieve that, I can focus on building my brand, this blog, and hopefully penetrate the import/export business somehow. Even if it’s not in China! There are still quite a few countries out there!
I have dreams that I want to accomplish, one of them involving traveling and expanding my photography on the side. I want to do more portraiture, take photos of people, people in their homes, their countries. I want to share their stories with the world, and their beauty.
I also know I need a way to make a living in order to do this. I hope I can achieve that by the end of this year. Wish me luck.