Buying From China?
Not hard to find a product as you simply enter your search term on a website such as AliExpress. Finding products that are worth obtaining though takes a little more effort. What I ALWAYS do is read the reviews. I pay a lot of attention to them. I look through as many as it takes to become satisfied they are genuine and not placed there by those with conflicting interests. I also check user's photos too. It seems the Chinese have small hands so something can appear quite large in their stock photos yet, in reality, is quite small. I also look for any reference to quality because lots of buyers tend to focus on this very issue. What is the point of spending little money on something of very little worth just to save a little money? If you see what I mean. It is far better to spend a little money on something that is likely to be of use to you - or spend a little more and obtain a quality product.
Quality of Products
This can vary for what appears to be the same product. I have ordered small penlights from 5 different companies and even though the pictures appear to be the same the quality is different in each case. By far the best was a branded make - the likes of which has a very long delivery time! I ordered some from eBay UK as a trader was selling them for less than I could acquire them from China! I ordered 5 to begin with only to find out 2 were faulty! I then cancelled the subsequent order I had placed which resulted in quite a tussle to get my money back. The area where torches differ from one another is the smoothness of the threads and operation of the on / off button. The button can fail or be faulty on some. Companies that take pride in the quality of their product must do far more testing than others and as a consequence, their products are altogether smoother and far more reliable as a result. I intend to only use these companies eventually, when I have located them, that is.
Well, this is a problem, obviously. For one thing, it might have taken weeks for your order to arrive. You are hardly likely to want to send it back too. I have no idea what the postal charge is with regard to sending stuff to China. I doubt whether the company who supplied the goods will pay the charge for you. The good news is that all companies have a reputation to uphold so most will send another product for no extra charge - with cheap stuff anyway. Of course, you will have to communicate with them first. This can be a bit hit-and-miss. A bad company might just blank you and you will not receive a reply. Of course, another consideration is the language barrier. You might find you are being completely misunderstood and can't get your point across. But, as for my experience in this regard, well, for one, I have not attempted to return a faulty item or had to complain that an item has failed in some way (just a matter of time though before one does) so I can't really help here. What I can say though, is that most Chinese companies - successful ones - have someone on their books with a decent English vocabulary at their disposal so communicating your concerns is comparatively easy.
Price of Products
Not all products are cheaper in China than here, but when it comes to most torches they are, by a lot. Before long though this won't be the case as agents are stocking up here and selling from the UK themselves. They probably ship in container loads of stuff thereby acquiring them for very little money. Even with the postage charge, they can undercut the competition - you. As I say, not all products are cheaper from China now - quality solar lights being one of them, as I found out recently, at least from where I was attempting to locate them from - AliExpress. There are other places, such as Alibaba, but the minimum order value is very high with some companies - 500 or 1000, sometimes more. With free delivery and very low costs with no limit as to how many you need to buy you can pick up a right bargain from China.
For one thing, there are lots of Chinese companies manufacturing small products that offer FREE SHIPPING! I placed an order for 40 torches the other day that arrived at my door within 2 weeks with a delivery charge less than it costs to send just ONE of these torches to a customer in the UK. This means the price skyrockets as a result once I handle it and send it on. If someone, anyone, ordered the same from China themselves it would be with them for less than a 3rd of the price. Obviously, should you attempt to resell the products through the post there are all sorts of fees you have to cover if you sell through eBay or Amazon and so on.
UK Postal Charges
The postal charge is crippling in the UK. It governs the type of product I sell. Anything beyond a certain size can jump from an 88p postal charge to one of £2.85 (even relatively small torches fall into this category). As you can imagine, customers are loath to pay this extra amount for something as a small torch.
This can be off-putting for some. It can be off-putting for me. I notice the more successful a Chinese company is, the higher rating they score, which can sometimes mean their products are in demand and therefore an order for just 1 or 2 items takes a long time to be satisfied. It can take weeks before it is even placed in the post. A wait of 4-6 weeks can be quite alarming. Whereas with some companies the order can be in the post within a few days to arrive in 10 days or so, but it is a long way from China so you can't really count your chickens until the goods actually turn up.