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Can You Really Trust Product Development in China?

When you’re planning your next big product, where should you look to get it done? China or the United States? You might think that the answer to this question depends on your budget and how long you need the product to be in development, but that isn’t necessarily true. As it turns out, Chinese product development companies are capable of producing world-class products just as quickly as US companies and at a lower cost as well.

Is it a good idea to outsource product development in China?

Outsourcing product development to China may sound like an odd choice to many people. It’s not uncommon for engineers and product developers working on a project to assume that manufacturing abroad is only done when sourcing parts from other countries, but there are many advantages to having your new invention manufactured to China. For example, Chinese companies often provide their clients with ready-made factories, so you don’t have to worry about setting up a factory space before production begins. The best advantage of outsourcing product development, though, is cost savings; manufacturing costs are generally cheaper there than in Western countries, which makes it possible for startups to take risks they might not otherwise be able to afford.

After years of development, China is fully capable of developing quality products that can measure up to international standards. Many engineers and product developers think that outsourcing manufacturing to China is a risky decision because they believe that it would result in low-quality products. However, as more and more American brands begin using Chinese manufacturers for their projects, consumers are realizing just how reliable these companies can be.

Get it right from the start

The best way to avoid having quality problems later is to make sure that you are working with a partner who has great experience and impeccable standards from day one. Although there are myriad problems that can occur when making products abroad, you’ll want to make sure you have someone on your team that knows how to spot those issues before they snowball into disaster. Whether it’s something as simple as a minor translation error or as complex as a hardware issue, working with an experienced partner will help avoid major setbacks. Make sure you know what areas of your product and business could cause potential issues. No one can foresee everything.  If you’re not certain about any aspect of your production process, do some research or consult with experts.

How long will it take to develop my idea and have samples made?

There are a number of steps involved in bringing an idea to life, from making some prototypes and testing them, to sourcing materials and having samples made. On average, it takes about six months from beginning to end. However, your product development timeline can be impacted by a number of factors (for example, if you choose to have your own custom mold created instead of using an existing mold).  If you’re planning on manufacturing in China, there will also be shipping time factored into that equation. So how long does it take for samples to arrive? That depends on whether or not you’re going with standard shipping or DHL Express/UPS/FedEx delivery. With standard shipping, expect your sample shipment to take two weeks at most; with express delivery, expect one week at most.

But the pandemic is still here, and the world is more complicated than ever with everything going on. It is still subject to change.

How much should I pay for prototypes?

Even if you’re not ready to commit, getting prototypes made is often a good way to see what your product will look like (and feel like) and get a sense of its durability. It’s also worth considering that prototypes come with different price tags depending on their complexity. A simple injection-molded part may cost several hundred dollars and more, but full working samples can run into several thousand dollars. Get quotes from multiple suppliers and keep an eye out for low-cost prototyping options such as 3D printing; some firms even offer free printouts for first-time clients who bring them work.

How can I make sure you don’t rip me off?

It may seem scary to send money to someone you don’t know, but many clients work with their manufacturer to come up with an agreement before sending any payment. That contract should outline what will happen if there is a delay, how long it will take for delivery and what quality standards are expected. If you have concerns about your contract being followed, consider hiring a lawyer or working with someone who has experience making products in China. That way you can have peace of mind that nothing will go wrong and get exactly what you ordered.

There are definitely some reasons why you may or may not want to trust product development in China. But by investing time into finding a reputable partner and carefully researching them before handing over your project, you’ll be far less likely to have an issue. Shield Works has a history of 16 years in product development in China and certainly knows your language coming from the UK. Please contact us if you are interested in getting to know more!