Electric Bike Import from China-The Practical Guide

Electric Bike Import from China-The Practical Guide

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Electric bike import from China is a common option for electric bike purchasing, while electric bike sales boom in recent years, especially during the pandemic. So, why do so many American electric bike brands like Radpower, Ariel Rider, Juiced bikes, Lectric bikes and etc choose to buy e-bikes from China?

 

Pros and Cons of importing electric bikes from China

Pros

  1. It’s significantly cheaper.

Compared to e-bikes made in Germany or locally in America, the cost of electric bikes made in China is obviously cheaper. The price is acceptable compared to the average income of average Americans.

  1. The supply chain of electric bikes in China is complete

It means you can find any parts of any ebikes in China, this is a part of the reasons why e-bikes are cheaper made in China.

Cons

It’s not for the high-end market…

Let’s face the truth, electric bikes in China are cost-effective but not top-notch. At this stage, they can not take the place of Cannondale, Bosch, Riese & Muller…

With this being said, when you have a clear market positioning of where your e-bike business is going to be, you know what to do. So how do we get started? Keep rolling.

 

What kind of e-bikes to Sell/Import?

To sell something, you need to know 2 things before everything else.

  1. Do customers like it?
  2. Is it profitable?

Pretty straightforward right? But we can not stop simply asking ourselves these questions, we need to crack them down to find answers. Do not panic, I’ll show you what to do.

Nowadays, there are 5 kinds of electric bikes on the market

  1. Electric Folding Bikes(mainly 20inches or below)
  2. Electric commuter bikes(like Aventon)
  3. Electric mountain bikes(like Frey bikes)
  4. Electric cargo bikes(like Rad wagon)
  5. Electric motorbikes (like Super73)

For the first question: Do customers like it?

We can use a tool from Google called Google Trends to do the research. How to do it? Put those kinds of ebikes as keywords to search, Google will show you the searches behind those keywords, and the more people search for something, the more people are interested in something, very simple.

 

Let’s do it.

 

If we search “Electric Folding Bikes”, Google Trends will show us a graph like this,

search “Electric Folding Bikes”, Google Trends

now the next step to do is to hit Compare and put another keyword, for example, “Electric commuter bikes”

put another keyword, for example “Electric commuter bikes”

From this graph, we can tell that most of the time since last year, people search “Electric Folding Bikes” more than “Electric Commuter Bikes”. For other kinds ebikes, you just do the same, let’s finish the work.

 “Electric Mountain Bikes” is the winner during most of the time in America
“Electric Mountain Bikes” is the winner most of the time in America

We can tell that “Electric Mountain Bikes” is the winner most of the time in America.

With the research above, at least we know the popularity ranking of these kinds of ebikes. Of course, this is only a part of the answer, you still have to do more research yourself, we can not do it for you, let’s move to the next section.

 

Where to find Chinese electric bike suppliers

Generally, there are 2 ways to find electric bike suppliers in China, and those suppliers can be divided into 2 kinds, manufacturers and trading companies, want to see the difference? Check this post.

Online

There are 3 ways to find electric bike suppliers in China,

  1. Official website

Almost every business has its own domain and website, with correct keywords like “electric bike manufacturers in China”, you can easily find a ton by Google. After you find some, try to send an email or apply a form on their website to get in contact.

  1. B2B marketing platform

The major B2B platform in China is Alibaba and Made In China, get on their website and search for what you need.

In addition, you can post RFQ(request for quotation)on those platforms with detailed requirements or contact directly with those e-bike suppliers.

  1. Social Media

I would recommend Linkedin to search and get in contact with sales from them, considering Linkedin is a professional social media platform for business, your inquiry may get more serious attention.

 

Offline

Expos

There are 2 expos that many Chinese electric bike manufacturers would attend every year.

1.EuroBike

Held in Messe Frankfurt in Germany, where many Chinese manufacturers will attend together with European competitors.

 

2.InterBike

Held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

Pros and Cons of Online/Offline Contact with Suppliers

For the Online way, the advantage is that you can check with as many as suppliers you want, until you find the perfect one, and you don’t even have to go anywhere, just sit in front of your computer. However, you can not touch and test the ebikes you prefer unless ordering a sample, which costs time and money.

As for the offline way, you get to see and test the ebikes, and have the real concept of what it is. But you have to get off your chair and get where you need to be.

 

The Process of Getting Contact with Chinese e-bike suppliers

To make it easier to understand, I’ll make the process short in steps

1. Send detailed inquiries to suppliers by email/RFQ/contact form

By “detailed inquiry”, it should include

#1. kinds of ebikes like ”electric mountain bikes”

#2. basic specs like motor voltage/power, battery voltage/capacity, maximum speed, etc.

#3. if you have done enough research, you can even send them your target price

 

2. Get a quotation

By this step, you’ll receive quotations containing specs/price(often differs by quantity)/delivery time/warranty

 

3. Negotiate

This is an important part of the process because negotiation helps reduce prices and get to know the suppliers and e-bikes better. And it is not only about price, so,

 

How to negotiate with Chinese electric bike suppliers and what to do?

 

Let’s crack it down, a quotation contains basic aspects down below,

 

1. Price

Frankly speaking, the competition among Chinese electric bike suppliers is intense. So the profit is relatively lower than you think, so it is difficult to simply ask them to lower the price without increasing your order quantity. That is not the way to do it.

To negotiate about price, you need to negotiate on other aspects.

 

2. Specs

Sometimes the specs offered by suppliers are excessive for your requirements, for example, you ask for ebikes with a 48V battery and 48V motor, while they may offer you a 48V/20AH battery and 48V/1000Watts motor, whereas for your potential customers, a 48V/15AH and 48V/750W might be enough, you can ask them to lower the price by changing the specs.

 

3. Quantity

This is pretty simple when the order quantity grows bigger, it is easier for the supplier to control the cost of production and negotiate with their parts suppliers. The more you order, the easier to lower the price.

 

4. Delivery time

Nobody wants to pay and wait for what is being paid. You can check with suppliers to see what is the shortest time to finish your order.

 

5. Warranty

Chinese electric bike suppliers usually offer a warranty on ebikes, for parts like Frames, batteries, motors, controllers, displays and etc. You don’t need to negotiate for this for the first order, but if you find some quality issues after you sell out the first batch,  ask them to provide more warranty parts, this is reasonable.

 

6. Payment Terms

Usually, a payment term includes a deposit and balance. Some suppliers will change the unit price depending on the percentage of the deposit, for example, 500 dollars for a 30% deposit, and 495 dollars for a 40% deposit, not all the suppliers do the same, but you can check the options based on your financial status.

 

When you finally select a supplier and start your first order, congrats! But don’t sit in the chair and assume everything will 100% be ok, it’s time to watch out for other things, here’s my advice for during and after the order finished

 

Before we dive in, I’ll explain the typical production process of Chinese electric bike manufacturers.

Confirm details(color, design, specs) with customers

Order parts they do not produce

Waiting for parts to come

Pre-assemble some parts that come earlier than others(assemble brakes/displays/grips on handlebar, assemble motor on the wheel with spokes and etc.)

The main assembly after everything comes

Quality Check before Packing

Packing

Container Loading

Shipping

 

So, during this process, there are several things you need to timely check and confirm with the supplier,

  1. Check and confirm order details, if it’s not what you agreed, tell them to correct it before the whole process starts
  2. Check when will all the parts come, this means the order will be finished soon
  3. Check when all the e-bikes finished assembling

 

Now you are at the next stage, Shipping. You need to find a forwarder or shipping company to deal with your container, so that you get to know information like shipping costs/Vessel number/container number/ETD(estimated time of departure)/ETA(estimated time of arrival).

 

Conclusion

Importing electric bikes from China can be intimating for someone who is new to the electric bike business or import business, but professional electric bike manufacturers in China like us at Jieli Electric would try our best to help you and your business to move forward and prosper!

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