And then I read the bio and read "I bought a factory" and "For my second factory". It sounds like it's a fairly straightforward deal to do that in China (if you have the cash). I'd also be really interested to see what kind of hoops you have to go through, the regulatory process, hiring/maintenance and so on. And of course how much does it cost?
In a nutshell, aliens buy Jupiter (most of the mass in the solar system) for the space-colonial equivalent of shiny beads, wrecking the world economy with an influx of tech-goods. One down-on-his-luck CEO struggles to get Earth out of "third world" (solar-system?) status by--how else--using cheap labor to export kitschy crap :p
Yes there are some of these places that are not "underground" but obviously there are the suppliers and areas that are less known and more used by traders like me as opposed to the more touristy types.
Regarding bitcoin, yes it does away with the payment issues but thats not the only problem with ordering from china i guess, things like ensuring the product is the correct quality, arranging freight on large consignment orders and needing to buy from multiple suppliers are why a lot of buyers like this guy buying the tv's come to china in person.
The server seems to be down/extremely slow to load. Try the Google cache version: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:UevJZk_...
Its even written in the same font.
Photos (note: less crowded because I went on a Sunday morning):
In the district of Wan Chai (a fairly touristy area of Hong Kong), there's a fairly well known place known simply as the "Computer Centre". In it, you'll find two floors of a giant warehouse packed floor to ceiling with shops selling everything from a refurbished matte black MacBook from 2006 to an "iPhone 7". I do have to say that the vast majority of the products are legitimate, but there are booths which cater to the less-discerning customers. The great benefit of buying in Hong Kong is that you'll often find products from the mainland side and from the factories in Taiwan.
Sorry if you feel like that, i thought it was pretty straight forward no bullshit article.
You can't really compare these underground markets (That are actually markets, physically under the ground, many of them illegal and only for wholesale buyers) I'm talking about to the shopping malls in Hong Kong which are just flashy shopping malls that anyone can walk in to.
But sure yeah, you can buy things from Hong Kong, its safer, you likely won't get ripped off but at the same time your not going to get rich doing it.
Thanks for the feedback though.
The one in Mong Kok has gone down lately, less shops, more high-end stuff, but there are still some good PC component shops.
Also in HK, you can return something within 7 days if it doesn't work. Beyond that you need to contact the distributor.
These buildings don't have everything though. I'd say that China and Thailand have a lot more to offer in terms of variety.
In Bangkok, the Chinatown area is really interesting. You can buy almost everything if you can find the street or building where a particular item is sold. Last time I was there I stumbled upon a watch market; you could buy them wholesale, by weight (not really, but it almost seemed like it).
Chinese markets in general are about the domestic market, with very few exceptions in some border regions (a few regularly sell to Russia and Mongolia in the northeast, Southeast Asia in the southwest, and Central Asia in the far west).
Guangdong by contrast cut its teeth on export during the glory days of the Shenzhen special economic zone which began in 1980.
Then shipping - containers? Costs? I have a feeling a lot of Chinese ebay retailers (the ones who ship from the UK, probably have a warehouse here) don't pay import duty/taxes - how do they get around it?
I was trying to give a real straight forward look at these markets.
The markets I'm talking about are underground in both senses of the word, if you look at the first pic you will see you actually have to go underground to get inside.
Maybe were talking about different places as there are certainly touristy malls similar to this but they are a waste of time for business use.
This seems like a problem that will be solved by Bitcoin. The reason people like this can't just buy 32" LCD TV's from Amazon or Overstock right now is becausue of the payment fraud risk. Bitcoin removes that.
Specs have a way of changing without you being informed. Consistency of quality is pretty random as well.
So you have to make sure you inspect the goods before you take them.
Also, almost all manufacturers and distributors will make you pay before at the latest at the time the goods are departing. No 60 day or 120 days credit here.
You get the cash, you get the goods, most of the time.
If you're a larger trading company, you can have the support needed to inspect and ensure that the goods are up-to-spec.
Then there is Alibaba. Small quantities for direct sellers are usually OK (although quality varies greatly). At least you have buyer protection and the sellers are very careful about maintaining their reputation so they are usually prompt and efficient.
Finding a factory for something you want to manufacture (or for large orders) can be fraught with issues, the first of which is that I'm yet to find a factory that can honestly tell me they can't do something; whatever you ask, you'll get a "yes". If you have no production experience, you're in for a ride.
Add to that the potential expense of currency exchange etc.. etc.. It's all hugely expensive
With Bitcoin on the other hand when you transfer someone bitcoin that payment is as good as giving them cold hard cash there is no way to reverse that without the seller agreeing to do so so there is no risk of a charge back. The seller can ship the good and the poor guy who just wants to buy an iPhone can buy his phone w/o having to fly to a foreign country.
Bitcoin is like Cash that works over the Internet. The same way email is a letter over the Internet. Same result w/o physical presence.
There's probably no such thing as a risk free commercial transaction. The next best thing is if somebody assumes the risk and charges an amount that covers the risk plus makes it worth their while.