Selling on Amazon in China and PL Internationally with Operation Dragon Boat

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Ecommerce, Podcast3 Comments

Wasssssup guys! Global From Asia episode 159 – and we are in the midst of a Chinese New Year – the year of the Rooster, or as many say, the year of the cock. I am a cock, 1981 is my year – as well as Wendy’s – so it is gonna be a great year for us – and you as well I hope!

I’m also taking a digital detox, we’ll get the show on as normal, but I am going to be in the middle of nowhere in Guangdong province by a beach with just Wendy and Maggie – no landline internet. I’ll ….bring my laptop and mobile phones and hotspot – but promise I won’t go overboard. This will be a challenge but many of my friends have said it really opens your mind.

And the team here has been hard at work on the next Cross Border Summit in Shenzhen – April 21-22, come by and show your support!

Ok, and now for this week’s show – the Amazon selling wizard – Will Tjerlund – talking Operation Dragon boat and Amazon international!

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Intro Will

  • What Is Operation Dragon Boat?

    So, first, what is Operation Dragon Boat for those not familiar?

  • The Name

    Any insights on why they picked the name “Dragon boat”?

  • The Main Idea

    So the concept here – is letting those already selling on Amazon PL in US, or other foreign markets, also be able to sell on Amazon China?

  • Inventory Placement

    They need to put inventory then in an FBA of China?

  • Free Trade Zones?

    This is leveraging China’s new FTZ (free trade zone) I believe, such as ones in Qianhai in Shenzhen.

  • Localizing the Listing

    So the listing should be translated to Chinese – any tactics that are special?

  • Chinese Customer Service

    How about customer service, will it come in Chinese?

  • Ranking on Amazon China

    Marketing on Amazon in China, same as Amazon anywhere?

  • The Overall Flow of Operation Dragon Boat and Amazon China

    So for those still trying to grasp things here – you buy from a factory in China, or a wholesalers in USA, or wherever, get the stock to Amazon FBA in USA, and elect for the product to be sold on Amazon China? Then it is fulfilled the same as anywhere else?

  • Returns?

    How about returns then, makes me wonder? (Though I have to admit, I am a customer of Amazon China “Operation Dragon Boat” for some protein powder) I really wasn’t expecting to return it!

  • Experiences In This

    What is your experience with selling on Amazon China?

  • What To Look Out for

    Any common pitfalls or misconceptions?

  • So, this is big News for sellers!

    So this is a net positive for current FBA sellers – they can immediately reach the Chinese market – or any market really?

  • What Will Is Up To

    Tell us about about what you’ve been unto Will – I always enjoy your talks at conferences!

  • Connecting

    How can people reach out?

Thanks for coming on Will!

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Episode Length 38:16

Thank you Will – it was great to have you on the show. I’m excited to see the globalization of e-commerce and breaking down of borders. Just wonder when we can 3D print this stuff instead of mass producing it on one side of the world, shipping it across an ocean, putting in boxes in a warehouse, and paying truckers to drive it all around. It will come, and I am sure Amazon will still be the one serving the customers then!

Best of luck to everyone on your businesses, and see you next week. I hope you’re enjoying the Chinese New Year – fun fact – I have spent many of these new year holidays “Caving” as we called them – just hanging out in my apartment watching movies and tweaking websites all day. Now with a full fam, don’t get those bachelor times anymore! Alright, I’m out – take care

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Oh it’s a yeah. Here’s a story of a guy who import a bunch of wine fridges and they all had their temperature gauge in celsius instead of fahrenheit and he marketed as would you ever want to put your french wine in a non french wine cellar.

Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast with a daunting process of running in the international business is broken down in the straight up actionable advice and now your host Michael Michelini.

Mike : What’s up guys? Global From Asia episode 159 and we are in the midst of Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rooster or is many would say the year of the cock. And i am a cock born in 1981, my birth year, so also my wife Wendy is a cock, and it’s gonna be a great year for us and all the other cocks and non cocks in the Chinese New Year calendar that is. Alright, and I am going to be on digital detox when the show goes live, I am gonna be in the middle of nowhere of Guangdong province with my wife and Maggie, ah by the beach somewhere with a no internet, and trying my best to do nothing and kinda clear my mind, I know some of my friends Rico from main China podcast and others have send us really helpful so I will bring my laptop and mobile phone and hotspot but I promise myself I’m gonna try that Wendy hold it and not let me check it too much and ahh hopefully open my mind and also clear my mind a lot for the cross borders summit in Shenzhen April 20th and 21st, it’s gonna be great 2 day event. Okay and now for this week’s show we have Amazon’s selling wizard Will and he is on finally on the show talking operation Dragon Boat at Amazon International so let’s tune in.

Mike : Okay welcome everybody to the Global From Asia podcast we have a special one today we have Will Tjerlund on the line, thanks for being here Will.

Will Tjerlund: Hey, thanks for having me Mike.

Mike : Yeah. so you’re like the world traveller we’ve met up in Hong Kong and you are at a different conferences and business so, how are things with you right now and where about you?

Will Tjerlund: I’m currently back in my home state of Minnesota, but ahhh on Sunday I have an out of town at Berlin gonna speak in a conference hangout for a couple of weeks so ah I won’t be back home for too long.

Mike : Okay so spent the holidays at home and ahh back on the road.

Will Tjerlund: Exactly it’s a little too cold for me to hangout here all winters so I find some sort of things to escape.

Mike : Cool well yeah, so make sense. So for today’s topic, we are talking before the preparing for the show and and you suggested we talk about the operation Dragon Boat and PL private sellers at Amazon doing internationally and China so thanks thanks again for sharing with us today.

Will Tjerlund: Yeah and I’m a, I’m not exactly sure how much ahh value going to add on this topic but ah it’s a, there’s no one talking about it could be a good chance for at least to meet you being in China to meet and this about Amazon would probably do better do people talking about this.

Mike : Yeah, i know and i’m excited so ahh i guess first of all the, people having you the keyword operation Dragon Boat what is, what are we going to talk about today.

Will Tjerlund: so operation Dragon Boat is kinda of a market things steel and ah the reports on the actual like first hand reports have people written about it are still don’t know exactly what it is but it’s something to the effect of Amazon is filing to sort of this, I think, but ah Amazon is filing to become a freight forwarder and to start ah they are started renting their own 747 jets and they wanna act basically control the entire supply chain from end to end so they are gonna pick up the container themselves in China, send them to their preferred center, and then eventually they would love to fulfill each order themselves and so they could not only control the customer’s experience from end to end so they can make sure that the customer has best experience possible but at the same time cut out all the, kinda waste from end to end and make sure the customer’s get the lowest price possible. So basically operation Dragon Boat Amazon is becoming a freight forwarder and is trying to take control of all freights including sea freight which is kinda more complicated and more of a kind of old school areas that Amazon hasn’t really focus to attend the idea until now.

Mike : as ahh, definitely it’s true I mean, we’ve had, I think you work together with, right ahh on some of your retreat we’ve been talking about, he’s been talking about earlier ahh he was talking about shipment and you know it’s pretty complex process from what we can get it today and we talk about it before but yeah i mean there’s lots of different companies involved and ah you know like 3 or 4 different steps right, where would you think to buy from a factory you get to FBA distribution center you know for what people tell me in my own experience just like 3 or 4 companies even if you’re good at it, what would you say?

Will Tjerlund: You yeah, it’s a good to hear that CEO of flex port talk about this, cause he will say that ahh freight is this multi hundreds billions of dollar in your business and it’s still most the business done on like ah post it notes and phone calls and it’s just unbelievable that you call one guy up and he gives you a price write it down real quick and you call another guy up and he give you a different price you call the first guy up he matches that first price you call the second guy up and he goes a little bit lower call the other guy up ok, then he is good you know it’s like, hey what are we doing here?

Mike : Yeah so.

Will Tjerlund: You’ll never do that in a post office.

Mike : It’s really nuts, so, seems like Amazon’s ready to disrupt likely done that to a lot of industries yeah but I think we are all waiting for this it’s really inefficient and kinda annoying umm. What’s with the name dragon boat obviously those were not familiar with China has a dragon boat festival and it has kinda a chinese used word i would say culturally any insights of the name or some random name.

Will Tjerlund: For my point of view, some random chinese name you may have more background knowledge of this, if there’s like a legend of the dragon or something like that but ahh for me it’s like the first time record Dragon Boat first thing that connect to my head when they told me what it was is that Amazon is doing something to do with shipping from China that was my first thought.

Mike : Yeah.

Will Tjerlund: For dragon boat and i heard , and all those some kinds of stuff in between of that a okay that would possibly be and that ahh my basically was.

Mike : Yeah it’s true but ahh, of course there’s boats, I was thinking of the dragon boat festival which is one of the I guess it’s about 12 or so holidays in China that’s one of them so it’s ahh recognized everybody’s day-off from work and ahh, we eat sticky rice, bamboo leaves wrapped into this like a triangular shape rice cake with meat inside, and ahh okay i have never seen ahh actual races but ahh i guess dragon boat races definitely part of China call it from the old times. That’s all I can think of too, but true i guess most of the products are manufactured in China. It is chinese related with the shipping

Will Tjerlund: uhum.

Mike : So, today, you know i think we are gonna really kinda discuss between us this whole idea of I think traditionally most of the listeners and most of the business owners are buying from factories shipping to their warehouse you know FBA or through port selling in the west but not many yet are tapping into China or even specifically more on Amazon China so, that’s give me more possibility I think with dragon boat or just something maybe people should be considering anyway.

Will Tjerlund: Maybe i’m just wrong but I was thinking dragon boat growing more from China to the US , U.S. to China.

Mike : Yeah.

Will Tjerlund: So like I wander, i mean I thought of it the thought umm basically yeah we can use it vice versa and get a price into Amazon China I know that Amazon is trying their best to get the Chinese market going. I think they might be focusing a little bit more time on India right now using expert Amazon India, but I think one of the main things is that I know we talked about it private label sellers with US is that you need to build a brand, a brand is everything blah blah but like with Chinese market I feel like building the brand is everything. The majority reason why I feel like these Chinese consumers buy US products because they have you as brand name. They didn’t get any everyday items for cheap that’s not the reason why they are getting, they are not getting to show off the new status as middle class citizens that kind of ahh vibe you get into.

Mike : Yeah, generally I think it comes down to trusting their own products just like what you said. Most chinese will be embarrassed to admit but there’s this scandal just as most famous was ahh they got a chemical they put in a baby powder so like ah you know i think you and listeners have a couple of kids so ahh my wife will never let me buy chinese brand ahh baby milk powder cause maybe they will never do it again but some you know i think that’s the difference with the quality in China and overseas state. Some things cut corners of materials or suppliers you know for components and stuff but yeah I mean they killed babies like I don’t know like ahh 6 years ago I think 2010 maybe or many year but ahh so that was one big big milestone for Chinese didn’t trust their own factories their own brands umm whereas we know like Walmart pretty astringents and other distributors and other brands about their quality so Chinese just don’t really trust so even if it’s bought inside of China even if it has the brand they are afraid it’s fake, we’ve been to Chinatown and different parts of the world you know they are kinda notorious for knock offs and fake products so the chinese consumer growing middle class wants to get this quality goods and they want to make sure it’s really the brand and really not gonna of course the worst is you know your kid dying you know even any other, hmmm you know beauty related products is wasting a lot of that being bought from overseas it’s really about trusting that is a real brand and the brand’s quality in it is what we gonna do.

Will Tjerlund: Ah yeah really interesting with the part of milk it’s crazy like Hong Kong China border all the people with their lines of powder of milk the limit whatever it brings to 5 gallons at a time and all that, you have no idea what the background was on that you think where it was sending.

Mike : Exactly, it’s crazy, it’s really crazy. I have a friend who has dog, dogs here and he likes tried to bring dog foods in from the US. But that’s forbidden in China so he is actually gotta sees to Customs thinks it was drugs man it was serious and he can’t bring in dog food I guess there’s some kind of I guess that has raw vegetables or eggs or something inside of it that they think is not safe to bring in but ahh. I mean but yeah i think it’s not kinda cross border or trade I think it was a couple of months ago when amazon prime announce China cross borders so you buy from Amazon US or internationally and if you buy a couple of RMB for goods it will be shipped to you for free to China or from overseas so what what happened I didn’t want I bought protein powder from the US on Amazon though Amazon China and it calculates the ship well shipping is free cause I do over a minimum spend and I have the prime membership but ahh they show you the tax you pay the legitimate import duties so talking about the milk powder carrying across the border on the tax but when you ship have been to the country even on a smaller postal amount they usually catch for the taxes so I think the opportunity that Amazon is working on Amazon China market you have as well.

Will Tjerlund: I see way even more just like what stuff of Levi’s, stuff like that where you can get hook up with the legitimate U.S. brand manufacturer and you could be there Chinese Amazon person that sounds like something that most manufacturers made just hand right over to you if you have no idea what to do with it. And you wanna handle our Amazon Chinese account or Amazon China account oh well that sounds like something that we have no idea about we barely even know our Amazon account works let alone Amazon China and if you can handle that this sounds great and you can get on the bottom floor of E-Commerce website proven that it can execute on top of you know have this 1.3 or 1.4 billion dollar I mean billion person market and so I think that maybe kinda cool strategy moving forward it’s becoming brand’s official account of Chinese online retailer because they are gonna eventually they are gonna over someday it will be awesome if you could on the ground floor.

Mike : Totally, totally i mean everyone has been dreaming to get into China market it’s getting more more real I mean in chinese consumers hungry for quality foreign brands that we’ve been discussing and umm there’s a few points to do that, right, do you think they should ship from the U.S. or from I mean there’s localization in corners or what are some suggestions that we can both talk it out, too.

Will Tjerlund: From your point of view, how price sensitive are these chinese middle class consumers? Are they worried that levi’s cost USD70 or 50? Or that hey Levi’s cost a lot of money because it’s American brand or we are not really worried about the price.

Mike : Yeah, I mean there’s middle class and upper class there’s a little bit different I don’t wanna offend any rich Chinese listening but I think they agreed there’s a kind of this farmer, there’s even a chinese word like a Tu-Hao which means like earth, earth-good especially like rich farmers, they got rich because they got lucky in Shenzhen if you would own these fishermen’s villages, like 30 years ago when you are just an educated guy that happened to be here you are just like a million, multi-millionaire. Like so rich but they have no education , they’re fisherman, they are farmers, so there are lot of these kinds of like minted millionaires that they are just kinda right place, right time, really have to get educated, those people are just, they have to hire like lawyers, really smart people to be around them, because they just don’t blow their money they aren’t kinda like sports stars or NBA superstars.

Will Tjerlund: Or anyone who wins the lottery or anything.

Mike : yeah it was kinda like those people so those people are a little bit almost annoying they don’t have a good hygiene and they are kinda like learning ahh but don’t spend money on anything obviously , so obviously those kind are kinda of one’s that people totally amaze when they travel overseas and they have not much manners and lots of money to spend on and money is not an issue so there’s someone knows those are people they are just going crazy especially if you were really on a ground floor like 20 or 30 years ago and I know people are just filthy rich from real estates, so the issues is you can be educated really highly net worth individuals and of course they ahh there’s a joke of the gold iphone, see those stories of news like ahh Chinese person will like buy ahh plated gold iphone for like whatever the crazy evaluation is, so umm those people just buy anything and of course they, the marketing is, well i think it’s true, too, cause western product, you know i think we all agree that up until today, or just better quality, I don’t think there’s anybody being offended, or disagree with that so, obviously if you know something better, no need to worry about too much , and you know they are not so prices and you know to go on like the general you know billion people. They are kinda like little bit more reasonable and price somewhat price sensitive. But i’ve talked a lot of tons of people i’ve talked to me about selling in China and they ahh they are asking like ship price into China and localize everything and actually a lot of times to a product chinese trust buying from overseas anyways, even though it might cost more they’re just gonna be feel much more safer that’s really on foreign products like my wife ahh stop bugging me I was ahh milk powder across the border, I think i have some social media pictures to prove but which he finally bought ahh from in hong kong english website and i think they translated it in chinese but she buys it in hong kong dollars and they take care of shipping it into China but she just feels better buying on that website. Ummm. then on a domestic chinese e-commerce platform for sensitive products and ahh it cost more I have to convince her that it was my time and my hassle of carrying luggage across borders was worth the USD5 and more whatever it was stupid. I think they are learning about time is money and the hassle trying to bargain in search of products so I will say they are willing to pay more and ahh be sure that it was what it is and there’s a quality good.

Will Tjerlund: I think we are actually getting somewhere, with this web kind of thinking about when you are selling a product in a new market or any market thinking about holistically and not just looking about the stats but thinking about like as a human being, too. And like you were saying like okay these different milk powder, could be it’s gonna cost or relate into importing into China could be huge seller when you say like purely american 100% organic, like no chemicals used, and then to say like it’s kinda i’m trying to think of like I’m kinda more flashy consumer thing but ahh one of the things i always see now people wearing is like a Gucci, and like Louis Vuitton belt. If you have not seen that so it’s like a kinda well they probably cheaper items that Gucci or Louis Vuitton sell. But it’s still like 275 belt. Just cheaper on like if you got a christmas gift you won’t be gone crazy you know what i’m saying and some I think are like perfect product of kinda flashy and brand wise like the chinese market would love it but at the same time it’s not too pricey, when you are not outpricing yourself. You are not making it available to super rich there’s this kinda perfect sweet spot it seems like for chinese consumer that i’m trying to kinda put my finger on.

Mike : I always, I think we’ve all seen those chinglish t-shirt with the big letters that makes no sense. So just having english at all on a product is a looks good and ahh so you’ll see sometimes restaurants they have bad english is because the owner doesn’t even have to know to write english but by being having english on their marketing materials makes sense international makes them look more sophisticated i guess it’s similar maybe i don’t know about you but maybe me subconsciously i’ll see french or maybe german letters at a restaurant maybe in the U.S. But I’m kinda disconnected with that but maybe even seeing those letters makes them see more genuine and real international or kinda you know exotic maybe but umm i think that’s.

Will Tjerlund: Yeah I heard that story of guy who import a bunch of wine fridges wine coolers the gap and the container in all had their temperature gauge in celsius instead of fahrenheit and he marketed as would you ever wanna put your french wine in a non french wine cellar.

Mike : Yeah.

Will Tjerlund: And so it’s like exactly kinda what you’re saying where it’s like as they use kinda French and German kind of european deal in general even though we don’t think of like old European make the best price ever but from America anything seems to be foreign seems fancy.

Mike : oh we just have an haagen dazs which is so expensive in China umm just like an american brand but they made it up like pick the random mess up the country Europe somewhere in europe whatever haagen dazs come from but it’s made in America but the course it they thought they would sound higher value if it kind European name but even in America take us off for a premium and in China it’s nuts the price of the values way out of wack but ahh you know so another trick for you I got friend pretty powerseller come both ways on E-bay and amazon and taba other chinese platforms and he is really smart he registered US trademarks for brands he doesn’t even expect or plan and sell in the U.S. and sells in China those products and puts the U.S. trademark logos on his listings page details in China to say it is US registered brand cause I don’t know if you look at these chinese listing pages but allows to have certificates if you ever seen those factories and brochures and badges similar things cause it’s all about trust in China’s they wanna show the hell all of these so you’ll see they are using that dummies like the western brands just because it was registered. You know how a days it is not a registered trademarks online in the US.

Will Tjerlund: No, I don’t understand.

Mike : Yeah i mean stuff like that.

Will Tjerlund: Same guy doing that I’ve heard same guy doing that with a russia same like thing where file and trademarks and file and have you been to target in Australia.

Mike : I haven’t it’s on my list but i haven’t been to Australia.

Will Tjerlund: okay look if you go to target store in Australia has the red bulls eye everything but if you look up in wikipedia it’s not actually a target so it’s registered with the target brand took the logos took everything and it has copied the products and deparment stores that everything is red and white is exactly a target but it’s not actually target corporation.

Mike : I know what you mean but I guess what i’m saying is he pick the random word not actually ahh

Will Tjerlund: Oh even better.

Mike : it’s not even real brand something he made up so.

Will : Ohh i think he was going to register brands before he got a chance to he’s just doing just random works.

Mike : Yeah he just doing for a fact, to show to chinese it’s a famous brand in the US when actually he just registered trademarks and shows that they don’t know they gotta realized obviously same like us in China we have no clue what maybe could be famous in China

Will Tjerlund: Exactly.

Mike : They marketed as a registered brand in America and as famous as here in the US patent and trademark and office you know ahh certificate of approval of this brand and stuff like that that’s all marketing he’s not really of course those are squatters and the stories of like ipads and China’s they’re getting their brands it’s the first of file trademark in China andybody can grab names can do it but ah, no, these guys just picking up words that he thinks are maybe cool or registering just US trademark just to show chinese consumer as the US brand and he kinda spin in this he is famous for quality or something.

Will Tjerlund: I love anytime someone takes advantage of the idea that like brands and worth stuff I come from the mentality that all brands are worth buzz and careless anything I buy clothes or anything that so when someone can show a perfect case study of how worth as a brand actually it is and make up a word and all of a sudden price of a 20% or more is a shocking to me.

Mike : It is, amm I’m bulls eye I am similar you i think you said it you’re speaking at the global sources summit and you said you buy a ball black t-shirt i mean I have similar the uniform and stuff and the but I mean at the same time the pants are what kind of product I think we have to say you know there are specialties but I guess we are also in this Amazon world where people just logos and selling it you know to spinning it but ah it you know I understand bulls eye is a brand wars or but i’m on your side I guess it depends on the product though.

Will Tjerlund: I recently started rock climbing and it’s one of the few times my life where I have like been crazy brand sun trick.

Mike : Well yeah the calibers.

Will Tjerlund: Yeah exactly because I wanna save some money in this harness rope getting a fibre leap of version but was it really worth it when I die and so that’s kinda interesting one where it’s like ohh so then again they kinda tell me like ahh okay, well there’s certain products that drink posters were quality doesn’t matter because it’s a drink coaster but if you’re gonna get into product when quality is everything it actually involves safety then you’re kinda 20 totally different niche where you’re not again the customer me is not price sensitive you’re not rock climbing because you’re struggling to get by, you know, you’re rock climbing because you literally have free time where you go climb rocks climb some sort of income there and so they are not price sensitive they are more worries about their lives.

Mike : True.

Will Tjerlund: And so again it’s just one of these things i’m always trying to ahh explain to people kinda like psychology behind why they buy stuff and why they feel that way about product because I think that I can help just as much as i’m looking for products to sell looking for business starts as maybe even just ahh just using analytics using software.

Mike : True, have been pattern to some of idea, good food for thoughts for listeners, so I guess the listings should be localized, i’m not, i have to admit I haven’t had a US listed product or not sure if i can opt in amazon China from us but the way it works the amazon China side is you could click the box like fulfill from overseas and you’ll see the different flags mean internationally ship and if they have Amazon prime if you buy like the 25 or 30 US dollars or for some goods shipping is free but ah the languages i search english honestly i used my wife’s account and ahh i search english it was on China but of course trying to be most efficient for chinese customers if price should be localized listings into chinese on amazon not sure if you have any.

Will Tjerlund: Yeah I know for other countries where I talk to women who actually brands like a consulting firm where she will translate your listings into different languages all over europe and so think that they’ll do like an automatic translation, they kinda help someone like you are saying searching in english, but for the most part I think for you to get those real keyword, the customers actually search to find the product I think that’s gonna be the most helpful and so they got like scotch tape where they might translate as like umm transparent one sided tape and you go okay yeah transparent one sided tape you are 100% describe this product correctly i cannot give you fault for that but anyone who search this will gonna call it scotch tape and so like that, that might be the kind of thing that you be missing on if you don’t have that someone of need translations listings.

Mike : Sure. There’s always makes sense I mean umm you know I’m, not actually on e commerce but i remember listing i have UK ful llment way back like 06 and ahh i was i have put german i got a german top level domain on my brand, and i got UK code the UK if i should some how upsetting me because i have americanized english and they are more like upset me with the customers service to but to german customer services i’m seeing I was literally my team and i we’re just literally using google translate their messages to google translate back, they’re huh their response and i’m wondering how people I guess that’s my team maybe they didn’t get buy but I guess it’s similar in a way internationally but umm the customer service in China i mean how would that work.

Will Tjerlund: Well it’s not only the customer service in China, it’s like can you get a employee to in China who can kinda like connect the dots, think outside the box, and realized that there have been same questions over and over again and telling you something about it, you know, it’s like one thing if you have employee in China sitting there doing your customer service it’s another thing if you get a pro-active employee will say hey this is the 5th time i’ve answered call about shipping something late, is something wrong with the fulfillment center.what’s going on here?

Mike : Umm that’s true. Common sense.

Will Tjerlund: And so that.

Mike : It’s true like when you and i, i think is common sense but actually in a sometimes in a team is a definitely hmmm. Some have make an exception right encourage people to think outside the box and tell you doesn’t make sense .

Will Tjerlund: I was talking to a guy who said he finds his best employee over in China at a restaurant because he said something like hey can you actually cherry coke instead of diet coke and the thing he said they describe this coke no questions asked and go figured it out and if you don’t have cherry coke team to whatever, you know it’s ok well that person just go solves his problem without asking for permission, that’s kind of person I want on my team.

Mike : Nice, like makes sense, too. I guess it’s good to excuse to go on a bars and restaurant in China.

Will Tjerlund: Well yeah it’s self proven China were, you just tell them hey answer all these customer service emails they gonna do that to a teeth. But they are not gonna realized that their response abilities could be growing that they could actually influence the way customer service is done not just the way like done, not just follow the process every time.

Mike : Totally agree, so very cool, umm, let’s maybe talk some, I’ve been enjoying this so far, How about some pitfalls maybe what people could do to avoid, some international expansion or asia expansion.

Will Tjerlund: I think we’re kinda going all over exact pitfalls is that umm take it seriously and get someone like you or someone who actually knows the culture/someone at the language if you’re gonna go into a market, I feel like, I feel like ahh, you’ve been like a 30 minutes or some interview like hey, sort of customer buying online in this country, okay, what kind of product is this buying online, okay is the credit card safe in there when they buy to whatsapp? You know what i’m saying is, all this kinda quick questions, that you could just get out of the way when you have that much better a chance in all of these international form markets supposed in going in blind and i end up to sell a chinese branded milk powder I think it’s gonna work well to chinese market and a chinese brand and it goes terribly.

Mike : True, true, yeah, exactly, like doing a little bit of homework before you just like throw something upon, you know in a new market, all the girls could bat and ball you know testing at least the worst is not to send a ton of inventory and then find out later, it’s a wrong product.

Will Tjerlund: 100% but if, you dont always with a testing, it’s like, do you know what you’re testing. Sometimes you just throw a stuff i’m testing or and i was like okay, what is specific, you are trying to testing demand? or are you testing price point? Are you testing your supplier if they could ship you on time? It’s kinda testing everything at once and so, make sure you have some sort of measurable, so you know if you did a good job or not, you know if it’s successful or not.

Mike : yeah, totally, totally, alright Will, so what have you been up to? Sorry, at the beginning, we dive in so deep, i know i guess i’ve assumed so know where you up to? But maybe, maybe with connect with you online or find a what were you doing?

Will Tjerlund: Yeah, you can find me pretty easy online at per unique last name but umm, whatever i’ve been to lately, is consulting for like bigger and like companies, and running their, i’ve got smaller companies, were we managed some amazon accounts, optimize everything, umm make sure everything is kinda perfect, increase sales, and all that kind of stuff and it’s ahh super interesting because, its kinda looking at the whole amazon private label, marketplace, but from a totally different who actually have tons of money own their factory over in China. And some kinda totally different way of umm, than the bootstrap selling from you garage point of view.

Mike : True. You have some fast, caught in a you know speeches and you has something pretty interesting, sometimes scary perspective, some private label sellers, but that’s enough, that’s another topic, that’s a long one, but it’s really cool. How about ahh, how about any websites or blogs? I guess to search google and I could link it up to the show.

Will Tjerlund: Yeah i know yeah, if you’d that’s ahh that’s the website i currently consulting under umm we get some pretty decent blogs post on there, we’re working on to match pretty cool ones that I actually think i gonna add value or just like for SEO umm so. We’re working on that, kinda thinking of what myself up to and whatever, I gotta podcast, hopefully to come out soon, trying to more more webinars, trying to do, we have Amazon meet-up in Minneapolis area, I’m doing all sort of things. Different media we can imagine, from audio, to video, to spoken words, and everything, I’m trying to get out there. So, if you search my name and you’ll find something,

Mike : Okay, very cool, very cool. Im taking some notes, too, and so thanks so much for coming over Will.

Will Tjerlund: Yeah, and thanks for having me. Anytime.

Mike : Sure.

Mike : Thank you Will for sharing ahh in Minneapolis recorded by I’ve already seen hmm In Berlin, Europe travelling all over the place because it’s too cold in Minneapolis, I agree with them and I’m happy to have them on the show, and I’m excited to see globalization with e-commerce, breaking down this borders, I don’t want to get political, seems like other, you know, governments,are all about, putting borders up, and backs ahh putting borders up, but let’s see if technology and innovation in e-commerce can break this borders down, I just wonder, what if you can print all these stuff, printed in our offices, instead of having it mass produce thousands of pieces of MOQ’s ship the world, Maggie is here. Pulled it away and we will see shipping stuff all around the world,putting in a boxes, and a warehouse, paying truckers to ship, your house and all that stuff really bit stupid to me, because time will come, there will be printed and drones delivering all these kind of stuff or just in time of inventory, I’m sure Amazon still be the ones serving the customer that’s the place to be. So best of luck to everybody and your businesses and I will see you next week. I hope you are enjoying the Chinese New Year, and a fun little fact, i spent many of these chinese new year in China cave in as we called it which was ahh hiding in my apartment, watching movies and not really doing anything and everything was shut down especially at Shenzhen, boys out of town in their hometowns, and maybe this will also fix in our website, too, and for fun and stuff , but now with the full family you don’t get those bachelor, bachelor’s time anymore, but different kind of fun, they are on their way for me, so, talk to you guys laters, see you next week. Bye bye.

To get more info on global running international business please visit our website at that’s also be sure to subscribe to our i-tunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.


Amazon is one of the largest e-commerce marketplaces in the world and has become bigger since it branched out to China. was launched in 2004 and was formerly known as To date, it has 15 fulfilment centers in China – in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Suzhou, Guangzhou (two), Chengdu (two), Wuhan, Shenyang, Xi’an, Xiamen, Kunshan, Jinan, and Harbin.

PROs of selling on Amazon China

1. Amazon is trusted – Amazon has an outstanding reputation in regards to its products, service and security. Despite the stiff competition among e-commerce marketplaces in China, Amazon has been among the top trusted marketplaces with Chinese consumers.
2. Huge market – China has over 1.3B people, that’s 4x the US population, and half of this 1.3B are active internet users. This gives a seller an opportunity to expose his/her product to its millions of users as cross-border e-commerce booms in China
3. Interface familiarity – works almost the same as with the same steps and order flow. So, if you’re already an Amazon seller, you wouldn’t have to worry about navigating

CONs of selling on Amazon China

1. You can only sell on Amazon China by invitation – To sell on, you will need to contact Amazon by answering this form to get an invitation email.
2. Fees – There’s a referral fee for every item sold, depending on which category your product belongs, and an annual fee that depends as well on its category.
3. Cut-throat competition – Alibaba dominates Chinese e-commerce, and honestly, Amazon is not even close to Alibaba’s supremacy.

How to Sign up for Amazon China Seller Central

If you already are an Amazon seller, the steps are almost the same, only it’s all in Chinese, and you cannot use any of your existing Amazon accounts, so you will have to sign up again on to get started.

So, to sign up for an Amazon Seller Central account you will have to click here, which will lead you the Amazon CN Seller Central log-in page, and then click Register Now. From here on, everything will be in Chinese. If you cannot read Chinese, you might want to ask for help from a trusted local, or use Google Translate.

Note that only enterprises registered in People’s Republic of China with appropriate merchandise sales qualifications are allowed to open an account on Amazon China Seller Central.

Click the orange button to continue. On the next page, it will suggest you to prepare the documents/information, such as business license and tax registration certificate, to streamline the process.

Make sure that the name of the company on the business license is exactly the same.

On the next page, it’ll ask you basic things such as seller display name, company name, country, state, address, zip code, phone number, tax registration and customer service number.

After filling out the form, the next pages will lead you to Billing/Deposit, Tax information and Product Information.

After signing up, Amazon will review your qualification documents within 3 business days.

How to Sell on Amazon China from Overseas (KAIDIAN.AMAZON.CN)

Selling in China from overseas is not impossible, but it can be a pain in the ass. Note that under Chinese law, out-of-country sellers may face certain restrictions. To qualify to sell in China you must:

1. Have a legal entity outside mainland China;
2. Be one of the following seller types:

Seller TypeSupporting Documents
Brand OwnersTrademark Registration Certificate
Distributors and Retailersa. Trademark Registration Certificate
b. Brand Authorization Verified by Brand Owner

Eligible Categories:

Product GroupCategories
SoftlineApparel, Jewelry, Luggage, Shoes, Watches
Other HardlineAutomotive, Home, Home Improvement, Kitchen, Sports
ConsumableBeauty, Baby Products, Groceries, Health Personal Care, Pet Products, Toys, Wine
Consumer ElectronicsCameras, Wireless, Electronics, Mobile Electronics, Major Appliances, Musical Instruments, Office Products, PCs


If you think you are qualified, you may follow the below steps to continue

A. Sign up
First off, a seller can only sell on Amazon China by invitation, so the first step is basically to contact them here.

On the contact form, you will need to provide the following: product category, brand names, number of brands, brand license, shipping method, and company & contact information.

Once filled out, click Submit. Amazon will get back to you shortly.

B. Registration
If you receive an invitation letter from Amazon, you will need to register your account on seller central and submit supporting documents online, such as trademark registration certificate for brand owners and verified brand authorization for distributors and retailers.

C. Pay Deposit
Once your registration has been approved, you will then pay your annual deposit which depends on what category your product belongs. Note that deposit fees are fully refundable. The purpose of this fee is to guarantee the authenticity of your products.

Groceries, Major Appliances, Cameras, Electronics, Mobile Electronics, Office Products, PCs, Wireless*50,000 RMB /about 8,000 USD
Beauty, Health Personal Care30,000 RMB /about 4,800 USD
Apparel, Automotive, Home, Home Improvement, Kitchen, Luggage, Shoes, Sports10,000 RMB /about 1,600 USD
Wine50,000 RMB /about 8,000 USD
Baby Products, Toys30,000 RMB /about 4,800 USD
Musical Instruments
Watches10,000 RMB /about 1,600 USD
Pet Products30,000 RMB /about 4,800 USD
Jewellery10,000 RMB /about 1,600 USD


* Accessories revenue share of PCs, Wireless, Electronics, Mobile Electronics and Office Product will be adjusted to 12%. (exceptions are USB disk, Memory card, Mobile hard disk, Card reader, CPU, RAM, Motherboard, Video card, Monitor, Network equipment, Printing paper and Camera lens, revenue share of list above remain 8% unchanged) – Source

D. Start Selling
Once done with the registration, you can upload your products on the Amazon marketplace to get started.

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Tags: amazon, asia, business, career, china, corporate, e-commerce, ecommerce, entrepreneur, guide, tips

3 Comments on “Selling on Amazon in China and PL Internationally with Operation Dragon Boat”

  1. Howard

    the #1 question, how exactly are the goods fulfilled for amazon china for non-mainland chinese entities? we aren’t allowed to use FBA, so….?

  2. sergei moiseev

    Hello Friend I Am russian, but a question I would like to open an account in amazon Usa. but I dont have Account in USD dollar how can I do!? Can you help me !?

  3. Pingback: Newsletter: Is Globalization Losing

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