It’s a semi-business, semi-shopping mission with my mom and my aunt.
That’s what entrepreneurial Filipino-Chinese do. The easiest way to make money is to source it cheaper in China and then resell back in the Philippines.
Which is a problem — China is no longer as cheap.
Whereas beef noodles by the roadside used to cost RMB 2 per bowl, we were hard-pressed to find a meal less than RMB 10 this time around. Even breakfast at Cafe de Coral was no longer inexpensive.
“RMB 13.5 for a bowl of congee with fish and century eggs! It’s highway robbery,” my auntie exclaimed.
We went to the accessory, aquarium and electronics wholesale shop. We bought a few things to ship home in the hopes of reselling them at a profit.
But here’s what we forget:
1) While our suppliers get cash, we are instead hoping for cash in return for the products we do ship in… If we do actually get to sell them.
Remember, it’s not cash yet till they are sold. I’d rather have money on my hand instead of dreams.
2) It’s not that cheaper to source from China even if you get them from wholesale market. Hey, if you’re buying them from the city, there’s already two to four middle men who already get a cut.
Take a look at a mini aquarium we bought for a few hundred RMB. Nice isn’t it? We could easily sell it in Manila for a tidy profit. Yay.
“We can buy it at RMB 200, which is around Php 1,500 and resell it at Php 3,800. Not bad!” I excitedly exclaimed.
That thought stayed in my head until we went back to our hotel room and look at Sulit.com.
It’s like eBay of the Philippines, but there’s no bidding. Basically, people simply post product availability and you can inquire directly with the suppliers, whose contact numbers are posted on the website.
Aquariums at Sulit.com cost around Php 350-2,000 for the entire set, the structure, light, sand, oxygen and all. Along with shipping costs and goodness knows, the effort, how else can you make a profit?!
Boo. You simply aren’t rewarded enough for the risk and effort. Period.
And 3) Everyone has the same idea.
China sourcing and reselling can be pretty competitive. If you can do it, others can do it too.
Imagine you’re the guinea pig who paves the way for others to copy, provided that you’re successful enough. If by the first month, you’re successful, you’ll find copycats sprouting left and right by the second month.
Reselling has a small barrier of entry that almost anyone with an airline ticket can fly to Guangzhou and do the same thing as you do. Gone are the days when China is the new frontier. Now, go to the Canton fair and you’ll see all your kababayan from home.
So money isn’t that easy to make.
Business isn’t that easy to make.
So why are we still here? Why do we still make the trip?
For ideas, really.
Business is all about good ideas and there’s no better place to get good ideas than in a more entrepreneurial China.
So how about you? Will you still make the trip?