Should I buy an Android Headunit from China?

The Android Headunits are made in China. The factories turn out huge numbers of them and they all need to get to a customer to be fitted to a car, van, truck or even a boat.

There are 2 main ways they can get to the country of the customer.

Shipping container

Firstly they can be packed into the huge container units and shipped around the world. Taxes on the imports are paid and the headunits are sent for retail in the country they are being sold in. Typically the cost is the Android Headunit + retail profit, plus any delivery cost.

Little Boxes, Little Boxes.

Secondly they could be sold as retail from the country of manufacture, being China on platforms such as Ali Express. The cost from from this would be the Android Headunit + profit plus the delivery cost PLUS any locally levied taxes or import duties on electrical equipment.

Buying your android headunit from within your country or it’s economic union will protect you from any extra taxes to pay because they have already been paid when the container landed at the dock.

Tax to pay 🙁

Buying your android headunit directly from a China wholesaler or manufacturer can leave you with a bill to pay. The tax or duties levied on the goods are not paid by the vendor. There is no guarantee that you will or won’t have to pay any extra and this is at the discretion of the local Customs.

You will be notified if there are any customs charges to pay. The package will not be delivered until the charge is paid. Typically the extra to pay is a percentage of the purchase cost. The percentage is around 2.5% plus the couriers handling fee for collection the money. Different countries have different rules. You should be aware of the rules for your situation.

Notification can be by SMS or a card posted through the door. It is prudent to cross check the tracking or way bill number. You have a tracking number in the SMS or on the card and one emailed to you by the seller. Just to make sure you are paying the right person for the right thing.

A good deal?

Don’t be put off importing the headunit yourself from China. Just be aware that not only can the delivery time can be long. You may have to pay a small percentage of the overall cost on top of what you paid the vendor. But it can still be a worthwhile endeavour.

Problems

The risk of unresolved problems is higher when you are importing expensive electronics from China. Typically undelivered items are refunded because they are tracked by the courier. Greater problems arise when your headunit arrives and it is not compatible with your car. Typically CAN BUS issues. This will require you to record a video of the problems you are facing and send this to the vendor. They need to see what you can see, rather than translate what you say you think is happening. It may be possible for the vendor to issue an update, but if you need to send the headunit back to the seller, it can get very expensive. International shipping costs are high, not like a domestic postal return or even going back to the shop that sold it to you.

Reviews

Reading and understanding the reviews can provide an insight into the seller and the product they are selling, in this case, an android head unit. There could be several pages of reviews, lots of chaff to sort thorough, but read them all. Look at the pictures that the reviewers have kindly left and attempt to understand their comments, even if they have been translated from a different language. Getting the sentiment of the review rather than understanding every word can help you get a general view of the product and company. Reviewers can flag up incompatibilities with particular year and models of vehicles, slow delivery times to particular countries, and how well the product performs.

Stars

A tip for reading the reviews is to ignore the stars and focus on the words. Many a poor review has five stars. It is what the words are trying to portray to you that you need to pay attention to, don’t be misled by erroneous stars.

Marshmallow
Marshmallow
An android-headunits.com staff blogger. I am a multi-skilled dogs-body and I also make the coffee ☕

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