Purchasing Chinese MP4s: How Not To Get Stung

Author xlxmarketing 21.2.2008. | 20:07

Apple will need to stay on its toes, the ‘iPod killer’ — or ‘killers’ — may already be on the market today, and, could well be already selling in great numbers.

It will come as no surprise to Chinavasion customers, as well as many other EBay drop shippers and wholesalers making healthy profits off re-sale off Chinese branded MP3 players and MP4 players, that in many cases ‘unbranded’ Chinese Personal Media Players (PMPs), and little-known Chinese brands of MP4s are outselling branded MP4s like Apple’s iPod and Microsoft’s Zune in huge numbers.

In fact, Chinese-made PMPs make up 30% of the world market according to a recent survey published by Softpedia. Not only are the Chinese-made and marketed MP4s markedly cheaper than the marquee-branded products but often have a higher number of more unique features, as Chinese manufacturers have been studying and perfecting the MP3 and MP4 player manufacture as OEM companies for several years before releasing their own products.

However, as many people buying MP4’s over EBay will attest to, not all Chinese branded MP4 players are created equal and there are some things you will need to look out for and ask about before buying a MP4. This is important when you’re buying for personal use but it is vital when buying to resell on somewhere like EBay, as a faulty product will damage your reputation and affect your long-term profitability.

Don’t get caught with a fake iPod at customs

Not that long ago China was the destination for counterfeit brand-name goods, it was cheap and easy to get and could easily be shipped out of the country. However, this is no longer the case and if customs officials see you with a fake iPod there’s a good chance they will take it off you, and pay no regard to any personal photos or irreplaceable personal videos you may have stored on it.

Cheap Isn’t Always Good

Dodgy watch salesman

He might be the cheapest source of MP4s in town but would you trust him?

The old adage ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ applies to few things as much as it does to Chinese MP4 player. There are a myriad of Chinese electronic wholesalers EBay suppliers and internet shops which stock Chinese-branded electronics so it stands to reason that the same kind of player is will appear in a couple of places more than twice.

Do a search on a product and if it appears for markedly less in one place than it does in everywhere else tread with caution. A minor difference might mean you’ve just found an online electronics seller who has cut out the middle-man, a major difference means the product might be stolen, faulty or broken or might not even arrive at your door.

Wholesale HDD MP4 prices

A rough guide to the price range for wholesale HDD PMPs1

Check The Memory

Once checking that the item is not under-priced check and ask questions about the listed memory of the device. Memory of flash disk powered devices range between 512MB and 8GB with the capacity of HDD-powered devices ranging between 80GB and 120GB. However things aren’t always as they seem and you may need to make sure that the player’s capacity is listed in Gigabytes not Gigabits (8 bits =1 byte). If you’re not careful you, or your customer, might find yourself with a 3GB player that only holds several videos.

Wholesale Flash Disk Prices

A rough guide to the price range for Flash disk MP4 players1


Not all MP4 players are actually MP4 players and often demand that you- or your customer – change your media into a strange format before it will play on the MP4. Interestingly enough the Apple iPod is one such system. While it is usually relatively easy to get conversion software of the internet, you or your customer might not want to go through the hassle so it might be wise to check which formats are supported on sales listings; or, if they’re not listed, ask a representative of the company you are buying the product off.

Your prospective MP4 should mainly play SMV, AVI and MPEG – 4 video files, while supporting WMV and MPG formats. It should run MP3, WMA and WAV audio formats as well as supporting JPG, BMP, and GIFF image files.

Common MP4 file formats

*A popular format in China and likely to be found on many Chinese-made MP4 players.

Something else to take into consideration when purchasing a HDD-powered MP4 player is whether or not it runs using a FAT16 system. File Allocation Table (or FAT) is a system used by computers and personal media players to define which information belongs together. Newer systems are now using a FAT32 system, which could mean you need to re-format a brand new HDD MP4 player.


Features are a big consideration to make, when purchasing a Chinese MP4 player. Questions to the vendor about how the features work, or a search online for reviews of the product (Technorati and YouTube are two good places to do a search) will let you know what features work and how they work and mean you and your customers will avoid disappointment.

Battery Life

Most new MP4 players should have Lithium-ion batteries or cell phone style batteries… these battery types are superior to the charges used in older MP4s as each charge is likely to last twice as long. Also ensure you’re getting the correct plug for your country as factories can sometimes struggle to put the correct plug for each region with their products.


Does the MP4 come with a warranty? As a rule, buying an item with a warranty will give you more protection than one without but it still pays to do some research and ask some questions about the nature of the warranty. Go to B2B sites, see if the site is a member and check its grading… anything with a low rating is not likely to be completely honorable. Another avenue is to go to sights like fraudwatchers or hotscams and check the forums. Before purchasing go through the warranty carefully and see what conditions and promises are given before making any decisions.

Quality Control

When buying from an online store or wholesaler see if you can find what quality control they do. Stores that spend money on an in-house QC department are probably going to be more reliable than one that simply sends people out to the factory to check items and will be a great deal more reliable than a company that trusts factories to send out good quality items.

Chinavasion quality control, checking a car DVD.jpg

Chinavasion QC staff check to see if a Car DVD player is working. Every item gets an equal amount of checking by Chinavasion QC staff.

At Chinavasion, our QC process is more thorough than most as we check every product to make sure it is in good working order before it is shipped to you, our customers.

Checking MP4s before purchasing isn’t nearly the arduous task it appears to be and, with a little common sense and internet research, you can guarantee that you and your customers always get high-quality goods that perform exactly as they are supposed to.

1Prices listed were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change depending on conditions

Author xlxmarketing 21.2.2008. | 20:07
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