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Developing A Technology Product in China

Preparing Your Project Initiation Document (PID)

Researching, identifying and including all the elements of your new product is the first stage of your product development. All the information should be included in your PID (Product Initiation Document) which will provide all the details related to your project in order to optimise productivity & efficiency.  You should include the following in the PID: Definition & scope of your project, product materials & components, product functions, product features, roles & responsibilities of the project managers & generally answer all potential questions related to what? why? who? how? & when?

Sourcing A Software Solution Company

The Solution Company will develop the software design with secure code which will be the ‘brains’ of your product. Writing clean code with a test-driven approach is fundamental to a well designed product which allows the end consumer to easily navigate the product’s features.

Sourcing A Hardware & Engineering Company

Hardware engineers are responsible for the design, manufacture & installation of the hardware components. This will include the circuit boards, housing, buttons, speakers and any other components required for your product.

Development Process, Costs & Timeline

This is often an area which is underestimated in the time required to develop a product from the idea stage to final mass production and testing.

The process can be broken down into 12 stages:

  • Idea Creation & Brainstorming
  • Product Design, Features & Costs
  • Software Design
  • Hardware Engineering
  • Component Procurement
  • Packaging Design
  • Prototyping & Testing
  • Moulding
  • Refinement & Retest
  • Pilot Production
  • Certification
  • Full Scale Production

Costs and timelines will be calculated for each stage of the product development and this will depend on the complexity of your product to be developed. It’s not unusual to take up to 12 months from idea stage to mass production for a technology product.

During the design stages, potential problems will need to be identified, researched and solutions found and tested with further refinement and testing. The software and hardware engineer will provide a cost and time estimate for the work on your project.

Product Idea & Brainstorming

This is an important stage before finalising your design, as it allows multiple ideas to flow from different people and bounce them against the project team to build on the ideas put forward from each department. 

Product Costs & Features

Factors that will influence the development costs of your products will be based on the complexity of the product including the time needed to spend on the software development, hardware engineering, prototyping, testing, mould tooling and component costs.

Software Product Development

Software product development encompasses different activities, including design, architecture, coding and technical design. A software designer is responsible for problem solving, identifying the modules required, as well as implementing the product specifications and features. They will plan the software solution and be responsible for the interface design, architectural design as well as detailed design.  

PCB Engineering

The PCB (Printed Circuit Board) design essentially brings your electronic circuits to life. The PCB is constructed of a laminated sandwich structure of conductive and insulating layers, to solder electronic components on the outer layer which is non conductive, at specific points, identified within the schematic diagram. The pathways, called traces, allow electrical components on the board to function by passing electricity through.

Mechanical & Hardware Engineering

The mechanical engineer’s responsibility is to design, manufacture and install all the hardware components. This will typically start from an industrial sketch and a 3D software program. This will allow the engineer to make any modifications to the design before identifying the components required, including dimensions and sizes for creating a prototype.

Product Components

The product components will be both internal and external parts. This will be discussed between all parties to identify the brand, quality and colours for the final product.

Branding & Packaging

Branding will include all areas you will want your brand/logo to be visible. This can include the PCB, outer product areas as well as your own designed packaging. 


In order to provide proof of concept a rapid design prototype will be made. This is the preferred method for product designers as they can utilise CAD software as well as 3D printing. Once the modeling is complete, usability and functionality testing can take place. If a 3D printer is not a viable option, then a hand made model will be the next option

Product Testing

There are 4 stages to product testing, which will include Inspection, Demonstration, Testing & Analysis. This part of the development process will include input from both the software  and hardware engineers and they will both provide reports on integration, system testing, usability, performance & security. The testing will include functional and non-functional testing.


Depending on the housing, buttons and other hardware relevant to the product, there will be a need for moulding design which may be in the shape of injection moulding, casting, or handmade structures. Injection moulding will require a hollow cavity receptacle, normally made from metal, where a liquid plastic or metal is poured to form the product.

Pilot Production

Before full scale production takes place, a small test run (Pilot Production) of the product is set up to ensure the manufacturing methods are satisfactory and to validate the manufacturing processes. There may be small adjustments during this stage, before user testing and mass production.


Improvements throughout the development stage, will require testing and refining at various points before the final sample has been approved. Refining can sometimes take place after user testing the approved sample.


After the pilot production has been made, the products will go through a typical user test, known as a soak test, where normal usage will be undergone to find any stress points. This is a vital part of the development and some refinements may need to take place.

Mass Production

After the pilot production has been successful, arranging the workflow of the full scale production will be implemented. This will typically include component procurement, production line employee training & management, production run schedule,  quality control, testing and packing.

Product Certification

Safety & compliance to UK, EU & world standards are important elements of successfully selling your product in UK  & global markets. Using an internationally recognised lab testing company, such as SGS, Intertek, TUV & UL will give confidence to your customers that your product has undergone rigorous testing to ensure your product is safe and compliant in the country where your product will be sold. It’s important to ensure that the latest testing standards are adhered to, as these are frequently updated.

3rd Party Quality Control Inspection

Having an independent quality control inspection on your shipment is important to ensure you are not relying on a manufacturer’s internal QC processes. Whilst these should be robust, a 3rd party inspection company will carry out more stringent tests and pick out problem issues where perhaps the factory QC may overlook. It’s usually cost-effective and gives you the extra layer of confidence that your shipment has undergone independent tests that you can rely on.

Shipping to Your Warehouse

An important cost consideration of getting your goods from the factory to your warehouse is part of the importing process which you can control. Deciding on the best shipment method for your order will include a number of factors including product category, shipment mode and speed of the delivery. All 3 will affect the costs and it’s always better to get and compare quotes.

10 Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do I need to prepare to develop my product in China

You will need to prepare all the information related to your product, which should all be included in your PID (Product Initiation Document). This should typically include the following.

Product details.
Product materials.
Product features.
Product specifications.
Product measurements.
Estimated product cost.
Launch timeline.


2. What is the next step after developing the PID?

After you have completed the PID with all the information required, you now need to find a suitable company to prototype and test your product idea. For a technology product, you’ll need to work with a software solution company as well as a hardware technician, which ideally should be based at the factory you’ll be using to mass produce your product.


3. What will the software solution company be responsible for?

The task of the software engineer will be to look at your product specifications, features and working requirements and write the code for the PCB (Printed Circuit Board), which is essentially the brains of your technology product. They will also select the modules and other components to be included within the PCB.


4. What will the hardware technician be responsible for?

The responsibilities of the hardware engineer is to liaise with the software solution company and transfer the software engineer’s work to complete the PCB and test all the features are working as specified. There is always feedback and amendments during this stage of the development. The hardware technician will also be responsible to source and prototype all the components including housing, buttons, speakers, batteries and other hardware to build your product.


5. What are the processes involved of the product development before it reaches the mass production stage?

The process involved in product development will include the following.

Product research & design.
Software development.
Hardware engineering.
Prototyping & testing.
Patter mould creation.
Packaging design.
Pilot production.


6. How long does it take to develop a technology product?

A technology development cannot be hurried and will typically take 3 – 6 months before reaching full scale production. It can often take longer and this will depend on the complexity of your product and specifications.


7. What costs are involved in product development?

Costs will depend on the product and specifications. An estimate will be given by both the software solution company as well as the hardware engineers before development starts. Costs are often broken down in the following stages.

Product design with 2D & 3D imaging.
Software development to include all required features.
Hardware engineering to create the PCB and all other hardware components and function testing.
Prototyping created by hand & further amendments after testing.
Patter mould creation.


8. Should I have an NDA signed before development starts?

Yes, as this will protect your design and ideas. It’s best to get a lawyer in the country where the development and manufacturing is taking place to draw up the agreement.


9. Will the product comply with all safety regulations and be certified to sell in UK, Europe & Globally?

It’s the sellers responsibility to ensure the product has certification to comply with each countries compliance requirements. An international lab testing company should be ued to test the product for all the countries where you want to sell your product. There will be slight differences for selling, for example in the UK, EU, North America, Australia, Japan and other areas you want to sell your product in..


10. Is it better to work with an Agent for the development as they can liaise directly with the engineers?

Generally, yes it is and not just for communication. There will be many stages of testing required throughout the full development process and having someone ‘on your side’ to test and explain improvements required will save on time as well as costs of logistics.

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