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Are You Ready for Entry to China?

1308 F3 coverChina is becoming the largest consumer market in the world. Electronic equipment especially high-tech devices are most popular in China. An attractive market, yes, but are you prepared to enter this vast marketplace? Like any country in the world, China has its own regulations for electronic equipment. China Compulsory Certification (CCC) is the most widespread certification you need to overcome.

CCC certification covers a wide range of products, electrical and non-electrical, which are listed in the CCC category. This category may be updated according to the government’s regulatory requirements. For example, some medical equipment was recently removed from the CCC category.


What are the requirements of CCC?

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CCC certification contains three phases: type testing (safety and EMC), initial factory inspection and follow up inspection. Currently, there are mainly three certification bodies for electronic equipment: China Quality Certification Center (CQC) which is the biggest certification body and can issue all electronic equipment CCC applications; China Information Security Certification Center (ISCCC) can issue information technology equipment (ITE) CCC certificates; China Electronics Standardization Institute (CESI) can issue Audio Video CCC certificates.

Terms You Need To Understand

Manufacturer is the company who designs the product and owns the patent. Factory is where the end product is assembled, tested and labeled. If the manufacturer and the factory are different, then it will be original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or original design manufacturer (ODM) mode. Each CCC certificate can only list one manufacturer and one factory, so if you have more than one factory manufacturing your product, you must apply for a CCC certificate for each factory. For OEM mode, the manufacturer can add multiple factories without retesting but each new factory should be CCC approved or needs to be inspected if it is not CCC approved. For ODM mode, the factory can add multiple manufacturers without retesting. The CCC certificate is valid for five years but may also depend on the OEM/ODM agreement. If the agreement is less than five years, your CCC certificate may be valid for a shorter period of time. So to avoid such problem, it is important to sign a longer agreement.


General Process

The applicant (must be a company or organization) can submit the application to the certification bodies mentioned above. Once the application is accepted, the manufacturer must send samples to the accredited lab in China to test. There are many accredited test labs you can choose but each lab has its own category and region. For example, some test labs can only test products manufactured in Japan, some can only test products manufactured in North America. If there is no failure during the test, the test report will be issued by the test lab and reviewed by the certification body. This process does not always go smoothly. The test engineer may require some additional information like the full company names of the component manufacturers; special ratings of certain components like the thickness of the insulation tape of the transformer, the creepage distance of the optocoupler; updated power supply label with the altitude or non-tropical zone symbols, etc. After all the information is provided, the report will be approved and the CCC certificate will be released after the payment has cleared. Then, as long as the factory is CCC approved, the manufacturer can move forward by applying for the CCC mark approval with the CCC certificate.

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Standards

CCC refers to Chinese national standards (Guobiao or GB standards). Usually the GB standard is harmonized to an IEC standard. For example for ITE: GB4943 is harmonized to IEC60950; GB17625 is harmonized to IEC61000-3-2; GB9254 is harmonized to IEC/CISPR 22. There are some minor national deviations like ratings, altitude or tropical zone requirements. Generally, if you can pass the IEC standard, you should be confident in passing the CCC test.


With CB or without CB?

Use of a CB report may be a double edged sword. The benefit of transferring CB report to CCC report is obvious: save time and reduce cost. If the product is complex and the components are not CCC or CQC approved, using CB report to avoid component level test is a good choice. However it is important to confirm information used on CB report is accurate. For example, the company name, factory address, product model numbers, ratings and components must be the same as CCC report. If you want to add or change some components, you must update the CB report first which may add more time to the process. So in order to use CB more efficiently, it is important to double check all the related information for accuracy, and modify as needed to avoid delay.


Factory Inspection

CCC requires an initial factory inspection and a follow-up inspection. The purpose of this requirement is to assure product consistency. The requirements of the inspection include two aspects: quality control and product consistency. Quality control is similar to ISO9001 system. You need to have all the procedures and documents ready to control the product quality. Product consistency requires the product on the production line be exactly the same as the test sample, like the components, construction, company information, etc. The verification test report and routine test will also be checked. If the standard is updated, you need to update your CCC report before the deadline and provide the updated CCC certification to the auditor during follow up inspection.


Helpful Tips

  • CCC accepts model series so you can group similar products into one family to reduce cost.
  • Pretest your samples before sending to the test lab to avoid failure.
  • Provide required information in time to avoid delay.
  • Conduct internal audit or mock audit to avoid factory inspection failure.


Latest News For GB17625.1 Standard Update

The GB17625.1-2012 standard was released on July 1, 2013 to replace the GB17625.1-2003. This standard update will affect Information Technology Equipment, audio video products, electrical tools, lighting devices, telecom terminals, and part of household products. Manufacturers need to update the standard before the next factory inspection this year. Or they can conduct testing in an ILAC approved, self-owned lab. Products with input power less or equal to 75W, testing can be exempted.

 

author wang-paul Paul Wang
works for G&M Compliance Inc. in the China office as Technical Director, mainly focusing on China certifications. He is also on the Board of Directors of IEEE Product Safety Engineering Society. He can be reached at paulwang@gmcompliance.com.

 

 

 

 

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