Import Company Strategy Guide

By Stylesjl

The new import firms offer a new way to obtain supplies for your company.

This strategy guide will help to explain how the Import companies can be used to maximise your profits and how the difficulty settings will affect your import strategy.

For a basic overview of the Import Companies see the following page:

Import Company Settings

The import company can be used to import any product with the exception of Raw Materials and Farm Products. Only 10 products can be imported at any time and you also cannot use the import firm of another company (not even a subsidiary).

When configuring the import company settings at the start of the game it is important to consider how each setting affects the difficulty level and why:

Import Company Settings

Import Product Variety: A lower setting will make the game more challenging as you may not be able to import all of the required products, forcing you to either go without or to spend money to produce the needed products locally.

Import Semi-Products Only: If this is set to yes then you will find it more difficult to make money using only retail stores, you will instead need to produce the products yourself with imported semi-products.

Import Quality: The import quality has no straightforward effect on the difficulty level; instead it will depend on the situation you are in. If the quality level is high this will give you the ability to sell or make high quality products and reduce the need to create local substitutes to replace the imported products. However it can also be hard to compete against these products as your competitors can utilise these same imports as well.

Import Variety Increase: If not all of the imports are available at the start of the game then this setting will slowly increase the available imports over time. This can be useful in games where your ability to obtain the money required for local import substitutes is very limited.

Constant Supply: Switching this off will mean that the import products will not last forever. You will need to have a plan to create a local substitute for those imports.

These settings will also have interesting effects if used in combination with one another.
For example if you set the variety level to low and Semi-Products Only then your strategy may need to get creative, for example suppose you want to produce Computers. To produce a computer you need Electronic Components, Steel and CPUs. But what happens if you cannot import CPUs but you can import Silicon? In this case you will need to open a local CPU factory that uses the imported Silicon. The lower the variety of semi-products the more creative your strategy will need to be.

Consider the following picture: You could import and sell Air Conditioners in your retail stores, but instead you could try importing the Electronic Components and Steel and manufacturing it for better profits, assuming that you can compete with the imported item in terms of quality/price.

General Advice for the Import Company

Having considered how the settings affect how the import company in a broad sense let’s consider some starting scenarios:

Retail Only Starting Strategy

A starting strategy you can employ is to avoid getting into manufacturing at the start of the game (or at only a limited level) and instead set up an import company that sells finished goods directly to the retail shops.

Using the import company you can import up to 10 different consumer goods to sell in your shops, perhaps more if you can also access seaports. Using the money you make you can then slowly pivot to manufacturing, replacing the imported goods with your own.

The main advantage of this strategy is that it works for almost any product and can be setup on a low starting budget. The main disadvantages are that your competitors might get a head start in manufacturing, the import supplies may be limited in time/quantity and you also cannot take advantage of the export firm.

Semi-Product Value Adding Strategy

If consumer goods are unavailable or low quality then a potentially lucrative approach is to import semi-products and use them to create value added consumer goods for local sale and export.

The viability of this strategy will depend upon what semi products you can get a hold of and what products you want to sell.

For instance this strategy almost always works poorly for Food/Beverage/Snack or Service industries as these rely mostly on farm products which cannot be imported (with a small number of exceptions such as Corn Syrup, Glass, Paper or Plastic).

However if you are able to import Electronic Components and Steel then a whole range of high margin goods such as Household Appliances, Electronics, etc. will be open to you.

Don’t be afraid to combine imported products with locally produced goods either. A farm that produces leather can only produce Leather Wallets on its own. Combine that Leather with imported Textiles or Linen and you can now make Jackets, Handbags, Briefcases, etc.

Survival Mode

Imports are extremely useful in survival mode due to the problems of having limited capital and a limited market making it very difficult to justify the expense of building mines (which can cost tens of millions).

Without imports it becomes extremely difficult to create certain products that rely on mined raw materials such as computers, automobiles, appliances, etc. If you can’t sell these products it becomes harder to make money and grow the city economy.

With imports the process becomes easier and jumpstarting the small city economy becomes less capital intensive. Rather than spending millions on a Coal and Iron mine you can instead just import the Steel directly, for instance.

A great strategy to employ for Survival Mode:

– Import Electronic Components, Steel and CPUs.

– Produce and sell Computers.

– Since the city now has computers you can create computer software (don’t forget to import DVDs and Paper) and then sell it in the retail shops.

All of these steps increases your profits and gives the city much needed jobs and income – which boosts the sales of your other products and allows steady expansion.

If you now consider Survival Mode too easy then try lowering the import variety or turning off constant supply for an extra challenge!


It should also be noted that the Import Company is useless for the following industries:

– Software (unless you need a source of DVDs and Paper)

– Internet and Telecom Companies

– Banking/Insurance Companies

– Real Estate

So if you intend to start with any of those industries then you should not bother yourself with Import Companies.