The Complete Guide to Sourcing from China
Why import from China?

Technology and innovation: China has leading technology and innovation capabilities in many areas and can provide advanced products and solutions.

Government support: The Chinese Government has a series of policy support and incentives for foreign trade, such as export tax rebates and foreign investment incentives.

Low-cost labor: China has a large labor resources and relatively low labor costs, which makes products relatively inexpensive and increases the competitiveness of trade.

Manufacturing capacity and speed: China has a strong manufacturing capacity that can produce a wide range of products, from electronic equipment to clothing and footwear. And it can produce and deliver products quickly, which is important for urgent orders.

Production scale: Chinese factories and production bases are usually large enough to accommodate large orders and ensure the supply chain stability.

Quality control: Chinese companies are increasingly emphasizing quality control, and many have gained a reputation for high-quality products through international certification.

Supply Chain Completeness: China’s supply chain is very well established, including raw material suppliers, manufacturers, and logistics providers, which is very helpful in ensuring timely delivery.

Key considerations before importation

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Product positioning and competitiveness analysis Researching the national market, identifying competitive categories of imported products, and examining potential competitors.

Quality and reliability The quality of the product is critical. Carefully evaluate the quality control systems of your Chinese suppliers and review their quality certifications and production records to ensure that they are able to deliver high-quality products.

Cost is an important consideration, including the purchase price, transportation costs, tariffs, and other related fees. Comparisons are made with different suppliers to ensure that competitive prices are obtained.

Supply chain stability Evaluate suppliers’ supply chain stability, including their production capacity, raw material supply chain, delivery times, and ability to respond to unforeseen events. Ensuring supply chain reliability is critical to business continuity.

Legal and Compliance Requirements: Knowledge of Chinese laws and trade regulations is essential. Ensure that contracts and transactions with suppliers comply with all relevant laws and regulations and adhere to international trade rules.

Logistics and transportation: Logistics is a key factor, considering the mode of transportation of goods, transit time, transportation costs, and customs clearance procedures. Choosing the right logistics solution is critical for timely delivery.

Risk management: assess the various risks associated with imports from China, including currency risk, political risk, natural disaster risk, and intellectual property risk. Take appropriate measures to minimize the impact of these risks.

Culture and communication: establishing effective cultural and linguistic communication and understanding cultural differences.

Security of payment methods Choose relatively reliable payment methods, such as letters of credit, cash on delivery, etc., to reduce the risk of capital.

Relevant licenses and procedures Know in advance the customs, inspection, and quarantine procedures for the imported goods and have all the documents ready.

Follow-up after-sales service Consider after-sale support and service for the item.

Receipt and inspection of imported goods

Customs clearance of imported goods Finding a professional customs broker for customs clearance Prepare all relevant documents in advance for customs inspection. Patience in completing the necessary customs procedures and expediting customs clearance.

Inspection and quarantine of imported goods Perform the necessary inspection and quarantine according to the commodity category. Cooperate with the inspection and quarantine departments to do a good job of sample sampling work Passing inspection and quarantine before being released for import.

Warehousing of imported goods You can choose your storage, you can also find professional warehouse storage Manage inbound and outbound storage and keep imported goods in good condition Storage should pay attention to temperature, humidity, and other storage conditions.

Sales and after-sales Developing sales plans and selecting sales channels Pre-sales preparation and training of the sales team Provide product information and conduct marketing activities. Do a good job of after-sales service, the establishment of customer feedback mechanism.

Follow-up replenishment and cooperation Feedback with vendors on sales and determine subsequent replenishment plans. Maintaining cooperative relationships with suppliers Restructuring of imported goods based on actual sales.

Most frequently imported products from China

As the “factory of the world,” China has a well-developed supply chain and rich manufacturing experience. The products most imported from China include: bulk consumer electronics, such as cell phones, computers, and televisions; various types of furniture, kitchenware, and daily necessities; children’s toys and models; apparel and textiles; and industrial equipment and parts. In recent years, imports of toys and games have grown the fastest, largely due to China’s design innovation and cost advantages.

Top 10 export categories in China during 2012-2022:

●Electrical and electronic products:China is the world’s largest producer of electronic products

●Machinery and equipment: Including industrial machine tools, transmissions, industrial robots, etc.

●Textiles and clothing:China is the world’s largest producer of textiles and garments

●Children’s toys

●Furniture:China’s furniture manufacturing industry is well developed, and internationally recognized brands have set up factories in China

●Footwear: China is the world’s top footwear producer and exporter

●Luminaire lighting

●Pharmaceuticals: Chinese patent medicines and Chinese herbal medicines have a strong market demand in Europe and the United States, and are China’s traditional advantageous industries


●Chemical products

Mode of transportation for imports from China

Choosing the mode of transportation is an important part of the import process. Different modes of transportation differ in terms of speed, cost, and transportation restrictions. The most appropriate mode of transportation should be selected according to the specific situation.

  1. Air transportation

Airfreight is the fastest way of transportation, usually, it takes only 1-3 days for the goods to arrive. Its main advantage is that it is fast and can greatly reduce logistics time. However, the cost of air transportation is also the highest, usually 5-10 times more than sea transportation. It is suitable for small volume, light weight, and high-value goods.

  1. Sea freight transportation

Maritime transportation is inexpensive and the most economical way to transport bulk commodities. It generally takes 1-2 months to travel from most ports in China to major ports around the world. Attention should be paid to determining the shipment schedule in advance to arrange production and shipment.

  1. Rail transportation

The cost of railroad transportation is between sea transportation and air transportation, and the time is also in the middle of the two. The China-Europe liner provides railroad transportation service from China to Europe. It is more suitable for the transportation of electronic products, machinery and equipment, and other high-value goods.

  1. Express transportation

Express can provide the fastest door-to-door shipping service. Usually, it can be delivered in about 2-4 days. It is suitable for the transportation of documents or samples with high value and high time requirement.

It is recommended to choose the most suitable mode of transportation or use different modes of reasonable transportation arrangements or look for a professional international logistics company to help arrange the entire transportation links. They can provide the best solution.

Some tips

  1. Supplier selection and cooperation After comparing quotes with several suppliers, it is vital to choose the most cost-effective product. At the same time, it is important to scrutinize the quality of the supplier’s products and the level of service. Establishing a long-term relationship with a good supplier can ensure the quality of the product.
  2. Cargo insurance Purchasing cargo insurance is a critical step in protecting against unexpected losses. This provides coverage in unpredictable situations and ensures that the value of the cargo is protected.
  3. Rationalization of the choice of Incoterms clause According to the scale of procurement and demand, Incoterms terms are reasonably selected to clarify the responsibilities and obligations of importing and exporting parties, ensuring that the responsibility for delivery and goods is clear.
  4. Taking advantage of price concessions for full container shipments For large volume imports, take advantage of preferential rates for full container shipments. This can reduce transportation costs and increase efficiency.
  5. Allow sufficient time for transportation Shipping time is a factor that needs to be carefully considered as it takes some time to ship from China to the destination. Orders should be scheduled with ample time allowance to avoid delivery delays. In addition, be aware of China’s holiday schedule, as factories may be closed during these long holidays, impacting transportation and customs clearance.
  6. Establishment of long-term stable cooperative relationships It is very important to establish a long-term and stable relationship with a reputable freight forwarder or logistics company. They can provide professional supply chain solutions for the whole import process to ensure the smooth flow of goods and customs clearance procedures.
  7. Obtain all necessary certificates Ensure that all necessary certificates are obtained during the importation process, including exporter’s certificates, certificates of origin, etc. This will help to ensure that the goods are imported legally.
  8. Familiarization with customs regulations Know the customs regulations of the destination country in advance and prepare the required documents and information to speed up customs clearance and avoid unnecessary delays.
  9. Strengthening quality control Enhance product quality checks to minimize the generation of defective products and avoid additional costs associated with rework. Quality control is a critical step in ensuring product quality.
  10. Choosing the right payment method Choose a secure and convenient payment method, such as a letter of credit, depending on the circumstances. Ensure that the payment method meets the needs and interests of both parties.

A1: How to find good suppliers?

Q: You can search on well-known platforms such as Alibaba, or you can find them through offline exhibitions and recommendations from other importers.

A2: How do you ensure a high-quality product?

Q: Quality inspection standards should be clarified with suppliers, and inspections at each stage of production should be organized.

A3: Do I need a license to import from China? Q: Depending on the product, you should inquire about the policy before importing.

A4:What are the payment options?

Q: The common ones are wire transfers, letters of credit, PayPal, and so on.

A5: Do I need product liability insurance?

Q:  It is recommended to purchase one that covers the risk of damage or loss of the goods during transportation.

To summarize: key points on importing from China:

● China, with its leading technology, low-cost labor, and strong manufacturing capabilities, is an ideal source of imports.

● Product competitiveness, quality, cost, supply chain stability, legal compliance, logistics, risk management, and cultural communication need to be considered before importing.

● After completing the import, you need to pay attention to customs clearance, inspection, and quarantine, warehousing, sales and after-sales, replenishment, and cooperation.

● Commonly imported products include electronics, machinery and equipment, textiles, toys, furniture, footwear, lamps, pharmaceuticals, food, and chemicals.

● Different modes of transportation can be selected, such as air, sea, rail, and express, depending on the nature of the goods and their needs.

● It is of utmost importance to establish long-term relationships with reliable suppliers to ensure product quality and supply chain stability.

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