China has been THE emerging market for both traditional trade and eCommerce.
The growth of the Chinese eCommerce market is already forecasted to surpass the US in 2017. eCommerce sales in China are expected to pass US$1.132 trillion, vs US$450.81 billion in the US.
China has become a very important consumer market for international brands because:
- Many Chinese consumers crave for international high-end brands that are not easily available in China, which is why they tend to shop online.
- The purchasing power of online consumers has increased and currently, the average Chinese consumer orders one-eighth of their retail goods online.
The challenges of shipping to China
Shipping to China has become a little easier thanks to many Chinese and international shipping companies. However, there are still many challenges.
Door-to-door delivery to China remains a difficult and slow process. For quick service, expect to pay a premium to couriers.
As China is a huge country, getting your parcel to remote areas or small towns can be a time-consuming task and tracking them will be a challenge as well.
What to consider when choosing a Chinese shipping company
If you decide to hire a Chinese shipping company for your door-to-door deliveries, keep in mind the following:
- Total shipping cost to China. Have a ballpark figure of how much you’re willing to pay. Ideally, you shouldn’t pay more than the value of the parcel itself.
- Tracking. Make sure that the company offers a good tracking system. Since getting your parcel to China requires lead time and many handovers, regular updates on the status of your shipment is very important to reduce the chance of loss.
The cheapest way to ship to China
If you’re looking to minimize your shipping costs to China, it would really depend on your timeframe for delivery and how much you’re willing to pay.
If air freight is too expensive, you can always consider sea freight, though this option would take a more significant amount of time.
One way to lower the shipment cost is to let the customer collect the parcel from the customs clearance. This way, the cost of door-to-door shipping is saved.
However, this would only be best for those who live in big cities, as the travel time would be too much for those who live in rural areas.
Here are some hidden fees you should be aware of when shipping to China, or other international destinations.
Ensure you have accurate and complete paperwork
Always make sure the paperwork for your shipment is complete and that it’s compliant with all the regulations of customs duties and import, as Chinese customs are very particular.
The description of the contents of the package should be also be correct and accurate, in addition to the destination address and the personal information of the recipient.
Proper invoice and certificates (if required) should be provided by the sender. Also, correct sender information should be given as well.
Items that are prohibited for import into China
Below are items that are generally prohibited to be imported in China.
Please note that these items can regularly change and it is best to check the most updated list on the official customs website, or with your courier before you send your shipment.
- Fresh food
Additionally, media items and other material that is considered to harmful or damaging to the Chinese ideology cannot be sent.
There are some items that you can send but only with proper permission and license, or after fulfilling certain criteria.
Please check with your courier beforehand to ensure it is okay to send the following items:
- Food items that are not tampered with and have all the ingredients listed clearly with shelf life longer than six months
- Electronics with proper China compulsory certificate, although there are some personal use items that don’t need the certificate
In short, Chinese consumers remain excited and interested in international brands. With their purchasing power increasing, and the online shopping trending, it’s not surprising that cross-border sellers want to find the best shipping to China.
While shipping to China remains a challenge, finding a trusted local logistics company to assist with door-to-door delivery can be a good first step to sending your products successfully to Chinese consumers.
Interested in international shipping from the US to China? Check out our Countries page for more information. How much is shipping from the US to China? Check out our Rates page to find the cheapest way to ship.
Looking to ship elsewhere? Here's what you need to know about shipping internationally!