China Sourcing: The Ultimate Guide To Buying From China

This is the most complete guide to China Sourcing in 2021/22. 

In this comprehensive sourcing guide you will learn:

So if you’re looking to buy great products from China this year, you will surely love our guide.

Let’s get started.

China Sourcing: What You Need To Know

What is Sourcing?

By definition, sourcing is the strategic process of securing reliable sources of supply at the lowest total cost, rather than the lowest purchase price on paper. 

Many people think that sourcing is just an action of comparing the face value of products, but they often neglect important factors like communication, quality management, and intellectual property protection.

In fact, sourcing includes complex activities from sourcing professionals to make well-informed buying decisions, as opposed to impulsive buying without thorough consideration. 

Sourcing involves the following activities:

  • Finding quality sources of products
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Establishing payment terms
  • Market research
  • Testing for quality
  • Shipping arrangements
  • Establishing standards

Some buyers might confuse sourcing with procurement. 

Sourcing means everything from finding, verifying & contracting suppliers plus maintaining healthy relationships with them to cater to organizational needs. 

Procurement means the action of procuring goods & services, but usually without the need to search for alternatives for resilience.

Global sourcing

Nowadays, with the rapid development of the internet, sourcing has become a cross-border business behavior, giving us the possibility to source globally from countries like China and Vietnam. 

Why Source From China?

The facts are that 85% of hidden costs are beyond the purchase prices from a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) point of view.

Total Cost of Ownership

For example, you may end up spending more time and money trying to fix quality issues with a less reliable supplier that offers the lowest purchasing price, but sacrifice losing your valued customers. 

Or dealing with delayed lead times thanks to the inefficiency of below-par suppliers that cost you the cashing in on opportune selling seasons…

Buyers have to understand that factory assessment and quality control are vital factors to be considered when sourcing globally, particularly when sourcing from China, which has become more and more popular due to the attractive unit prices of goods offered from these low-cost countries.

US importers that buy from China

In fact, you can see from above the share of selected retailers’ goods sourced from China as of 2020 is high and most brands do recognize the value of buying from China. 

This implies that the total cost of sourcing certain products from China, after considering factors like quality control and international shipping, is still lower than sourcing domestically or from other countries.

7-step strategic sourcing process

To maximize the benefits of sourcing from China, ideally, you should be able to lead a strategic sourcing team made up of professionals on the ground in China to perform all the necessary steps like negotiating and selecting suppliers as depicted in Kearny’s seven 7 step sourcing model

Your main goal here is to save money for your business by sourcing from China, rather than creating more problems to solve. 

However, unlike established importers or multinational corporations (MNCs) with abundant corporate resources, building an effective sourcing plan itself is never an easy task for most small retailers, let alone directing a full team of sourcing professionals in China who work 100% for your company. 

China is the world’s manufacturing superpower

According to World Economic Forum, China is the world’s manufacturing superpower by producing nearly 30% of the world’s total output. 

So even if you decide to take on sourcing yourself and neglect to work with Chinese suppliers, it is very likely that you will be buying from trading companies or middlemen that source products from China, as China is undoubtedly the ultimate source for almost all types of products you can ever imagine. 

Therefore, China sourcing is THE way to go when you want to cut costs. Like with everything, there is a certain level of risk that needs to be considered lest they jeopardize your business. 

Luckily, every problem comes with a solution. 

In the next section, we are going to cover the details and different ways of sourcing from China, to give you better ideas on how to safely start your sourcing journey, even if you are a newbie in the field.  

What is A Sourcing Company?

A sourcing company, also commonly known as a sourcing agency, means a third-party service provider that represents buyers to perform sourcing activities. 

Regardless of scale, a sourcing company is usually responsible for supplier screening & negotiation, OEM project management, quality inspection, and shipping arrangements. 

What Does A Sourcing Agent Do

A more established sourcing company should comprise a team of professionals like sourcing managers, project managers, quality inspectors, shipping specialists, and warehousing managers that are dedicated to making your sourcing journey nearly effortless and efficient. 

However, there are at least three types of sourcing companies in the market, namely: 

  1. Global sourcing companies
  2. China based sourcing companies
  3. Importing country-based sourcing companies
Li & Fung

Li & Fung is a perfect example of a global sourcing company. 

Based in Hong Kong with more than a hundred years since its incorporation, Li & Fung creates customized, end-to-end supply chain and logistics solutions for brands and retailers worldwide. 

Its offices and teams are based in over 50 sourcing and production markets to meet the diverse needs of global customers. 

Another global sourcing company called Dragon Sourcing also claims that they have sourcing operations in more than 15 countries to serve buyers from all continents of the world. 

However, these global sourcing companies usually serve larger brands or importers with high order volume and potential monetary value to them. 

If you are a smaller business you probably don’t need these more advanced services. 

Global sourcing companies are usually found in these international cities:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. London
  4. New York
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Dubai
  7. Paris
  8. Ho Chi Minh City
  9. Bangkok
  10. Mumbai
Main clusters of manufacturing in China

China-based sourcing companies are usually found in different industrial clusters across China:

  1. Major cities in Guangdong province like Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan
  2. Major cities in Zhejiang province like Hangzhou, Yiwu, Wenzhou and Ningbo
  3. Major cities in Fujian province like Xiamen, Quanzhou and Putian
  4. Major cities in Jiangsu province like Nanjing and Suzhou
  5. Major cities in Northern China like Qingdao, Dalian, Beijing, Wuhan and Xian
  6. Shanghai
  7. Hong Kong

Due to their geographical and cultural proximity to the actual production clusters of a wide range of product categories, their sourcing efficiency and bargaining power with suppliers are better than their foreign counterparts. 

Furthermore, they usually can provide local services like on-site factory visits, piece-by-piece quality inspections, and warehousing that foreign sourcing companies cannot easily manage without a local operation base. 

However, keep in mind that if you are not based in China, you still face the risk of being scammed or deceived by some of the unreliable sourcing companies that make false claims.

Do your research before committing to work with them.

There are a large number of sourcing companies in China, but their levels of servicing vary. 

Struggling to find the ideal sourcing company for you? Check out this article!

Leading importing countries

Importing country-based sourcing companies set up local representative offices in your home country. 

They speak your language, understand your pain points, and source products on your behalf from countries like China, Vietnam, and India. 

These companies are easily found in leading merchandise importing countries worldwide, such as the United States, EU nations, United Kingdom and Canada. 

However, since China-based sourcing companies are able to communicate with buyers in English, English-speaking sourcing companies are not as advantageous as sourcing companies that speak less popular languages such as Dutch and German. 

For example, We R Asia is a Dutch-based sourcing company that operates in both the Netherlands and China to provide localized services to customers in the country and also Belgium. 

Chinese suppliers that speak your language

If you prefer to communicate in your local language rather than English, sourcing companies based in your home country is a good option for you to reduce risks and keep track of your project’s progress. 

The downside of working with them is that they may charge higher commissions than their Chinese counterparts or may not be able to find the best suppliers available due to their “foreign” identity. 

To sum it up, it is really up to your business to decide which type of sourcing company fulfills your sourcing needs and budget. 

What is A Sourcing Agent?

What is a sourcing agent?

A sourcing agent, also known as buying agent, is usually a representative of a company that guards its interests in a foreign country while providing services ranging from supplier screening, logistics, and warehousing to quality control. 

Companies can enjoy the many advantages of low-cost country sourcing without facing many of the risks. It sounds similar to what a sourcing company does, but sourcing agents are usually individuals, rather than companies.

Most of the sourcing activities are carried out by the sourcing agent himself, without the support of a team of professionals. 

Let’s take a look at the examples of sourcing agents found on freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork:

Sourcing agents on freelancing platforms like Fiverr

You can see those sourcing agents promote their services on freelancing platforms with different starting prices and claim that they are able to provide one-stop sourcing solutions from supplier search, quality inspection to international shipping. 

Most of these agents are Chinese while a few of them are foreigners who might be able to speak some Chinese. 

However, the feedback from buyers is relatively low and it is difficult to believe that an individual or a small office with 2-3 people is capable of completing all the tasks involved in sourcing.

Little Africa in Guangzhou

In fact, working with sourcing agents is particularly popular among buyers from less developed countries, especially African markets. 

Due to the lower rates charged and the ease of communication, African importers tend to work with sourcing agents from their country who are based in China. 

For example, it is estimated that there are around 100,000 Africans living in Guangzhou, one of the largest metropolises in China. 

Most of these Africans are traders or sourcing agents, servicing the buyers from their home countries like Nigeria and Angola.

late qing comprador

In the past, sourcing agents were defined as “compradors” in Guangzhou, a Chinese merchant class who aided Western traders in China in the late 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. 

Due to a lack of market transparency and monopolization of key resources during that time, many compradors became extremely wealthy and established businesses of their own. 

For example, Li & Fung was firstly established in Guangzhou in 1906, acting as compradors for more established European & American clients. 

On the contrary, there is too much information on the Internet to digest and too many suppliers to choose from nowadays. 

Getting a trusted and reliable sourcing professional to help is way better than doing everything on your own. 

Again, it is really up to you to work with sourcing agents or sourcing companies as there are always pros and cons when choosing a particular option

Sourcing Websites 

China Sourcing Websites  

Canton fair

Before the Internet age, foreign buyers solely relied on trade fairs and exhibitions to source products from China. The Canton Fair, hosted in Guangzhou annually since 1957, was the only gateway to buying directly from China, apart from buying from trading companies in Hong Kong.

Now, there are many sourcing websites available for foreign importers to source products from China. Here we’re going to introduce the top 10 sourcing websites in China for your reference:

  1. Alibaba

Alibaba has certainly made its name across the globe as the ultimate platform for sourcing from China. 

It is the world’s largest B2B sourcing portal and its range of suppliers and product categories are very comprehensive. 

Just by browsing Alibaba buyers should be able to find most products that are in demand.

However, due to a large number of suppliers on the site, there are reports that some suppliers are not verified and even scam buyers in a number of ways

Also, search results within the platform can be manipulated at a certain level, not directly reflecting a supplier’s quality or reputation.

But in general, Alibaba is still the most useful and trustworthy platform with features like trade assurance.

Most sourcing companies also work with suppliers within the Alibaba network.

  1. DHgate

DHgate is now becoming more and more popular among international buyers due to its clear market positioning as a competitive wholesale platform, attracting smaller buyers with lower minimum order quantities (MOQ) and total order value.

One important feature is that sellers will only receive payments from buyers when they have confirmed receipt of goods, protecting the interests of buyers and avoiding scammers.

However, the variety of product categories is relatively limited compared to that of bigger platforms like Alibaba.

  1. Global Sources
Global Sources

Headquartered in Hong Kong and established in 1971, Global Sources is actually one of the oldest B2B trade platforms in the global market. 

They host a series of regular Hong Kong trade shows quarterly covering a range of product categories such as consumer electronics and fashion. 

Global Sources faced stiff competition from Alibaba in the late 1990s and early 2000s as it was widely regarded as the preferred option to source products from China back then. 

It is still a very trustworthy online and offline platform nowadays with its reliable and quality suppliers worldwide.

They also publish professional management magazines like Chief Executive China to build corporate images for suppliers to generate more sales leads from buyers of over 200 countries.

  1. Made-in-China

Similar to Alibaba, Made-in-China is a third-party B2B platform that allows Chinese suppliers to create their homepage within the platform, showcasing their company profiles and product listings.

Unlike Alibaba or Global Sources where you can search for non-Chinese suppliers, Made-in-China only covers suppliers from China as its slogan “ Connecting Buyers with Chinese Suppliers” suggests. 

The major plus of using Made-in-China as a sourcing platform is that its layout is clean and easy to navigate, unlike Alibaba which showcases a lot of data and images on each of its pages, making it a little clunky.

  1. HKTDC

HKTDC (Hong Kong Trade Development Council) is a very important official trade platform that organizes trade shows regularly and attracts buyers from many different countries with its regional offices. 

Their official website is also used as a transaction platform.

Many Hong Kong companies set up manufacturing bases in China with western management practices and ethics. 

Buyers are able to find Hong Kong-owned suppliers on HKTDC more easily. 

Some of the suppliers are not found on major platforms like Alibaba.

  1. China Suppliers
China suppliers

Lesser known to most international buyers, China Suppliers is owned by China Internet News Center under the State Council.  

Established in 2006, the platform has a track record of connecting more reputable suppliers due to strict verification procedures and due diligence processes. 

Some sourcing companies use the platform to source more regulated products that might not be found elsewhere.

  1. Taiwan Trade
Taiwan trade

Taiwan is also a great place to search for quality manufacturers especially for product categories like computer hardware and bicycle parts. Made-in-Taiwan products are easily found in Taiwan Trade

  1. Yiwugo

Yiwugo is the official website of Yiwu International Trade Market, the world’s largest small commodity wholesale market located in Yiwu, Zhejiang province. 

The suppliers on the website are mostly physical stores registered in the market which are valid and verified. 

It is a useful platform for e-commerce sellers who are looking to source a wide range of smaller consumer goods, but with low order quantity. 

Traders and merchants across China come to Yiwu for business opportunities while some sourcing agents are also based in Yiwu.

  1. Global Market
Global market

Not widely known as an option to source products from China, Global Market has a dedicated program called GMC (Global Manufacturer Certificate) to verify suppliers that are qualified to export globally. 

It is highly recommended if you are serious about finding the very best supplier for your OEM/ODM projects. 

  1. Aliexpress

Aliexpress is not a typical sourcing website, but more like a B2C marketplace that allows Chinese sellers to sell to global consumers directly. 

As part of the Alibaba group, its product categories are endless but it also comes with many individual traders who are not responsive or unreliable.

It is widely used as a sourcing platform when e-commerce sellers have low order quantities or engage in dropshipping to avoid excessive inventory.

There are many smaller sourcing websites to be considered, but these top ten sites are sufficient for your research before you start your sourcing journey.

China Quality Control 

What is Quality Inspection?

What is Quality Inspection?

Quality inspection, or quality control, is defined by ISO 9000 as “a part of quality management focused on fulfilling quality requirements.” 

Quality control is a critical step when importing products from China, regardless of your order volume. 

It is a proactive measure taken by importers and inspection agencies to guarantee product quality is met with pre-set quality standards.

Quality control actually starts before cooperation and production begins. 

Factory audits are conducted to verify potential suppliers and highlight the capacities of manufacturers, the aim is to avoid scammers and incompetent suppliers. 

Some companies opt for social audits in which suppliers are assessed in terms of ethical conduct like equality in the workplace and environmental protection measures. 

Depending on the actual products to be inspected, the quality control process is considered to be completed when quality inspectors supervise the loading of final products for shipping. 

Quality control in China

In most cases, sourcing companies or agencies provide quality inspection services with their service packages or partner with third-party inspection agencies to perform the tasks for clients. 

Simple quality checks like workmanship and labeling are straightforward and can be done by quality inspectors from sourcing companies. 

For more advanced inspection needs, importers should consider hiring independent third-party inspection agencies in China.

Types of China QC

  1. Pre-production Inspection (PPI)

Components and raw materials are inspected before production begins to avoid quality issues from misuse of substances.

  1. During Production Check (DUPRO)

After 50% of the production is completed, quality inspectors visit the factory to identify problems or issues and report to importers, if any. Units are randomly selected to compare to preset product specifications. 

  1. Final Random Inspection (FRI)/ Pre-shipment Inspection (PSI) 

FRI or PSI are done when the production is complete and at least 80% of the goods are packed and ready to ship. Items are randomly inspected at on-site product inspection to ensure compliance to requirements from the country, industry, and other standards. No major defects should be found.

Cost of China QC

Cost of inspection services in China

Hiring third-party inspection companies in China normally cost you between 200 USD to 500 USD per working day if the inspection location is located within 60 km from their offices, depending on their levels of expertise, traveling & accommodation costs, and comprehensiveness of quality checklists.

If you choose to assign a sourcing agency to conduct quality checks for you, be reminded that the inspection fees are usually included in the service packages as a lump sum fee.

You can also do the inspection on-site if you have a dedicated inspection team to send to China, but it is now almost impossible to do so due to the pandemic situation. 

What is a QC report?

Sourcing Dude inspection report

A QC report, as shown above, is a project document that covers quality issues, recommendations for corrective measures, and a summary of findings, aiding importers to make a decision before shipment. 

Depending on different practices of inspection agencies, you should expect to see the following in a QC report:

  • Actual product quantity: quantity of finished products counted
  • Visual defects: The maximum number of acceptable defects should be lower than the predetermined defect tolerance level. QC report will signal “ Fail” if there are excessive defects found.
  • Conformity to requirements: Inspectors are responsible for discovering any discrepancies between the product conditions with QC checklists.
  • Full records of videos and photos: Evidence of product status is recorded in detail for importers to decide on whether the products are acceptable and ready to be shipped.

Normally, a QC report should be ready within 24 hours after the inspections are completed.

This section serves to give you an overview of what QC entails and in the context of buying from China. 

For more tips on finding a suitable inspection agency for completing this important step, stay tuned as we will share more of our insider hacks with you regularly!

China Shipping

China shipping

Shipping from China isn’t as clear-cut for importers as you may think.

There are many options available to choose from and the pricing and transit time varies from option to option.

Not to mention the global pandemic and the mass delays and disruption to the supply chain that it has caused.  

When you’re running a business, you want your cargo delivery to be safe, on-time, and cost-effective. 

So, let’s first explore the five different methods to ship globally from China:

1. Express Courier 

Express courier options

At most, it normally takes about five business days for cargo to arrive in most parts of the world as they are shipped directly to your door by the fastest routes available. 

These express lines are operated by companies like DHL/Fedex/UPS and sometimes EMS — managed by China Post (an express route faster than regular China Post).

You will also be able to track the shipment status with a dedicated tracking number to resolve any issues quickly if something happens. 

All in all, it is a very secure shipping choice.

2. Regular Post

China post

Recommended only for shipping small parcels and if lead time and safety are not a concern.

“Why?” you ask. 

You can hardly trace its shipping progress and lost packages are hard to locate. 

The services of China Post or Hong Kong Post usually take more than a month to arrive although the shipping cost is exceptionally low, which is preferred by e-commerce players like Aliexpress sellers. 

Give it a try if you are a total newbie to test the waters and quality of Chinese products.

3. Air Freight

Air freight

Importers tend to confuse air freight with express couriers as both methods ship cargo by plane.

In fact, the major differences between the two are cost, pickup method, and transit time.

Generally speaking, air freight is cheaper and a little bit slower than major express couriers

Express couriers are also door to door while air freight is airport to airport

With air freight, you have to handle preparing documentation and customs clearance on your own or you may consider using customs brokers which adds additional costs to your shipping bill. 

As a rule of thumb, we recommend using air freight only if your chargeable weight is over 250kg

Stick to express couriers if the chargeable weight is lower than 250 kg. 

More on shipping costs below.

4. Sea Freight

Sea freight

Shipping by sea is by far the most popular and economical way to ship products from China.

A long delivery time of 20-60 days is the major pitfall of opting for sea freight, but if you are transporting a massive amount of goods, particularly bulky items, it is the only way to go.

Depending on the service package you choose, you may be required to handle getting the necessary documentation ready, customs clearance, and local transportation arrangements when it arrives in your country. 

Another key to using sea freight is preparation.

Without a clear plan of what is going to happen in the next quarter, for example, estimating sales volume of a retail store over Christmas, you may not be able to order products from China in bulk —  it’s almost very important to consider Chinese New Year (usually each year in late Jan/early Feb) as factories close for anywhere between 2-4 weeks.

To save on shipping costs you need time, a careful plan, and a good understanding of your local market environment.

5. Train Freight

Rail freight

A relatively new and lesser-known shipping method, train freight is gaining popularity among European and Asian importers. 

Cheaper than air freight and faster than sea freight, rail/train freight between China and Europe is a result of the Belt & Road Initiative, in which China has made substantial investments in building terminals and railways.

Rail freight in China

Depending on the actual destination, the normal transit time of delivery is 15-18 days, but most cargo will initially arrive at either Warsaw, Poland or in Hamburg, Germany, the largest market in Europe, and then continue its delivery journey to countries like Spain, Hungary and sometimes Finland (Northern Route via Siberia and Moscow).

Due to the limited size of a train, smaller shipments might be more suitable.

The Cost of Shipping From China

Cost of shipping from China is rising

There are many factors affecting the cost of shipping from China but as of October 2021, the shipping cost is still rising in general after the prolonged impact brought on by the COVID pandemic. 

The methods of calculating shipping costs are different between the various shipping options, but we would like to give you a brief overview using an example of shipping a 40-foot container filled with T-shirts from either Shenzhen or Shanghai to New York, USA (normal time):

40 foot container
  1. Sea Freight direct to NYC Port:

Time: 33 days

Cost: 3600 USD

  1. Sea Freight via Los Angeles Port (then trucked from West Coast to NYC):

Time: 25 days

Cost: 9000 USD

  1. Air Freight direct to JFK Airport:

Time: 3 days

Cost: 55,000 USD

This is just to give you an idea on how shipping costs can vary significantly for the same cargo when using different methods. 

Without fully understanding your location, urgency and other special requirements such as shipping batteries, the shipping costs can’t be accurately calculated. 

Shipping Companies/Agents in China

Freight Forwarding Agents in China

Shipping agencies or freight forwarders in China are companies that specialize in the arrangement of cargo on behalf of shippers with services like freight transportation, inland transport, documents filing, warehousing, deconsolidation and customs compliance.

“Why do I need to work with shipping agents or freight forwarders in China?” you ask.

Suppliers are not logistics companies. 

Although they can quote you CIF or DDP on your order for you to relax at home and receive the products without much hassle, you usually end up paying more for the same services as many suppliers also try to profit from the shipping arrangements. 

Unless you have your own specialized shipping department to deal with airlines, trucking companies and customs yourself, you should be working with shipping agents to make things easier.

We will work on a series to explore shipping companies in China and in popular importing countries across the world. Stay tuned!

China Import Taxes

What are the import taxes from China?

What are import taxes from China?

Except for several countries or territories that promote “Free Trade” like Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland, almost all countries impose a certain percentage of import taxes or tariffs on foreign imports as a source of government revenue and to protect local industries.

So it is a necessary step to check the import taxes that you, as importers, are required to pay in your home country. 

Below we’ve listed the top trading partners of China and their associated import taxes:

  1. USA
Importing from the US

The world (in)famous “Trade War” between China and the USA is still ongoing and to import products from China it is advisable to take a look at the import taxes first before making any commitment. 

According to US Customs, anything imported with a value exceeding 800 USD is subject to import or custom duties. 

There’s a system called H.S. Codes and HTS to determine the corresponding tax rate applied to different product categories. 

On average, U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods stood at 19.3% on a trade-weighted basis in early 2021 according to data analyzed by top research institute Peterson Institute of International Economics, compared to an average of 3.1% before early 2018, when the trade war began.

We can’t specify each import tax for each product category here, but just reminding you to be prepared to pay more than usual under the current circumstances, if you are an US importer.

  1. European Union
European Union

Tariffs of the EU market are calculated based on freight cost. An increased cost in freight will result in an increased import duties.

All EU member states share the same import duty rates on products imported from non-EU countries. 

Similar to the US, there are classification systems called HS codes to determine a corresponding tax rate for different product categories. 

For example, products that are not manufactured in the EU (e.g. consumer electronics) normally have lower import duty rates and can reach as low as 0%.

On the contrary, shoes, have a duty rate of 12% because shoe making is considered as an important industry locally in the EU.

Apart from import duties, importers mustnote that VAT (Value Added Tax) is also part of your importing cost.

  1. United Kingdom
United kingdom

After Brexit, the UK became an independent custom territory and is taxed differently than the rest of the EU.

Nowadays, around 60% of imported goods enjoy a zero tariff rate under the “liberalised” strategy of the UK government, namely the UK Global Tariff (UKGT).

However, VAT (Value Added Tax) is required for most consumer products imported from China, except for gifts under 39 pounds.

It’s good news for UK importers due to lower product costs and less complicated importing processes, as well as boosting the spending incentives of UK consumers.

  1. Australia 

Australian import taxes consist of a goods and services tax (GST) of 10% of the Australian dollar value.

However, Australia entered into a Free Trade Agreement with China in 2015, meaning that the average duty rate for most of the imported products from China is now actually 0%.

It is worth mentioning that Hong Kong also entered a Free Trade Agreement with Australia in early 2020. 

  1. Countries with high import taxes
Countries with high import taxes

These are the top ten countries with highest import taxes so importers from these countries should do their maths before importing from China:

  1. Palau, 118.2%
  2. Bermuda, 103.2%
  3. Fiji, 24%
  4. St. Kitts and Nevis, 21.1%
  5. Seychelles, 20.3%
  6. Maldives, 18.4%
  7. Bosnia & Herzegovina, 17.9%
  8. Solomon Islands, 17.5%
  9. St. Lucia, 16.7%
  10.  Nauru,  15.6%

6. Countries with low import tax

Hong Kong

Below are the top 10 best places for importing from China due to low or zero import tariffs:

  1. Hong Kong, 0%
  2. Macau, 0%
  3. Brunei, 0%
  4. Singapore, 0.4%
  5. Chile, 0.4%
  6. Peru, 0.7%
  7. Laos, 0.8%
  8. Australia, 0.8%
  9. New Zealand, 0.9%
  10. Botswana, 1.0%

To sum it up, check local import tariffs accordingly to avoid unexpected bills clearing customs duties in your home country!

How To Send Money To China

How to send money to China

So you’re looking to buy from a supplier or pay for the services of a sourcing company, shipping agent or quality inspection company. 

What is the best way to send money to China? 

Here are our recommendations:

  1. Wire Transfer (via SWIFT)
Swift code

This is an old-school method but still among the best choices to send money to China.

As long as you are given an IBAN number and SWIFT code you can initiate a bank transfer to your supplier easily.

Pros: Reliable, not too expensive, tracking system in place, widely accepted.

Cons: A bit slow (may take up to a couple weeks) and may be complicated for some countries due to strict regulations.

It’s important to note that the money sent has a slight risk of being frozen. The reason is that the Chinese government is keen on combating money laundering activities so any suspicious transaction is subject to further investigation.

  1. Paypal

 Paypal is probably the most convenient way to send money to China from anywhere!

You can virtually send money to a Chinese individual or company from your smartphone with their paypal name and its interface is very user-friendly.

Pros: Fast (almost instant transfer), reliable and widely accepted

Cons: High transfer fee of 2.9%+ currency exchange fee

If you are sending money to Chinese suppliers frequently, the cost of using Paypal might be a bit high and you might look at other alternatives to do so. 

  1. Western Union
Western union

Western Union may be one of the oldest ways outside of banking to quickly send money to someone, including China.

You can send money from their website, through the Western Union app or by going to one of their brick-and-mortar locations.

Pros: Secure, competitive fees and flexible (in-store pickup or bank transfer)

Cons: a bit slow (usually 5 days) 

  1. Alipay

Alipay is a part of the Alibaba group that makes online payment easier both domestically in China and internationally.

Alipay partnered with many international firms such as Wise to receive international transfers for Alipay users in China, the only thing needed is their Alipay IDs.

Pros: secure, support local currencies and fast

Cons: only for individuals, not for business

The downside is that Alipay is not for business transactions. Some suppliers may prefer not to receive business payments as these are subject to taxation. 

It is not recommended to send to personal accounts if you are paying a supplier/ sourcing agency.

  1. Cryptocurrencies

Crypto currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are gaining popularity as a fast and direct way to transfer “money” internationally as some countries like El Salvador legalized it as a form of transaction.

What about sending crypto to Chinese suppliers and companies?

Unfortunately, as of October 2021, the Chinese government has officially declared crypto as illegal and users in China are no longer allowed to trade and use cryptocurrencies.

Whilst you can send money in the form of crypto to China, please be warned about the consequences if your valuable virtual assets are deemed as invalid.

How Can Sourcing Dude Help You?

How Sourcing Dude helps people buying from China

Having touched on each step of the sourcing process throughout our comprehensive sourcing guide, you should have a better idea about how sourcing from China works by now — but now it’s critical that you get expert advice to kickstart your sourcing journey.

The truth is that there are tons of sourcing agents/companies out there promoting their services without truly understanding the needs of international buyers. 

If you have any of these concerns and issues, we are more than capable of solving that for you:

  1. Not knowing what is good to resell in your local market 
  2. Not sure about which suppliers to choose
  3. Want a complete background check of a supplier/manufacturer
  4. Need help in finalizing product ideas
  5. Need a “translator” to communicate your thoughts in China
  6. Want quick samples from multiple factories to decide which one to go for
  7. Need a project manager to oversee the production
  8. Need someone to fix the issues of an unreliable supplier
  9. No space to gather products from multiple sources and suppliers
  10. Need close investigation of product quality before shipment
  11. Want your intellectual property fully protected
  12. Puzzled at which shipping agents to choose

The list goes on and on!

We believe that there are no unsolvable problems when it comes to buying from China.

Request A Quote for free NOW and get a taste of our professionalism.

You may also schedule a free consultation with one of our Sourcing Dudes to know more about China Sourcing. 

Remember, choosing the RIGHT partner is the first and most important step in your China sourcing journey!

Anakin Tam

Anakin Tam

Our China Sourcing Blog writer and head of marketing & sales shares weekly updates to help importers/e-commerce sellers avoid costly pitfalls and find the best products when starting their sourcing journey in China.

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