How to Import Directly from China?

Mar 07, 2024 Chapter 1. Sourcing

How to import products from China to US or your country? Many businesses throughout the world depend on Chinese imports to fulfill their inventory requirements.

Unfortunately, anyone new to importing items from China might find the process rather complicated and expensive.



Top Importers from China

The “top importers” from China can be analyzed from two perspectives:

By Country: This approach focuses on countries that import the greatest total value of goods from China.

  • Major Importers: Based on recent data, the leading importers from China include the United States, the European Union (EU) as a whole, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Japan, and South Korea.


By Industry: This perspective examines specific industries or sectors that import the most from China

  • Leading Sectors: Some of the leading sectors importing from China include:
  1. Machinery and electronics (including computers, telecommunications equipment, and electrical machinery)
  2. Clothing and textiles
  3. Furniture and home goods
  4. Toys and games
  5. Chemicals and plastics




How to Import Directly from China?


1. Understand Your Role in the Process

amazon how to buy wholesale from China

You are an importer whenever you purchase products from foreign countries, such as China. All you need to do is give the supplier your address information, and they will do the rest. The shipment will likely come via air or ocean shipping.

Smaller packages with a lesser value will be delivered right to your door. Then you won’t have to pick up your packages from the nearest shipping store.



2. Find Good Products

Chinese factories make a lot of excellent products but also make a lot of bad products.

There are a lot of Chinese suppliers who sell cheap, low-quality products. You must avoid these products, especially if you’re going to resell them to your customers.

So you should know how to identify good and bad products according to two critical differences between China and Western countries:

  • China has Different quality standards from the West countries.
  • China has Different norms around intellectual property, and there are a lot of counterfeit products


The best way is to increase the value of the product you wish to import from China. Generally, it comes down to ensuring a differentiated and defensible offer.

In other words, if you control the key products you sell, if no other company sells the same product, and if your customers recognize the difference from your competitors, you are in good shape.



3. Check the Import Laws of your Country 

Before you purchase an overseas product, make sure you are legally allowed to import it into your country. Some countries have import restrictions on certain types of products.

If you try to import one of these restricted items, then it might get sent back to the shipper. You may even get fined by the government too.


3.1 Do I Need License to Import from China?

Whether you need a license to import from China depends on the specific goods you are importing and the regulations of your own country.

In general, you might not necessarily need a license to import from China itself. However, there could be regulations and licensing requirements on the side of your own country depending on the product category.


Here’s a breakdown to consider:

  • China Export Regulations: China has an automatic licensing system for some products, but most goods can be exported freely. You can find more information on China’s import and export requirements here: China Import and Export Licensing Management in 2023: List of Goods Impacted: [invalid URL removed]
  • Your Country’s Import Regulations: The key factor is understanding the import regulations of your own country. These regulations will determine if a specific license is required for the product you’re importing.


Here are some resources to help you find the relevant import regulations for your country:

  • Government websites: Most countries have government websites that provide information on import regulations. You can often find these by searching for “[Your Country] + customs office” or “[Your Country] + import regulations”.
  • Trade associations: Industry trade associations can also be a helpful resource for understanding import regulations.


3.2. Find the Classification Number of the Product(HS CODE)

Each imported item will have its own tariff classification number that is ten digits long. The tariff classification number and the Certificate of Origin are necessary to calculate the rate of duty, which is an import fee you must pay. A calculation of the land cost must be done as well.

The Incoterms are particularly essential to focus on. Before you submit your order to the supplier, make sure the landed cost is calculated.

You can find the FOB (free on board) rate by adding together the product price, Chinese shipping charges, customs clearance fee, land transport costs, and Duty & Tax costs. 

Shipment Terms



4. Locating the Chinese Supplier

If you know which products you want to buy bulk from China, the next step is to find a supplier who can fulfill your order. Make sure you understand their shipping terms, especially regarding the delivery time.

If you’ve found a supplier who looks good, then request a Proforma Invoice from them. It is also called a Quote Sheet. This documentation will give you specific information about your purchases, such as the weight, packed dimensions, value, and description of each product. 

There Is a Complete Guide forHow to find a Chinese wholesaler.




5. Find a Shipping Agent and Calculate the Total Shipping Costs

International shipments have a plethora of fees attached to them. Aside from the standard shipping costs, you also have container fees, broker fees, packaging fees, and terminal handling fees.

Add up the total cost of all these fee so that you know what to expect for your shipping expenses. You can learn the complete guide for:  How to ship from China to the US


5.1 Do I Need a Broker to Import from China?

No, you are not legally required to use a broker to import from China. However, using a broker can significantly simplify the process, especially for first-time importers or for complex shipments.




6. Apply Quality Control Measures in China 

For high-value or complex imports, consider appointing a quality control inspector in China. They can visit the factory during production to monitor adherence to specifications and identify any potential problems. 


  • Pre-Production Checks: In the purchase agreement with the supplier, clearly outline your quality expectations. This should include details like materials, dimensions, functionality, tolerances, and any required certifications.
  • Pre-shipment inspection: Before mass production shipped, request a pre-shipment inspection from the supplier. This allows you to physically inspect the product, assess its quality against your specifications, and identify any potential issues early on.
  • Factory Audits (Optional): Consider conducting a factory audit, especially for complex products or large orders. An auditor will visit the factory to assess their production processes, quality control systems, and worker safety practices.





How to Contact Chinese Supplier ?


Here’s an example script that I use when reaching out to suppliers for the first time.

Hi “supplier name,”

My name is “your name,” and I’m a buyer for “store name”, a store in “your country” that sells “the products you want to carry.” We are interested in carrying many of the items that you have to offer.

Specifically, I would like to get pricing and availability for the following items…

“list the items…provide photos if you have them”

“list the items…provide photos if you have them”

If you could send us more info and your product catalogs and MOQ requirements, we would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you so much,


Once you’ve built contact, you can ask for samples, place orders, etc. The most relevant warning is that this process can take a while, and communicate back and forth with suppliers requires patience.

For example, it may take from initial contact to get samples can easily take weeks, and you even can spend whole year to develop a new product. 






What is the Best Site for Importing Products from China?

There isn’t a single “best” site for importing products from China, as the ideal platform depends on your specific needs and experience level.

Here’s a breakdown of some popular options, each with its strengths and considerations: A massive platform with a vast selection of suppliers across various industries. Ideal for experienced importers due to the need for careful supplier vetting and negotiation. Requires some knowledge of navigating the platform (which can be in Chinese).

Global Sources: Offers verified suppliers and a focus on Asian products. Good option for businesses seeking reliable suppliers, but might have a smaller selection compared to Alibaba. (Chinese platform): A subsidiary of Alibaba focused on the Chinese domestic market. Offers competitive prices but requires some knowledge of Mandarin and navigating a Chinese interface.

DHgate: Caters to smaller orders and faster turnaround times compared to Alibaba. Might have a more limited selection for specific industries.

Trade Shows: Attending trade shows specific to your industry can be a good way to connect with potential suppliers directly.

Sourcing Agents: These professionals can help you find reliable suppliers, negotiate prices, and manage the import process, but they will add to your overall cost.


Top 20+ Best China Wholesale Website List to Buy Wholesale From China




12 Best China Websites to Import Products from China Directly:


Company Product Category Sign Up   Business Type


Sourcing company Free Develop Private Label Products


General Free Wholesale & Dropship sites


General Free Wholesale & Dropship sites

Global Sources

General Free Directory


Limited category Free Wholesale & Dropship sites

Limited category Free Wholesale & Dropship sites


Machinery, Electronics Free Directory


Electronic, Gadgets Free Wholesale & Dropship sites


Electronic, Gadgets Free Wholesale & Dropship sites


Electronic Free Wholesale & Dropship sites


Electronic, Gadgets Free Wholesale & Dropship sites


Electronic Free Wholesale & Dropship sites

General Free Chinese wholesale website




how to import products from china


How to Choose the Right Platform to Buy from China?

Think about your experience level, product needs, budget, and desired level of control in the import process.

Here’s a quick guide:

  • For beginners: Explore platforms with verified suppliers like Global Sources, or DHgate.
  • For experienced importers: Alibaba offers a wider selection but requires more effort in supplier vetting.
  • For smaller orders: DHgate might be suitable due to its focus on faster turnaround times.
  • For those needing guidance: Consider a sourcing agent if you’re new to importing or prefer a more hands-off approach.

Now, I’d like to hear what you have to say: Have you faced problems when you import products from China before? If so, how did it go? Let us know by leaving a comment below right now.

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Shaik Adil
Shaik Adil
1 year ago

Nice information