Exporting into China from the US

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Hi WF,

I just setup a Taobao store and want to start by exporting small amounts of US products to China to sell on it. Does anyone here have experience with exporting goods into China? If so, do you mind if I ask:

1) What service did you use to get your goods to China?

2) How did you handle customs? Did the company that shipped the goods to China for you help you cover most of the paperwork and hassle involved with this?

3) How did you find a distributor in China? Which company did you use?

Also, has anyone used FBA to fulfill orders in China?

Appreciate any insight. Thanks.
#china #exporting
  • Profile picture of the author DPS96744
    Also, I'm American but live in China, if it matters.
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    • Profile picture of the author wmrwl
      Most carriers such as UPS, DHL, FedEX, and even US mail have their own customs paperwork that they provide for you. It's just a matter of shipping the items with 4 copies of the forms.

      I've never shipped from the US to China, but I've shipped from the US to a lot of other countries and that's how it normally worked.

      The receiver usually receives a bill from customs (if they have a duty tax) that they must pay before they release the item.
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  • Profile picture of the author kjamesnv
    Shipping depends on the size of the shipment and how fast your need it. For very small shipments (under 5 lbs) EMS or Epacket are the least expensive.

    Companies like UPS / Fedex are fast and do all the paperwork but they are quite expensive.

    When you do larger orders then pallet size orders are more economical - either via sea or air. Sea is much cheaper but takes about 5 weeks. Air takes about 1 week.

    The lowest rates are when you ship a full container by sea. For pallets and containers you definitely want to hire a freight company to make the arrangements.
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  • Profile picture of the author Importexport
    Originally Posted by DPS96744 View Post

    Hi WF,

    I just setup a Taobao store and want to start by exporting small amounts of US products to China to sell on it. Does anyone here have experience with exporting goods into China? If so, do you mind if I ask:

    1) What service did you use to get your goods to China?

    2) How did you handle customs? Did the company that shipped the goods to China for you help you cover most of the paperwork and hassle involved with this?

    3) How did you find a distributor in China? Which company did you use?

    Also, has anyone used FBA to fulfill orders in China?

    Appreciate any insight. Thanks.
    Importing goods from the US to China is no different to importing goods from China to the US.

    International trade is governed by almost universal rules and that is why I have people from over 30 countries (including China) all using my book to guide them although there are local variations in relation to Customs procedures.

    Some countries , most notably India, but also to a lesser extent China have a bureaucratic system that lives on unnecessary red tape, but there is a simple way around that.

    All you need to do is use the services of someone who understands the system. In the case of shipping small orders via mail or courier services, the postal and courier services do all the work for you and it is usually hassle free.

    For larger shipments you have a couple of options. You can use Freight Forwarders or Customs brokers. Care must be taken selecting which you use because there are big differences between the services offered by those two different types. My book explains the differences so you can choose wisely.

    Amazon FBA is available in China. So far none of my students are using that service so I can't comment from their experience, but I have read stories by others who are very pleased with the result. Vendors on Amazon.cn have been selling US brands, but if you intend to do that, you need to be sure that you are authorized to do so.

    The Chinese government still has a long way to go to fully protect intellectual property (including trademarks), but US trademark owners have deep pockets and will almost certainly sue anyone who sells their brand products without authority.

    If you intend selling on Taobao, do you really need to find a distributor? If you are wanting to sell wholesale, Taobao is probably your best venue, but you will need to aim your advertising at wholesalers and not consumers. Potential distributors will be turned off if they see you offering the product to consumers.
    Signature
    Use emotions and perceptions to build a great brand. Ask me about my book LabelsThatExploit. For safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally, see https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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    • Profile picture of the author DPS96744
      Originally Posted by Importexport View Post

      Importing goods from the US to China is no different to importing goods from China to the US.

      International trade is governed by almost universal rules and that is why I have people from over 30 countries (including China) all using my book to guide them although there are local variations in relation to Customs procedures.

      Some countries , most notably India, but also to a lesser extent China have a bureaucratic system that lives on unnecessary red tape, but there is a simple way around that.

      All you need to do is use the services of someone who understands the system. In the case of shipping small orders via mail or courier services, the postal and courier services do all the work for you and it is usually hassle free.

      For larger shipments you have a couple of options. You can use Freight Forwarders or Customs brokers. Care must be taken selecting which you use because there are big differences between the services offered by those two different types. My book explains the differences so you can choose wisely.

      Amazon FBA is available in China. So far none of my students are using that service so I can't comment from their experience, but I have read stories by others who are very pleased with the result. Vendors on Amazon.cn have been selling US brands, but if you intend to do that, you need to be sure that you are authorized to do so.

      The Chinese government still has a long way to go to fully protect intellectual property (including trademarks), but US trademark owners have deep pockets and will almost certainly sue anyone who sells their brand products without authority.

      If you intend selling on Taobao, do you really need to find a distributor? If you are wanting to sell wholesale, Taobao is probably your best venue, but you will need to aim your advertising at wholesalers and not consumers. Potential distributors will be turned off if they see you offering the product to consumers.
      Thanks for your responses, everyone. They're all helpful.

      Importexport, you raise an interesting point about selling wholesale on Taobao. I actually hadn't thought of that. I was planning on selling direct to consumers. Do I need to display some degree of demand for my products among Taobao consumers first though before wholesalers would be willing to buy from me?
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      • Profile picture of the author Importexport
        Originally Posted by DPS96744 View Post

        Thanks for your responses, everyone. They're all helpful.

        Importexport, you raise an interesting point about selling wholesale on Taobao. I actually hadn't thought of that. I was planning on selling direct to consumers. Do I need to display some degree of demand for my products among Taobao consumers first though before wholesalers would be willing to buy from me?
        You will find a number of vendors on Taobao selling quantities that are aimed at wholesale buyers. Most of those are selling products made in China, but I believe you would have great opportunity provided you make it clear in your product description that the products are Made In The USA.

        The Chinese consumer market is hungry for quality products made in western countries. The demographic to aim for is the rapidly growing middle to upper middle classes. Hint: Food Products, Confectionery etc. but there are plenty of others that could sell equally well.

        It is possible that a buyer interested in your bulk quantity could be interested in being a distributor, but you would need an iron-clad exclusive arrangement with your US manufacturer. I would try for that anyway even if you are selling retail, or wholesale without a distributor.

        An alternative is to private label your product then they will never find the manufacturer. This works both ways. It works for those importing into western countries also.
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        Use emotions and perceptions to build a great brand. Ask me about my book LabelsThatExploit. For safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally, see https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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    • Profile picture of the author Himanshu1988
      Originally Posted by Importexport View Post

      Some countries , most notably India, but also to a lesser extent China have a bureaucratic system that lives on unnecessary red tape, but there is a simple way around that.
      This is slightly off topic but can you elaborate above? I am from India & want to get more information on the same. So far I have imported samples & small qty (2 to 5 pieces) via china post air mail. It took about 1 month to reach, but I did not faced any problem till now. Thanks
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      • Profile picture of the author Importexport
        Originally Posted by Himanshu1988 View Post

        This is slightly off topic but can you elaborate above? I am from India & want to get more information on the same. So far I have imported samples & small qty (2 to 5 pieces) via china post air mail. It took about 1 month to reach, but I did not faced any problem till now. Thanks
        You are not likely to have much trouble with red tape when only importing such small quantities, but once the volume is such that you have to do Customs clearances.

        As my post that you quoted from stated: "For larger shipments you have a couple of options. You can use Freight Forwarders or Customs brokers. Care must be taken selecting which you use because there are big differences between the services offered by those two different types. My book explains the differences so you can choose wisely."
        Signature
        Use emotions and perceptions to build a great brand. Ask me about my book LabelsThatExploit. For safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally, see https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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  • Profile picture of the author DPS96744
    Thanks for the insight, Importexport.

    Don't want to ask you to give out more free information then you're comfortable giving, but I just have a couple more questions if you don't mind:

    1) If you were me, how would you go about contacting manufacturers of products in the US? As mentioned, I'm currently in China and not able to travel to the US at the moment. I don't have importing or selling experience, but I do have some advantages in that I speak and read Chinese and work for a digital marketing company out here, which I'd like to leverage if possible. Any advice on this?

    2) I don't entirely understand private labeling. Are there certain legal aspects I should keep in mind? For example, if I buy product from a producer in the US, maybe change one tiny thing and then put my own label on it, am I at risk of being sued by the producer of that product?

    Any other last tips for a young guy getting started in this are also welcomed.
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    • Profile picture of the author Importexport
      To find US manufacturers you may have to do some searching, but if you will consider smaller manufacturers of quality products try stillmadeinUSA.com. You won't find famous brands but you will find quality made in the USA products.

      Click on the list of names in the categories that interest you and you will find direct links to their websites with contact details. You are likely to find many of them will be thrilled to hear from you.

      The story is likely to be very different if you contact big name manufacturers.

      Regarding private labeling, it is not only the brand name that is protected. Usually the design is also, and legal precedents show that minor changes cannot avoid claims for damages or copyright infringement.

      The smaller companies you will find on stillmadeinUSA.com will be less likely to have a problem with you putting your own label on their product, but because they are not going to be chasing the Chinese market, it would be simpler to use their brand name with their permission, and with an exclusive agreement.

      Best wishes,
      Walter
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      Use emotions and perceptions to build a great brand. Ask me about my book LabelsThatExploit. For safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally, see https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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  • Profile picture of the author jumbo1
    As someone mentioned, Amazon does have a warehouse in China, so you can probably make use of their fulfillment services.

    I personally am using a Chinese alternative to FBA called SFC (Send From China), but I'm using them to ship from China to the US and a handful other countries.

    In any case, you will need to deal with the custom fees issue if you're planning on exporting large quantities. You will probably need to hire a broker for that, so take this into consideration.
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    • Profile picture of the author kidsweardeal
      I suggest you find a partner in china, many rules in china is same as international, but in operation that is always very difference between them.
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      KidsWearDeal is a china large wholesale supplier, focus on baby and kids / children clothing footwear and accessories like hat, glasses and etc.

      www.KidsWearDeal.com

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  • Profile picture of the author SASGIRL
    Originally Posted by DPS96744 View Post

    Hi WF,

    I just setup a Taobao store and want to start by exporting small amounts of US products to China to sell on it. Does anyone here have experience with exporting goods into China? If so, do you mind if I ask:

    1) What service did you use to get your goods to China?

    2) How did you handle customs? Did the company that shipped the goods to China for you help you cover most of the paperwork and hassle involved with this?

    3) How did you find a distributor in China? Which company did you use?

    Also, has anyone used FBA to fulfill orders in China?

    Appreciate any insight. Thanks.
    1) if you can read Chinese, check the website buytong.com , it's an US express company specific on exporting from US to China. You need open an account, and send your goods to one of their warehouses in US , then you operate online to get your stuff shipped to different address. price will be something like $9 for the first pound , $4.5 start from second pound.

    2) They will handle the Custom for you

    3) One of place I know that you can post your offer at ½ø¿Ú»õ"´ - ¸£²½ÍâóÂÛ̳(FOB Business Forum) |-йúµÚ'»ÍâóÂÛ̳ , again it's in Chinese, and you need open an account.

    One other thing you may think about to get a "wechat" account (it's free), it's very popular in China, and you can build your distribution network with it easily.

    By the way, what kind of goods do you offer?
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    Looking to buy authentic MAC cosmetics , Korres Lip Butter!

    Wholesale/Dropship authentic Alexander McQueen MCQ and COACH scarves.

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    • Profile picture of the author DPS96744
      Originally Posted by SASGIRL View Post

      1) if you can read Chinese, check the website buytong.com , it's an US express company specific on exporting from US to China. You need open an account, and send your goods to one of their warehouses in US , then you operate online to get your stuff shipped to different address. price will be something like $9 for the first pound , $4.5 start from second pound.

      2) They will handle the Custom for you

      3) One of place I know that you can post your offer at ½ø¿Ú»õ"´ - ¸£²½ÍâóÂÛ̳(FOB Business Forum) |-йúµÚ'»ÍâóÂÛ̳ , again it's in Chinese, and you need open an account.

      One other thing you may think about to get a "wechat" account (it's free), it's very popular in China, and you can build your distribution network with it easily.

      By the way, what kind of goods do you offer?
      Thanks, SASGIRL, that's some very useful info. I really like this baitong website. I have a WeChat account..how would you go about building a distribution network with it?

      I'm looking at starting with some simple niche cosmetics and nutritional products.
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