Import from China
A Comprehensive Guide


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This is the ultimate A-Z guide to cover every detail that you may have during importing from China and sell.

In this comprehensive guide I’ll cover:
What are the best (or profitable) products to import from China?
What should I do before buying from China?
How to ship cargo from China to my country?
How to conduct effective product sourcing and find reliable suppliers in China?
How to import from China and sell on amazon?
Lots more

So if you want to make money and more sales by importing from China, you’ll love this guide.
Let’s get started.

Index of Article

Import from China Basics Index

Importing from China Basics

Import from China Product Ideas Index

How to Find Product Ideas When Importing from China

Import from China Product Research Tools Index

Helpful Product Research Tools When Import from China and Sell

Import from China How to Choose A Right Product Index

How to Choose A Right Product

Import from China How to Find Reliable Suppliers in China Index

How to Find Reliable Suppliers in China

Import from China Things You Must Know When You Import from China Index

3 Things You Must Know When You Import from China

Importing from China Basics

In this chapter, I’ll cover the fundamentals of importing from China.

You’ll learn why importing from China is important for your startup business.

And exactly what are the basic steps to import from China and sell with your own channels.

Keep reading.

Import from China Basics

Why Import from China?

Importing from China has been considered an effective solution to global sourcing for many businesses. Not only for business but also for personal life. Made in China products could significantly reduce the cost of living.

We could live in a house without any “Made in China” products (an empty house, oh wait…maybe we should also check if the nails and glass are made in China).

Well, actually there are people to take “Life Without Goods Made in China Challenge”.

China is a global manufacturing and trading power

In the past few decades, China has played an increasingly important role in international trade. With no doubt, China is the world’s leading exporter nowaday.

In the latest reports, China’s total exports recorded 221.7 billion USD in Nov 2019 and total imports recorded 183.0 billion USD in Nov 2019.

China Total Exports Data

China owns well-rounded industrial chains

Which means: you could find almost everything from China!

A small market is doomed to be unable to dig deep in many fields, and the manufacturing industry is not enough to support a rich and complete industrial chain.

China is the only two largest consumer market, and the other is the United States.

Without a big market, there will be no extensive manufacturing and R&D. It is impossible to innovate continuously on the basis of strong industry, train large numbers of skilled workers and attract large amounts of capital to improve the industrial chain.

China Exports Categories

Trade laws and regulations of China are friendly

As I have already told you, it is the second largest exporter in the world and a strong country in trade and manufacturing. Chinese law is very friendly to international trade, and your rights and interests can be fully protected. Therefore, importing from China can provide you with many different levels of the market. Overall, the country has created many opportunities for businesses and individuals.

Importing from China is the most cost-effective solution for your business

From product design to final mass production, you could make it at a much lower cost than doing it domestically. since wages are cheaper and materials are easier to get in China (due to the large population density in China, the logistics efficiency is high and the cost is very low).

The Business Model of Importing from China and Sell

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of importing from China, let’s clarify the basic logic around this topic regarding importing from China and it is very easy to figure it out.

Identify the product you want to import from China

You need to generate a list of potential products that you are going to sourcing and import from China. There are a lot of proven strategies (we will show you) that you can use to come up with a perfect product idea.

Find and identify quality suppliers

Now that you have target product(s), and you could find plenty of vendors to make the product(s) in China easily online or offline. But how do you know which one to pick?

Unfortunately, there’s no tool out there that will tell you: “This is the best Chinese supplier of the product”.

Instead, you need to size up each supplier based on a handful of different factors. Then, pick the supplier that’s the best fit for your business.

Placing a trial order and sell

In this way, you could easily validate your product idea and test your suppliers instead of putting your startup business in danger (invest too much money on the initial stage).

Give it time and tracking the feedback in time

Startup the business is exciting, but you need to calm down. You could increase purchase volume after initial sales turns out well. Furthermore, we could consider making changes to distinguish your product from others.

How to Sort Out Product Ideas List for Importing and Selling

Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of the product research and selection tactics.

Specifically, it’s time to figure out what products are suitable for you to import and sell.

And in this chapter, I’m going to show you proven strategies that you can use to come up with a profitable product.

Let’s dive right in.

Import from China Product Ideas

Drill Down Your Product Research to Find Best Products to Import and Sell

On top of all, you need to gain a clear understanding of what products you should import from China. There are a few methods you could use for product ideas:

Start from your niche or the field you are skilled at. Finding a great product is absolutely not easy. It is a better way to start product research in your familiar field. If you select a product that you are not familiar with, you will have to go through the hassle of figuring it out as well.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. You need to figure out your target customer group and know their pain points so you could know what troubles they will encounter in their daily lives.

Keep an eye on your competitors. It is also possible to spy on competitors when searching for products to sell. I am not saying to copy them directly. Instead, we could do it in an intelligent way such as checking what products are being advertised by the competitors on their PPC campaigns to get an idea of a product category that we could also dig a good product.

Ask for recommendations from the suppliers. The suppliers can provide you with better insights on what products are selling well and what is not. You just need to consult the suppliers and you will be provided with the recommendation at the end of the day. Hence, it can be defined as a convenient and straightforward method available to determine what products you are going to sell.

Trending Products to Import from China and Sell

Helpful Product Research Tools When Import from China and Sell

Can you find profitable products without a tool?


But a tool makes the entire process A LOT easier.

With that, here are the product research tools that I personally use and recommend.

Import from China Helpful Product Research Tools

Amazon Best Sellers

Everybody knows and uses Amazon and I check around the categories and drill down to find good ideas to make a recommendation to my clients. Especially, I will check this page to see what is best sellers on Amazon.

Amazon Best Sellers

We could check the best sellers in pet supplies by clicking the tag accordingly.

Best Sellers in Pet Supplies

Find the suppliers of Amazon store

There are many brands or importers opening stores in Amazon now, we can also try to find out their suppliers in China.

Let’s say you find some LED lantern.

LUXPRO lantern amazon

And you could easily get the website of the LUXPRO lantern and the company is LUXPRO, LLC (

By checking the customs data of LUXPRO, LLC, there are no records to be found under the company name.

no records found

So, just leave it? Well, one more step. As you could see, the LUXPRO is a trademark.

LUXPRO website logo

Let’s head to Trademarkia to check it out.

LUXPRO trademark

Till now, we got another company name “Simple Products Corporation” and we could get a lot of customs records under the company.

Customs records found

Estimate approximate profit margins

You should keep digging the useful information regarding the market on those websites mentioned.

Meanwhile, you need to compare it with what you can get from wholesale trade sites such as Alibaba to estimate approximate profit margins by comparing retail prices and wholesale prices. It takes some time with no doubt. But finally, you will naturally figure out what gonna works and you could find profitable products from China.

“Customer reviews” is a goldmine

Users leave their own comments (positive or negative reviews) on the website because they have different views on the function or performance of the product in the process of using the product. By looking at the evaluations left by users, we can have a general understanding of the performance of the product in the actual sales link, and provide different perspectives on our product research and screening.

Google Trends

Google Trends could help you to look at past and present trends to determine the sales attributes of a product.

For example, magnetic wristband (covers from first to sixth best sellers under the category of Home Storage & Organization).

Let us head to Google Trends to see how much attention this product got.

Google Trends of Magnetic Wristband

The trend is showing the peak in demand for magnetic wristband around December (but it is not a seasonal item).

The trend chart for the seasonal product is like below, Christmas tree for example.

Google Trends of Christmas Tree

Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is a keyword research tool that could show you monthly search volume, cost per click and competition data of keywords on multiple websites. And this tool could give us a quick insight view of the products we search on Google, Amazon, etc.

Keywords Everywhere Amazon

How to Choose A Right Product to Import from China and Sell

Now that you have a list of products, how do you know which one to pick?

Unfortunately, there’s no tool out there that will tell you: “This is the best product on your list”.

Instead, you need to size up each product based on a handful of different factors. Then, pick the product that’s the best fit for your business.

As you might expect, that’s exactly what I’m going to show you basic qualities of a workable product.

Import from China Choose A Right Product

Qualities of Workable Products That You Could Import from China

Freight saving. This is important to select products that are in a reasonable size and lightweight since the size and weight of the product will directly affect the freight you import from China and the freight you sell in the local market.

USP (unique selling proposition, or unique selling point). You’d better keep USP in your mind during launching your products (even product research stage) since the USP will distinguish your item from your competitors and boom your sales.

USP is a marketing concept that refers to any factor or aspect of an object or service that differentiates it from the competition and highlights its unique benefits to consumers. A USP answers the question “how is your product better than that of your competitors?”.

Low complaint rate. Too many customer complaints will cause great loss to your business, not only in the economy but also in your online store. Consumers will complain about everything that they are not happy with: the product didn’t meet their expectations, poor quality or scratches on the surface. You should always keep in mind to avoid these products may cause customer complaints easily.

Avoid a high involvement products. It is important to shorten the sales cycle and increase ROI which means you could keep the snowball rolling. A high involvement product is a product where the extensive thought process is involved and the consumer considers a lot of variables before finally making a purchase decision.

Get away from seasonal products. We need to find products with a certain buyer base. With no doubt, a bunch of money to be made in selling Christmas items or winter clothes that are imported from China, but it is going to be extremely seasonal (end up with plenty of worthless stock).

How to Find Reliable Suppliers in China

Finally, we identified the products that needed to be imported. We are one step closer to officially selling our products.

The next task is to find qualified suppliers, get competitive prices and confirm orders.

I will explain to you all the relevant details and tips in this chapter regarding finding reliable suppliers in China.

Let’s start.

Import from China Find Reliable Suppliers in China

Find Suppliers through Offline Channels (Trade Shows or Wholesale Markets)

Trade shows. Chinese suppliers (not only large-sized suppliers in China but also small-sized suppliers) are trying to get more sales by attending international fairs to showcase their up-to-date products and technologies in the world market. Meanwhile, you could also attend exhibitions in China such as the Canton Fair, HK fairs (HK Electronics, HK Lighting, etc.) to check the suppliers and arrange a visit after the show.

Wholesale markets. There are a lot of wholesale markets existing in China regarding different kinds of products. Such as Yiwu wholesale markets cover products like toys, electronics, lighting, clothes, accessories and more.

Find Suppliers Online through Wholesale Websites in China

Well, it will cost you money if you attend an exhibition. You could get plenty of suppliers in China by searching on the 6 useful Chinese wholesale websites. The one worth to mention as below again. is the best wholesale trade website in China. There are tons of how-to articles out there to show the basic usages that I am not going to say that again.

2 tips of Alibaba I would like to post here for your reference

You’d better bringing the conversation out of Alibaba system since the suppliers could find your activities in, such as what are the products you have searched for? How many inquiries you have sent before? Your IP address and more.

You’d better learn how to do supplier research in Alibaba.

4 Things You Must Know When You Import from China

So far, we have done most of the work.

We are about to put our project into practice, but before that, we still need to fully understand 4 things will be mentioned in this chapter.

Import from China Things You Must Know

Make Sure The Product You Want to Import Is Permitted in Your Country

Ensure the product you are going to import comply with product compliance requirements and it is allowed to enter your country (importer’s responsibility).

Some goods are not allowed to be imported. And different countries have different prohibited products. In addition, it is necessary to make sure that the goods you intend to import are subject to any government permission, restriction or regulation.

Importing unsafe products, products that do not comply with health regulations, or products that violate restrictions may cause you to pay substantial fines and penalties. At a minimum, such goods will be detained and may even be destroyed.

Classify Your Goods and Calculate The Landed Cost

You need to confirm the 10-digit tariff classification number of the product you wish to import correctly.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, also known as the Harmonized System (HS) of tariff nomenclature is an internationally standardized system of names and numbers to classify traded products.

The tariff classification number along with the Certificate of Origin is used to determine the rate of duty you must pay when importing.

You have to figure out the total landed cost according to trade terms (included in Incoterms) before you place an order with a supplier in China.

The Incoterms or International Commercial Terms are a series of pre-defined commercial terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) relating to international commercial law.

3 major trade terms: FOB, CIF, and CFR

FOB, “Free On Board”, means the buyer is at risk and takes ownership of goods once the seller ships the goods.

CIF, “Cost, Insurance, and Freight” is an expense paid by a seller to cover the costs, insurance, and freight against the possibility of loss or damage to a buyer’s order while it is in transit to an export port named in the sales contract

CFR, “Cost and freight”, means the seller is required to arrange for the carriage of goods by sea to a port of destination and provide the buyer with the documents necessary to obtain them from the carrier.

Import from China 3 Trade Terms
Transport Obligations, Costs and Risks
RED indicates seller’s
YELLOW indicates buyer’s
GREEN indicates mixed or shared

3rd Inspection Is Necessary

Conducting 3rd-party inspection is a must-have procedure to make sure your goods are as ordered. Or you could head to the freelance platform (such as Fiverr) to hire a part-time inspector. You’d better stay in touch with the inspector closely to ensure zero tolerance for defects, major and minor defects. At the same time, the supplier shall be strictly inspected according to the corresponding AQL inspection standards.

Documents Required for Customs Clearance

The import clearance process may be more complicated than you think. As a new importer, we strongly recommend that you hire a customs broker or freight forwarding partner to help you complete all import clearance procedures and document preparation.

Documents are required for customs clearance as below:
Bill of Lading (B/L)
Commercial Invoice
Packing List
Arrival Notice