How to Import from China? 2023 Guide

by Tim Howard

As one of the top three trading countries in 2018, this Asian country had an import value of $2,134,982 million or 11.37% of global imports. As per the reports of Knoema, a total of 237,824 million US dollars or 21.42% of world’s import was registered in this country in 2021. The country in the limelight is none other than China. Trading with one of the most popular countries in the world that has such impressive import statistics indeed looks like a lucrative business opportunity. And beginning this by importing products in small quantities from China is a constructive option.

So how does a small trader get in on this action? Unlike the past where minimum order quantities was a huge thing, these days even small quantities can be imported with ease. If you are a small importer, this is how you import small quantities from China.

Small businesses can avail the services of a LCL company that offers freight shipping services for small traders. A LCL company combines the shipments of multiple buyers and packs them in a single container.


Importing Products in Small Quantity from China: A Complete Guide

For businesses who are looking to import products in small quantities from China, it’s important to be aware of the process involved and the potential pitfalls. By understanding what’s involved in importing goods from China, you can avoid costly mistakes and ensure a smooth transaction. In this blog, we’ll outline the key steps involved in importing small quantities from China, so you can make an informed decision about whether this is the right option for your business.


How to import products in small quantities from China?

Small quantity buyers like you may find shipping from China an arduous process. But don’t worry. We’ll explain all the methods involved in importing small volume products from China.

LCL companies that offer all-in price goods transportation service

Importing items with the help of a professional LCL (Less than Container Load) company is one of the best types of freight shipping services for small-scale buyers. They are specialized in certain areas, offer an all-inclusive pricing scheme and will handle the custom procedures with ease – you just need to pick up your cargo at their warehouse or sometimes they can even deliver at the door right on time. Furthermore, LCL shipping offers a low price even if you ship 0.5 CBM because the container can hold up to 30 to 40 clients at once.

Thus, when you’re not using the entire container to ship your products, you just pay for the space required to accommodate your goods inside the container. And the shipping cost is reduced to half! When using LCL services for smaller amounts, there are many consolidation companies who work with shippers and help them fill up their containers so they can be shipped out more efficiently.

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There are top LCL companies like Vanguard Logistics & ECU Worldwide. But you wouldn’t want to go with a large company like that at the beginning stage.

International Express and Air Freight

International Express is a great option for lightweight cargoes, with the ability to deliver them anywhere in any country. Air freight can handle heavier loads but follows specific import and export processes like sea freight. The items must also be picked up from the airport. Now, you may be wondering what are the advantages of opting for air freight? You can consider air freight as a suitable option when you need to ship time-sensitive, high-value or small volume goods quickly. Consequently, air freight allows you to save time significantly. Shipping by air is a faster and more expensive way than other methods of transport but it comes with risks. Air shipments can’t include any fluids, power sources or batteries that need to stay safe during shipment so these types of things must be transported using another method. 

Consolidating Items from Various Suppliers & Shipping Together

Merging orders from different providers can result in significant savings when delivering them. This is because even if you use international express delivery, heavy cargo will be charged at a lower price per kilogram than light loads! The best way to save on your sea freight is by importing different items from various providers in China. If you combine all the products at 0.5 CBM per item, then the transportation cost will be 80% less than international express.

You should find a reliable forwarder who can consolidate your cargo in China. They will be able to take care of all the transportation for you, including picking up the items from different locations in China, loading them onto containers for export with an LCL company as well as and delivering the items to their target destinations. In this way, you don’t have to be concerned about any paperwork or other formalities as everything will be taken care of.

Why is it worth starting business by importing products in small quantities from China?

The truth is that there are many different perceptions of what constitutes “small” when it comes to business. There are many misconceptions about small business owners. Most sourcing agents portray them as individuals who import less than $500,000 a year and they’re often seen as uneducated in comparison to larger companies that deal with multinational corporations or federal agencies on contracts worth millions of dollars at times.

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For new business starters, this amount might be unreasonably high. We can define small quantity purchasers as those buyers who import less than $2000 per order and are considered “small” by our standards – usually meaning they have a higher risk profile or don’t spend money rashly like some people do when starting out on their own with no experience under your belt!

There are three reasons why importing a small quantity of products from China is a worthwhile decision. 

1.       Importing products that are easy to sell

When starting a new business, it is important to consider what you will be doing with the income from your company and how much focus should go towards administration. If there are too many stocks, for example, if they’re all sold at once then this could mean that money isn’t being spent efficiently because some people might want different amounts of each product which would require more work on top of already existing duties like bookkeeping etc., but just think about these things before jumping right in. Selling in small quantities is relatively easier when you don’t know how your target buyers would respond. Hence, buying a small quantity of products from suppliers in China makes complete sense.

2.       Importing products that have a low startup price

Businesses take time to grow and flourish, but for new businesses the best way is by starting small. Buying in bulk can be intimidating when you’re just starting as a retailer or wholesaler; it’s important not to spend too much at first so that your cash flow will stay stable while building up inventory. This also helps in saving money on paying customs duties.

3.       Giving a trial to your products

A new product often needs to be tested in the market before being released onto an already oversaturated marketplace. To do this, you will need a small sample order from your manufacturer so that they can make sure their items are not just going to sell but also perform well enough for larger-scale production if necessary. You can only import products in large quantities once sample order from the manufacturer in small quantities to evaluate and approve the quality of the item.

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How to select the right items to sell?

Which is the ideal country to start an import business? Why, yes! China has the highest foreign reserves in all of Asia and they’re home to a labor force that can easily produce what you need. In addition, their prices are always reasonable for small orders too – making this one great economical way to begin your importing business and scaling it up gradually. When you’re deciding which products to import from China, there are a lot of factors that should be considered.

When starting out as new business owners or E-commerce entrepreneurs, many factors need to be considered when choosing our products so they can serve multiple purposes while still being profitable. 

1. Import products with high added value

Small quantity buyers from China face a major problem when it comes to shipping. That’s why high-added value products are the better choice for these small quantities and they should choose something that retails at more than $30 dollars because this will save them on costs associated with international shipping! 

2. Select interesting and trending products

Finding interesting products that are not already in demand is quite an arduous task. The best way would be if you tried your luck with something different, like an item no one has seen before. The common products that you find at your local grocery store are not always the best choice for selling. Look instead to see what kind of items people might need or want in their life and then offer those as well! The best way to find out what people are searching for on the internet is by utilizing keywords. Google’s Keyword Planner allows you see how prevalent certain trends are among consumers, and it will give some guidance as well.

3. Choose your niche

Try out different products to find which ones best fit your needs. Make sure you import them in small quantities so that they can be tried on with success before investing more money than necessary.

: If you’re thinking of starting a business by importing products in small quantities from China, our blog can guide you through the process. We cover why it makes sense to start importing your product into smaller quantities before deciding what to invest in and how much inventory is needed for each stage of the sales funnel. Find out more about this import strategy here!

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