Guide to shipping goods to China

Not so long ago it felt like consumer goods stamped with "made in China” were taking over daily life in the UK. Well, now the tide has turned and businesses of all types and sizes are realising that shipping goods to China represents a tremendous growth opportunity.

Even the smallest enterprises can explore this marketplace and build sales. But China is a vast and complex country, so whether you are sending single parcels or whole pallets of goods, some careful research is vital.

Clearly, the distance is a factor, but with a reliable and cost-effective delivery service sourced, the next step is to consult the growing number of organisations in the UK who can provide you with useful intel. Some British companies got a little over-excited by this growing marketplace and began international shipping operations to China without this initial research. This has meant they have lost money on what looked like a lucrative opportunity.

One of the main reasons for this is that the culture is so different from ours. For example, a number of major UK DIY brands have tried to gain a foothold in China, only to discover the Chinese are really not fans of doing it for themselves.

There are general and trade specific organisations that can help you to understand and even test demand for your particular products.

One of the things you should explore during the research phase is your branding. It would appear that promoting buying British is one way of unlocking sales for goods shipped to China. For example, Astonish, a Bradford manufacturer of cleaning products, believes its position as a premium brand in East Asia has been helped enormously by the fact the Union Jack appears on its packaging.

Some of the Anglo-Chinese business bodies - and general business support organisations like banks and chambers of commerce – can help you to build relationships in China. This can be key as the Chinese like to do business with trusted contacts. Agents and distributors may sound like a cost you can avoid, but sometimes in China, you need to invest in relationships to get your products a foothold.

For information about the actual process of shipping goods to China, and for tips on other aspects of the logistics of exploring new international markets, you can check out our dedicated page here: or contact Parcel Broker today.