5 Tips on Sourcing Products from China

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Are you considering sourcing products from China? It’s a great way to find low-cost, high-quality products. However, there are a few things you need to know before you buy anything.

In this blog post, we’ll cover 5 tips on how to ship products from China and what factors you should consider when deciding which products to purchase!

The article consists of below sections, you can click each heading below to navigate to related content for more details.

Know your products – Research the products you want to buy


Are the products you want to purchase popular in China? This will help determine how many suppliers are available and which one offers the best price. Here are some tips to help you do that.

1) Research on the internet

Analyze your target market, what products your customers are interested in, and then look for them on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Baidu.

2) Use Alibaba’s search function

Once you have identified some products, use Alibaba’s search function (login required) to find more products.

For example, if you are looking for LED lights or flashlights, enter keywords such as “LED lights” or “flashlights”. You can also use the drop-down menu to specify which country the supplier is from.

3) Look for suppliers who have been in business for a long time

Alibaba is a B2B e-commerce platform where there are thousands of suppliers, which includes a lot of suppliers who are just starting out.

They may not have much experience or understand how to communicate well with you in English.

So it is important that you find suppliers who have been doing business on Alibaba for at least two years, so that they can demonstrate their ability to ship your products safely and accurately.

Order samples before placing bulk orders


After you have narrowed down your list to a few suppliers, you must order samples of the products they offer.

Although most of them are not free, this helps you to test the quality before you place an order with them.

In addition, by ordering samples of several different items at one time, you can save on shipping costs for each item, as most Chinese suppliers will not charge extra fees.

Once you receive your samples, ask yourself if they are what you expect. If they are, then go ahead and negotiate and place your order.

If not, it is best to find another supplier who is willing and able to provide a better quality product before proceeding any further!

Confirm that you can get a refund if your purchase is unsuccessful


When you buy products from China, it is very important to ask your supplier to agree in writing on the contract that if they cannot fulfill your order or deliver an unsatisfactory product then you can get a full refund.

This is especially helpful when dealing with new suppliers who may not have much experience shipping overseas and may make mistakes.

In the case of a return, you will receive your refund in one of two ways:

  • The refund may be returned to you via wire transfer, which can take a few weeks.
  • Or issue a store credit via Alipay for quick access to your account. But there is no guarantee that this option will always work, and it does have the downside of not reimbursing you for the return shipping costs.

If there is any chance of this happening again in the future, do not buy from them again. Continuing to work with an unreliable supplier will only hurt both parties.

Know the shipping cost and be patient while waiting for your goods


The following five shipping methods are the main methods used by most importers:

1) Postal Parcels

If you have ever bought something from Aliexpress or some Shopify stores, you will have seen many sellers using epacket or EMS to send you small parcels, these shipping methods are called full postal parcels.


The advantage of postal parcels is the wide coverage, covering more than 230 countries and regions around the world, which means postal parcels can be sent to almost any corner of the world.

If you are a foreign importer shipping directly from China, or if you want to ship directly from China to your end customer, Postal Parcel is the ideal shipping solution.

2) Air Express

Air express is the fastest and safest way of international transportation, but the price is also relatively high.

The most common international air express carriers are UPS, DHL, FedEx, TNT, Aramex, etc.


It is important to note that the cost of express shipping is very high, usually accounting for 30%-50% of your total import costs.

So before you decide to use air express for your product, you must calculate the air express cost as the cost of your product.

3) Special Line

In China, some large freight forwarders have a very large customer base and when they find these customers concentrated in a certain country or address, they use charter flights to ship goods overseas and use local partner companies to deliver the goods to the final destination.

For example, many freight forwarders have opened US Amazon FBA routes, they first collect cargo from their customers and then concentrate the cargo in one place, such as Guangzhou or Shenzhen. Then they charter a plane and ship the goods directly from Guangzhou to the US.


After customs clearance in the US, their partner (usually FedEx or UPS) will ship the shipment directly to the Amazon warehouse.

The benefit of a dedicated line is the balance of cost and time. It is usually much cheaper than air express, but can also deliver shipments to an address in one to two weeks, much faster than ocean freight.

The general dedicated lines on the market are Amazon FBA dedicated lines, European duty-free dedicated lines, Australia, Russia dedicated lines, etc.

Many freight forwarding companies have also opened dedicated lines in less popular countries such as the Middle East, South America and Africa.

4) Railways (from China to European countries)

The China-Europe Railway is a freight rail line with fixed trains, lines, between China and European countries.

Railway is an alternative between air and sea freight.


From China to Europe, it usually takes 35 to 50 days to arrive if you ship your goods by sea, and only 15 days if you use railway.

In terms of price, railway is cheaper than air freight, usually 1/5 of the price.

5) Ocean freight

Ocean freight is a traditional way of transporting cargo from China to ports around the world, including FCL and LCL.



FCL: Full Container Load

If you have a large amount of cargo, you can choose FCL, where the freight forwarder will collect your cargo into one or several containers. You are the only consignee of that container.

The common sizes of standard containers are 20`GP, 40`GP, 40`HQ, 45`HQ.


LCL: Less than Container Load

If you don’t have enough cargo to fill a container, you can choose to consolidate your cargo and the freight forwarder will put your cargo into the container with other people’s cargo.

How do I choose between a LCL or a FCL?

Well, it depends on the amount of cargo you have. The minimum size of a container is 20ft.

If the volume of your cargo is less than 20 m³, LCL is recommended.

If the volume is larger than 20 m³, choose FCL.

Read reviews on sites like Amazon or Alibaba before deciding to purchase from China


Why is it so important to read reviews on sites like Amazon or Alibaba?

Well, the main purpose of these reviews is to give buyers an honest opinion about the product they are considering buying. These opinions are very valuable in helping you decide if the product is worth buying.

1) Find reviews

To find reviews of a product on Amazon or Alibaba, simply click on the “Reviews” section of the page.

2) Read Reviews

Once you click through to the reviews section, you will see all the reviews listed in chronological order by date. Simply scroll down and read all the pros and cons.

3) Sorting reviews using filters

If you only want to read reviews from verified purchasers or other customers who share your interests, Amazon makes it easy to filter reviews using these criteria.

Yansourcing advice: We hope these tips will help you to be successful in your sourcing for the perfect products from China. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our sourcing agents who are ready to answer all your China sourcing questions.

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Hi, I'm the author of this post, and I have been in the sourcing field for more than 10 years. If you are interested in importing from China, feel free to ask me any questions.

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