Learn How to Import High-Quality Products from China to The UK


218541392.jpg.jpgWe like China not because it has grown into one of the world's most powerful and fastest-growing countries, but because they produce all of the good things we desire. The reduced prices also make Chinese products excellent for buying in bulk for import purpose. China is the international centre for experienced importers as well as those who are still learning how to import from China.

Many companies in the UK are interested to import from China to UK. For many, this may appear to be a tedious and stressful task. However, it can be easily handled if you have a good understanding of the procedure. Thousands of UK companies gain profit consistently by purchasing from Chinese manufacturers and engaging in importing from China to UK. They simply have to identify a product, choose a Chinese factory that will manufacture it cheaply, bring it to the UK market, optimise the branding/marketing, and watch the money coming in.

Those of you who have tried to import items themselves, know that doing it correctly appears simple, but is tough. Importing from China to UK have a wide range of problems that they must overcome. The first step is to get the branding and promotion correct, which is slightly difficult.

What Items are Imported from China to UK

For a long time, China has been one of the world's main producers of a variety of goods. The UK has been one of the most important markets for Chinese goods. China is the UK's second-largest non-EU trade partner. It's critical to realise that the United Kingdom is a big market for Chinese goods.

The United Kingdom is also known for its wide range of manufacturing and processing businesses. It means that this country produces the majority of its goods for regional use and export. However, they also import a large number of products from China, which accounts for nearly all of their imports.

The following are some of the most common goods that are brought by importers from China to UK.

Office Machines

The majority of the equipment used by various enterprises and institutions is imported from China. This is because the majority of the Chinese office machines that the UK imports are of good quality and meet the required standards. Printers, photocopying machines, and other equipment are among the office machines that are imported by the UK from China.

Instruments for Data Processing

This instrument is also imported in good quantity from China to UK. In most cases, you'll discover that instruments in the UK, such as computers and other machinery, is imported from China. Most technology-based instruments used in the UK are imported from China.

Electrical Machinery

Various forms of electrical instruments are used in most commercial, industrial, and residential organisations. These instruments are required in large amounts to utilise, so the only way to ensure that they have enough is to import from China to UK. However, the quality of the machinery that the UK purchases from China must exceed certain requirements.


The Chinese clothing industry is huge and thriving, and the UK provides a huge market for it and related products. The United Kingdom appears to import several types of clothing and accessories, including men's, women's, and children's clothing.

210127394.jpgIndustrial Machines

The UK also makes various products, and thus it also needs various machines and elements to manufacture products. China is one of the world's largest manufacturers of industrial machinery. As a result, you'll notice that the UK imports the majority of industrial machines from China to use in developing its UK manufactured products.

Instrumentation for Generating Electricity

These items make up a larger portion of the items that the UK imports from China. Different forms of power generating machines are used in most businesses, as well as in industrial and domestic settings throughout the country. As a result, the country considers importing these cost-effective units from China to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a variety of procedures. 

Prohibited Imported Items from China to the UK

  • Prohibited Illegal drugs cannot be imported into the United Kingdom, from anywhere in the world, including China. The UK has imposed stringent steps at customs to ensure that each item entering the country is thoroughly examined.

  • The UK government ensures that all materials entering the country meet ethical and civilizational criteria. As a result, anything that contains obscene material and violates requirements will never be allowed into the country.

  • Dairy and animal products cannot be imported if they come from designated non-EU countries. China is one of the non-EU countries from which the UK does not import such goods.

  • The United Kingdom prohibits importing raw diamonds from all countries, including China. It's an item that the authorities don't consider ideal for commerce.

  • Hazardous wastes cause various health concerns as well as environmental issues. Therefore, importing such products, whether from China or elsewhere, is prohibited by UK authorities.

  • Any imitation, forged or fake product/material is strictly prohibited by the UK government. The government believes that fake products reduce economic growth so they restrict importing and promoting such products.

Basic Steps to Import Products from China to UK

Select An Appropriate Product to Import

Almost every product has a speciality, but knowing how to deliver your product correctly is even more important for your business. When choosing the appropriate product, you must consider the market trend as well as your available budget. You will, however, be assured of your success if you have adequate funds and a decent approach.

Follow the guidelines below to find the right product:

  • When it comes to engaging with people, brands are essential. Rather than attempting to sell a reasonably affordable product, create a brand that connects with your clients to maintain a long-term business relation.

  • The demand for fad products disappears rapidly, and it's impossible to build a brand name forever. Therefore, decide to focus on your long-term goals by purchasing products that provide monetary gains.

  • It's difficult for your product to succeed without a point of difference (POD) that sets it apart from the competition. However, the POD doesn’t need to be critical, but it can be as simple as a unique mix, a unique logo, packaging, or exceptional marketing photos.

  • Stay away from harmful goods, when importing from China to UK. Dealing with product liability will completely ruin your company.

  • It is normal for businesses to take on too much responsibility too soon and then struggle. It is advised to have ideas for extra product possibilities, design enhancements, and adjustments, but it's not necessary to have all of this figured out before placing your first order with your Chinese supplier to import from China to UK.

Find a Right Chinese Supplier


Alibaba website is the world's largest online supplier directory, with around 8.5 million suppliers and 279 million customers. It is primarily a B2B business service. No matter, what your product or niche is this online directly has at least more than 10 suppliers for it. However, you will have to buy in bulk because the majority of makers have a MOQ (minimum order quantity).

This can be beneficial in terms of acquiring the affordable product. Simply search for the item on Alibaba with the words 'manufacturer' or 'private label' in the search box to find makers and suppliers. If you become a verified buyer, you'll have access to a vast and complex supplier directory. This allows you to look for experienced suppliers, examine a list of their most important clients, analyse their trade records, and get other background information.

Although you can still look for certain suppliers without becoming a verified buyer, you'll have more security and knowledge as a confirmed client.


China is not only the world's largest manufacturer, but it's also one of the most popular destinations for online sellers to offer their manufacturing to the UK. If you want to fly to China to meet manufacturers face to face, there are a variety of trade shows to choose from. Yiwu Market, and Canton Fair, are a few of the major trade fairs where you will find authentic Chinese suppliers.

The United Kingdom hosts trade fairs for almost every industry. The M+A Expodatabase provides information on practically all of the UK's trade exhibitions, grouped by product specialisation.

Sourcing Agencies

Another way to know how to import from China to UK is by using a reputable China sourcing agent. These agents usually have staff on that will act as your representatives in all of your contacts with Chinese suppliers. They'll not only help you find reliable suppliers, but they'll also handle everything from requesting quotes from suppliers, selecting a provider, negotiating payment terms, determining whether or not your product style drawings are appropriate for use in a Chinese factory, requesting samples for inspection, managing production, dealing, and conducting the final quality inspection before dispatch, etc.  It helps in avoiding the expenditure of expensive trips to China and even recruiting personnel there.

Contact the Chinese Supplier

It's critical that you properly format your initial RFQ (request for quote) and email. The response rate from Chinese manufacturers increases when you pay special attention to the procedure of evaluating and pursuing Chinese suppliers. You must establish in your email that you are a potential client for the manufacturing company, as well as a knowledgeable and trustworthy organisation that wants to import from China to UK.

  • Your email should have clear calls to action and should be concise.

  • Your email should include the correct terminology for raw materials, testing requirements, and elements.

  • An attachment with a simple product description sheet should be included in your RFQ.

Visiting a provider's manufacturing facility is the most effective way to determine whether or not a source is suitable. Visiting the production site allows you to visualise the machinery, confirm the factory's capability, and assess the quality of the sample, the factory's internal control systems, and the manufacturing plant's manpower.

It also allows you to directly talk to the factory's leaders, to further negotiate on price and to build a healthy relation.

This is typically a crucial stage for enterprises that are already established and looking to import to the UK from China. If you don't have the time to travel to the other side of the world to look at potential Chinese suppliers, you'll need to hire a third-party sourcing agent to look over for you.


The total cost of manufacturing and importing your product to your distribution centre or warehouse within the market you're selling it is called the landing cost. It's beneficial to calculate your landed price, as they'll serve as a starting point for cost negotiations with suppliers.

If your landed cost only allows a 5% margin of profit or less compared to the current market trend, then you've not done a good job in negotiating and sourcing. 

How to Calculate Landed Cost?

Although it's tough to make a precise calculation, it's a vital step that shouldn't be overlooked when importing from China to the UK. Instead of the MOQ (minimum order requirements) received from the production plant, landed prices should be backed by expected order quantities for your goods.

  • Avoid making a decision based on whether or not a product is viable just on a MOQ trial order because once you order in greater quantities, you'll be able to acquire a better price.

  • When importing, the charges for quality control and freight are much lower per unit, if those costs are spread out across a larger quantity of product being transported.

The following items are required to obtain a valid quote from your supplier –

  • Port of loading

  • Incoterms

  • Product pricing and details

  • Total metres of order

  • Overall packing size

  • Quote currency

  • Cargo type (LCL or FCL).

A quote from your customs clearance agent or freight forwarder that includes:

  • Import charges at the destination country

  • Freight prices from the loading port to discharge port

  • Shipping costs

  • Local taxes and duty rates

Payment Method for Import Product From China to UK


Payment options may be arranged, and they will vary depending on several factors. The majority of enterprises that import from China to UK work based on the businessperson making a deposit and then paying the balance displayed on the bill after the Chinese provider has shipped the products from China to UK.

Here are different types of payment methods that can be used by the buyer during the transaction: 

Telegraphic Transfer (TT)/International Wire Transfer

For centuries, this has been and continues to be the most widely accepted payment method. When paying a supplier by TT, the most important point to discuss is how much of the payment will be paid directly.

Letter of Credit

"Letter of Credit" is perhaps the most secure payment method available. However, due to exorbitant Bank Charges, LCs do not appear to be always possible for small importers. Also, difficult procedures and work make it difficult to understand LCs at first, therefore hire a licenced Documentary Credit Specialist for assistance for the first few transactions. Everything becomes a lot less complicated once you understand the concepts.


Escrow is useful, and it's almost equivalent to an LC. Escrow isn’t frequently used for large transactions in the same way that LCs aren't used for small transactions. For importers shopping from China, Alipay/AliExpress Escrow is the most popular written agreement service.

Sourcing Agents

Generally, sourcing companies will act as an additional service. When the customer pays the sourcing firm, the firm will have the products delivered to their door and collect payment using "Cash on Delivery" or a signed agreement as to the method of payment. Because they are physically in China, they will reject the things once it arrives and keep their Escrow payment if the merchandise does not appear to be as agreed.


PayPal has grown in popularity in recent years and is now a widely recognised payment method, particularly in tech-savvy businesses. Larger transactions, however, are not possible due to the exorbitant charges. You can agree to pay the price with the supplier, but it will affect your cost accounting and for larger group actions, it isn't the best investment in terms of transaction security.


Sometimes major transactions are carried out in cash. When there is a sourcing company/agent involved, paying in cash works. Generally, small workshops and companies do not have export licences or pay the right taxes, and prefer to be paid in cash.

Western Union

This is a payment method that is highly appreciated by suppliers. On the internet, there is a lot of advice for importers advising them to avoid Western Union as it is exceedingly unsafe for a buyer. When you pay through WU, you're paying privately, and there's not much you can do if the supplier simply vanishes after receiving the amount. However, WU is also a frequently used payment option for paying reliable suppliers/agents.

Credit Card

Credit cards are commonly accepted by suppliers in laptop accessories and other technology-oriented businesses who sell through e-commerce websites, but credit cards aren't particularly popular. Because of chargebacks and other issues, it's just a high-risk payment option for suppliers.

If you’re a novice and don’t know how to import from China to UK you can simply hire a sourcing agent. They are reliable and handle your entire task while staying in China. The best way of importing from China successfully is by agreeing to all terms and conditions mentioned by both parties.

Recent Blogs
Want to speak with our key account manager?
We speak your language.

Our Features