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How to Start Product Importing from China to the UK?



Now China is one of the leading countries that is exporting its goods almost everywhere in the world. More and more business companies in the UK prefer to import from China because it has proven to be a successful tactic of global sourcing.

Benefits of product importing from China to the UK

China has become a popular destination for British businessmen looking to import goods, for below reasons.

1. Low manufacturing costs: China is known for its low manufacturing costs. The cost of labour in China is significantly lower than in the UK, which means that businesses can produce goods at a lower cost.

This makes it possible for businesses to offer products at a competitive price, which can be an advantage in a crowded marketplace.

2. Wide range of products: China has a wide range of products available, with a diverse range of industries, from electronics and electrical appliance to home products.

This means that business companies in the UK can find a wide variety of products to import, which can help them to diversify their offerings and appeal to more customers.

3. Well-developed infrastructure: China has a well-developed infrastructure for exporting goods. There is a large and efficient network of ports and transportation systems, which makes it easy to transport goods from China to the UK.

This can help to reduce the time and cost involved in importing goods, which can be an advantage for businesses that need to move products quickly.

4. Strong entrepreneurship and innovation: China has a strong culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. Chinese businessmen are known for their creativity and ingenuity, which can be an advantage for UK businesses looking to import innovative products.

Chinese businesses are also often willing to work with foreign partners, which can help UK businesses to find Chinese manufacturers and develop strong relationships.

Challenges of importing from China to the UK

As a buyer and reseller, this is a fantastic opportunity to earn good profit. However, global sourcing in China is not an easy task, particularly for newbies. The whole process to import from China to the UK is extremely complex, confusing, and expensive. What profit margin that you had anticipated may be erased because of:

- Long transit time
- Fluctuating shipping costs
- Regulatory fees
- Unexpected delays.

Besides that, while importing any items from China, there can be several other barriers such as language and communication issues, lacking import experience, etc.

Steps for importing from China to the UK

Here are some steps on how to import from China to the UK and stay competitive:

1. Find a reliable supplier

Finding the right Chinese supplier is one of the most difficult parts of the whole process to import from China to the UK. If you can manage to find factories in China, which is a genuine one and offers good quality products then half of your battle is won.

This will take your maximum time. So, then what is the solution? The first thing that you can do is to identify a suitable supplier in any of the following 3 methods:

a. Visit B2B websites such as Alibaba, Global Sources, and AliExpress, where you can find details of many Chinese suppliers.

b. Visit Chinese trade fairs where you can meet potential suppliers.

c. Visit wholesale marketplaces in China.

Finding a reliable supplier is key to successful sourcing in China. It is important to research potential suppliers thoroughly and to build a relationship with them to ensure that they understand your business and your needs.

You should look for suppliers with a good reputation, a proven track record, and positive reviews from other businesses that have imported from them.

2. Negotiate the best possible price

When importing from China to the UK, it is important to negotiate the best possible price to ensure that you can keep competitive.

Do your research and compare prices from different suppliers to get an idea of what is reasonable. Be clear about your budget and negotiate hard to get the best deal possible.

3. Understand the regulations

Global sourcing from China is subject to regulations and compliance requirements that can be complex and difficult to navigate. It is important to understand these regulations and requirements to avoid costly mistakes and delays.

For those who have never been involved in the import process, it may appear to be very difficult to know the details about import duties, which is important to know before importing from China. You need to understand the right commodity code and if you make mistake then you may end up paying a heavy tax which may rub all your profit margin. You can search the official government website of the UK at, and get updated and accurate information about all details about duty to be paid for importing from China. Every product has a specific commodity code which is known as a tariff code. By using this code, you will know how much duties you must pay.

Also, you need to consider the value-added tax while importing any goods from China to the UK.

4. Arrange shipping

Choosing the right mode of transportation is important when importing from China to the UK. Consider the urgency of your shipment and the value of the goods to determine which mode of transportation is best for you.

Sea freight is slower but more economical than air freight, so it’s widely used by importers.

Most importers in the UK think that it is easier to find a shipping forwarder in the UK to help you with importing items into the UK. However, it is better to hire a Chinese shipping forwarder.

Irrespective of whether you are going to use LCL shipment or FCL shipment, a Chinese shipping forwarder will charge less when compared to a UK forwarder. That is because a forwarder in China has better access to more domestic resources.

Besides that, a Chinese forwarder will also offer you more convenience and make your customs declaration faster and can easily solve the other domestic problems.

5. Manage supply chain

Importing from China to the UK can be a profitable opportunity for businesses looking to expand their product offerings and reduce manufacturing costs.

However, it is important to take the time to research and plan the process carefully to ensure that you can keep competitive and make the most of this opportunity.

Effective supply chain management is essential. Make sure you have clear communication with your supplier and establish a system for tracking your shipment from China to the UK. This will help you avoid delays and ensure that your goods arrive on time and in good condition.

6. Check product quality

A few years back, “Made in China” was considered cheap and poor-quality goods. Not that all Chinese suppliers make poor-quality products but a few of them surely try to cut corners.

Your first sample offered by them can be great, but a few dishonest Chinese suppliers may not maintain the same quality on their subsequent supply. They may change certain materials to earn more profits and you may get screwed.

So how can you avoid this kind of problem?

a. You can ask some to pull a few samples randomly from their production line so that you can thoroughly check all your quality parameters.

b. You can hire a 3rd-party inspection company for checking the condition of your items before they are loaded into shipping container.


Importing goods from China to the UK requires careful planning, attention to detail, and effective management. The major thrust will be on finding a suitable Chinese supplier because that is the most difficult thing to do in the whole process.

By following the tips outlined in this article, businesses can keep competitive, taking advantage of the lower product costs and wider products categories available in China.

With the right approach, importing from China can be a profitable and rewarding opportunity for businesses of all sizes. Once you experience the whole process and involve yourself, your confidence will increase and your next import from China to the UK will be a breeze.

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