China’s share of the online market is growing tremendously and it offers many opportunities, even for European online stores. Are you finding yourself asking the question “how do I ship to China?” There are some things you need to consider for international shipping because different rules apply outside the European Union. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult.

In this article, we will explain how you can send a parcel to China, what it will cost and how long it will take for a parcel to arrive. We will also inform you about the customs rules that apply in China and which Chinese holidays you should remember. All in all, this is a practical guide for online stores that want to export to China!

China: a market that continues to grow

China is the world’s largest online market, one that makes up half of the world’s market share. Chinese people especially love fashion, beauty products and culinary discoveries.

The Asian e-commerce market is growing at double-digit rates every year and consumers continue to have confidence in their economy. Consumer spending is 43% higher than five years ago.

As a European online store, it would be a shame not to get a piece of that market!

Shipping to China in the coronavirus era

You may wonder to what extent it is possible to send parcels to China during the coronavirus crisis. It’s a logical question because most flights have been cancelled.

The Universal Postal Union has indicated that several countries have also stopped mail and parcel shipments to China. Carriers from some European countries are still delivering in China, so keep an eye on our coronavirus blog for updates!

You don’t have to worry about infection because the virus doesn’t survive the long journey on mail and parcels.

Sending parcels to China: what should you look out for?

ship to chinaHow does sending a parcel to China work? What requirements must a parcel meet and which carrier is best to use? At Sendcloud we are happy to help you efficiently ship your online store’s orders to China. That’s why we’ve listed some important things for you to know.

Rules for packaging your parcel

As with all shipments, it is important to comply with packaging requirements when sending parcels to China. A parcel that does not comply with international regulations will at best be delayed and at worst refused by customs. So keep these four tips in mind:

  1. Choose packaging that is tailored to the product you are sending. The size, thickness and quality of the packaging are essential and must meet the requirements of the carrier.
  2. Don’t forget to anchor the products firmly into the packaging by putting bubble wrap or other packaging material around them. 
  3. Reinforce the corners and openings of the packaging with tape. The parcel must be able to withstand a fall of at least 1.5 metres.
  4. Pack fragile products separately to prevent them from breaking.

Want to know more about shipping your parcels the right way? Read here about how to prevent damage and/or loss.

Products that cannot be exported to China

Chinese customs authorities are very strict about the products they allow to be imported, so you can’t just export everything to China.

Below you will find SOME examples of products that are forbidden to send to China. To be safe, be sure to check the complete list of prohibited products.

  • All goods in powder form
  • Books, magazines, newspapers within a limit of 50 pieces
  • Fur
  • Electronic cigarettes and refills
  • Jewellery: gems and precious metals, costume jewellery
  • Chewing gum (depending on destination)
  • Works of art
  • Objects and publications that could harm China’s political, economic, cultural and moral interests

In order to export alcohol, cosmetics, food or organic products to China, the recipient must have a specific license.

Costs of sending a parcel to China

ship to chinaRetailers frequently ask what it costs to send a parcel from Europe to China. Unfortunately, there is no fixed answer to that. The rates depend on:

  • The carrier you use to ship the parcel
  • Size of the parcel (length, width, height)
  • Weight of the parcel
  • Delivery time (e.g. expedited, non-priority, etc)
  • Whether you want transport insurance
  • Whether you want tracking
  • Extra services (e.g. registered, climate neutral)

Do you want to know what it costs to send a parcel to China via Sendcloud? Check out the price calculator in your free Sendcloud account. With Sendcloud, you can ship to China via carriers such as DHL Express and UPS.

How long does it take a parcel to get to China?

The question of how long it takes to ship a parcel from Europe to China is another to which we cannot give a fixed answer. This, too, depends on various factors, such as:

  • Delivery method (by airmail or sea freight)
  • Correct packaging & addressing (so package according to the rules)
  • Processing time at customs (so add the appropriate documents)

Depending on the shipping option you select, a delivery time between 3 and 14 days is realistic.

Sending parcels to China with Sendcloud

Sending a parcel to China doesn’t have to be complicated anymore. At Sendcloud we work together with DHL Express and UPS so you can ship efficiently to China.

Sending parcels to China with DHL Express

european carrier dhl expressYou can send a parcel to China using DHL Express. Depending on the shipping option, the delivery time is 2 to 12 working days. The conditions are as follows:

  • Maximum weight: up to 70 kg
  • Maximum dimensions: 120 x 80 x 80 (LxWxH)
  • Shipments are not automatically insured

Find out more about DHL Express in our Help Centre.

You can also consider using DHL GLOBALMAIL, a bulk international shipping service provided by DHL Express and Deutsche Post. 

Sending parcels to China with UPS Express

european carrier upsYou can also choose to use UPS Express. You can calculate the transit time and cost of a shipment to China on the UPS website. The conditions are as follows:

  • Maximum weight: 32 kg
  • Maximum volume weight: 70 kg
  • Maximum dimensions: 100 x 76 cm (LxW), maximum circumference 300 cm

Find out more about UPS in our Help Centre.

Customs regulations in China

When shipping to China, it is important to consider Chinese customs regulations. Here are a few of the things you should be aware of:

  • For products you export to China, you must list a CR (Custom Registration) code on the invoice.
  • The HS (Harmonized System) code is a specific customs code for each type of product and determines the standards, certificates and customs duties.
  • The GB standard (Chinese national standard) concerns products such as textiles, cosmetics, toys, furniture and food that must pass safety tests.
  • Certain products have Chinese quality certificates (this involves costs). These include products such as cables, switches and electrical cables, electrical appliances, lighting, audio and video equipment, information technology products and telecommunications equipment, automotive components, latex products, medical devices and toys.
  • VAT is 17% for most products (except for alcoholic beverages, for example).

Customs duties vary by type of product and depend on various criteria such as the price of the goods, transport costs and any insurance.

It is important to know that the value of your shipment may not exceed 1,000 Chinese Yen. If it does, the recipient must be registered with customs.

Documents required by customs:

  • A fully completed packing slip
  • Commercial invoice in triplicate, written in English
  • Proof of dispatch, which constitutes tax evidence for export

On our blog, you’ll find useful articles with more information about Incoterms and customs declarations.

Chinese holidays to keep in mind

ship to chinaIn China, there are many holiday periods and holidays that can delay your deliveries. Here are the Chinese holidays you should consider at certain times:

  • Chinese New Year: starts with the Spring Festival and lasts two weeks, in January or February. Chinese New Year is not only a sacred celebration for the Chinese, but employees are also given a week’s leave.
  • Golden Week: national leave week for all employees with 7 consecutive days of leave to celebrate the anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
  • Singles Day: created in response to Valentine’s Day and especially known because Alibaba called it ‘the festival for online shopping’. This day breaks sales records every year, and takes place on November 11th. 

The special holidays listed per month:

  • January: 1
  • February: 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8
  • April: 5, 20, 21 and 30
  • May: 1, 2 and 13
  • June: 7
  • July: 1
  • August:  1
  • September: 13
  • October: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7
  • December: 25 and 26

To avoid delays during these holidays, it is best to send your parcels 10 to 15 days before the holiday, regardless of which carrier you ship with.

Sendcloud is happy to support you with all your online shipments

We hope that this article has answered your questions about sending a parcel to China. With the help of Sendcloud, you can automate your online store’s shipping process. This helps you ship more efficiently, even to China.

In your Sendcloud environment, you can print the correct and pre-completed customs declarations and commercial invoices for your shipments in just a few clicks. If you have any questions or concerns about how your online store can ship parcels to China, feel free to contact us.

Also read: 10 tips for trouble-free international shipping in 2020

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