Basically, there are two main ways to export goods to China:
- General trade: the traditional way, exporting to China via importers, distributors, agents based on the ground; or selling directly to the Chinese client. Depending on the type of product, this might be more time-consuming as products may need to obtain approval/certification before being allowed to enter the Chinese market – a process that could take up even years!
- Cross-border e-commerce: selling goods via specialised Chinese e-commerce platforms, provided to the Chinese consumer directly from Europe, or through a bonded warehouse in China (more details in the “CBEC” section of FAQs).
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, many SMEs choose to adopt a gradual approach by first testing their products in the Chinese market via cross-border e-commerce, as it is “easier” and requires less investment. This method, however, has some limits and certainly lower margins: on the long run, general trade will be the best option.