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How can I export to China?

Basically, there are three ways to export goods or services to China:

  • Direct exporting: direct exportation of goods/services from the producer in one country to the final consumer in China.
  • Indirect exporting: selling of goods/services through an intermediary involved in the producer’s sector and market, who in turn sells to final consumers in China. Such intermediaries are agents, distributors, and franchisees.
  • Cross-border e-commerce: selling goods/services online, provided to the Chinese consumer directly from Europe, or through a bonded warehouse in China (more details in the “CBEC” section of FAQs).

While each model of market entry has strengths and weaknesses, most companies develop a gradual approach based on the time and resources available to them and the market responses they receive along the way. Considerations regarding the model of entry most suitable for an individual company’s business plan include: (i) size of the enterprise; (ii) nature of its products; (iii) previous export experience and expertise; (iv) business conditions and regulations in China (both exporting and investment requirements); (v) need for on-the-ground representation (such as marketing and after-sales services); (vi) need for control of the product and IP rights protection; (vii) time and resources available to the company.

It comes without saying that each model requires exporters to comply with different regulations, and that no matter the model chosen, EU SMEs should always ensure that all their IP rights are properly registered in China before exporting.