The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immense impact on the Chinese market for consumer goods, changing consumers’ shopping behaviour and preferences. The market continues to grow – albeit at slower rates – aligned with increased demand and requirements for product quality and safety.
European Brands on the Chinese Market for Consumer Goods
European brands of consumer goods are well recognised by Chinese consumers and are in high-demand in the Chinese market; many European manufacturers have already moved their production to China. For newcomers, the Chinese market of consumer goods might look too complex and overwhelming, considering the numerous – and often overlapping – product safety standards and conformity assessment requirements that must be met to enter the market. This may discourage EU SMEs to explore the opportunities offered by many consumer market segments. This report aims to address this issue.
How to Enter the Market
The first section provides a general overview of the market for consumer goods in China. We focus primarily on the definitions of consumer goods, the structure of the market, and the available market entry channels. Consumer goods imported in China via Cross-Border E-Commerce are often exempted from many requirements, particularly in terms of labelling or mandatory certification, therefore the focus of this report will be on products imported via general trade.
The second section focuses on the core elements of China’s product safety system. This includes its legal framework, the competent authorities involved, and the country’s complex system of mandatory and voluntary standards and certification schemes. We cover compliance requirements and inspection by relevant Chinese actors before products enter the Chinese market. Significant differences exist with the EU framework, and compliance with the EU framework does not automatically correspond to compliance in China.
The third and fourth sections provide detailed examples of China’s certification schemes. This includes the most common horizontal schemes, that apply to certain features or products across various industries: for instance, CCC, the China Energy Efficiency Label, and China RoHS II. We also go into the vertical schemes applying to specific product categories or subcategories only, for instance telecommunication equipment and cosmetics.
A specific case study for textile and apparel products concludes this report. It provides an example of how different typologies of products must comply with a complex system of standards involving various aspects, such as health, safety and labelling requirements. The aim is to guide EU manufacturers to understand and navigate through the different layers of compliance requirements before they can sell in China.
China’s standards and certification requirements are complicated and time-consuming. That being said, they are perfectly manageable with solid planning, resources and support from partners on the ground. The EU SME Centre is ready to help with free-of-charge consultations for EU SMEs – please reach out to us through the Ask-the-Expert function or by sending our team an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Sector overview
1.1. General aspects to consider
1.2. Market overview
1.3. Market entry channels
2. Product safety and conformity assessment: core elements
2.1. Regulatory framework
2.2. Competent authorities
2.3. Standards and specifications
2.4. Certification, marks and licensing systems
2.5. Inspections, surveillance and recall of products
3. Horizontal certification schemes: examples
3.1. China Compulsory Certificate – CCC
3.2. China Energy Efficiency Label – CEL
3.3. Hazardous Substances in Electric Products – China RoHS II
4. Vertical certification schemes: examples
4.1. Telecommunication equipment – Radio Type Approval (SRRC)
4.2. Cosmetics – Notification/Registration Certificate
Case study: Textile and apparel products