How to Import Your Foreign Product into China: A Visual Guide

Starting your business of foreign products in China can be a hassle. From exporting, licensing, passing customs, to selling… The tasks are never-ending!

ASI Solutions has been providing its expertise on importing into China for more than 10 years now. We handle everything from origin to your final customer’s doorstep. Our aim? Make managing your operations easier, for you to concentrate on what matters!

Why Is It Worth Taking the Leap?

A Quick Overview

What Are the Steps?

A Quick Overview

Before Exporting to China

Make sure your product can be imported. The products are divided into 3 categories: prohibited, restricted and permitted goods. Apart from products whom prohibition is obvious (explosives, arms, foods, medicines and other articles coming from disease-stricken areas) some items considered more common are also submitted to restrictions. For example raw materials for plastic, polyester, raw materials for chemical fibers, cotton, etc. They require quota and licenses.
As such, it is essential to check if your product can be imported and under which conditions in accordance with the Chinese legislation.

It is mandatory to check if your product complies with the GB (国标, Guóbiāo) standards. These standards serve as basis for testing the products and, depending on their prefix code (GB, GB/T, GB/Z), they are identified as mandatory or voluntary. While 85% are optional, we still encourage you to follow them anyway as it can enhance the brand of your product. Even though deriving from the ISO norms, the rules are stricter when it comes to products such as edible ones, cosmetics, or when they have an impact on the safety.
Complying with the GB standards means going through testing (in a certified laboratory in China), and using a compliant labelling. For more information on this topic, check here!



Breaking Down the Export Process

with ASI Solutions

What Can We Do for You?

  • Regulation advice: we are experts in Chinese, and also Vietnamese, regulations. We are able to advise you in order to tailor your export strategy.
  • Resources and information: we provide you with the resources and information you need thanks to our tools and experts as to guarantee you a successful implantation.
  • Logistics: working with us means you have access to all our infrastructures and services in order to guarantee a qualitative door-to-door service using our licenses (import/export) in China, for B2C and B2B.
  • Distribution: ASI Solutions is also a distributor specialized in Fashion, Cosmetics, and F&B for the wholesale and Horeca sectors. As such, we often offer different collaboration methods for the distribution. We provide Supply Chain & Financing services to help you open new sales channels and assist you on your long-term development in China. We finally can directly purchase your products..
  • E-Commerce: E-Commerce being booming in China, many companies use online selling as their preferred choice. We offer our clients the opportunity to work with our E-Commerce partners, which are among the most recognized in their field.
  • Communication: take advantage of a network of experienced partners to administrate the social networks of your company in China.
  • Administrative: we are strong of a solid regulatory expertise, we accompany you for your administrative needs.
  • Finance: we help you manage your financial operation in China.

Work with an experienced facilitator to make launching your business in China a success!

ASI Solutions at SIAL Shanghai 2019

ASI Solutions’ team attended the 20th edition of SIAL Shanghai to introduce its global supply chain solutions for Food and Beverage products to existing and potential partners. .

From May 16th until May 19th 2019, Asia’s biggest trade show gathered 4,300 exhibitors, taking place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre and covering the 17 Halls of the exhibition center. It attracted 117,595 professionals to see products from all around the world. SIAL Shanghai represents a unique benchmark of Food and Beverages in Asia . French, Italian, Russian products… Every country is represented under its national booth and shows its willingness to expand overseas.Among others, wine, meat, dairy and refined products were presented, as well as services such as retail and hospitality actors.

Many business meeting and insightful discussions have been shared with our partners. We were happy to meet you, especially for those who are not used to come to China and have been discovering this country and its market on this occasion. Thanks to SIAL, interesting new projects with strong potential were launched.

Selling your F&B products in China might be challenging, especially when one is unfamiliar with the process. With its 10-year experience in China, ASI Solutions is your ideal partner for expanding and managing your international operations. We cover every step, from origin to your final customer’s doorstep.


Discover our full range of solutions!

Before Exporting to China: a Two-Step Guide

Before even exporting to China, deal with the logistics part, design and implement your marketing & communication strategy, a company has to go through few but essential steps. Sometimes overlooked when exporting,  they however are detrimental to prepare thoroughly before even exporting.

As companies best partners for their internationalization process to China, ASI Solutions has put together a comprehensive summary on what one needs to know before going abroad. Being aware of these key steps is key to ensure a smooth export process.

Step 1: Make Sure Your Product Can Be Imported

China classifies products in 3 categories when it comes to them being imported within its borders: prohibited, restricted and permitted goods.

Apart from products whom prohibition is obvious (explosives, arms, articles coming from disease-stricken areas, etc.) some items considered as more common are also restricted.

Raw materials for plastic, polyester, raw materials for chemical fibers, cotton, and some steel products fall into this category. As restricted products, they require quotas and licenses.

As such, one has to check if the products to be imported are eligible according to Chinese legislation.

Step 2: Conform to Chinese GB Standards

It is then necessary to make sure that your product is in compliance with the GB standards (国标, Guóbiāo). These National Standards have been developed for technical requirements and serve as basis for testing products. Depending on their prefix code (GB, GB/T, GB/Z) they are identified as mandatory or voluntary. 85% of the standards are voluntary, however you are encouraged to follow them anyway as it can enhance the brand of your product.
Most of the GB Standards are derived from the ISO norms, however rules are stricter when it comes to products such as edible ones, cosmetics or have an impact on the safety.

What does this compliance with GB standards imply?



The process for ensuring that they meet the requirements often include testing (the testing applicable depending on the category the product itself falls into). Your product should then be sent to a certified laboratory located in China.



Specific labelling requirements apply when it comes to importing a product into China and again, the latter depend on the category your product falls into.

  • For a food product to be imported, the label must be affixed on the original packaging. This label should be in Chinese and include information such as the production date, the expiry date, the country of origin and the nutritional value.

  • For a textile product, a Chinese version of the label sewed on the product should be added, with the washing instructions; as well as a Chinese version of the selling label with indicating the size and price.

How to Make Exporting to China Easy

Making sure that your product can be exported to China can be complex for companies which are not familiar with the process. Before even knowing if it will meet demand, you will need to invest not only money but also time and energy.

As such, having a local partner helping you navigating in the set of regulations and requirements is often the best solution. As companies' best partner for handling the export process, ASI Solutions provides you the support and expertise you need. Apart from logistics, we help ensure compliance and you manage the testing and labelling of your product. We also provide you with key insights and advices on the challenges you might face.

From origin to your final consumer's doorstep, we handle it all (including local warehousing and delivery). In the era of e-commerce, while the latter is booming in China, it is essential to be responsive, and efficient when internationalizing your operations.

Our aim is to facilitate your expansion for you to take full advantage of the opportunities Chinese market represents.

Discover our full range of solutions!

Chinese Mobile Economy: The Place to Be

Before entering the Chinese market, it is essential to gain some insight on the trends that are currently shaping the country’s economy, namely Mobile economy. 

If e-commerce is weighting more and more in most of developed and developing countries’ economies, nothing compares to China.


Apart from being the country where E-Commerce represents the major contributor of total retail sales, China’s case is also peculiar in the device its netizens use: their phone.


ASI Solutions thus aims in this article at offering you an overview of China’s Mobile E-Commerce. The latter not only being a huge contributor to the economy, but also shaping the way Chinese consumers buy and behave. We are strong of a 10-year experience at accompanying foreign companies in their internationalization process, more specifically in China where our head office is located.

If a company is aiming at entering Chinese market successfully, it is essential to understand the peculiarities of consumption on-site and the trends that will be shaping it in the future.

Understanding the Scope of Mobile Economy in China

In general, Chinese e-commerce is huge. Last November, on Chinese Singles’ Day or 11.11 (the country’s biggest online sales event), Taobao and Tmall generated more than USD 30.4 billion of sales, which is more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

According to QuestMobile’s report, China’s mobile economy grew by over 20% during the first half of 2018, and in 2017 general mobile internet usage exceeded desktop internet usage. Mobile payment is also much more popular in China than in the West. Smartphones has become an essential tool in China, from chatting with your friends, to ordering food, buying goods, renting a bike, or calling a cab. The interconnectedness of all services available makes it even easier for Chinese consumers to navigate and share their latest fancy without having to leave their phone, or even switch App. The degree to which Chinese people have integrated the use of smartphone in their daily life has been fostered by several elements inherent to their "psyche" as well as by exogenous elements. 

As such, taking advantage of this evolution of Chinese people consuming behavior represents a great opportunity for foreign brands eager to expand their scope of distribution.

The case of Taobao villages: a proof of the importance e-commerce is having in the country

Taobao (Alibaba’s C2C - and less importantly B2C - e-commerce platform) created the label « Taobao villages » which applies to villages in which over 10% of households run online stores and whose e-commerce revenues exceed 10 million RMB per year. More than 1,000 Taobao villages exist in China.

Why Is Mobile E-Commerce Taking Over China?

Chinese government is nourishing this trend, especially considering the « Internet Plus » strategy it initiated. This plan aims at boosting Chinese economy by « diminishing its reliance on manufacturing and export in favor of a knowledge-based economy driven by services and the tech sector » (Kalin Hristov « Internet plus policy: A study on how China can achieve economic growth through the internet of things », Emerald Insight, 11 March 2017), in accordance with Made in China 2020.

Apart from the government advocating and actually acting in favor e-commerce, characteristics specific to Chinese population explain the importance mobile economy:

  • While there is a general preference for e-commerce among Chinese people, general public is more open to integrate mobile usage into one’s daily life as it more practical for one to do so. This is particularly true in China where it actually improves people’s lifestyle by reducing the gap between the buyers and vendors. Actually, mobile payment is more popular in China’s underdeveloped regions, where the lack of commercial infrastructures offers a fertile ground for e-commerce. For people living in these regions, mobile economy is an opportunity to access products that were not that easily available before.
  • China has the technology to foster mobile consumption, and innovation is booming. It is then interesting to note that competition is then very vivid.
  • The large population fosters network effect: when an App or a given consuming behavior becomes popular, it spreads rapidly.
  • Chinese netizens are globally younger than in the West (average being below 30 years old). This population is more prone to use mobile economy.
  • E-consumption is also driven by Chinese people’s taste for entertainment. As we will explore in more depth later on, live stream is one of the best example of this tendency.


How to Sell: Mobile Entertainment

Producing entertainment content is now key for brands and platforms that want to make it China. This is particularly true for mobile e-commerce, many companies even producing dedicated content to attract and interact with consumers. Online literature, video streaming, TV programs (such as Alibaba’s 24h live stream for 11.11 event) and games are examples of the content they create. Short videos are especially popular. For this reason, successful firms are getting closer and closer to also being media companies.


The Good Offer Should be Based on Innovation

As stated before, China has now become a pool for innovation, this tendency has been fueled by government’s incentives as part of Made In China 2020 program. The competition is now fierce, and your offer should be customer focused, predict people’s needs accurately while providing cheaper goods and/or services (cutting the middleman now being a huge tendency).


Selective App Usage: Making Sure to Launch an App that Will Stay on Your Customers’ Phone

The QuestMobile’s report we mentioned earlier also shows that people tend to reduce the number of Apps installed on their phone (down to 35 on average). If you are planning on launching yours, focusing on concepts should not be central anymore. User experience should be emphasized i.e. making sure the design works well for the user and improving the performance of the App itself.

Entering Chinese e-commerce field can represent a great growth opportunity for a well-prepared company, especially if the latter is focusing on mobile e-commerce.

Taking advantage of the booming of China’s mobile e-commerce as a foreign brands means understanding Chinese consumption’s specificities. As mentioned, entertainment content is now essential for brands eager to build brand-awareness and engage effectively with potential customers and those who already purchased your product/service as to build a loyal customer-base. On the other hand, marketing and communication are only part of the strategy and one should pay attention to not take Chinese market for granted. Innovating and being attentive to customers’ experience is key.

At ASI Solutions, we help you exporting your brand and product in simplicity. From origin to destination, we take care of every step on your behalf as to make your internationalization a success.

Learn More About our Solutions Dedicated to E-Commerce