How to import wholesale goods from China


At Cargocost, we highly recommend you to follow our the 12 steps guide for importing wholesale goods from China into the UK

If you have any queries get in touch with us and we will be happy to assist you. Drop us an email at or call us on +44 (0)20 8988 8084 


Step 1

Decide what you want to buy.


Step 2

Research Chinese companies and their products, using web directories such as:

Please note: These web directories contain different types of businesses. Ideally you want to contact the company that produces the product. These are normally labeled as “Manufacturer” or “Factory”.


Step 3

Research further into individual companies and their product samples. Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask about similar products they may do, Ask for more information about the product and Ask for a complete product specification.

Please note: Never judge a book by its cover, also applies to Chinese websites, as even the biggest companies may well have the most basic website.


Step 4

Consider that you are buying from a factory so will need to order in bulk. It is important you present yourself as a professional, someone who knows how to buy things and is likely to buy a lot of things.


Step 5

You will need a few essentials to buy in the Far East. These include:

  • A shipping account. Registration with Cargocost is free and freight rates are low.
  • A bank account with money to fund this venture
  • Although optional, a webpage is likely to increase your response rate. A simple website can be created using a blogging site.


Step 6

When you have decided on a company, locate their contact details. The majority of Chinese companies will have an email address, a phone number and a MSN or AIM chat address. The best way to approach a company initially is via email. Below are two examples:

Please note: Wholesale companies are likely to receive a lot of emails and you will need to contact a lot of companies to compare prices, so keep your message short and to the point. 

email template for buying in the far east                         email template for buying from china

Please note: The representatives you will be dealing with, although educated, will only know enough English to get them by. Therefore it is important to use short sentences, easy words, one main concept per sentence.

Don’t forget you want to maintain a professional appearance. It is likely the wholesaler will check out your website, so ensure this is running and contains some content.


Step 7

Although response rates may vary, it is likely that certain wholesalers will not reply. This could be because of a number of reasons and as a result you may have to adjust your approach. One of the reasons may be the method of contact. Some companies only respond to “in-system” emails, e.g. direct replies to business directory listings. Others choose to respond to emails addressed to them, some may only be reachable by AIM.

Please note: The majority of companies will check out your website and email domain name. They prefer to have this match, as this is a sign of a larger business and maintains that professional appearance.


Step 8

Once you've compared suppliers and have chosen a wholesaler, don’t forget it is always best to request a sample first, in case the product you receive is different to that shown in the photo. Below is an example email:

email template UK import from China 

In response to your email you will either receive a sample of the item you requested and a delivery charge to your FedEx account. Or, an email response outlining a sample fee.


Step 9

When requesting samples, it is important to note that inexpensive products are likely to be sent to you in appropriate batches. However, when it comes to expensive products (anything above £15) you will have to pay for at least one sample unit to be sent, which will often have a surcharge of 10% due to it being classed as a low volume order. All in all, the expensive product sample will be cheaper than buying the product outright.


Step 10

If you are paying for a sample unit to be sent, then it is important to ask the following questions:

  • How long after you make a payment will they ship your sample?

  • What is the minimum I can order? 

Please note: If you want to order less that you’ll most likely be subject to a small surcharge.

  • Can I have a specification sheet? 

Please note: It is best to enquire about this prior to placing an order, so you are fully aware of the product.

  • Can you send a photo? 

Please note: This is best when enquiring about a small detail, such as - "How does the power cord connect to your waterproof electrical box? Can you send a photo?"


Step 11

Before paying ensure they send you a Proforma Invoice (PI) which should include; the shipping address, the product and other fees, if any, the factory’s bank information, the shipping schedule, among other details.

Please note: For lower freight rates, it is best to ask for the factory to include shipping fees in their price. When examining the invoice, the term “FOB” means that shipping has not been included in the total price, whereas, the term “CIF” means shipping as well as insurance have been included in the overall price.

When you have checked all the details are correct on the invoice, then you may send the money, via a wire transfer.


Step 12

If the factory is unable to ship your product, it is best to contact a freight forwarder, such as Cargocost and avoid the hassle of endless paperwork and running around.


import wholesale goods from China

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