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How to Import Shipping Furniture Guide from China

If you are interested in an import project from China, this article is for you.

China controls one-third of the global furniture market’s production, with a furniture export value of nearly $96.4 billion in 2019, and has gained fame in the furniture industry since 2004. Before that, Italy was the main center of the furniture industry in the world.

But because of labor and raw materials, and the development of industry, China has become a leader in this field to this day.

Choosing China to import furniture is a great idea, as you will get any type of furniture you want at very attractive prices.

But be careful! You need to get all the necessary information about this project before starting, in order not to be exposed to problems and pitfalls, and you will find all the necessary information to launch in this article, so follow us …


How well is furniture manufacturing in China?

Undoubtedly, China has become today a factory for the world, and the main manufacturing point on the face of the globe, but what about the furniture industry?

In fact, there is no competitor to China, capable of making home furniture at low prices, and the quality is commensurate with the price it offers.

In other words, you will have to incur higher costs if you search for the same quality in another country, due to several reasons:

  • Exact specialization of factories: You will find factories specialized in the manufacture of furniture leather, factories specialized in the manufacture of furniture bases, factories specialized in the manufacture of furniture structures, and others specialized in chrome and wood plating, and so on…

This allows the production of many options to suit all tastes.

  • Technical development in China: Technologies in China are still developing to this day, you will find in Chinese factories very advanced mechanisms and production lines in the furniture industry and develop every day to keep pace with the needs of the market.

Moreover, China has a large furniture market, and it always has something new.

For example, China has recently been using high-quality wood, and is moving away from using nails and glue to bind pieces. The technique in manufacturing keeps the furniture for a longer period, and gives a beautiful luster to the furniture due to the lack of visible joints, and the feeling that the piece appears as a single unit.

In short, you can go to the factory and give it your order, and you will get any type and quality of furniture you want at excellent prices.

Common types of furniture

Indoor furniture

  • Sofas and couches
  • Bedroom Furniture
  • hotel furniture
  • restaurant furniture
  • Living Room Furniture
  • Mattress
  • Wood furniture
  • metal furniture
  • children’s furniture
  • upholstered furniture
  • plastic furniture
  • wicker furniture
  • office furniture

Outdoor furniture

  • garden furniture
  • outdoor metal furniture
  • rattan furniture
  • gazebo furniture

What you need to know about importing furniture from China?

Furniture products in China are mostly priced based on quantities, the larger the order, the better price you get, so when you want to get a large amount of furniture in order to sell it in your local market, then importing furniture from China will be very convenient.

But if you own a small shop and want to import a small amount of furniture, you must be careful, and study the economic feasibility of the project carefully. The prices of furniture in the local market should be compared with the prices you will receive with increased transportation costs, customs and commissions. Importing furniture from China may not be profitable for you in this case.

Which regions and cities specialize in furniture?

In order to have easy access to suppliers and factories when importing furniture from China, you first have to get to know the cities specialized in the furniture industry, so we supply you all the areas that specialize in the furniture industry in China.

These areas include:

  • Pearl River Area_Guangdong Province (South China)

The cities include: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Shenda, and Foshan.

It is the largest furniture industry area in China; Foshan alone has 10 kilometers of furniture markets and is known as the Furniture City.

In this region you will find home furniture industries related to sofas, as well as general furniture in Foshan City.

Import Furniture From China, The 8 Most Important Furniture Markets In Lecong City

  • Yangtze River Region (Central Chinese Coast)

Include Shanghai City, Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province

It is an important area for importing furniture from China, by virtue of its presence on the coast near ports, and the region specializes in the manufacture of kitchen furniture, a wide range of wooden furniture, and metal furniture.

  • Bohai Sea Area (Northern Coastal Zone)

This area includes the cities of: Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong.

It is an area abundant with local resources, with a strong infrastructure for furniture makers, as well as the considerable experience of manufacturers.

Types of furniture: glass and metal furniture, such as dining tables, dining chairs, and upholstered furniture (leather – fabric).

  • Western Triangle Region (Central China)

The cities of Fujian, Anhui, Shandong, and Henan include.

You find furniture in this area at average prices, and acceptable quality, and the area is famous for the manufacture of garden furniture and textile furniture.

Is it better to purchase furniture from factories or import it from commercial companies?

Many importers make the mistake of choosing the source of purchase, when importing furniture from China, so we will explain to you the cases of dealing with both factories and trading companies.

Demand from factories:

  • If you have a special idea about a specific design of furniture, and you want to implement this idea concretely, you must order what you need directly from the factory, in order to make what you want.
  • If you have a large order, it is also better to order from the factories directly, because the factory will sell you the parts at low prices, without commissions.

You should be prepared to expect a high (MOQ) contract when ordering from factories.

Demand Commercial Companies:

  • If you want ready-made products of furniture in a small quantity (one container or less), we recommend ordering from commercial companies, because factories will not receive small quantities, or you may get them at higher prices than commercial companies.

How to find Chinese furniture manufacturers online

In fact, the problem of buying furniture online through B2B sales sites such as ALIBABA and others lies in the large cost of furniture, as you must inspect the pieces of furniture yourself, while it is difficult to obtain a sample of furniture.

Certainly, you do not want to get furniture other than the quality you want, or to be defrauded, so we advise you when importing furniture in large quantities, to travel to China yourself and complete the deal.

In case you want to buy furniture from China Online, you should follow the following:

  • Dealing with reliable suppliers, and researching their business background (number of customers – activity level – response speed – company name)
  • Dealing with a quality inspection company with a good reputation in the market (e.g. a valuable company).
  • Provide them with a product specification sheet, and give them all the details.
  • Check the furniture before shipping, and get a detailed report from the inspection company about the quality of the furniture.
  • Do not transfer the rest of the funds, except after obtaining a copy of the bill of lading from the supplier, verifying it and then closing the container.

Useful sites when buying furniture from China online

1. Alibaba Website

If you want to buy furniture from China online wholesale, your first destination is the famous Alibaba website; Alibaba benefits you, whether you will buy from it directly or use it to reach products and suppliers and then travel to China and complete the deal yourself.

2. Made in China

Made in China is one of the major locations in China, you can buy from the site or use it to access products and suppliers.

Learn about: 

What Documents Are Needed To Import From China

How To Ensure The Quality Of Goods Imported From China

How to import furniture from China

Let’s now move on to how to import furniture safely, where we will learn about the most important practical steps that you need to follow accurately:

First: Determine the type of furniture you want accurately

It is the first step of importing furniture from China, as you must determine what you want accurately from furniture products, furniture factories specialize in China as we mentioned, if you want to import furniture for the kitchen, the best is to choose a factory specialized in kitchen furniture and so on, then you have to specify furniture specifications and install specifications and quality in the product specification sheet such as:

  • Type of furniture (kitchen furniture – bedroom furniture – office furniture)
  • Basic materials (wood – metal).
  • Type of metal or wood and its quality (beech wood – chrome metal).
  • Coating the basic components.
  • Interior specifications (fixing pieces – boxes inside furniture)
  • Design.
  • Dimensions.
  • Upholstery specifications and quality (fabric – leather).
  • Color.
  • Packaging.
  • Other properties you want.

Second: Learn about furniture fairs and markets in China

China is full of markets and exhibitions specialized in all types of furniture, and getting to know them helps you:

  • Easy access to suppliers and communication with them.
  • Save the trouble of searching for sources.
  • Obtaining high quality due to the exact specialization you will find (bedroom furniture factory – office furniture factory etc…).
  • Save costs in moving between cities.
  • Exhibitions also help to take an overview and comprehensive of what kind of furniture you want.

Canton International Fair

It is one of the most famous international exhibitions in the world, held more than 60 years ago and divided into several stages, where you will find different types of furniture in the second phase of the exhibition.

It is located in Guangzhou, China’s commercial front.

International Furniture Fair of China (Shanghai)

China International Furniture Expo is held in September in Shanghai, the largest furniture exhibition in China, held once a year

Visitors from about 155 different countries flock to the exhibition, and more than 3,500 companies and factories participate in the exhibition.

In 2019, the exhibition area was 1,160,000 square meters, the number of exhibitors was 6,300 and 448,000 people attended.

China International Furniture Fair (Guangzhou)

The show welcomes more than 170,000 visitors every year, with more than 3,900 sources including major brands participating in the exhibition.

The exhibition is held twice a year in March and October.

Shenzhen International Furniture Fair

It is a huge trade fair for furniture, directed towards innovation, fashion and continuous development of home furniture products and others, and the exhibition also offers engineering and architectural designs for furniture planning in line with the permanent development

Thus, the exhibition presents international furniture that attracts traders and companies from all countries to import furniture from China.

Hong Kong International Fair (HKTDC)

It is also a huge international exhibition in Hong Kong, taking place in the third week of April, with more than 2,200 brands showcasing their furniture products.

You may be able to visit Hong Kong without a visa, as it allows about 170 different nationalities to visit it.

Third: Prepare a list of furniture suppliers from whom you intend to import, and collect as many supply offers as you can

Now that you search for and find suppliers, you must register these suppliers in a list, after obtaining supply offers from them, in order to compare them and reduce their number from potential suppliers to important suppliers.

Certainly, you will find suppliers who cannot, for example, meet your requirements or have high prices, so you are not interested in buying from these suppliers, but you can benefit from them, by asking all the questions in your head, and gaining experience about the product you want, in order to negotiate with the suppliers you are interested in buying from them with high professionalism. And learn secrets and notes that you were not aware of before in terms of furniture manufacturing.

Fourth: Arrange a business visit to China

After learning about the furniture markets and the opening dates of the exhibitions, you can start preparing to visit China, to meet with suppliers and see closely the factories, their mechanism of work and their quality in manufacturing, and negotiate with them all the details.

It is imperative to be prepared to bear the costs of travel, accommodation and commuting.

Fifth: Choosing the best supplier when importing furniture from China

Now it’s time to filter potential suppliers, and choose the most suitable supplier for you.

Choosing the best supplier does not depend only on the price it offers; there are several criteria that you need to take into account when choosing the best supplier for you:

  • Quality is the most important criterion that must be considered, so it is necessary to choose a supplier who is able to provide the quality you want in furniture.
  • Terms of shipping: It is also necessary to consider the supplier who gives better shipping terms than others, for example, it is okay to choose a supplier who has a slightly high price but offers good shipping terms.
  • Good customer service: It is an important criterion when choosing the best supplier, you certainly will not want to deal with a supplier that takes too long to answer your queries, or does not provide you with sufficient information.
  • Payment terms: There are suppliers who set good terms for payment over others, so you should also look at this criterion and give priority to the supplier who offers better terms that suit your situation.

Shipping Furniture from China: Air and Sea Freight

When importing furniture from China, businesses have two main shipping options: air freight and sea freight. Both models have their unique advantages and disadvantages, which directly affect cost, delivery time and logistics planning. You can contact Chinese freight forwarding company Basenton Logistics to inquire about transportation-related information. Here is a direct comparison between the two:

Shipping Furniture from China: Air and Sea Freight

Advantages of air freight:
Speed: Air freight is significantly faster, making it ideal for time-sensitive deliveries.
Safe and secure: Shorter transit times and fewer loading and unloading points in air freight mean lower risk of damage or theft.
Predictability: Flight schedules are generally consistent, allowing for better inventory planning, especially for brands with fast inventory turnover.

Disadvantages of air freight:
Cost: Air freight tends to be much more expensive than sea freight, and charges are usually based on actual weight and dimensional weight, whichever is higher.
Cargo restrictions: Air freight has stricter restrictions on cargo size and weight, which may limit the amount of furniture you can transport at one time.
Environmental impact: Aircraft have a higher carbon footprint than ships, potentially impacting the sustainability goals of eco-conscious businesses.

Advantages of sea freight:
Cost-Effectiveness: Especially for high-volume shipments, sea freight can offer significant cost savings compared to air freight.
Bulk shipping: Shipping containers can accommodate large furniture orders and have the advantage of scale.
Environmental considerations: On a per ton per kilometer basis, ships are more energy efficient than aircraft, thus reducing their carbon footprint.

Disadvantages of sea freight:
Speed: Ocean shipping is much slower. Shipping times can vary from a few weeks to over a month, depending on the origin and destination ports.
Potential Delays: Various factors such as weather, port congestion, and customs clearance can cause shipping delays.
Increased handling volumes: A longer supply chain can mean more handling points, which creates more opportunities for damage or loss.

However, for smaller items such as chairs and stools, quantity requirements are much higher. Large furniture is not suitable for air transport, so sea and rail transport are the only options.

Typically, suppliers will ask you to order a volume that matches a 20-foot container, which equates to approximately 33 cubic meters. Since containers cannot be filled all the way to the roof, there is usually only 25 to 28 cubic meters of space to fill with cargo.

Shipping containers from China

Price of shipping furniture from China

Shipping costs from China to different countries are different. Below is a post about shipping costs from China to different countries. You can click to read or consult Chinese freight forwarding company Basenton Logistics

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