There are a few different ways to ship to China.

Shipping to China can often feel like trying to walking in the woods at night without any lights. Things change often and you can feel like you will get smacked in the face.

Hanmipost understands your pain and that’s why we have spent a very long time analyzing the potential hiccups and believe we have an excellent solution. To better understand what we have to offer, we would like to provide our findings on the different shipping methods for China.

What to look for…

When selecting your shipping method, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Speed

How fast is the shipping method?  Does it take days, weeks or even months?  Each service will have different shipping speed estimates.

Tracking Number

Do you get a tracking number?  Make sure that the service that you use has a FULL TRACKING number.  What that means is a tracking number that:

  • Can be viewed online
  • Tracks the package completely to the receiver’s door

 

If a group says you can call them for the shipping status or only gives tracking while in the US often means they are using some kind of shipping consolidator which can be problematic.

Customs Handling

Duties tax is a very tricky part of the process.  Some shippers say they will cover the tax.  Others have no idea how the customs duties work at all.  BEWARE.

China customs is extremely strict in their duties tax rules.  If a shipping say they cover the tax, then it is very likely that they are using the “gray market” to bring packages into China.  That means they “know a guy” that they pay under the table to gain entry into China.

Starting in 2016, China has begun to apprehend these people and have shut down those shipping lanes.  The packages that are caught are confiscated, never to be returned.  Recent news can be found about this situation and it is very widespread.

Insurance

Make sure you choose a service that offers insurance.  It seems like an obvious thing, but often groups will not or charge extra for insurance.

So what are my options?

Let’s highlight several options that you have for shipping to China:

USPS
UPS/FEDEX/DHL
Local Chinese Shippers
Hanmipost/SF Express

USPS

USPS tends to be the first and obvious choice to ship overseas.  The problem is that USPS only handles the shipment to the country of delivery but then they do not control the final delivery of the shipment.  They often hand off to the country’s postal service.  This can take a very long time as neither party wants to be responsible for the package at that point.  Tracking numbers often do not convert once the hand off is done and it can take weeks for your package to be delivered.  Packages get lost and no one takes responsibility.  The only pro is that USPS tends to be a bit cheaper than UPS/FEDEX/DHL, but it’s a risk…

PROS:

  • Pricing is cheaper than UPS/FEDEX/DHL
  • Sometimes due to volume they can get through customs without certain taxes

CONS:

  • Can take weeks to ship to China
  • Tracking usually only works in USA

UPS/FEDEX/DHL

The “Big 3” are another alternative for shipping overseas.  They can be pricey, but they are often faster.  Of the three DHL handles international shipments exclusively.  It is of our opinion that as the price of all three can be similar, we recommend DHL as they are the best in understanding customs rules.  DHL handles the entire shipping route which is important as there is no handoff troubles.  UPS and FEDEX are not as equipped worldwide (especially UPS) and therefore we recommend DHL for the best price / service ratio.

PROS:
  • Fast delivery
  • Excellent tracking
CONS:
  • Most expensive method
  • Dimensional weight calculation is L x W x H / 139
  • Often not familiar with customs rules
  • They follow all legal customs rules, therefore receiver may have to pay duty taxes.  It’s a con but it’s the legal way.

LOCAL CHINESE SHIPPERS

As shipping to China has become more popular, there are many local Chinese shippers that have sprout up in various Asian communities.  Here in Duluth, Ga, it’s similar, with at least 3 shippers focusing on shipping to China.  But this is where a closer inspection is really needed.  As mentioned above, Local Chinese shippers often use what we like to call “I know a guy” network to China.  What this means is they take packages and will bunch them up together and ship them to China.  Then there is a person that has some ties with China customs and will essentially find ways to pass customs.  This often requires some kind of bribe or other tricky methods.

If a shipper says “There’s no tax for your package” or “We cover the tax” for China shipments, be careful.  They are likely using one of these methods.  The prices can be enticing but here is the rub: many of these companies open up and quickly close once they have a large shipment seized in China.  China customs is aggressively knocking out these groups, and if they lose your package, they will not be much help at all.  Additionally they often have no tracking information as often they do not even know where your package is at any given time.  Shipments can take several weeks to get delivered.

One last thought about these shippers, they will sometimes use the logo of a large shipping company in China, making it look like they are part of those groups.  While it is true that some of these companies might use that shipping company for the final delivery portion, they are often doing their own consolidation of packages and air cargo, which means, they are not officially authorized by those shipping companies.  When in doubt, ask them about this.

PROS:
  • Cheap
  • They cover the taxes
CONS:
  • Can take weeks to ship to China
  • Bypass legal customs / potential for confiscated packages
  • Can only ship small items and low priced items (due to tax avoidance)
  • Often not the real shipping companies

And then there was one…

HANMIPOST/SF EXPRESS

By using Hanmipost/SF Express, you can enjoy the best in class shipping along with very affordable pricing.  SF Express is one of the largest shipping companies in China and are very well respected.  Hanmipost works directly with SF Express to ship packages to China.  SF Express will use their own logistics to send via air cargo packages to China.

SF Express handles the full route from air cargo of your package to final door delivery.

This is a very important point.  There are other companies that may say they use SF Express, but beware, they may be using SF Express for the final mile delivery.  That means that air cargo and customs clearance is not handled by the professionals at SF Express.

SF Express will handle all customs clearance and deliver the packages to the door.  Throughout the entire process, packages can be tracked via the SF Express website which delivers real-time tracking.

Because of their strong relationship with Chinese customs, they abide by all legal rules to ensure your packages are not going through a gray area method of entering China.  Please note, this also means that there could be tax issues in China.  This is not the decision of SF Express or Hanmipost, but of the Chinese customs group.  It is inevitable, but it is the correct and safe way to get things to China.

With SF Express, you will get excellent speed with most packages delivered between 7 to 10 days.  Those dates are conservative; we have had packages delivered in 5 days.

PROS:
  • Great pricing (Often the cheapest)
  • Fast (7~10 Days Delivery)
  • SF Express uses dimensional weights of 166 vs what other companies use (139)
  • Real time tracking on the SF Express website
  • Free delivery on weekends and public holidays (Except Chinese New Year)
  • Extremely reliable and reputable company.  Ask anyone in China.  They will know SF Express.
CONS:
  • They follow all legal customs rules, therefore receiver may have to pay duty taxes.  It’s a con but it’s the legal way.

CONCLUSION

Hanmipost has spent a long time researching and working hard to find the best possible solution for shipping to China.  With our partnership with SF Express, we believe we have a very strong answer that will not only save our customers money, but will be assured that the safest methods are being used.