How to Buy from China and Sell Online

Do you want to know how to buy from China and sell online on sites like Amazon, eBay, and Shopify? Here, I’ll be showing you everything you need to know about buying from China and selling online on sites like Amazon, eBay, Shopify, etc.

If you want to buy products from China, you’ll need to understand how buying from China works including the cost involved, the time frame for delivery, and much more.

It may be a confusing or overwhelming process for you in the beginning to source products from China as China is a huge country and different manufacturers make different items. Also, the language barrier can be a problem.

However, whether you are an expert entrepreneur, an amateur eCommerce enthusiast, or anything between, you can learn how to buy what you need and sell to make profits but you must have the right strategy and avoid common mistakes.

How to buy from China and sell Online

1. Learn the Chinese Culture

A number of trends have emerged that affect how people do business in China. For instance, rapid market changes, strong economic expansion of rural areas in China, and government reforms have transformed China from a country of low-cost manufacturing to an attractive destination to carry out business transactions.

Despite the increasing influence, unfortunately, you may still encounter some challenges when buying from China like the language, business etiquette, cultural barriers, competition, etc, can hamper your wholesale business to succeed in the Chinese marketplace.

It is essential you understand the Chinese culture and you can do this by using the concept of “face”. – meaning a blend of understanding culture, public perception, social roles, and self-esteem. For instance, you can give “Face” by attending meetings on time, gracefully accepting invitations, giving expensive gifts from time to time, and being sensitive to Chinese culture.

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2. Decide your business Niche (Know what items to buy)

how to buy from china and sell online

It is important you know your niche in order to choose the right product when buying from China. First, make sure to select a product that you know very well, then go with the profit.

It is also important you choose a niche with less competition. If you want to be successful when importing from China, then you need to start with a relatively small niche.

The best niches to operate in are those where top retailers do not operate in. To identify a good niche, you can visit a magazine stand at your local grocery store and if the niche you are interested in has a magazine devoted to it, then there is a hungry market for it and it is a profitable niche to delve into.

3. Identify your import rights

Importing products that will hurt someone is something you need to avoid by all means. Product liability can ruin your business and as a business owner or individual, make sure you identify and know your rights to import before importing commercial goods into your country.

Don’t import counterfeit products especially products with the label “Made-in-China”. For example, if it’s a product with brand names like Gucci, Samsung, Apple, Rolex, etc, then you need to know that such products are fake. If you also see signs beside a product, know that such a product trademarked and therefore counterfeit.  

4. Know the right channels to buy from China

It is important you know the right channels to buy products in China. The four main channels to buy from China are:

  • B2B online marketplace (e.g. Alibaba, Global Sources, etc)
  • Online wholesale directories (e.g., Global Sources, 1688)
  • Trade show/sourcing Exhibition (e.g. Cannon Fair, Global Sources trade show)
  • Sourcing company/Buying agent (e.g. Sourcelink, Taobao Age)

Below is a list of some of the top best places to buy wholesale products in China.

i. Alibaba/AliExpress

how to buy from china and sell online

Alibaba and AliExpress are owned by the same company and bring together a large number of suppliers and because of this, it has been able to offer the best prices and various products.

Alibaba and AliExpress have a good security policy for buyers where buyers only pay for the product when it has been delivered.

Though they are owned by the same company, each has a different purpose, operates differently, and is designed for a different audience.

Alibaba operates on a B2B model while AliExpress operates on a B2C model.

Why choose Alibaba/AliExpress?

Payment protection: All payments made during the ordering process up to 30 days after you receive the goods will be covered by Trade Assurance

Product-quality protection: If the product(s) you order do not match the details outlined in your contract with the supplier, your order will be covered.

Shipping protection: Your order will be shipped on time according to the details of your contract with the supplier and if it is delayed, you can get a refund.

Protection period: Your product(s) you order will be protected up to 30 days after you receive them.

ii. Chinabrands  

how to buy from china and sell online

Chinabrans is one of the leading global dropshipping wholesalers based in Guangdong, China. Chinabrands have a global reach servicing customers in over 200 countries.  

They offer a wide range of products like clothing, bags, jewelry & accessories, 3C products, and much more.

Why choose Chinabrands?

Free registration: Chinabrands let you register from the invitation link they provide for free in other for you to get one-year VIP membership for $39.9.

One-click export: Chinabrands have professional tools like the one-click export. When your order appears in your shop, Chinabrands will sync it and you need do is to order.  

Fast delivery: All the product(s) you order will be shipped out in 24 hours directly from Chinese warehouses.

Quality check: This company is located in Guangdong, China and they source cheap and quality cosmetics wholesale products.


how to buy from china and sell online was founded in 1998 and it is the first B2B eCommerce platform in China that conducts a full review on paid-up suppliers. They also provide product information of 27 categories and 3,600 sub-categories.

Why choose

Search products and suppliers: provides professional tools for buyers to search in the product directory, discover suppliers quickly, and have a post sourcing request.

Sourcing solutions: This website lets you source from industry hubs, customize your products, distribute and preview the overall Expo news.

Service: have the product alert to notify the product’s change through email, including stock and price in other to satisfy customers’ various demand.

iv. LightinTheBox 

how to buy from china and sell online

This is a global online retail company that delivers products directly to consumers around the globe. It has a large collection of products like apparel, cosmetics, and gadgets.

Why choose Lightinthebox?

Price advantage: Lightinthebox will provide some big discount in the special time, like double 11, (November 11th) lots of products are sold at 50-80% discount.

Order testing: All of their products go through an exhaustive Q.C. procedure like quality control team’s inspection, highly-trained inspection team’s evaluations, and order check.

V. Banggood  

how to buy from China and sell online

Banggood was founded in 2006 and it was first specialized in computer software research and development.

Banggood shifted its business to international eCommerce services and today, has become an online retailer selling almost everything you can think of.

Why choose Banggood?

Product sourcing: They offer a huge range of 20+ categories with over 200,000 products

Free or low-cost shipping: Some of their shipping channels are free, some are low cost but the free shipping method may have no tracking record.

No minimum order quantity: Here, the more you buy, the cheaper price you get and you don’t have minimum order quantity.

vi. Global Sources  

how to buy from china and sell online

Global Sources is the leading business-to-business (B2B) wholesale marketplace in China that connects buyers from all over the world with verified suppliers from China and Asia.

It is the one-stop online business-to-business marketplace that serves customers on both the sourcing and buying ends of the business with a platform to connect and drive profitable trade.

You can get pretty much anything here from electronics & gadgets, fashion apparel & fabrics, to Auto parts & accessories, and much more.

5. Negotiate with your suppliers/distributors

how to buy from china and sell online

Before visiting your suppliers/distributors make sure you have everything written down in Chinese or type in English and show them the message you write or send by email.

This will help in the communication between you both and will also show that you are a professional.

6. Ship your products to online shopping sites Amazon, Shopify, eBay sorting center

Sellers on the eCommerce marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, etc, have different fulfillment options to choose from.

For example, if you want to sell on Amazon, you can choose whether you want to handle fulfillment or let Amazon sort, package, and ship your products via their own fulfillment centers.  

Big risks to avoid when buying products from China

  • Do not buy in bulk from a factory until you have their samples in your hands and love them
  • Do not let any supplier convince you they can’t ship small sample orders.
  • Don’t pay with any other methods apart from Trade Assurance or PayPal for the first 3 months with your supplier. This eliminates a lot of risks.
  • Do not buy from a company that won’t accept Trade Assurance or Paypal.
  • Do not buy counterfeit products. Though you will make money from it, it is still illegal and a bad business to build.
  • Do not give suppliers your personal email. Always use your business email.
  • Do not buy a lot of inventory for a start. Start by buying small let’s say 5-10 units and when you make your profits, you can buy more.


There you have it, the tips on how to buy from China and sell online. Just keep in mind that to buy from china and sell, you’ll need to learn the Chinese culture, know the right items to buy, know the right places to buy from, negotiate with suppliers and distributors, and know the right products to import.  

I hope this post was helpful. if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section.

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