How to Import Furniture from China – The Ultimate Guide

 

import

With over 28 years of experience in China furniture market, the two questions importers ask me frequently are:

Is it worth buying furniture from China for B2B?

Or, how do you import furniture from China?

The first part – definitely yes.

For the second part, I am going to answer the question in 7 simple steps:

Step 1: Why Import Furniture from China

 

Let’s make this clear:

Buying furniture from China is not cost-effective for small traders or individuals. That is if you wish to buy one or two pieces.

For instance, a small business that requires a 7-seater sofa may end up incurring unnecessary costs. Believe me, you will make losses – a reason I can recommend you buy from your local store.

However, if you plan to buy in bulk or you are in the B2B furniture industry, then you will gain a lot. Let’s find out:

  1. Unlimited Chinese furniture brands and designs available– remember, there is an option for custom-made furniture from China.
  2. Competitive prices – therefore, making profits is almost a guarantee.
  3. Fast production time – Chinese furniture factories will process your orders in record time
  4. Help in the design process – Chinese furniture manufacturers will help you in the design process.
  5. A large furniture market – Many furniture varieties to choose from while offering chance price negotiations.
  6. Availability of furniture raw materials – Chinese furniture manufacturers source their materials locally. It helps the manufacturer reduce production costs.
  7. Flexible MOQs – depending on the agreements you will have with the Chinese furniture manufacturers, you will get flexible MOQs. Of course, this includes custom designs too.

As you can see, you have no reason to avoid China furniture market as your destination for stylish furniture.

Whether you want quality, competitive prices, or unlimited designs – China offers exactly that.

Step 2: Furniture Type to Import from China

 Types of furniture
Types of Furniture

As a furniture wholesaler, this information will help you make the right decision when ordering furniture from China.

When it comes to assorted designs – it can only work when importing ready-made furniture in China. However, for custom furniture from China, prepare to buy many pieces of the design.

By doing so, you will save a lot.

It doesn’t matter whether you are dealing in indoor or outdoor furniture. There is a perfect design for your clients.

Classifying  Furniture from China Furniture Type
Material Type ·         Glass furniture

·         Metal furniture

·         Plastic furniture e.g. acrylic, polypropylene, and polycarbonate furniture

·         Wood furniture, etc.

Where to use the furniture ·         Office furniture

·         Home furniture such as bed, living room, dining room, etc.

·         Hotel furniture

·         Bar furniture

·         Hospital furniture

·         Outdoor furniture

·         Indoor furniture

·         Bedroom furniture

·         Kitchen furniture

Furniture design/style ·         Farmhouse style furniture

·         Rustic furniture

·         Antique style furniture

·         Contemporary style furniture

·         Minimalism furniture, etc.

Step 3: Understand China Furniture Market

According to Statista, the China furniture market will be more than 95.73 Billion USD in 2023. This growth has been consistent since 2014.

By 2024, it may hit a record of 106.53 billion USD.

Different types of furniture from China by market value
Different Types of Furniture from China by Market Value

I can guarantee you – there is no piece or design of furniture you can miss in China.

So, where are the main places to get your furniture?

Buying Furniture from China Online

Online is the first destination for any foreign business sourcing Chinese furniture. The best part, most Chinese furniture suppliers and manufacturers have embraced the B2B platforms.

Popular B2B websites for finding furniture suppliers are:

Alibaba Furniture
Alibaba Furniture

Once you visit the website, it will be your responsibility to get a reputable furniture supplier from China. Here is a quick guide you can use to assess the supplier:

  1. Identify supplier, manufacturer, wholesaler, or drop shipper
  2. Review their business profile
  3. If possible, review the number of sales made on that B2B platform
  4. Review custom feedback/reviews (however, some suppliers pay clients to write a positive feedback, so this may not be accurate)
  5. Check if the online platform classifies or rates suppliers – for example, Alibaba, we have trade assurance suppliers, gold suppliers, or assessed suppliers
  6. Try to verify if the furniture supplier on the platform – you can conduct a random search online or contact the supplier directly.

Note: If you are a serious business that wants to make a profit from importing furniture from China, then only use an online platform to identify a supplier or manufacturer.

Don’t buy furniture online – plan to have a sourcing agent or visit China.

This makes the next part of this section very critical.

Visit China Furniture Market

 

Visiting China will help you have a one-on-one meeting with furniture manufacturers. It is a sure way to control quality and get the best furniture designs.

Wondering if the language barrier will be an issue?

Well, don’t worry, I will show you how to go about that shortly.

First, let’s look at some of the main Chins furniture markets:

Furniture Market in Foshan
Furniture Market in Foshan
Geographical Location for Furniture Manufacturing in China City or Province to Find Furniture in China Type of Furniture to Import from China
South China

(Note: Foshan is known as the “furniture city” in China)

·         Shude

·         Guangzhou

·         Shenzhen

·         Foshan

·         Dongguan

·         For sofas, Dongguan offers unlimited options

·         General furniture available in different designs

Northeast China ·         Heilongjiang

·         Dalian City

·         Shenyang

·         The region is popular for most solid wood furniture
Central China Coast ·         Zhejiang

·         Shanghai

·         Jiangsu

·         Kitchen furniture such as cabinets

·         Metal Furniture

·         Wood Furniture

Central China ·         Henan

·         Fujian

·         Anhui

·         Shandong

·         Metal furniture

·         Fabric furniture

·         Flat pack furniture

North Coastal Region in China ·         Shandong

·         Beijing

·         Tianjin

·         Hebei

·         Metal furniture

·         Glass furniture

Note: Don’t get this wrong. The information is to give a rough idea of where to get factories or furniture suppliers.

Moreover, you can get good deals and interact with furniture manufacturers during trade fairs, stores, or on directories. Let’s explore common options:

Where to Find Information about Furniture from China Examples
Furniture Tradeshows in China ·         HKTDC Hong Kong Houseware Fair‍

·         China International Furniture Fair‍

·         Canton Fair

·         China International Furniture Expo‍

·         Furniture China

China Furniture Directories ·         Chinese National Furniture Association
China Furniture Store/Supermarkets ·         Louvre Furniture Mall

·         Red Star Macaline Furniture Mall

·         Shude Furniture Mall

·         Tuanyi International Furniture City

·         Sun-link Furniture Wholesale Market

Note: However, don’t buy furniture from the malls. You will not get the best prices for your wholesale furniture business.

Consider Using China Furniture Sourcing Agent

 

Many businesses I have talked to share a horrible experience when buying furniture from China.

Why?

They try to find furniture factories or suppliers themselves. The truth is, this can be an overwhelming task more so with the language barrier.

Besides, as a foreigner, you may not know all the “corners” or the best places to get better deals. A reason I insist – just spend an extra dollar to hire a furniture sourcing agent.

Let me tell you the truth – hiring a sourcing agent will save you a lot of money.

Still, if you have experience or you can speak Chinese, then you can go it alone.

Benefits of Working with Buying Offer/Furniture Sourcing Agent in China

  1. Getting the right furniture will not be a hassle – they know the reputable factories to get the furniture
  2. It is easy to get discounts – most furniture sourcing agents in China may have contracts with the factories allowing them to negotiate for better deals
  3. Play an integral role in quality control – they will help you monitor the furniture production process.
  4. Saves you from the misunderstanding that may be due to language barrier – sourcing agents offer translators
  5. Offers auditing services – they will help you verify China furniture manufacturing factory documents such as certificates, licenses, and quality compliance. It will save you from possible scammers.
  6. They will connect you with the right freight forwarders (You will know the benefits of working with one later in this guide)
  7. Help you negotiate for the best furniture prices in China
  8. They can help handle the paperwork when necessary or help you sign the best deals with China furniture suppliers.

Sourcing furniture from China through an agent is safe and convenient. It is even critical if you are new in the China furniture market.

Even if you get a furniture supplier through an online platform, they still play an integral role.

Of course, you may argue that China’s furniture factory will offer the best deal since there are no middlemen/brokers (sourcing agents). But in your early stages, sourcing agents will help you identify the right company.

So, once you get the right factory in China, they can help you get the right furniture.

Step 4: Get the Best Furniture Prices in China

Outdoor Furniture from China
Outdoor Furniture from China

Whether you need ready-made or custom furniture from China, always try to get the best prices. The fact that China furniture market offers the best deals when it comes to prices, does not mean you don’t:

  • Research to get price estimates – platforms such as Alibaba are useful when getting rough estimates. Simply contact any potential furniture supplier on Alibaba and make inquiries.
  • Negotiate to get the best furniture in China with reasonable prices – as mentioned earlier, furniture sourcing agents in China will help you get the best prices.

Tip: There is no fixed price in China furniture market. Always be ready to negotiate for the best deal.

The best part, China furniture factories, and suppliers value long-term cooperation. With long-term cooperation, you will get competitive prices on furniture from China.

There is one misconception:

A competitive price is equivalent to low quality – well this is not true. In China furniture market, you get value for your money.

China has an advantage in technology, furniture raw materials, and labor.

Remember, the following determine the furniture prices in China:

  1. Furniture material – the materials may include MDF, metal tube, wood, fabric, glasses, etc.
  2. Furniture design and functionality– complex design may cost more than simple designs
  3. MOQ – placing large quantity orders will guarantee more discounts. If you are a repeat client, you will get better deals.
  4. Availability of labor, technology, and machine
  5. Quality and standard requirements

Of course, this only captures the furniture prices in China at the factory level.

Step 5: China Furniture Quality Inspection & Control

You can only promote your brand with high-quality furniture from China. A reason quality must be 100% guaranteed.

It does not matter whether the furniture is custom or ready-made designs.

Furniture Quality Control
Furniture Quality Control

How To Ensure Furniture from China is Quality Compliant

As a general rule – even as you work with a trusted furniture manufacturer from China, it is important to have an independent person on site to check quality.

Here is a quick checklist that will help you in China furniture quality control process:

  • Pre-production inspection – here you will inspect all the raw materials. Additionally, you will check the quality of the first furniture before mass production begins.
  • Mid-production inspection – as the furniture production process continues inspection is paramount. It will ensure the factory does not deviate from the original furniture design and specifications.
  • Post-production inspection – you will inspect the fully produced furniture in China. Usually, it is the final production process before packaging.

When evaluating Chinese furniture quality, it is vital to consider:

  • Material quality – fabric type and quality
  • Adherence to agreed dimensions – in case there is any deviation, is it within the acceptable limits
  • Color quality – it may include fastness
  • Possibility of any defects and whether it is critical, major, or minor.
  • Loading test
  • Functionality
  • Appropriate labeling
  • Wheels functionality for the furniture with this feature
  • Extra features such as water resistance and fire resistance

By the end of the quality assessment, you should have a furniture inspection report. Remember, some countries require this report to allow products into their jurisdiction.

Additionally, quality compliance is an important aspect when buying furniture from China. Usually, every country has its unique requirements and specifications. It will depend on the type of furniture you are importing.

Take for example:

Country or Region Rules and Regulations
United States of America ·         Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. (CPSIA)

·         Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

·         California Technical Bulletin 117 TB117

European Union ·         Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals  (REACH)

·         EN 14533, 597-2, 597-1, 1021-2, and 1021-1

·         European Union Timber Regulation

·         Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)

Step 6: Factors to Consider when Shipping Furniture from China

Whether you plan to ship furniture from China to USA or any global destination, some factors will help you cut on cost

Take for example;

1. Hire Freight Forwarder when Importing Furniture from China

 

Freight forwarders make shipping furniture from China to any global destination easy and cost-effective. These are professionals you cannot avoid when importing furniture from China frequently for your business.

China freight forwarders will handle all logistics operations even without your presence. They will help in:

  • Handling shipping documentation
  • Facilitate transportation of furniture from factory to port of destination
  • Helping in saving shipping and logistics cost
  • Some freight forwarders offer free shipping containers and free warehousing which is cost-effective
  • Help in customs clearance services
  • Help booking space in the shipping line
  • Will help in supervising loading and offloading of shipping container
  • Offer free quotations for shipping costs and logistics
  • May help in packaging, quality inspection, and labeling upon request
  • Improving shipping efficiency from China
  • They will help safeguard your interests in China

In short, freight forwarders simplify how to import furniture from China. Your furniture business will gain a lot in terms of cost savings.

Learn more: Top International Freight Forwarders

2. Choose Cost Effective and Safe Shipping Furniture from China

There are two options I can recommend here –rail freight or sea freight/ocean freight.

Shipping Furniture from China via Ocean/Sea Freight

It remains a popular means to ship furniture from China to any global destination. It is a safe, affordable, and efficient way of shipping to any global destination from China.

You should ensure the factory is near the seaport in China. It is a critical factor that will help cut shipping and logistics costs.

 

Sea Ports in China
Sea Ports in China

Shipping Furniture Via Rail Freight from China

It is only possible where there is a rail network from China. Therefore, rail freight is only possible when shipping to some regions:

  • Northern rail corridor – A railway line going to Europe via Russia
  • Central rail corridor – A railway line linking western and northern regions in Russia. Of course, it also passes through Kazakhstan
  • Southern rail corridor – the route passes through Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.

 

At times, it may be difficult to decide whether to choose FCL shipping or LCL shipping for your furniture.

For your furniture from China, always choose full container load shipping. You may choose a 20ft container, 40 feet container, or 40 feet HQ container.

Don’t go for LCL.

The quantity of furniture you source in China should fill at least one container.

Note: The transit time varies depending on your location. Through the shipping line website, you can track the transit time. Moreover, your shipping agent or freight forwarder can always advise.

3. Package Furniture Safety Ready for Shipping from China

You must ensure the packaging can protect furniture from any accidental damage. Of course, the nature of packaging will depend on the furniture type from China.

Although there are many ways to package your furniture, you can consider these:

  • For furniture which can be dismantled – dismantle and packed boxed then stake on pallets.
  • Dealing with large furniture such as tables and sofas – First, you should wrap it with craft paper. Next, you can add a furniture bubble wrapper. It will protect the furniture from possible scratching during shipping.
Wrapping Furniture Ready for Shipping
Wrapping Furniture Ready for Shipping

To secure the furniture, you can use zip lock bags, plywood sheets, foam wrap, straps, cushioning material, tapes, etc.

Remember, the furniture packaging process in China may be simple or complicated. It will depend on the furniture type or design.

  • Dismantling the furniture where possible
  • Packaging the parts separately
  • Covering or packaging the furniture without dismantling
  • Always cover sharp corners of the furniture
  • Seal the furniture and label it as required
  • Take photos during the packaging process
Packaging Chair Ready for Shipping
Packaging Chair Ready for Shipping

Note: The packaging must be easy to handle and safe during shipping. Packaging is critical even when you use FCL furniture shipping from China.

4. Proper Documentation when Shipping from China

Whenever you are importing furniture from China, ensure you have proper documentation. Usually, this can be a tiresome process – a reason you should work with a freight forwarder.

Ideally, when shipping from China, you will require 6 main documents:

Shipping Document Function
Packing List ·         It has all furniture you have bought in China
Certificate of origin ·         It indicates the furniture is from China.
Bill of lading ·         It has detailed information about the furniture you bought from China, ownership, seller, port of origin, and destination.
Commercial invoice ·         Evidence that you a seller (factory) sold your furniture
Insurance ·         A piece of evidence that you have insured the furniture.
Letter of instruction from the shipper ·         It has requirements or instructions about the furniture shipment

Remember, every country may have unique requirements for furniture from China. Take for instance:

5. Understand Furniture HS Codes & Their Implications

Harmonized System plays a critical role when classifying imports from China. As a result, it helps in paying taxes and duties. The customs use these codes to calculate the tariffs you should pay.

The HS code for furniture is 9403. Of course, the furniture HS code may have more numbers depending on the furniture type. Take for example:

  • 94031000 – for metal furniture
  • 94033000 – for wood furniture
  • 94037000 – plastic furniture

You can learn more about these HS codes here: Furniture HS Code.

 

6. Choose Suitable Incoterms to Ship Furniture from China

Incoterms are set rules and regulations for use in the international shipping industry. They determine the responsibilities of each party involved when shipping furniture from China.

They are standardized terminologies that will make the shipping process seamless. Although there are 11 Incoterms, you can consider these when shipping furniture from China:

Incoterm for Shipping Furniture from China Responsibilities and Cost when Using Incoterm
Free on Board  (FOB) ·         Buyer responsibility: Pay duties, taxes, arrival costs, and sea freight. Of course, the arrival costs are from the port of destination to the warehouse.

·         Seller responsibility: Deliver required documentation and goods, handle costs at the port of departure, and handle land transportation in China alongside customs clearance at the country of origin.

Cost Freight Insurance (CIF) ·         Buyer responsibility: Handles customs, arrival cost, and other transportation in the country of destination.

·         Seller responsibility: Contract sea freight, and pay fees including insurance in China while managing goods at the same time.

Ex-works ·         Buyer responsibility: Takes care of freight and goods management transport. Also handles payments for customs and goods.

·         Seller responsibility: Handles documentation, and ensures delivery of goods.

Therefore, while importing furniture from China, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities. This way, you will control risks, and save money.

Of course, you can also try other incoterms as long as they suit you best. Always go for Incoterms that minimize your risk.

However, all international trade transactions are based on consensus.

 

You can learn more about incoterms: Incoterms 2020.

Step 7: Calculate Cost of Shipping Furniture From China

Even as you calculate the cost of shipping furniture from China, first, you must remember the furniture buying price. Secondly, consider other logistics costs such as hiring sourcing agents and maybe traveling costs.

Other costs include:

  • Shipping costs from China
  • Duties and taxes for importing furniture from China

The duties or taxes vary depending on your country. This is where experts such as freight forwarders come in. They will help you calculate accurate taxes for all your furniture imports from China.

Once you have to total cost of importing furniture from China, it is time to make payments.

Well, there are a few factors to highlight at this stage. These include:

Payment Terms When Importing Chinese Furniture

You will require a purchasing contract. Of course, this should be alongside other vital documents such as invoices, and necessary agreements.

Before making any payments, ensure you have the right quantity and specifications. China furniture suppliers offer many flexible payment options.

Sourcing agents will help you get the best payment terms.

For example, they may opt for:

  • 30% payment before furniture production begins then clear the remaining 70% before shipping furniture from China.
  • 100% before production begins

You can send money through:

  • International wire transfer
  • International credit cards
  • Letter of credit
  • Online escrow

There are many convenient payment options. It will depend on the agreement. You should ensure the payment terms are very clear.

Again, your B2B partner in China must specify any implications or penalties in case of any late payments or delays.

Bonus Tip: How do you Choose Furniture Manufacturers in China

As you evaluate furniture manufacturers in China, it is important to consider the following key points:

  1. Their specialty – whether wood furniture, metal furniture, sofa sets, or dining sets.
  2. Registered capital – through this, you can evaluate whether the company can handle large-quantity orders
  3. Quality compliance procedures – it will help you get high-quality furniture from China. Of course, this also goes hand in hand with the quality management system.
  4. MOQ – the MOQ will vary depending on the manufacturer and type of furniture. You can discuss this with a China furniture manufacturer.
  5. Even as you work with a sourcing agent, visit the factory. Remember, you want to work with a manufacturer who should guarantee a consistent supply of quality Chinese furniture.
  6. Try to evaluate the customer base – how long has the company been in the furniture industry in China? Who are the clients? Which type of furniture have they made before? Well, these are some fundamental questions you should ask.
  7. How the furniture manufacturer in China handles defective orders.
  8. Support the China furniture manufacturer offers – helping in furniture design, whether they sign non-disclosure agreements, customization options, material options, lab testing services, etc.

When it comes to the best furniture from China – trust Dongrong. For over 2 decades now, Dongrong the leading manufacturer of metal tube and MDF furniture manufacturer in China.

Based in Zhangzhou, Fujian China, Dongrong we offer a one-stop-shop for all your metal furniture. Throughout the years, we have supported B2B clients globally through our exclusive furniture designs and competitive prices. Even for your OEM furniture requirements, Dongrong is a Chinese furniture manufacturer in China you can trust.

Contact us now for any inquiries.

Conclusion

Clearly, for B2B importing furniture in China can be an overwhelming task without the right information.

Considering you must know the furniture you want, get a supplier.

One Stop Furniture OEM Factory

Dongrong is a high-end OEM furniture manufacturer in China, we provide the best service to our customers.
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