The increasing demand for furniture in the marketplace encouraged a lot of new entrants into the furniture business. Moreover, the impact of Covid-19 surged the online shopping, e-commerce sales increased tremendously because of the lock-down and working from home required by local authorities.

In this guide, we will share informative insights from our experience as a modern furniture manufacturer in the local market for over 20 years.

Table of Contents

A. Purpose of Importing Furniture from China

  1. What is your current business scale and model?
  2. What is your vision for your business in the long term?
  3. What outcome do you anticipate from importing the furniture from China

B. Fundamental Researches on Furniture Type in Different Regions

  1. Whether your company is qualified to import
  2. What type of furniture do you want to source from China
  3. Where are those manufacturing factories of the furniture you want to buy located? And what’s the strength and characteristics of them?

C. Baby Steps Guides to Importing Furniture from China

  1. Finalize the items you are going to buy
  2. Find 2 or 3 Chinese suppliers to get the quotations on FOB ( free on board) term.
  3. Based on the offer suppliers provided to calculate the landed cost
  4. Negotiating the price to meet your target back and forth
  5. Sample development for evaluation
  6. Online business needs to carry out drop test during the sample review process
  7. Official purchasing
  8. Quality control
  9. Shipment

We know China is the largest factory in the world from low-end textiles sectors to high-end automatic machine sectors. According to the Harvard Growth’s Lab Research, It demonstrates from 1996 to 2019, China is the largest furniture export country and predominates the role on the world level, the suppliers can produce the most quality workmanship products at the most competitive price with its remarkably unparalleled supply chain.

Harvard Growth’s Lab Research and Visualization Data

Harvard Growth’s Lab Research and Visualization Data

A.  Purpose of Importing Furniture from China

What is the purpose of importing furniture from China? I believe its low prices attract many people’s design to importing directly thus generate more margin.

But whether importing from China directly is suitable for every business?

The importing process is double standard from the perspective of business scales and models.

A furniture shop only carries unique designs and sell at low volume should not buy from China, because the furniture manufacturing process is complicated, manufacturers set up MOQ standard to facilitate the process in a way to bring down the costs and speed up the lead time. So if want one or two pieces OEM designed furniture, it’s better to purchase locally.

This type of furniture business should import from China, which can mass-produced items at a large volume at a quick rate and can place repeated orders.

B. Fundamental Researches on Furniture Type in Different Regions

After confirming you are suitable to buy furniture directly from China, the next step is to verify if you are qualified to buy. What license is required for furniture importing? Commonly we all think that there may be tons of documents that need to be filled out so as to buy goods overseas.

The real thing is “ NO IMPORTER LICENSE REQUIRED” for purchasing from China to the USA, or generally other countries.

Take importing furniture to the United States, the consignee will be required to fill out an Informal Entry CBP Form to get the goods released. The shipping company will notify you when the goods arrived in the United States. More details will be revealed in our shipping section.

There are many different types of furniture on the market, first identify the category you want to buy, and the next step we will see where to buy.

Furniture Category

  1. Sofa
  2. Occasional tables included coffee table, side table, and console
  3. TV stand
  4. Sideboard
  5. Desk
  6. Lounge chair
  7. Bench
  8. Stools
  1. Dining table
  2. Dining chair
  3. Counter stool/bar stool
  4. Dining bench
  1. Beds
  2. Nightstand
  3. Dresser

So where we can find the product experts in China for those items. Each region has its features for a certain type of material or furniture.

We have 5 furniture manufacturing regions in China, 4 out of 5 targets at exporting furniture, the last one is mainly for the Chinese domestic market.

  1. The Pearl River Delta Region ( South of China)
  2. The Yangtze River Delta Region ( Shanghai, Zhejiang included)
  3. The Bohai Sea Region ( Beijing included)
  4. Northeast Furniture Industrial Zone
  5. Western Furniture Industry Zone

The Pearl River Delta Region ( South of China)

The Pearl River Delta included 9 cities of Guangdong province, which are Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Foshan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Huizhou, Zhaoqing, Zhuhai. You could source everything from this region, literally anything. Because of the geographical advantage in the mainland, it’s a natural place for manufacturing where workers with long experiences as well as entrepreneurs with profound exporting experience.

Among all cities, Dongguan and Foshan are the best places for furniture. Houjie in Dongguan is renowned as “ the city of furniture”, it includes all types of furniture of good quality. Shunde, Longjiang in Foshan, is also capable of making all types of furniture as well, especially metal dining furniture, gold-plate items.

Which place is the best? Well, most of the manufacturers in Dongguan target medium or high-end markets that means prices will be more expensive. In Foshan, most of them produce a lower end to medium level, there are high-end level but takes time to identify.

The Yangtze River Delta Region ( Shanghai, Zhejiang included)

In this region, it covers 4 provinces with 41 cities, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Anhui. Zhejiang is the major furniture manufacturing city among all of them.

Anji in Zhejiang, very famous for its chairs, all types of material like plastic, rattan, metal with cheap prices and very low quality.

Hangzhou city, a place for office furniture of good quality.

Zhejiang is also a place you could source outdoor furniture from, top 2 of outdoor furniture exporters manufacturers from there.

Here are some notes for you to keep in mind when buying from Zhejiang

  1. Office furniture in Hangzhou
  2. Outdoor/ Patio furniture in Xiaoshan
  3. Modern panel furniture in Wenzhou
  4. European classical furniture in Yuhuan
  5. Chairs, especially rotation chairs in Anji
  6. Mattress in Shaoxing
  7. Classical rosewood furniture in Yiwu and Huzhou
  8. Kitchen cabinet in Ningbo
  9. Sofa in Haining
  10. Solid wood furniture in Jiashan

The Bohai Sea Region ( low-cost region for furniture)

We often call this region “ north of Chia” better known for its largest industrial production capacity, it is a low-cost region for furniture.

Hebei is included in this region, a province famous for glass production and metal dining sets.

Langfang for the metal dining set

Xianghe for fiberglass furniture

Bazhou for upholstered items, mainly chairs

Hence, if you have a tight budget and lower expectations for quality workmanship, this region would be it.

Northeast Furniture Industrial Zone ( solid wood products manufacturing base)

With abundant timber resources in Da Hinggan Ling Prefecture and Xiao Hinggan Ling Prefecture, alongside the convenience of importing timber from Russia to boost the development of the solid wood furniture manufacturing, mainly export to the countries like Southeast Asia and European countries.

If you are looking for solid wood items, that’s it.

C. Baby Steps Guides to Importing Furniture from China

Clear understanding and visualization image set up from where is the most reliable and suitable place to source.

Take importing high-end dining furniture set as an example.

Select 2 or 3 manufacturers in Dongguan and Foshan cities to get the quotation on FOB trade term to calculate landed cost.

How to negotiate the best prices from suppliers?

The sample development procedure is vital for OEM designs before the bulk order mass production. Without pre-production sample approval process, what if the mass production have structure issue or other potential that could not be seen from the pictures but could affect the function?

If you are in the e-commerce business, in the period sample checking, drop test should be carried out to review the packaging quality, no one wants to receive a damaged furniture piece after paid thousands of US dollars.

After all the details are confirmed, we will proceed with the next step: place official purchasing order, the order clearly state the product details like product size, color, finish, thickness related to the items you want to purchase, payment terms, required lead time. The supplier therefore will provide the proforma invoice according to the PO details and send it over for your confirmation and deposit settlement. Normally vendors will start to count the lead time from the day they receive the deposit rather than the day you pay it.

When order production is finished, a final random inspection should be proceeded on the factory site to check the packaging, product quality, measurement whether matches the pre-production sample, is there a color difference between swatch and mass production goods, are the fittings correct to assemble the table? Is it easy to assemble by the user to follow the assembly instruction? Does the function run well after being fully installed?

Shipment comes after if inspection passed. Normally we have two types of shipment models which are FCL ( Full Container Load) and LCL ( Less than a container Loads).

Which container size is the most favorable?

40’ HC container is the most preferable container size, the cubic meter is over doubled than 2x 20’GP container, but the shipping freight and local seaport charge are not doubled.

The trucking fee, customer clearance fee, and other related costs are related to the quantity of the container rather than its size. Therefore, the big the container is, the less the landed cost of the item will be.

What should we arrange for the shipment if the order volume is not able to fit a full container?

1. If you have orders in the same province or city, one of the suppliers could be the shipper to arrange the consolidation.

EG: you placed a 10cbm order to a factory in Dongguan, and placed another 16cbm order to a Foshan factory. One of them could be the shipper to book the space and arrange the co-loading.

The disadvantage of this shipping model is the extra cost will be higher than full container loading.

2. Or another case scenario is that you only have 10cbm orders in Dongguan, no other orders could be combined to a full container.

Here is the best way to arrange the shipment: inform the supplier to apply LCL shipment with the agent you pre-selected, load the cargos to the truck and send it to the warehouse at the port. The agent will consolidate many other vendors’ cargo to the same city as yours to fill a full container.

The pro is you could place less than container orders.

The cons are first the extra cost will be higher, second is the goods will be loaded and unloaded multiple times with improper handling because the loading workers at the port are not acknowledged what is packed inside and what needs to be taken care in the handling process, it has a great possibility that the cargo may arrive damaged.

Hence, this is the last shipment option to consider.

f you are looking for modern, contemporary, Italian furniture, please come to visit our website to find out newly designed items.

Mecen Furniture is an OEM manufacturer with over 20 years of in-depth experience in extension mechanism tables.

Our dining range is covered with glass dining tables, ceramic dining tables, marble dining tables, extendable glass dining tables, extendable marble dining tables, stainless steel dining tables, powder coated dining tables.

Also matched occasional tables available for your selection as well.


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