Tips How to Import Goods from China to Kenya


One of the expansion plans for any business is reducing the cost of supply and diversifying products on offer. According to data from the Kenya Bureau of Statistics, an article in the Business Daily notes that Kenya imported goods worth Ksh171b from China in May 2018. If you wish to import goods from China to Kenya as part of your expansion strategy, there are several ways to find a supplier.

  1. Find a supplier online
  2. Visit China and scout for a good supplier
  3. Attend a trade fair in Kenya/China

Search for suppliers online

Have you heard about Alibaba, Aliexpress, and Dhgate, among others? These websites can help you import a variety of products. The main setback when dealing with online suppliers is fraud. Telling genuine sellers apart is difficult despite the number of security checks imposed on such trading platforms.

If it is your first time importing from China to Kenya, buy in small quantities as you get accustomed to shipping terms, and research cheap shipping from China to Kenya. An item might appear cheap but attract high shipping costs. To learn more about shipping terms, check this list of shipping companies from China to Kenya. Features to check to include:

  • Transit time (duration it takes to ship your order)
  • Departure and destination of the cargo (does the company ship to Kenya?)
  • Cargo type
  • Order tracking
  • MOQ (minimum order quantity indicated in pieces per item)
  • Payment method

If you are bothered about shipping, customs, and clearing, here is an article to guide you on taxes and other regulations when shipping from China to Kenya.

Visit China

I found a great post on the Mombasa Women Business group on Facebook about importing goods from China to Kenya. The Admin detailed how she gets her supplies from China: the requirements and the process of finding a supplier. Among the factors highlighted in the post, you need a capital of not less than KSh200,000. Plan to spend at least a week in China, and to lower costs, book a hotel in Shanghai or another city where you hope to get suppliers. In addition, get an English-speaking guide.

Attend a Trade Fair

Check the listing of trade fairs at the KICC in Nairobi for Chinese trade fairs and events. Also, you can travel to China for trade fairs, such as the China Canton Fair. Local tour operators organize such weeklong trade safaris. For example, Bonfire Adventure charges about $1820 for an 8-day package to attend the China Canton Fair. This event takes place in phases. There is a week for electronics and electrical appliances, a phase for home décor and consumer goods, and a week for textiles, shoes, bags, and office supplies. Find out more about the next China Canton Fair.

Cheap Products to Import from China to Kenya

Going by the price per item indicated on popular online e-commerce platforms, cheap items include watches, phone covers, makeup brushes, and acrylic nails. Some of these products cost less than a Dollar and are often available on free shipping terms.

Hot Products to Import from China to Kenya

What you import depends on what you want to sell and its demand. If you do not know what you should import, look around you. What do customers order from you? What do entrepreneurs need that you can import and sell to them?

For instance, when the plastic bag ban came into effect, there was a huge demand for alternatives, but the market had limited supply. People who cashed in on this demand were the ones who had ordered shipments months in advance. Once the non-woven bags flooded the market, the price fell.

The demand can be seasonal, such as the demand for school bags at the start of every year. On the other hand, it is sustainable over a long period, such as the demand for makeup brushes, women’s clothes, handbags, etc. These items will always sell. Therefore, import to meet seasonal demand only if you can get your shipment while the demand is still high.

(Please note that The Fashion Parlour is not endorsing any website. Therefore, do your research before engaging any company mentioned).

(1) Comment

  1. Importing Goods from China says:

    If you wish to import goods from China to Kenya as part of your expansion strategy, there are several ways to find a supplier. Thank you for the information!

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