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Shipping To… China

Posted On 19th May 2016


From posting gifts to loved ones abroad to shipping items you’ve sold on eBay, there are many reasons why you might want to send a parcel to China. It may feel pretty daunting posting packages to somewhere so far away, but, as long as you stick to all the relevant guidelines and have familiarised yourself with China’s specific regulations around shipping, there’s no reason why your parcel shouldn’t arrive at its destination safely and without delays.

Delivery timings

As with any parcel, the speediness of delivery will depend on the contents of your package and what shipping options you’ve selected. In general, timings will depend on how urgent your delivery is and how much money you’re willing to spend – an express delivery could take as little as three days to arrive at its destination.

Bear in mind that if you’re sending a parcel to a remote area or one that’s prone to extreme weather, your package could take longer to deliver. Send it as early as you can and warn the recipient of any potential delays.

Dos and don’ts of preparing your parcels

Even minor damage to your parcel could impact the speed at which it gets to its destination, so make sure you’ve properly packaged everything and labelled it correctly. When you’re writing the address on your parcel, make the full country name – The People’s Republic of China – the last line, and include a recipient mobile number on the customs documentation as well as the parcel itself, ensuring it’s clearly marked on both. Tightly seal your package so it’s secure – boxes that are broken or in poor condition may not make it through customs.

When sending a parcel to China, you will need to complete a CN23 form, and attach it to the parcel alongside the label. This will be automatically generated when you send a parcel on

Shipping restrictions

To ensure your parcel arrives safely, it’s important you comply with the relevant shipping restrictions before you send a parcel to China. A number of items are prohibited, including: wine and tobacco; perishable foods; any goods that are marked ‘Republic of China’ or ‘Made in China’; money or precious metals; funeral urns and ashes; and radio transmitter-receivers. Any items or documents that go against Chinese culture or politics will also fail to make it through. You should also bear in mind any general prohibitions and restrictions that may apply.

What’s more, before being shipped, some goods require inspection by a qualified UK organisation as part of the China Compulsory Certification scheme – these include anything from household electrical items and motor parts to toys and IT equipment. You should also check with your courier service that your parcel doesn’t exceed its weight limit, as this could incur additional charges or cause delays.

Things you need to know about China

If you choose to use the regular Chinese postal delivery service, a door-to-door service is rarely operated. Once packages arrive at local post offices, their recipients are notified and asked to collect their parcels within seven days. If they miss the deadline, they'll get another reminder slip, but if they still haven't picked the package up after 30 days, it'll be classed as ‘undeliverable’.

However, if you're looking for a more convenient option or want the peace of mind that comes with tracking and proof of delivery, services such as are worth considering. use the Express Mail Service (EMS) network, meaning parcels are tracked and delivered to the recipients' doors, and the senders receive proof of delivery.