Exporting clothes to China – The complete guide

Export clothes to China

In the past, most Chinese people bought their clothes exclusively from domestic brands. This trend is changing and the demand for Western clothes increase rapidly. It’s inevitable when bigger retailers like H&M can offer serious warranties and prices that compete with local Chinese companies’. Foreign companies see great opportunities for expansion when the Chinese people pursue better quality and social status. In this article I explain how you can start exporting clothes to China.

Trade fairs – An efficient way to develop your network

You can learn a lot from clothing trade fairs in China and it teems of them. There’s plenty of valuable information to be obtained prior to a market entry and you can meet your potential future distributor or franchiser. To listen to other people’s experiences and advices can be crucial for future success. In addition, you can achieve information regarding marketing and business strategies for specific countries. That’s crucial and something every exporter must be aware of, before entering a new market.

To attend trade fairs is efficient as you can meet a huge range of exhibitors and visitors in just a couple of days. But there are plenty of trade fairs in China and you may have difficulties to spot the best. I suggest you to check the following two:

China International Clothing and Accessories Fair (CHIC)

The CHIC was established in 1993 and is one of the biggest clothing fairs in Asia. Over 100,000 people visited the fair during the last session.

Products on display:

  • Men’s wear.
  • Women’s wear.
  • Kid’s wear.
  • Casual wear.
  • Accessories.

Shenzhen International Trade Fair for Apparel Fabrics and Accessories (July 10-13, 2014)

Products on display:

  • Men’s wear.
  • Women’s wear.
  • Maternity and kids clothing.
  • Lingerie.
  • Casual wear.
  • Fashion accessories.
  • Textile equipment.
  • Apparel fabrics.

Hire an interpreter and diminish communication problems

Foreign business owners often face difficulties to communicate with non-native English speakers during trade fairs in China. To hire an interpreter for two or three days is not expensive, not in comparison with the money you spent on the plane ticket, hotel and all preparations. I have visited factories, clothing markets and met Chinese workers with no English proficiency at all.

To bring a native Chinese speaker for negotiations and communications can be crucial for a successful visit. If you plan to visit cities in southern China, let’s say Guangzhou or Shenzhen, keep in mind that their mother tongue is Cantonese and not Mandarin. Hence, it’s better if the interpreter can speak Cantonese. Organizers of trade fairs offer interpreting services, you can visit their websites for more details.

Find a Chinese distributor

Expect an increased amount of customers if you manage to find a serious and experienced distributor.

Their expertise and deep knowledge of the Chinese market is invaluable. In addition, your products can reach the customers quicker in comparison if you managed the whole process by yourself. A distributor can also ”optimize” your product and customize it for the specific market you target.

Western ads tend to answer to the question “What is there for me?” because Western society, especially the U.S. and northern Europe, focuses on the individual. However, in Asia the ads that perform better are the ones that answer to the question: “How this service can improve the relationship with my workmates or family members?” because Asian people tend to think about themselves as part of a group.

This difference has its roots on the difference between Aristotelism (ancient Greece) and Confucianism (ancient China). And the reason for which West and East developed so different philosophies comes down to social-economic reasons, that is the fact that rice growth in ancient China required cooperation (and thus harmony within the group) while ancient Greece’s economy was based on individual trade companies – or even piracy – that required no cooperation at all.

Is this information new to you? Well, your distributor may not know Aristotle, but I bet he knows what kind of ads sell better in China!

I’m not saying it’s compulsory to hire a distributor. Of course you can find customers in other ways if you have sufficient experience and ordered finances. However, to hire a distributor is still the most common option for many small and medium enterprises with limited or no experience of the Chinese market.

Search engines

In the West, the majority of people rely on Google when they search for information on the internet. That’s not the case in China, where around 80% of all searches goes through a website called Baidu, sometimes also referred to as BIDU. Baidu’s market shares has decreased, but is still the most popular search engine. You should have this in mind if you plan to find customers through search engines.

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    One Response to “Exporting clothes to China – The complete guide”

    1. akshit August 21, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

      HELLO, i am akshit agarwal from INDIA i want to sell the cloth to the other countries i deal with non redemate cloth ar the cloth with lumbs deals with school uniforms all types of cotton woolens and muc more

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