Import of smartphones from China

China is the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer. In 2021, China shipped almost 330 million units of smartphones. New models keep coming out, and the demand is still going strong. If you want to import smartphones from China, you need to know the regulations and the tariffs, which vary in the EU and the US.

Import of smartphones from China – duty regulations, valuable tips

In theory, the importer can purchase smartphones of three types:

  • OEM products (importers sell products under their brand)
  • Chinese brands
  • foreign brands manufactured in China (not recommended because a license is needed to sell brand products. Moreover, there are many fake ones in China).

OEM smartphones from China

OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer.” The Chinese company produces customized smartphones according to the foreign company’s wish. The Chinese market is very competitive and flexible – almost every condition and requirement can be met.

Chinese smartphones

Another solution is to distribute the products of some dynamically growing Chinese brands. For example, Xiaomi is the third largest smartphone company after Samsung and Apple. The biggest market share after Xiaomi have Oppo and Vivo, also Chinese companies.

The products of those companies are significantly cheaper than the products of Samsung or Apple. As far as memory cards, version of the Android operating system, and camera capabilities are concerned, these models do not fall behind the world’s high-end smartphones, but there can always be some issues. The operating system and applications are usually not optimized, so apps crash or work slowly.

Chinese OEM producers cannot offer after-sale services and warranty repairs abroad. To provide the best post-sale service, you must find a suitable solution for your clients.

What is the duty rate for smartphones from China?

  • In the European Union, the duty rate for smartphones is 0%. The customs code is 8517130000. You can check the EU tariffs in TARIC.
  • In the United States, the tariff for smartphones is 0% (customs code 8517.13.00). For more information, check the HTS website.

Importing smartphones from China – requirements

  • Smartphones for sale in the EU has to bear the CE mark. It means that the product complies with relevant regulations in the EU market. Moreover, it has to bear the WEEE symbol.
  • If you import smartphones to the US, the product has to be compliant with FCC.

Where to source Chinese smartphones from?

The order can be placed online: Alibaba and AliExpress are the best-known B2B sites, the former is used for big deals, the latter – for private orders. Of course, you must verify your potential supplier before placing your order.

We have already analyzed the import of electronic devices in the previous blog posts: Guide for importers of electronic equipment and Tablets from China.