Expanding your small business to China: A step-by-step guide

Expanding your small business to China: A step-by-step guide

Posted: Mon 25th Sep 2023

With the second-largest economy in the world, China boasts untold potential for UK businesses looking to export. After decades of remarkable economic growth, China's 1.4 billion citizens are increasingly wealthy – and the demand for high-quality international products is growing.

But before you think about expanding your business to take advantage of this market, you must understand the challenges – and the benefits – that come with selling in this unfamiliar overseas environment.

To help you make this move, we've put together a detailed guide that sets out the key steps involved in preparing to do business in China and outlines the necessary requirements for a successful trade.

Download now: Selling to customers in China – A guide for SMEs in the UK

What the guide contains

Selling to China: Main benefits and challenges

Understanding the advantages and hurdles of selling in the Chinese market is crucial for developing a winning strategy. Get an overview of the main benefits, such as a diverse customer base, a thriving start-up ecosystem, and the many opportunities for UK exporters.

Learn about the challenges, including the language barriers, the cultural differences, and the bureaucracy.

Business culture in China

Relationships founded on the principles of solidarity, loyalty, modesty and courtesy are integral to Chinese business culture. Respecting etiquette, and getting to know Chinese business partners on a personal level, is vital.

Read the guide for top tips on etiquette and conduct around business meetings and business negotiations.

Preparing to do business in China

Expanding your small business into the Chinese market presents a fantastic opportunity to grow, diversify and increase your sales, revenue and profits. While China is a vast and lucrative market, there are many challenges to overcome first.

This section of the guide highlights the importance of first being clear on your reasons for exporting to China. You'll find guidance on doing market research, which is vital in understanding the demands, preferences and competitive landscape.

Find out what methods and resources you can employ when analysing consumer behaviour, identifying target demographics, and assessing market trends. The guide also explains how a well-crafted business plan serves as a roadmap for success.

Getting your goods out of the UK

Exporting goods from the UK to China means planning carefully and following specific procedures.

In this section of the guide, you'll learn the various steps of the exporting process, such as getting an EORI number, securing an export licence (if necessary), determining the appropriate incoterms for your shipments and checking for trade barriers.

It also covers the crucial aspects of making a customs declaration and arranging for transportation.

Getting your goods into China

Successfully navigating the Chinese customs process is crucial in making sure your goods enter the country seamlessly.

This section of the guide provides insights into completing the relevant documentation, preparing a detailed packing list, and addressing any additional requirements for businesses in the food and drink sector.


Knowledge is power! Equip yourself with the right tools to conquer the Chinese market. Download our guide tailored for UK small businesses.

Learn how to sell to customers in China

Knowledge is power! Equip yourself with the right tools to conquer the German market. Download our guide tailored for small businesses like yours

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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