Should you import packaging from China?

A lot of entrepreneurs who source their products in their country tend to think they should import their packaging in China because it will be cheaper than in western countries. Since lowering costs is a staple in improving margin, they naturally seek for Chinese packaging providers. Things are -unfortunately- not that simple. It is a truth to say that if you do source your products in China, sourcing packaging in China and getting your products packed there is definitely the right way to go. But sourcing packaging alone from China is often not the right option. 

At the packtory, we like to be transparent. If our offer isn’t competitive, we’ll let you know right away. Many local packaging producers are able to compete on the total cost of goods. Indeed, when sourcing packaging in bulk from China and get it delivered to yours, here is a number of things that you need to take into account before considering going with us:

Customs taxes

Dropshipping and e-commerce beginners tend to forget about customs. It may be fine to send one item to another country and be exonerated from customs tax because it goes below the allowed threshold. 

Additional fees

As an example, you are sourcing 1000 boxes from China to be delivered to -let’s say- California, at a price of USD 0.90 per box. The whole order value represents USD 900. You’ll have to pay about between 5% and 30% of custom taxes on this. Other fees may apply like Merchandise Processing Fee. This means an additional cost of hundreds of usd added to your command. 

Shipping cost

There are mostly two options to ship your boxes: plane and ships. The first one is relatively expensive. IF you consider that a 20cmx20cm10cm mailer box weighs 100g, having 500 of them will weigh 50 kilograms (110 pounds). Depending on the carrier you choose to fulfill the logistics, you may get a price of USD 2 / kilogram when sending from China to California by air. That means adding 100 USD.

In most cases, additional processing costs from a shipping agent need to be added up.

It is much cheaper to send packages by seas, however it is also much longer. Sending the same package can take 2 months by ship, and this bring us to our last point:


Sourcing away from your country might also -as we saw with shipping- imply additional lead-time. You’re far from your supplier and it’s harder to reach out and follow up on the production. The Packtory has an international team partially located in China that ensures a good drum beat, but it is often not the case of Chinese suppliers. You may end up spending time trying to get understood and get the things done. Mistakes are common and lead to extraordinary additional lead time.

Taking this into account, sourcing packaging in China may still be interesting for you. If you are looking for poly mailers for example, they are quite lightweight. You should choose a provider that knows how to handle logistics, customs, as it is not a simple thing. The Packtory offers such services for large commands, depending on your needs. 

First, compare prices to your home country suppliers’ offers, and forecast the associated costs with importing it by going through the list above. You’ll quickly know the way you should go.