In 2016, China was Germany’s largest trading partner for the first time, replacing the USA. Online orders already account for around 10 percent of China’s total foreign trade. Because more and more Germans are discovering shopping in China for themselves, Paketda summarizes important tips for online shopping in China. The focus is on the major platforms AliExpress.
That’s why Chinese online shops are so cheap
Often products from China have the image of being not only price-wise but also qualitatively “cheap products”. However, this is hardly true anymore, as many products are on a European level.
Tip: Before buying a product from a Chinese supplier, read the ratings of other customers and don’t just rely on product photos.
Speaking of European standards, electronic products and children’s toys imported from non-EU countries must comply with European safety regulations and bear the CE mark, for example. With bad luck it could happen that products without this marking are not allowed into the country by the German customs. The same applies to foreign cosmetics.
The fact that Chinese products are offered so cheaply is due on the one hand to low manufacturing costs and wages in China. On the other hand, Chinese e-commerce benefits from government subsidies and extremely low postage costs.
International postal traffic is regulated by the Universal Postal Union (UPU), of which the state postal companies of all countries are members. Developing countries receive more favorable conditions for international shipping to singapore from us than industrially strong countries.
A letter with China Post to Germany costs less postage than a letter with Deutsche Post to China
Thus e.g. dealers from China can offer iPhone charging cables for 1 Euro on eBay – free of shipping costs. You should not be attracted by such extremely low prices. There is a high risk that the quality is inferior and that the smartphone will be damaged during charging.
For retailers in Europe, the cheap competition from China is a serious problem, by the way. Thus stern.de with reference to the trade paper reported that only a fraction of Chinese dealers in Germany pays value added tax.
Also the favorable dispatch conditions meet outside of China with envy. An article in the conservative US magazine National Review reports that the state postal service in China receives such favourable shipping conditions as the postal service in Gabon and Botswana, even though China is the second strongest economy in the world.
Before placing an order in China, consider whether the price advantage justifies the longer delivery time and the uncertainty regarding product quality. You can’t do much wrong with small items such as cable ties, USB sticks or protective films for displays. With higher-priced products such as drones or smartphones, the risk is greater, because in the case of a problem in China no German consumer law can be enforced.
Advisor & Shipping infos for Aliexpress
Aliexpress (operated by Alibaba.com) is very similar to the eBay marketplace. All products are sold there by independent dealers in their own name. In case of a problem you have to deal with the dealer and not with Aliexpress.
However, there is a buyer protection, where Aliexpress first manages the paid purchase price in trust. The seller only receives the money if the customer has received the goods completely and as described. If the delivery is lost on the way or the product deviates greatly from the item description, the customer first contacts the retailer. If there is no agreement, buyer protection can be applied for. Aliexpress examines the case and refunds the purchase price in whole or in part.
Paypal increases have been possible at Aliexpress since July 2017. Customers thus benefit from Paypal buyer protection. You can also choose between credit card, Sofortüberweisung, Giropay, WesternUnion and classic bank transfer. There are also other payment methods available, which are rather unknown in Germany.
How secure is shipping with Aliexpress?
Every retailer organizes the shipping of his products himself. Therefore there are different shipping methods and different return conditions depending on the supplier. Please be sure to read the “small print” in the item description. Serious dealers explain in detail which shipping methods are available and under which conditions a return is possible.
Aliexpress also shows at the end of each article page when and how often the product was purchased by other customers. Together with the retailer’s ratings, this provides a good indication of the retailer’s reliability. Do not buy from a retailer with few ratings. Aliexpress has good safeguards in place for the benefit of its customers. But there are always fraudsters who want to bypass the system (e.g. by pretending to ship goods to Germany with foreign tracking numbers).