China is a huge nation with a massive citizen-base. For those wishing to send packages, understanding the rules and regulations that apply to moving merchandise is critical.
As one of the oldest civilizations in history, China has often been on the cutting edge of technology and advancements. More recent history has resulted in some setbacks created by the introduction of strict communism. Today, the country is closely monitored by leadership with a focus on monitoring and improving economic and living conditions. Still, communism remains the type of government the country uses; policies such as the well-known one-child-per-couple-rule keep their 1.35 billion population in check.
China's main industries are commercial exports. The country produces a large percentage of the commercial goods used by other industrialized countries, including the United States. Main production categories include clothing, electronics and consumer goods such as small appliances. Most of the production in China is centralised in the biggest cities and there has been an influx of factory workers immigrating from more rural areas. This has left the country with a massive gap between the middle class and those that still live in poverty conditions. Still, foreign investment in China has remained strong and it has shown a resiliency to economic upsets that most other world economies have been unable to match. As of 2011, China boasted the world's second-largest economy.
China traditionally favours open trade with most nations. The government, however, has no problem making sure these transactions work in their favour. Many nations take issue with the discrepancies in exports versus imports when working with China. In addition, the country has no problem manufacturing and marketing pirated goods.
Like all other countries, China monitors the goods that travel through its borders from other countries, including the United Kingdom. Some prohibited items appear on lists of numerous countries, while other prohibitions are largely political. China, for example, disallows anything marked "Republic of China" or "Made in China," and can also confiscate materials that promote political opinions that the government does not support. Other prohibitions include weapons, drugs, certain medications, ivory, US beef products and anything made by a prisoner.
Most other sensitive shipments fall into the restricted category. Restricted items include firearms, perishable food, live animals, money, alcohol, tobacco and precious metals. Personal belongings can usually be imported without issue as long as the shipment is accompanied by the proper paperwork; as many as four separate forms are required in this situation. China Customs provides further information about all the applicable rules; their website is found here
Several well-known courier services operate within the borders of China, including DHL, UPS and FedEx. Packages sent through any carrier that are not tightly sealed or leaking can be held at customs or denied entry into the country. If you are sending a commercial shipment, all products much have a China Compulsory Certification Mark in order to be acceptable for sale. In addition, China regularly inspects packages, and it is not uncommon for regular seizures to occur. Keep this in mind, especially if you are shipping to one of the areas of the country with extreme weather; delays in customs clearance can lead to your package arriving when it is unusually hot or cold, leading to potential damage to sensitive shipments.
Also, please note that there are separate import restrictions if you were looking to send a parcel to Hong Kong