Sell products to China–How to choose the right cross-border business model for your ecommerce?

More and more brands want to do business in China – the second largest consumer market in the world. China’s middle class population is booming, and their demand for overseas high-quality goods is also growing. In this regard, the Chinese government has introduced many policies to encourage import consumption. The time has come to sell products to China, So which cross-border business model is most suitable for you?

1. China cross-border models

Cross-border business model

Universal Postal Union
Commercial Express

Cross-border E-commerce

Clearance way

Postal clearance

Express clearance

Cross-border E-commerce customs clearance

Type of declaration

Customs random  inspection

All items are declared
to customs

All items are declared
to customs

Recipient information

Not required

Photo of ID card required

ID card number required

Applicable item

personal belongings

Items in the positive list

Tax model

Personal Postal Articles’ Tax

Cross-border e-commerce comprehensive tax

Common tax rate

13% / 20% / 50%

9.1%/ 17.9% / 23.1%

Tax incentives

Waiver of RMB 50 fee

Exemption from customs duty;
The VAT and consumption tax will be levied at 70%

Consumer annual purchase limit

No limit

RMB 26,000

Order value limit

Overseas→ China: RMB 1,000
Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan→ China: RMB 800

Each single transaction limit
is RMB 5,000


Enjoy tax exemption

Enjoy tax exemption

Enjoy lower tax rate;
High success rate of customs clearance;


Risk of failing customs clearance;
Uncertain logistics delivery time
Higher tax rate than CBEC comprehensive tax

Every orders are subjected to tax


2.Personal Postal Articles’ Tax

Overseas brands wants to sell products to China consumers and shipped via UPU or C2C channels, should know the personal postal articles’ tax regulations. This is the import tax levied by China Customs on the articles brought by individuals and mailed into the country. Hence, this model can only be used for personal use and goods with restricted value.

Calculation of personal postal articles’ tax

Tax payable = Dutiable value * Quantity * Tax rate

 The dutiable value is not exactly the purchase price of the commodity, but the valuation of the commodity by the Chinese Customs. Only when the difference between the purchase price and dutiable value is large (more than double or less than half), the calculation shall be based on the purchase price of the commodity. If the tax payable is less than RMB 50, consumers don’t have to pay tax, and the customs will release the items immediately.

Tax rate list of common goods:

Tax Number Item Unit Dutiable value


Tax rate
01010700 milk powder kilogram 200 13%
01020200 coffee kilogram 200 13%
04010100 coat piece 300 20%
04020100 cap piece 100 20%
04020200 scarves/headscarves individual 100 20%
04020300 necktie individual 100 20%
04020400 waistband individual 100 20%
04020500 gloves pair 100 20%
05010600 leather skirt piece 1000 20%
06020100 leather shoes pair 300 20%
06020300 sneaker pair 200 20%
07010220 stem-winder block 500 20%
09010111 perfume≥ RMB 10 / ml (gram) bottle 300 50%
09010112 perfume< RMB 10 / ml (gram) bottle 300 20%
09010211 lipstick≥ RMB 10 / ml (gram) branch 150 50%
09010212 lipstick< RMB 10 / ml (gram) branch 150 20%
09010311 mascara≥ RMB 10 / ml (gram) branch 100 50%
09010312 mascara< RMB 10 / ml (gram) branch 100 20%
09010341 eyeshadow≥RMB 10 / ml (gram) box 100 50%
09010342 eyeshadow<RMB 10 / ml (gram) box 100 20%
09010511 Foundation≥ RMB 10 / g Box 200 50%
09010512 foundation<RMB10/g Box 200 20%
09020110 Face cleanser bottle 100 20%
09020120 makeup remover  bottle 150 20%
11011100 electric cooker set 500 20%
11011700 coffeemaker set 4000 20%
11021120 electric hair dryer set 200 20%

For example, a Chinese customer purchased 2kg milk powder on e-shop. If UPU / C2C model is adopted, how much is the payable tax?

From the above table, milk powder dutiable value is RMB 200 / kg, and the tax rate is 13%. Therefore, the payable tax can be calculated as follows:

  • Case 1: When the price of milk powder is RMB 90/ kg (less than half of the dutiable value), the tax payable is:

90 * 2 * 13% = RMB 23.4 (tax exemption)

  • Case 2: When the price of milk powder is RMB 150/ kg, the tax payable is:

200 * 2 * 13% = RMB 52

  • Case 3:  When the price of milk powder is RMB 400/ kg (2 times higher than the dutiable price), the tax payable is:

400 * 2 * 13% = RMB 104

3.Cross-border e-commerce(CBEC)comprehensive tax

The CBEC comprehensive tax is a preferential tax policy set by the Chinese government for cross-border e-commerce. In this mode, you can sell products directly to China consumers by cross-border direct mail and bonded warehouse.

Calculation of CBEC comprehensive tax

Tax payable = Purchase price * Quantity * Tax rate

 If the order amount on cross-border e-commerce platform does not exceed RMB 5,000 and individual annual limit of RMB 26,000, the tariff rate is 0%. The import value-added tax and consumption tax will be levied at 70% of the tax payable.

CBEC comprehensive tax rate for common goods:

Item CBEC comprehensive tax rate
milk powder 9.1%
paper diaper 9.1%
health products 9.1%
chocolate 9.1%
coffee 9.1%
beer 9.1%
Face mask <RMB 15 / piece 9.1%
Skin care products <RMB 10 / ml 9.1%
Cosmetics / makeup <RMB 10 / ml 9.1%
Perfume <RMB 10 / ml 9.1%
shampoo 9.1%
body wash 9.1%
toothpaste 9.1%
Mobile phones, tablets 9.1%
Headphones, speakers 9.1%
Women’s wear, men’s wear, underwear 9.1%
Bags, wallets, 9.1%
Watch with a price of <RMB 10,000 9.1%
shoes 9.1%
belt 9.1%
scarf 9.1%
kitchen ware 9.1%
wine 17.9%
Golf ball 17.9%
Face Mask≥RMB 15 / piece 23.1%
Skin care products≥RMB 10 / ml 23.1%
Cosmetics / makeup≥RMB 10 / ml 23.1%
Perfume≥RMB 10 / ml 23.1%
Watch with a price of ≥RMB 10,000 28.9%

For example, if a Chinese customer purchases 2kg milk powder on your e-shop, if CBEC model is adopted, how much tax should he pay?

From the above list, the CBEC comprehensive tax rate of milk powder is 9.1%,Therefore, the payable tax can be calculated as follows:

  • Case1: When the price of milk powder is RMB 90 / kg, the tax payable is:

90 * 2 * 9.1% = RMB 16.4

( For UPU / C2C mode, tax is waived for any amount less than RMB 50 )

  • Case 2: When the price of milk powder is RMB 150/ kg, the tax payable is:

150 * 2 * 9.1% = RMB 27.3

(Compared to UPU / C2C, where the tax is RMB 52, CBEC model will save RMB 24.70)

  • Case 3: When the price of milk powder is RMB 400 / kg, the tax payable is:

400 * 2 * 9.1% = RMB 72.80

(Compared to UPU/C2C, where the tax is RMB104, CBEC model will save RMB 31.20)


4.How to choose the right cross-border model? 

Sell products to China consumers can be complicated and managing the customs administrative process can add to the challenges. Overseas merchants need to understand how taxes are calculated based commodity type, price, order volume and more. However, the benefits and cost effectiveness of using China CBEC is a clear winner. What’s more, it provides a better shopping experience for customers with local payments and faster delivery.

If you have questions about selecting cross-border business model,do leave a message below the article or schedule an appointment to speak with our China CBEC experts.