How to import LED lights from China?

LED lights have replaced incandescent bulbs once and for all. They are versatile, cost-effective, and last significantly longer than traditional light bulbs. Even within LEDs there are several variants with different applications. The demand for LEDs is naturally large, and importing from China is the best way to respond to the market and earn profits.

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Imports from China provide a range of varieties at much lower prices, boosting profits. You can pick from a variety of suppliers and suppliers. But before making any decision, you must consider some factors. Let’s learn more about them in this comprehensive guide.


Step 1: Check import rights

Import rights are a legal requirement to purchase goods from other countries and ship them into your country. Every country has different legal requirements. Some require an import license, while others only require customs clearance. US residents can buy LED lights from China without an import license. You just need to follow the general guidelines provided by Customs for a successful transaction.

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Additionally, the U.S. requires residents to obtain a customs bond for imports over $2,500. Products subject to other regulatory agencies such as the FDA and FCC also require a customs bond. Because LED lights are also regulated by other agencies, importers require a customs bond.


When purchasing a custom bond, you can choose from two options. Single entry bond and continuous customs bond. The former is valid for one-time transactions covering annual imports. You can choose between these two bonds depending on the nature of your business and the needs you are dealing with. For example, if you’re just starting a business, it’s a good idea to buy one-time bonds. Once the company starts generating profits and you understand the market, you can move on to building ongoing bonds.


Step 2: Compare Available Options

China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of LED lights in the world. You’ll have a lot of options, and not all of them offer top-notch products. Therefore, you should browse the market and look for the different options that you have. Once you’ve narrowed down the suitable options, compare them to choose the best. You must also be familiar with the basics of getting the best product possible.


For starters, you should know about the different types of LEDs and their applications. There are three types of LED lights: Dual In-line Package or DIP, Chip on Board or COB and Surface Mount Diode or SMD. All of these lights have different applications and purposes. Their fundamental differences include power output, brightness, and color temperature. You have to understand the differences of the different types to make an informed and correct decision.


Also, there are some specific LED lights. These include LED icicles, steps, brackets and bulbs. So if you need a specific LED light, make sure you’re searching for exactly that. Once you’ve found a supplier that offers the lights you want, compare their offerings. Compare prices, warranties and durability factors to get the best product.


Step 3: Review Supplier Reputation

Once you’ve found the right product, make sure the supplier is credible and will live up to what it says. There are several ways to confirm a supplier’s trustworthiness, including:


your website

The first way to check the reputation of a business is to check its website. If you have imported from China or any other country before, viewing the site will immediately let you know if the business is credible. The first thing to pay attention to is whether the domain name and website are safe. The standard domain name for Chinese websites is .cn. But suppliers of products for export also frequently use .com and .org. You should also check that the website is safe, it’s pretty simple. Just check to see if there is a “key icon” next to it when the site loads.


Also, look up information on the website and compare it to what they provide in other mediums. A credible website also regularly posts blogs, which is a good indicator of credibility.


social media pages

A business’s social media pages can tell if a company is credible. You can see the number of followers and their interactions on the posts uploaded by the page. Reviews can also help to understand the quality of what a business offers. However, make sure the reviews and comments on the page are organic. Sometimes companies hire PR firms to leave these reviews. You can look at the profile of the commenter and the people who interacted with the post to see if they are genuine.


Also, it’s a good idea to message people who have reviewed their products. Talking to someone with experience in the business will tell you exactly what to expect. It will also help determine whether reviews and comments are genuine.



In addition to looking at reviews from websites and social media pages, you can also ask companies that have experience with the supplier. You have to know other businesses in the same market as you. Best to ask them for advice. You should give more importance to these reviews as they can better introduce you to the product from your perspective. We know competitors don’t want you to know the details, but conversations with multiple business owners will help you find out.


Also, there are several groups on Facebook that you can use to ask other businesses for their opinions. The people in these groups are usually very helpful and will let you know important details.


purchasing agent

Some companies hire sourcing agents to import products from other countries. It saves them the headache of going through all the trouble. These agents assist every step of the way, including finding the right products and suppliers to import into your home country. It is also important to check their credibility. You have to follow the same steps we discussed earlier to ensure their credibility. It will prevent future headaches.


Step 4: Create a Budget

After finding the right product and supplier, make sure you have enough budget to import LED lights. When creating a budget, remember to consider your client’s spending power. You don’t want to import products that are too expensive that most customers can’t even afford. And it’s not product cost that you have to consider; there are other elements as well.


Product Cost

The cost of the product will take up the bulk of the budget. Therefore, it should be the first thing included when formulating an import budget. You should know exactly how many units you need to import. This is only possible if you have the right forecast for future sales. Only buy extra if it gives you a little discount. Always base your purchases on demand for the product.


inspection cost

As mentioned earlier, LED lights are subject to several regulations, and each shipment is inspected when it reaches the U.S. border. Depending on the number and type of LEDs you import, you’ll pay anywhere from $80 to $1,000. So remember to take inspection costs into account when creating your budget.



Importing from China requires expensive shipping. In addition, both the US and China are large countries, and the location of importers and exporters also plays a crucial role. In short, shipping costs for businesses located on the West Coast are very different from those located on the East Coast. Therefore, shipping costs must be considered when drafting a budget for importing LEDs.


Taxes and Duties

All imported goods are subject to customs duties in all countries. You can find out the amount payable by looking up the tariff classification provided by the customs authority. The amount of taxes and duties varies according to the volume, type and location of the import.


Miscellaneous expenses

In addition to the above costs, other factors can also affect the overall budget. These include but are not limited to port dues, currency exchange and discharge charges. Combined, these prices can add up and affect the budget significantly. And you can’t predict the exact amount these factors will cost. When drafting a plan to import LEDs from China, it is a good idea to allocate at least 10% of your budget to miscellaneous costs.

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Step 5: Find the right shipping method

As mentioned earlier, shipping for LED lights from China is very expensive. And to profit from shipping, you have to thoroughly study the different shipping methods. Some of them are as follows;


rail freight

Rail freight is fast, affordable and ideal for bulky items. But it is only used in countries connected to China by land. Unfortunately, this cheaper shipping method is not available to US residents. For residents of Europe, this will be the preferred method for most. However, the problem with this approach is the time it takes. On average, the goods arrive in about 15-35 days, depending on the country’s distance from China.


ocean freight

Sea freight is an option for businesses that do not connect with China by land. The best part about this method is that it has no weight restrictions. You can ship as large an order as you need. In addition, this approach is also cost-effective. However, the goods will arrive a little later than other ways. Therefore, businesses must order at least one month in advance to get the LED lights at the warehouse.


fast shipping

Express shipping is the fastest way to move goods around the world. You can use this method to import LED lights when demand unexpectedly becomes high. In addition, some merchants also use it to import a small amount of LED lights for testing before placing an order. Shipments via this method take approximately 3-7 days to arrive, and various companies offer express shipping. Some popular ones include DHL, DB Schenker, UPS, and FedEx. Prices and services vary from company to company. So it would be better to compare them before placing an order through them.


Express shipping prices are generally much higher than sea and train shipping. Therefore, most companies do not use it to ship bulk products. It is only suitable for small batches when businesses need help to cope with the demand for available stock.