How to Import LED Strips From China in 2023

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LED strips are the all-time lovers of many as they are aesthetic and multifunctional. You can use it either for lumination or decoration at houses, shops, or even vehicles. I will share the steps to import LED strips from China in this post. Let’s get started!

To import LED strips from China, you must get import rights and understand the right product that needs to be purchased. After calculating the costs, use specific criteria to filter out a reliable supplier. Then, select the suitable shipping method and terms. Finally, wait for delivery of goods and make final check upon arrival.

This article is the ultimate guide to import from China. Learn each step in detail, and you’re good to go!

how to import led strips from china

Benefits of Importing LED Strips from China

Importing LED strips from China is very beneficial to businesses. The LEDs market size could increase to 1060milliom USD by 2025, based on the analysis report from Global LED Strips Sales. Here are the reasons why companies like to import LED strips from China:

High Quality

China goods are known to be quality products. They conduct strict inspections before, during, and after production to ensure quality.

You can also find that many LED strips supplier give warranties for your peace of mind. If there are any damaged goods during transportation, you can get compensation to ensure quality goods.

Large Manufacturing Capacity

China has enhanced its research and development over the years. The government policies allow many manufacturers to adopt advanced technologies too.

In this case, LED strips suppliers from China can produce in large quantities. They can also produce according to your quantity and customization needs.

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Due to the economies of scale, the production of LED strips has become efficient. When costs are divided by many goods, the production costs become lower.

Besides, China also has access to cheap raw materials and a large labor force. As a result, you can get affordable costs when importing LED strips from China.

Easy Transportation and Payment

With the rapidly growing exports, China suppliers are familiar with international business. Most of them have transportation agents that they cooperate with for the long term. There are many transportation choices according to your budget and lead time needs.

Besides, you also have the option of many payment methods and terms. There is no need to worry, even if you want to pay in your currency.

Policy Advantage

The Chinese government introduced policies that encourage exports and manufacturing. It has removed the trading barriers and reduced tariffs on consumer goods.

The processes of trade inspections, taxation, and others are also made more accessible. These policies result in reduced lead time and costs. That is why exports of LED strips from China are continuously growing.

Steps to Import LED Strips from China

1. Check for Import Rights

You must get the required import rights to import into your country. For instance, all importers into the European countries must get an EORI number. It is vital to avoid getting blocked at customs and wasting money on warehousing.

2. Choose the Right LED Strips

You also have to select the right LED strips to import from China. Research online and study statistics to learn the most popular LED strips. You should consider a few specifications of the LED strips as below:

  • Length
  • Color 
  • Power supply and input voltage
  • CRI
  • Brightness
  • Stability
  • Capacitor quality 
  • Dimming 
  • Heat dissipation
  • LED density and power draw
  • etc

Visit this link to learn about things to keep in mind when ordering LED lights from China.

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3. Calculate The Costs

You must calculate and plan your budget to ensure business profitability. Here are a few costs you should take note of:

Product Costs

After choosing the type of products, it is vital to estimate a reasonable cost. Don’t solely go for the cheapest as it could mean inferior quality. You should survey to understand the market price for your type of LED strips. 

After surveying, compare product types, supplier’s capabilities, quality of goods, delivery timeframe, etc.

Inspection Costs

You should also consider the inspection costs if you need a third-party inspector. It is to examine and ensure quality suppliers and goods.

Shipping Costs

Besides, you must also plan shipping costs as they are your costs of goods. Different shipping methods have different lead times and costings. You’ll learn more about different shipping methods later in this article.

Taxes and Duties

All imports from China and to your country are liable for import duties. You need to know the tariff classification of your LED strips in your import country. The amount of duties and taxes depends on what you import and where you import. 

The import duty rate is calculated according to the CIF value of your imported goods. CIF value includes the sales price, packing costs, insurance, and freight charges. 

You must also know the export duties from China, value-added tax, and excise duty.

The customs clearance will cost you an amount too.

Miscellaneous Costs

Other costs are like the currency conversion costs, port charges, to name a few. You can check with your supplier in advance if there will be any possible extra charges from them.

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4. Choose the Reliable Supplier to Make Order

Now you already have the type of products you need and their costs. It is time to look for a suitable supplier to make an order.

Search Engines

Search engine like Google is one of the most common places to look for things you want. You need to use the right keywords to get the right lists of suppliers.

Trade Shows

Besides, you can also travel to China and visit the trade shows like Cantor Fair. These fairs are excellent ways to know the suppliers and products in person.


You can also save time by getting referrals from your friends or businesses. Don’t forget to verify the suppliers to find the honest and reliable ones.  

Social Media Platforms

Social media is another method to source for suppliers. You can search on Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, or Youtube.

Online Marketplaces

Many entrepreneurs also source for suppliers on the online marketplace. You’ll get many top-rated products and suppliers on these online trading platforms.

Sourcing Agents

You can also spend some money to look for sourcing agents in China. They have years of experience in sourcing and verifying suppliers for you.

Visit this link to learn the complete guide to find LED strips manufacturers in China.

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5. Select the Best Shipping Method

Shipping Methods

To import LED strips from China, there are various shipping methods available. You can choose according to your budget and required lead time. 

Express Shipping

Express shipping is cost-effective and the fastest to reach you within 3-7days. It is an excellent way to transport small volumes or sample LED strips from China. Some popular express companies are DHL, FedEx, UPS, and DB Schenker.

Air Freight

Airfreight is the fastest and most secure transportation mode. It can send your valuable goods within 3-7 days without worry of delays. Yet, you’ll need to expect higher costs for a small volume of goods.

Sea Freight

Sea freight doesn’t limit weight, hence suitable for goods larger than two cubic meters (2m3). It is relatively cost-efficient compared to air freight and express. You can select this method if you can accept the shipping lead time of up to one month. 

Rail Freight

Rail freight is secure, affordable, fast, and suitable for bulky goods. However, there might be delays and less flexibility without delivering to your doorsteps. The expected shipping time is 15-35 days, and you should check if your country is reachable by rail freight.

Shipping Terms

The shipping terms are also called Incoterms or International Commerce Terms in full. It defines shipping obligations between importers and suppliers. 

You should set up the Incoterms with your suppliers for your orders. The purpose is to prevent unnecessary costs, delays, or other liabilities. Let’s take a look at the standard shipping terms when importing from China:

FOB (Free on Board/ Freight On Board)

In FOB, the suppliers will handle certain activities. They are the inland transportation, loading of goods, customs clearance for exports, and expenses for the port. Their obligations end once the goods have boarded the ship and left the port of origin.

The importers are responsible to choose their carrier and transportation route. They also need to handle customs clearance and expenses for imports.

EXW (ExWorks)

The suppliers will complete the packaging, export documentation, and certificates. Once the goods are packaged for transportation, the suppliers’ obligation is ended. 

The importers have to proceed the rest of the import process. For instance, the inland transportation, loading of goods, and customs clearance for both countries. They must also arrange the carrier, transport route, and expenses for import.

CIF (Cost, Insurance, Freight)

CIF is the most hassle-free method for importers. In CIF, suppliers will insure the goods until arrival at the importers’ destination port. They also arrange for inland transportation, loading of goods, and customs clearance for exports. Not only that, carrier and transport routes are set by the suppliers too.

The importers only have to handle the customs clearance and expenses for their imports.

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6. Prepare for Arrival of Goods

You’ll need to process certain documents before and during the delivery of goods. They are the Certificate of Origin, Bill of Lading, Commercial Invoice, and Proof of Import. 

Besides, it is also essential to deal with custom tariffs when importing from China. The tariffs include import duties, value-added tax, excise duties, and other costs. These duties might be chargeable from China and the country you import to.

Licensed customs brokers or freight forwarders can save your hassles. It is especially when you are a beginner importer. They know the customs laws and can help you handle the entire shipping process.

What to Consider in Choosing the Trustworthy Supplier?

There are a few criteria to consider to get trustworthy suppliers. Let’s take a look:

Experience and Testimonials

The year of experience in LED lights is an important criterion. It indicates if they have the professionalism to give purchase advice.

Also, look at their social media account, website comments, or review sections. They are feedback from users about the particular products and suppliers.

Service Quality

Service quality is equally important compared to product quality. Making pre-sales inquiries is an excellent way to know if they have skilled staffs to handle your questions. For instance, ask product- and purchase-related queries and look at how they answer. 

You should also make clear to what extend is their after-sales service. That is for the case of damaged goods or other problems related to products.


You need to check the regulations of the countries you are importing to. Different countries require different certifications for LED strips. Is it the CE, UL, FCC, RoHS, ENERGY STAR, or CSA for your country? Read here to learn more about The Certifications of LED Strips

Besides, you can also examine if the suppliers are ISO9001 certified. It is accreditation for their quality management and other international standards.

Company Capacities

It is crucial to know the manufacturing capacities before ordering from them. Are they able to produce up to your customization needs? Can they make your required quantities on time? You should know to plan your schedule.

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Important Questions to Ask When Importing LED Strips from China

These are a few questions that you need to communicate to your manufacturers:

1. What is your Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)?

You need to ask the MOQ before importing from China. Suppliers like Darkless LED only need an MOQ of 200 meters LED strips. If you need a smaller quantity for your start-up business, you can negotiate with the suppliers.

2. What is the product costs?

In general, the price per meter for LED strips could be from $1 to $12. It depends on your choice of product type, color, power draw, etc. You will get a better price when you order more. In contrast, smaller orders could mean higher prices per unit.

3. Can you tell me about your product quality?

Do they mainly serve the low-end, middle range, or high-end market? What are the certifications they have? 

A low-end target market could mean a lower price and a relatively lower quality. If you want better product quality, go for those who target middle and high range markets.

4. What is the lead time for my orders?

You’ll need to know the total time required to get your products after ordering. It should include the sampling, manufacturing, packing, and shipping lead time. 

The sampling lead time is how long they take to prepare and ship the sample to you. You can choose express shipping to receive goods in 3-7days. 

Manufacturing lead time is the time where the suppliers need to produce your orders. After the production, you’ll need to expect the packaging and inspection lead time. It depends on the supplier’s schedule and production ability. While most companies can complete production in 30days, you’ll need to check with them to get the estimated lead time.

And finally, shipping lead time is necessary to ship the LED strips to you. The fastest shipping method like express shipping or air freight could reach you in 3 – 7 days. Yet, sea or rail freight could take a long time of around 30 – 40 days.

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5. Are there contracts to reduce my purchase risks?

You should prepare the sales contract before payment as legal protection for your purchases. It could also reduce your risks and losses while importing from China.

In this case, formulate a detailed sales contract to record all the terms and conditions determined with the supplier before the order. 

The document should also include information on the removal of both companies and product requirements so that when a problem occurs, the problem can be judged in accordance with the contract.

6. What are the available payment methods and terms?

You can pay by Telegraphic Transfer (TT), Letter Credit (LC), Alipay, Western Union, etc. Check with the suppliers for the payment methods they accept. Always remember to verify the suppliers before making payments to them.

It is necessary to conduct product quality inspections as much as possible before payment to ensure smooth cooperation. Generally, the supplier can be reminded to be responsible for quality inspection and assurance before export, and a third-party organization of the factory can also be added for quality sampling inspection.

Some companies might want full payment in advance upon signing orders. Yet, if you are worried, you can negotiate several payment terms. 

For instance, some companies allow 70% payment upon ordering and 30% before shipping. You might even get 30% – 70% payment terms if you negotiate with them.

7. What warranty do you offer on your LED strips?

In general, LED products come with a 1 to 3-year warranty from the shipment date. It is an indication of how confident the manufacturers are towards their products.

The warranty is for defects or failure to perform of your LED strips. In this case, the manufacturers will repair or replace them for you without charge. Still, there are specific terms and conditions for a warranty.

You must also know the situations where the manufacturer will void or exclude the warranty. Improper use, handling, or modification of the LED strips will cause a void warranty. At the same time, wear and tear and problems caused by buyers are excluded from the warranties. 

Ways to Ensure Quality of China Imported LED Strips

Words are not enough. You must find ways to inspect the quality of LED strips before importing from China. Here are a few ways you can do:

1. Visit The Company/manufacturer in China

You can visit the company in China if you are willing to spend time and money. It is an excellent way to look at the product quality and choose products from there. You’ll also be able to know the suppliers’ production scale and company size.

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2. Hire a Third-Party Company

Hiring a sourcing or inspection company can also help ensure the quality of your goods. Whether to source or inspect products, they are professional and experienced. You can also get cost-effective imports, even after adding. The suppliers are liable for their service costs.

3. Request Samples

The simplest and cheapest way is to request samples from your suppliers. You can ask them to deliver samples based on your customization requirements. By getting samples on hand, you’ll be able to know if that is the product you want.

Why Choose Darkless LED as your LED strips China supplier?

With 20+ years of experience, Darkless Lighting Technology Co. has more than 1,000 global clients. Our over 10,000m2 workshop in Guangzhou managed to produce more than 30 large-scale projects.

With strict quality control, we achieved several authoritative certificates for each product. It includes the CE, UL, TUV, RoHS, FCC, MSDS, EPA, Gmicro Testing, etc. 

Besides, Darkless LED also allows customization on the design of LED strips. You can make your brand stand out and increase business competitiveness by customization. 

Wherever you are, our team offers 24/7 online service and after-sales service. We always strive to provide efficient services and fast deliveries.

We are also co-branding with some major brands in different industries. They are Nissan, Marriott, Cree LEDs, BridgeLux, Epistar, Philips, and others.

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1. What are the possible risks while importing LED strips from China?

When importing from China, you may get inferior goods from uncertified companies. Some manufacturers tend to overcharge and underdeliver the promised quality. 

There might also be language and cultural barriers as they mainly speak Chinese. Among all, the worst-case scenario is being scammed by unethical suppliers.

To lower risks, you should research in-depth and verify the suppliers. Consider hiring a licensed inspector to assist you in the negotiation and inspection.

Besides, your goods might be damaged or lost during transportation if you do not buy insurance.

2. What could be the cheapest way to ship LED lights from China?

You can choose sea transportation to save costs when shipping LED lights from China. It is beneficial when you import bulky or large quantities of goods. Yet, you’ll need to expect a longer shipping lead time of about 30 – 40 days.

Also, ensure that your supplier makes good packaging for your goods. Otherwise, the dampened LED strips during sea transport will lead to damages.

3. Is there compensation from the supplier for my spoilt goods?

Most factories make repeated inspections, and hence spoilage seldom happens. Still, if you find damaged goods during the transportation, you can claim your insurance. 

For wrong products to you, the suppliers are liable for replacements and costs incurred.

4. Is there a need to pay import duties from China?

Yes, companies that import goods from China will be subject to import duties. It is the same for importers of LED strips. 

China calculates the import duties based on the costs of goods and the destination port. Knowing the costs could help plan your budget.

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Importing LED lights from China is a profitable business. These LED strips are decorative and versatile. Finding the right products and suppliers is crucial to increasing your branding. 

I hope this guide is helpful in sharing how to import LED strips from China. You can talk to the customer service of Darkless LED if you have further inquiries.

Contact US

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No.111,Baiyun Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou City, Guangdong, China.

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