China Food Importers: How Do You Reach Out to Them?

Reaching out to China food importers can be a daunting task. But with the right information and resources, it can be a lot easier than you think. In this blog post, we will outline some of the best ways to reach out to these importers, as well as give you some tips on how to make your business stand out from the competition in the Chinese F&B industry.

So if you’re looking to do business with Chinese food importers, read on for more information!

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What Does a Classic Distribution Plan in China Look Like?

With the risk of losing an operational license, counterfeits, and other issues, Chinese distributors are starting to be more careful in choosing who they want to work with. They are pretty much aware of the Chinese consumers’ buying habits.

Chinese consumers don’t buy unknown brands. That being said, when looking for a partner, Chinese distributors will often choose companies that are already established in China or have a good reputation.

With this in mind, if you are a foreign business that wants to export products to China, you should be ready for a long and difficult process.

As a foreign company, you should avoid distributors that move your products across their regions. The main reason for this action is that they want to maximize the price differentiation since cities in China have different prices.

You should also be aware of the risks of outsourcing distribution, especially for Chinese distributors. Why? China does not offer any kind of protection for international trademarks. The rules for the registration of goods are also different in the country. Make sure to do your research regarding your industry’s regulations and other legalities before working with a Chinese distributor.

Setting Goals and Targets: Knowing the Basics of Food Imports in China

As with everything, it’s best to start from the basics. In this case, it will give you the edge you need to grow in the industry and stand out compared to other foreigners. Here are some answered common questions about food imports in China:

How Much of China’s Food Supply Is Imported?

Being one of the largest countries in the world, China has an enormous population to feed. They have been self-sufficient for many years but looking at today’s statistics,  it is evident that they are starting to import more food. China’s food industry is worth $1.3 trillion, with a significant share of it coming from imports.

china food industry data gma

What Meat Is Imported from China?

According to Reuters, more than 50% of the meat imported by China is pork. While this is an obvious number since pork is the favorite protein in the country, beef, and chicken imports are growing at a rapid pace as well.

What Countries Import from China?

China is one of the most significant importers in the world. So it is not surprising that a lot of countries are trying to get their products into the Chinese market. However, according to the statistics from Statista, the major import partners of the country are the ASEAN countries, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Is China the Largest Importer of Food?

With over 1.4 billion mouths to feed, it’s not difficult to imagine that China is one of the biggest food importers in the world. China was and still is the largest importer of food in 2023 according to China Macro Economy. Meat, dairy, and seafood are the three largest food items that China imports.

Overall, the food import industry in the country is growing rapidly, giving foreign suppliers a prime opportunity to grow in China. 

Finding Quality Chinese Distributors

Going to the very point of the matter, you will need to look for quality Chinese distributors.

Benefits of working with Chinese distributors

Here are our tips that might give your company a head start:

Find Your Product Selling Point

China’s market and consumers have different tastes when it comes to food. It would be best if you found a selling point that would attract Chinese customers to your product. Focus on the quality, quantity, or even the packaging of your food.


This is a big deal when it comes to selling in China. As mentioned above, Chinese consumers will not buy from unknown brands, and distributors are not an exemption. Make this your priority and focus on building a good reputation in China.


Establish a Digital Presence 

Create a quality website that is optimized for Baidu and partner with an SEO company that can help you be visible on the first page of Baidu. Publishing quality articles on your website can also help build a good reputation for your company. Take as an example Zhihu and Baidu Tieba. These two companies rank high on search engine results pages and are popular for their accurate and quality information.


Lead Generation

B2B or business-to-business lead generation can be done by exhibiting at China food fairs or setting up a booth at popular Chinese food industry events. You can also utilize pay-per-click ads on popular Chinese platforms if you are fairly new in the market. With this, China distributors can easily find you. Using WeChat as your communication tool can also help as it is the most popular messaging app in China.

Offline Events, Trade Fairs, and Exhibitions

Establishing communication with Chinese consumers and distributors alike is the lifeblood of every business in the country. By attending fairs and exhibitions, you are giving yourself a chance to expose your products and gain attention from possible distributors and customers.

chinese scack brand offline event organized by GMA
Chinese Snacks Brand Lyfen Offline Event by GMA

Include a digital strategy such as having a QR code in your booth that directs the consumers or distributors to your website. Communication is the key to B2B, so make sure to use what’s convenient for your Chinese target market.

Establish Online Reputation

Being overly dependent on Chinese distributors might not be a good idea. Remember that Chinese distributors are known to only take brands and products that they see as profitable. They can end their relationship with any supplier that they deem not necessary.


The solution we see is to establish an online reputation and provide evidence that your product is in demand. By creating demand for your products, distributors are the ones that will look for you.

Straight to the Market

As mentioned above, online reputation is key. By going straight to the market and online sales platforms such as Taobao, Tmall, Pinduoduo, and so on, you can validate the demand for your product. Then, by testing how the market reacts and responds to your products, you will have the data to back you up when looking for China food importers or Chinese distributors.

It is also a good idea to invest in digital marketing and communication or sales support. Having your products online, you can see the real potential of your product in the Chinese market.

Chinese Import Regulations for Food Products

Now that you have an idea of how to find China food importers and Chinese distributors, it’s time to start thinking about how to actually import food into China. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

food export to chona: prcess

1. Register Alongside the CAA

CAA or the Certification and Accreditation Administration in the country where you’re looking to distribute your product is the first place you need to go. Registration is necessary for any business looking to import food into China.

Foods such as meat and other health food products are submitted to special conditions that require complementary registration with the validity of 4years.

2. Licence of Pre-Importation and the List of the Necessary Documents To Provide

While it is not necessary to possess a pre-importation license in China, there are some exceptions, especially for dairy products or poultry, for which you have to obtain the Automatic Import License delivered by the Department of Commerce.

This is to ensure that products being imported into China meet the safety and quality standards. Before sending your products, preparing the following  documents is essential:

  • Commercial invoice
  • A detailed list of packaging
  • Bill of Lading
  • Health and sanitary certificate

Find the full list of documents here.

3. Product Labeling Should Be in Compliance With Chinese Standards

China is very specific to its regulations when it comes to imported food products. All food products must be labeled in Chinese characters to simplify the process of customs clearance and comprehension. The label should also include:

  • The name of the product
  • List of ingredients in percentage
  • The name and address of the manufacturers, distributors, and local agents
  • The country where the product originates
  • Category of quality
  • Special contents, if any (additives, genetically modified organisms, etc.)
  • The industrial norm for the production

4. CIQ Clearance – Hygiene Inspection

The hygiene certificate CQI, which is a document that ensures that the product meets Chinese quality, safety, and hygiene standards, is required for all imported food products. This is critical due to all food products are controlled by custom clearance agents who verify shipment documents if they comply.

Need Help Reaching Out to Chinese Food Importers?

At Gentlemen Marketing Agency, we specialize in connecting global businesses with key Chinese importers. Our deep understanding of the market, combined with tailored marketing strategies, makes us an ideal partner for your entry or expansion in this dynamic arena.

Why Choose Us?

With our expertise in digital marketing and a rich network in the food and beverage industry, we are uniquely positioned to help you make impactful connections.

Our Customized Services

  • Market Research and Analysis: In-depth insights into the Chinese food import market for effective strategizing.
  • B2B Marketing Strategies: Bespoke campaigns targeting food importers and decision-makers.
  • Digital Platform Optimization: Enhanced presence on platforms like WeChat and Baidu.
  • Content Marketing and Brand Storytelling: Engaging narratives that showcase your brand’s unique value.
  • Trade Show Assistance and Networking: Expert support for maximizing impact at industry events.
  • Regulatory Guidance and Compliance: Navigating China’s import standards to ensure compliance.
GMA Services

Partner with Gentlemen Marketing Agency to unlock opportunities in the Chinese food import market. Our targeted approach and market expertise can elevate your outreach, connecting you with the right importers to grow your brand.

Contact us today to start crafting your success story in one of the world’s most dynamic markets.

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