Is free shipping from china really free?

Is free shipping from China really free?

Have you ever wondered how it is possible that most shipping from China is free?

I couldn’t understand how you can order a small item for just a few bugs and get all the way to Europe for free. It needs to be transported by plane, transported by car and hand over at my door. And all that for free?

Free shipping from China is probably the best reason why shopping in China is so interesting.

Why can shipping be free?

First we must have a look at the question why shipping can be free? It is not because they love you so much. As with everything in the world, nothing comes free. Let’s break down this free shipping to the reasons behind this ‘free’ thing.

  1. This sounds like a paradox, but free isn’t free. In the price you pay there is a percentage for the free shipping. This percentage is on all products. On more expensive products you pay more for shipping than for the cheaper products.
  2. There is a difference in economies between China and western countries. Labour in China costs less than in most other countries.
  3. China Post sends so much parcels, it has bulk order shipping rates with shipping agents all over the world.
  4. The shipping agents make clever use of the empty space on flights. The shipping costs are reduced to minimal this way.

These four points together make it possible to have these extremely low shipping costs.

If you search the Internet you might a fifth reason. Some people claim that the Chinese government is subsidizing the Chinese post system. For what I have found, this is not true.

Different shipping methods?

Many Chinese shops have a variety of shipping options. With different prices and different delivery times. You can divide these shipping methods in two groups: free or cheap services and expensive premium services.

Free and cheap services

The free and cheap services make use of the empty space on flights. This means that your parcel will stay in storage until there is a spot available. This extra space is randomly available.

The most used free and cheap services are China Post, Hongkong Post and Singapore Post.

If a Chinese retailer offers you free shipping, it is probably one of these companies. Calculate a long shipping time between 7 and 39 working days.

More expensive premium services

The more expensive services are premium western services. You pay much more for the shipping. This will be at least $ 30 and your parcel will have a reserved spot on the cargo flights (maybe next to a window).

Premium shipping companies are DHL, UPS. Fedex, EMS or Swiss Post.

The shipping time is 3-8 working days. This sounds great but…..

There is something you need to keep in mind.

The estimated shipping time is not the time that it will take to get your parcel from China. After your have ordered your product, your parcel needs to be processed in China. And the Chinese customs or your countries customs might hold the package for inspection. This makes the delivery time unpredictable. If you really need to have a product fast, don’t buy it in China.

My question to you is:

Have you ever paid for express or premium shipping?
And how fast did your parcel arrive?

Please write it down in the comment box below. And don’t forget to ‘Like’ and share this blog!

19 thoughts on “Is free shipping from China really free?

  1. My free shipping experience with dx.com was unpleasant. Uptill now. For 2years, I have not seen my orders. I got fedup after visiting my local postal service office all to no avail.

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