The delivery times from China are very unpredictable.
Sometimes parcels arrive in only a week and sometimes you need to wait for 50 days!

Why is this delivery time so unclear?

Did you know that:

The delivery time is calculated as the sum of the processing time and the transmit time.

Note that the shipping time is just a part of the transmit time. So, although a company can promise fast shipping, there are still reasons why the delivery can take much longer. Let’s dig into it!


What is this Processing Time?

The processing time is the time that a company needs to get your order ready for transport. If the product is in stock, the processing time can be within 24 hours. But if it is not, the processing time can be a few days—or even up to a few weeks.

For example, at Lightinthebox, custom-made products like wedding dresses have a processing time of 10-14 days. LED lights and wall art have a processing time of 3-15 days.

The processing time depends on various factors.

1            Your payment must be approved by your bank

Some banks need time to confirm your payment, especially with credit cards. This takes 0 to 3 days in case of a weekend.

2            Production time

Some products are custom-made, like costumes or wedding dresses. This will add 10-14 days to the processing time.

3            Shipping in China

Products might not be in stock and need to be ordered from elsewhere in China. Like the LED lights at Lightinthebox, which can take 3-15 days.

4            Packaging the order

Some shops take extra time for packaging and quality control. This is another 0-2 days.

Not all these factors might be appropriate to your order. And the numbers of days are estimations. The total processing time for a regular product that is in stock can be just 1 or 2 days. With a more specific order it can be 2 weeks.

What is this Transmit Time?

The transmit time is the time that it takes to get your order from the store to your house. The shipping time is a part of it.

There are many factors that influence the transmit time.

1            Chinese customs

Sometimes your parcel gets stuck at the Chinese customs. This might happen when the declaration papers are not correctly filled out. Most of the times the Chinese customs are of no concern. But sometimes your parcel can get stuck here and it can stay there for an undefined number of days.

2            International shipping (premium)

This is what you pay for with premium shipping. The promised 3-8 days.

3            Clearance at your customs

If your parcel exceeds a defined amount of value, for example 22 euro in Europe, your customs might hold the parcel to calculate custom duty and sales taxes. With premium shipping services, the handling can be very fast. With the free shipping this can take 0-10 days.

4            Delivery in your country

Your postman has a job too, calculate 0-2 days.

5            You are not at home

I hate this and it happens all the time! Another few more days

Please don’t get overwhelmed by this huge list. Normally you will never notice the separate steps. But if your parcel doesn’t arrive fast, it may have gotten stuck in one of these steps.

How fast can you receive your order?

It is almost impossible to give a good estimation on how fast you can receive you order. Based on my own experience, the fastest free shipping took only 7 calendar days.

This is really fast. But I also had some parcels that got stuck at the both Chinese as European customs. In general, the process from ordering till receiving takes 2 to 3 weeks. A few times it took almost 50 days.

Get more info on Buying from China

This article is an extract of the Safe Buying in China Secrets – eCourse.
For more information, click here >>>

In which country do you live and how fast do you – at average – receive your packages from China? Do you use free or paid shipping?

Write your answers in the comment box below.

If you think this blog is valuable, please share this blog with your friends by pressing the Facebook, Twitter or Google+ buttons on the right.

Thank you for your answers!



Founder of StartBuyingInChina. It all started as an hobby. I liked to categorize the few Chinese stores I knew. After 6 years over 150 blogs were published. I created a wonderful online course about Safe buying online in China, and served over 1.000.000 people. Thank you for being here!

    41 replies to "How fast can you receive a parcel from China?"

    • Giorgos

      Very very thanks for the guide!

    • Chigozie

      Sir thank you very much, may God almighty continue to bless you.

    • Lungile Perseverance Sibanyoni

      Do you know shipping

      is it safe

      • Bastiaan

        It’s not a Chinese company as far as I can see.

    • Lungile Perseverance Sibanyoni


      What is the fast and price reasonable way of shipping


      • Bastiaan

        Please read the blogs about shipping, there is no quick answer.

    • vick

      with free delivery i receive ma package from china on about 35days

    • Yemilinks

      Mr Bastiaan, i really appreciate your job, well done sir, the lord is your strenght.

    • Tcharlx

      Its Bastiaan again my witch friend. Lols.

      Its true free shipping can last uptill 60days, but in recent times, it takes just between 2-3weeks. I have however, discovered third party forwarders that gives me what I want in just 3days….!

      • Bastiaan

        Hi Tcharlx! Good to see you back.
        60 days is very long. But should be the max. If it takes that long I would contact the seller to ask what’s the problem. Maybe the products are not available or need to be produced. Do they have the products in stock?
        Third party resellers can have a small amount of products available and ship it right away. I have never received products in 3 days. 7 is the fastest. Did you actually deal with them or is it just a ‘promise’ they make? In that case I wouldn’t trust them. And i you did, great! Which store is it 😉
        Wish you success

        • Tcharlx

          I shop aliexpress. My seller sent my item same day to my forwarder. I opted for express shipping and pronto in 3 days it landed.
          Again, help check if www dot sztechoutlet dot is a scam. Thank you.

          • Bastiaan

            Compliments to your seller on AliExpress. 3 Days is really fast!
            I wouldn’t trust sztechoutlet. The site exists only 2 weeks and the prices are too good to be true. Their url isn’t the shop name either.

            • Tcharlx

              Always on time…… Thanks Bastiaan!

    • Jeremy

      Hi i want to start buying from china, can somone just explain to me what flat and stardard shippin means. Google is not giving me what i want.

      • Bastiaan

        Hi Jeremy, welcome to our site and the online world of Chinese stores. Google might not give what you are looking for, but the answers are certainly here. Please check: Free shipping, Free shipping vs low prices.
        I’ll address your question further in the coming Q&A blog. Please subscribe!

    • victor

      I live in Nigeria.

      • Bastiaan

        Thanks for your response. How fast do you normally receive your parcels?

        • victor

          Jst wana go into d business. Avent bin into one b4

    • Mema

      I live in Bosnia & Herzegovina. I order mostly from FastTech and Banggood with free shipping. It takes usually 3-4 weeks. I also would like to order from AliExpress but no one offers free shipping to Bosnia. Why is that so?

      • Bastiaan

        Fasttech and Banggood are ‘stores’. They sell their products themselves.
        AliExpress is a ‘market place’. There are maybe thousand small independent Chinese manufactories selling their products. Some do offer free shipping, some not. Prices may differ a lot in these cases. Free shipping doesn’t mean cheaper…

        • Mema

          Hi Bastiaan,
          Thank you very much for your answer. I am aware of that, what AliExpress is and how free shipping is calculated. But if you take a closer look and choose ANY product from ANY manufacturer/vendor that offers free shipping to all countries or most of them. For Bosnia you do not have the option to choose and have to pay at least $40 for DHL or EMS and others. And if you change the settings for the country, as example I took the three neighbor countries: Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. Guess what, all of them offers free shipping to these countries. I know that Bosnia is in a bad shape as a state. I checked Afghanistan also, which is much worse (I think), has the option to choose. I hope that you now understand my question. Again, thank you very much. You are doing great work here.

          • Bastiaan

            Hi Mema,
            Well in this case I have no clue. It might be possible that China Post doesn’t have a contract with your local postal service. This is just a guess. Maybe the store owners can tell you if you ask for it.
            Good luck

    • Jeffrey

      I live in Ghana.
      I receive in 3 weeks.
      I use free shipping.

    • suryawan

      You’re absolutely right, though it’s not so cheap and things still takes a looooong time to come to my doorstep, nearly two month.

      • Bastiaan

        In which country do you live Surywan?

    • Eagles

      First of all, thanks specially for the Buying In China Course, i appreciate. I live in Nigeria, buying from Aliexpress on Free Shipping is with 12-28days but using DHL on paid plan are normally between 9-11 days.

    • Kjell

      At Aliexpress I ordered products from 2 different stores.
      One arrived after 1 month and 2 dayes the other after 1 month and 4 dayes.
      I live in Norway

    • karen

      Who pays for the custom duty in my home country.

      • Bastiaan

        Hi Karin,
        You do….. It’s your country. You pay for duty, sales taxes and clearance costs.
        Do mind answering the questions in this blog too? How fast do you normally receive your packages and in which country is this?

    • amos

      I live in Ghana. I’ve ordered twice using express shipping. they all arrived within 4 days from the time of shipment via DHL. excluding processing( processing took about 5 days). all the remaining ones are standard shipping where I pay something small for shipping or otherwise free shipping.

    • Jimmy

      Extremely useful tips, thank you!

      I live in Guam. My orders usually take anywhere from 7-20 days, only because the packages have to go to California, then Hawaii, and then my address in Guam. The latest I’ve ever waited for a package was 45 days, but the product was worth it. In the end, most sellers I’ve worked with have always resolved any issues that came up.
      I usually use free shipping depending on the delivery estimate, otherwise I would pay if I wanted the item delivered faster.

      • Bastiaan

        Thank you. From China/California/Hawaii/Guam in 7 days? Pretty amazing!
        Good to hear that the sellers wants to resolve the problems. Which shops were these? I think other readers like to know that too.

        • Jimmy

          Hello Mr. Bastiaan,
          Yes, 7 days. Although, I am most certain those products I ordered actually had the shipping fee included (those are the sellers that claim free “DHL” shipping), but we all know…DHL never ships for free! Buyers need to know that most items bought through China actually still costs less than the offer price. So when you see ‘free shipping’, the fee is already included in the actual cost of the item.
          Thanks for your response, this is actually the first blog that the author has replied back.

    • Sanjay

      I have ordered many items from different stores and the time also depends on the store. Few have been extremely prompt and many had prompt communication windows , but only one store choose to delay and also ,not communicate properly . To sum up , the experience has been very satisfying.

      • Bastiaan

        Great to hear! In what country do you live?

    • Thomas

      Normally within 3 weeks to Belgium. i never paid for shipping with DHL

    • John

      Hello, this gives good insights! At AliExpress I ordered many products at once from different vendors. The products from one vendor arrived within 8 days. Products from other vendors took weeks. All orders were with free shipping. I think the delivery time also depends on the efficiency of the store. Some stores are just very small. Btw I live in the Netherlands too.

      • Bastiaan

        Hi John, yeah that can be right too. The companies behind AliExpress are sometimes just a few people who sell their own made products.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.