Import infant formula into China, don’t miss the opportunity

China has the world's biggest population, and naturally, it probably has the biggest number of babies or infants every year. With more and more Chinese people getting rich, more and more families are choosing foreign-branded infant milk powder. In the near future, China may soon surpass United States as the world's biggest market for baby milk powder.

Chinese domestic milk producers like Mengniu, Yili, and Bright have all been caught in public crisis because of product safety problems. But these are only a small part of the whole grim picture of Chinese food security landscape, stained by a slew of public events like lean meat powder, swill-cooked dirty oil, artificial color, melamine.

As a result, Chinese people by and large lose faith in Chinese baby milk powder industry. People in first- or second-tiered cities in China all choose foreign branded infant formula. My son and friends of mine here in Shanghai all consume foreign milk powder. Here it has nothing to do with nationalism or patriotism but with health and life of human beings.

The situation in China has created a big market and golden opportunity for foreign branded infant formulas. There are many inside China who are looking around to find a way to import foreign baby milk powder into China for sale.

But with Chinese current international trade regime, in order to import infant formula into China for wholesale or retail, the importer (domestic or foreign invested) shall first make sure they have obtained an import license for baby milk powder.

But it is not easy to get this import license for infant formula, though infant formula does not belong to the type of goods that are restricted or subject to any quota under Chinese international trade rules.

Under existing rules, to obtain the import license for baby milk powder from ministry of commerce, the importer shall make filing with China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce. Such filing is required in order to monitor the trading activities of related products across China.

However, according to our inquiry, the current filing process is so long that it will wear down any patient heart. It is said that there has been a long waiting list of companies that are awaiting approval of their filings, and the Chamber only approves those filing batch by batch every season. A new comer in the que may have to wait over two years to get a filing certificate.

That is why I am retained by a company that is trying to grab the opportunity of importing international infant formula into China.  With my help, your waiting period can be shortened to a few months, and the legal fee is certainly within the affordable range which won't be onerous compared with the potential you can realize.

Jason Tian

Jason Tian, senior partner, specializes in foreign-related legal services ranging from foreign investment in China, banking and capital, real estate, M&A, corporate, international trade, estate planning, inheritance and divorce at his blog: https://www.sinoblawg.com.

34 Comments

  1. Baby formula australia   •  

    If you would like baby formula sent to China from Australia. Contact me on wickr app username : topbutton

  2. Andiki   •  

    am trying to sell infant/baby formula to chinese buyers.

    the formulas are australian manufactured suitable for 0-6mths. 6-12mths, 12mths and onwards.

    i will be able to provide purchase receipts from the suppliers/supermarkets that i bought it from to proove that the products are genuine australian baby formulas.

    please put me in touch with any buyers in china..

  3. Matthew Spino   •  

    We are a leading Canadian manufacturer and distributor of New Zealand whey products. We are VERY interested in providing a custom infant formula for China.

    Would it be possible to discuss?

    • Eric   •  

      We are an imp&exp company from Xiamen, China. We have our own sales channel within the country and also just opened 6 chain stores which sells imported goods only. We are looking for a supply that can provide qualified infant formula at competitive price so that we can build up a long-term business relationship with. If you can provide other products, such as snackers, beverage, pleas quote to us too.
      Our agency has the licence to import infant formula into China. But as a supplier, you need to be able to provide neccessary documents(the official certificate of origin. sanitary certificate issued by the country of origin, Ingredient list, test report, sales license in the country of origin, Inspection and quarantine certificate
      ) too so that we can get them into China. If you do, please quote to me asap. I need the product to arrive at Xiamen before April, 2016.
      Thanks

  4. Jason Tian   •     Author

    Dear All, please note that Jason Tian can no longer help to expedite the process for applying for import license. So don’t inquire about this service. Try your luck with some other people and channels.

  5. pim van leeuwen   •  

    Hello jason,

    Can you bring me in contact with the company which already has an import licence? We are an official distributor of Aptamil and we want to find a legal way to export it to China. We have a certificate of origin.

    Kind regards,

    Pim van Leeuwen

  6. Craig   •  

    Hi David,

    Please contact me to let me know what volume you can handle and distribute. We can then negotiate terms.

    Kind regards,

    Craig.

  7. Craig   •  

    Jason,

    What exactly do you offer in terms of services and what are the costs and lead-times?

    Craig.

    • Jason Tian   •     Author

      Craig, I was initially offering to help Chinese importers (not foreign exporters) to get importing license from Chinese government in order to bring in foreign baby milk powder. Things are getting hard to get that license after a successful job in 2012.

      Other than that, I am not offering much services at this moment. Frequently I got calls from abroad asking me to help with exporting their products to China such as finding an importers. However, as an attorney at law, I have no interest and resources to do that even though they all offer me commission or red-tapes.

      Now what I can do is to help in this way: the company I helped to obtain the license is now willing to help other Chinese merchants (who don’t have the license) to import foreign baby milk formula; with that, if you, foreign exporters wishing to tap Chinese market, has interested importers (who don’t have the license) in China, I may ask the client company to help these importers to import those foreign products into China. In this case, the imports without license will may a fee to the company with license in order for the latter to help the former to do import.

      • Craig   •  

        I would be most grateful if you could introduce me to your local (Shanghai?) importer of foreign baby milk powder who can help me get the goods cleared through customs in Shanghai. We can negotiate terms so all parties are happy.

        Regards, Craig

      • Craig   •  

        Hi Jason,

        I am also interested in your realistic advice regarding the fastest way to gain the necessary import (and, if necessary, retail) licence(s). Can you help? If so, what are your fees and your timescales?

        Kind regards,

        Craig

  8. Jason Tian   •     Author

    Dear readers, i don’t have interest and the resources to help you guys to find importers in China. Please do not leave message looking for Chinese importers on this blog. Thanks.

  9. deleonnj@yahoo.com   •  

    We are interested to supply milk formula to China.

    Manny J. de Leon
    NPharmaventures

    • Jason Tian   •     Author

      You should develop your distributors in China by your own. Basically, what I am doing here is to help Chinese importers to get Chinese governmental license for importing milk formula into China.

      Unfortunately, this is now a difficult task to accomplish to obtain the licenses. Once I can get greenlight, I will keep you guyes posted.

      • Manny J. de Leon   •  

        Thank you Jason for reverting back to my inquiry. Yes we will develop our distributors in China. Please keep me posted.

        Best regards,

        Manny de Leon
        +63 928 502 6494
        +63 917 852 2223

    • Joshua li   •  

      Hi Jason,

      Out of interest, where would you be able to buy established brands products on bulk?. My company has been emailing around brand manufacturing plants to see if we can buy in bulk from them and import into china, but we have not had much luck yet. Where would you recommend we look?

      • Robert Bland   •  

        Hi Jason, I am Robert from Australa and I am looking for Distribution agents in China, I have a manufacturer ready to go now with one of the best quality Products in the Baby Formula in Australia and we are looking for Companies for small oreders to start with so you can test the market and then hopefully move to the next stage and order in Bulk, if you have any questions please contact me by e-mail any time to discuss any information you need thanks and I hope we talk soon.

      • Dina Pinirou   •  

        Get in touch with us and we will be able to help you
        get Australian baby formula best grade with chinese and english on the can
        Dina Pinirou

    • Joshua li   •  

      Hi Jason,
      Out of interest, where would you be able to buy established brands products on bulk?. My company has been emailing around brand manufacturing plants to see if we can buy in bulk from them and import into china, but we have not had much luck yet. Where would you recommend we look?

      • Jason Tian   •     Author

        I don’t know where you can buy those established brands. Those brands should have entered into exclusive distribution agreement with agents already. if you want to import other brands that may be popular in their home countries but not in China, it is possible that I can recommend you some of them, as I have been contacted by a few foreign manufacturers.

        • Joshua li   •  

          Yes that would be fantastic if you could give me some recommendations in what foreign manufacturers to contact (if possible a email address or phone number) as at this moment in time the larger brands as you said are already in agreements.

          • telabor   •  

            Joshua,

            I’m looking to export from Canada to China but not on a grand scale yet. If you can let me know the quantities and brands you are seeking to import.

            Thanks

      • Dai Evans   •  

        Hi Joshua,

        My friend is in the baby milk formula business:
        1. He owns the company, the brands and is the only seller of these brands.
        2. The milk powder is Australian made. Meeting the world wide quality criteria
        3. They already have CIQ Registration, which is the China version of SGS, i.e all ingredients have passed the China quality control specs.
        4. They are selling to China right now. (Open for new areas).
        If serious then please get back with quantity and target distribution area/city/province as soon as possible.
        I am happy to introduce direct.
        Sincerely
        Dai

      • Joshua   •  

        Dear Joshua

        Contact me if you are seeking established big brands infant milk powder.

    • ai li sun   •  

      Hi Manny ,
      My sister ( she is living in China ) are looking for some one who can supply milk formula.
      Could you please contact me .
      Ai li

      • Ansel   •  

        Hello,

        I read your post, and although it was not directed at me, I wanted to let you know that I am a distributor in the USA looking to sell established formula brands to China. If there is any way we can work together, we have very competitive pricing.

        Thank you.

        • Jason Tian   •     Author

          Hi Ansel, what brands do you have in your portfolio?

        • Ayo Hassan   •  

          Hi Ansel, my Chinese friend is looking to import some organic formula into China. I will like to talk with you about the brands you have, and the pricing.

    • Chao Chen   •  

      Hi,

      I am interested in importing baby product into China. Plz talk to me!

      Best regards
      Chao

      chaocute@gmail.com

  10. Michele Lai   •  

    Dear Jason,

    Besides the import license, are there any regulations concerning the labeling, infant formula specifications, quality certification, conformity certification, etc?

    Michele Lai

    • Jason Tian   •     Author

      sure, there are such rules. Any product imported from abroad shall be relabelled in China. but these are actually non-substantive job.

  11. p moonia   •  

    would like to export any product that u may
    require from south africa. my tel no

    082 4062 789 cell.

    or landline 0332123079 or u can send me an
    email

  12. Jason Tian   •  

    there is another concern for people intending to enter into this business. in addition to the iimport license, the iimporter, generally a trading company shall have the business scope that cover the wholesale or retail of infant formula, otherwise the sale of the milk powder is illegal in china.

    to add or amend your business scope to include the baby milk powder wholesale or retail, the company shall apply to local industry and commerce bureau. generally the company shall apply for the wholesale before they have any retailing spot or vendoring pointS.

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