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Ordering things from China to Malawi is one of the viable businesses to start in Malawi. It a business which is becoming popular each day.

China is a great destination for Malawian business people because it has many things that Malawians are interested to import. Chinese merchandise is favored because of the cheap prices they offer.

Going around the cities and villages everyone would be able to come up with a long list of made in China goods. Items that are ordered from China range from plastics, shoes, clothes, jewelry, kitchen utensils to heavy machinery and construction materials.

Looking at the high demand for China stuff every business person would be happy to notice that China has enough stock to fill the demand back home. That is a great opportunity that exists for the business-minded person. The key is to identify a niche market, lets a bay toys, then fill. 

Looking at the distance between the two countries the concern would be about transport costs. Indeed, flight cost and accommodation costs from Malawi to China goes over 2 million kwacha. This is prohibitive, especially to small scale business people.

But if that was your worry, then, read on.

I will share good news for you in the next paragraphs.

The good news is that you can order things from china without going there. No need to spend on transport. No penny.

And no spend on accommodation.

Isn’t that great? Perhaps it is wonderful.

Phone or laptop

I think you have heard it before, that some people order things from overseas without going there using phones or computers.  It is straight forward and easy. If others are managing to order using their devices you too can do. Keep scrolling down.

All you need to start ordering goods from China is a phone or a laptop connected to the internet. This is in addition to the capital you’ve whether small or huge. The phone or laptop connected to the internet is the basic requirements that you need if you want to start ordering from China online. It is my hope you already have either a smartphone or a laptop. Better still you can have both, the laptop for browsing and the phone for communicating with the agents.

Now let’s move to the next step


The next step needed to start ordering things over the internet is being able to search for things on the internet using different browsers. Browsing over the internet is fundamentally an easy task especially on English websites. However, many Chinese websites where they sell cheap items are in Chinese.

Learning Chinese is hard!!

Wait a minute, learning Chinese can be a daunting task.

Lucky enough you don’t need to learn it to start ordering things from China.

Why? How?

Because you can set up the browser to automatically translate Chinese pages to English. That’s work simplified. The recommended browser that does such an awesome job is google chrome. This means that to simplify your browsing task make sure you install Google Chrome on your device. 

More about browsers and picture searching

In searching for goods on Chinese websites it is easier to use picture search other than word search.

For instance, when you want to search for men’s shoes, you should have a picture of the shoe you want on your device.

Then on the search bar click on the camera icon.

Thereafter, locate the image of the shoe saved on your device.

Then, click search.

After that, several images will show up where you can check more details about the shoes under search.

Upon finding the right product, the next thing that is needed is to copy the link from the browser.

The Chinese agent and the use of the links

The link is given to a shopping agent in China.

Why the agent? Why the middleman?

This is a common question. I also had the same question when I started learning about online shipping from China.

My imagination was that I will be in touch with the supplier directly, therefore, no need for the middleman.

However, as you will learn, the agent is a crucial part of the process when it comes to ordering online from China.

It is the case with China that people can only buy and make payments through Chinese websites while they are within China. It is not possible to pay directly to the supplier on the websites and expect them to ship to you. As a result, the agent is the one who does the payment and shops for you.

Now, how do the agents work?

How do we get to involve them?

Here is how it works with agents.

Remember, I talked about saving the product’s link. The link is sent to the preferred agent, on WhatsApp or WeChat. An agent will use the link to buy the product that you’ve chosen.

However, the agent is supposed to be paid. Most agents charge about 6% of the total spend. After giving the link to an agent the agent calculates the total amount of money you are to pay for the chosen goods. Then to this total spend, you add agent fee and send the money to the agent.

Thereafter, the agent purchases the goods for you. And he/she weighs the goods ordered on a scale to know the exact mass of the goods.

After knowing the mass, the agent advises you of the total shipping cost.  Shipping costs are determined by using either using the mass or volume of the goods to be sent. You then send the shipping cost to the agent who will then ship goods to the details you provide.  

Air or sea shipping, making the right choice

Goods from China to Malawi are shipped either by sea or air.

Air shipping is fast, it takes about two weeks for goods to arrive in Malawi from China. Air shipping is ideal for high-value low weight goods that are less than 45 kg.

Heavier and bulk goods are shipped via sea.  Shipping cost per kg is cheaper to ship on sea than on air cargo. Sea shipping is good for heavy goods and goods that take up a lot of space.

However, It takes longer for goods shipped by sea to arrive home. Approximately it takes about 45 days for items to reach Malawi from China when sea shipped.

Sending money to China from Malawi

There are many ways to kill a cat. And so, there are many ways to send money to China.

Money can be sent to China through any of the payment methods below;

PayPal, Western Union, MoneyGram, and Direct bank deposit

Each of the payments option above has its own good and downfall.

The transaction fee and time it takes for the money to arrive at the required destiny are some of the factors to consider which method of payment to use.

Among the many methods the easiest it to use the agent’s Malawian bank account.  You simply deposit the payment to their bank details. And then send a screenshot of the transaction for proof. This method does not involve converting currencies. As such this is my favorite payment method.

Tax clearance

A responsible citizen pays tax.

The next step after making all payments for shipping and shipment is doing clearance with the tax body MRA

Various goods are taxed differently.

Products owners can clear by themselves or by engaging services of tax clearing agents.

Once goods are cleared they can be collected, ready to be sold.

Summary on shopping from China online on and other Chinese sites

·         Install google chrome on your device

·         Browse the wanted items on Chinese websites like Use picture search

·         Identify a Chinese agent. Send links to the agent

·         Make payments for goods and shipping cost to the agent

·         Wait for the agent to ship goods to you by sea or air

·         Clear tax at MRA

·         Collect your items and start selling.


  1. rex
  2. Blessings Kamanga
  3. Dalison
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  5. Henry
  6. Joshua ukoto
  7. khwima nyondo
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