Import tile from China: How do I do it?

Import tile from china

A useful guide to help you import tile from China. As the world’s leading manufacture country, China has unique advantages in price and product diversity. Today, we will talk about how you can import tile from China. This passage covers: 

The status of the Chinese tile market

What are tiles?

Where is the right places to purchase tiles? 

 The status of the Chinese tile market

If you want to import the tiles from China, you need to know about the status of the Chinese tile market. Generally, it includes these three parts: 

l Big Brand tile Factory l Special tile shop l Ceramic Retail & Exporter

Of course, when you first come to the Chinese tile market, you will find that every shop claim that they are big brand tile factories and that they also offer special tiles. How to identify them? Read on to find out.

Big brand tile factories

The most obvious features of big brand tile factories are quantity. If you have a big project and need more ten thousand square meters (about one hundred and eight thousands ft²) of tile, big brand tile factories are your best choice. However, there are some disadvantages for these factories, they only offer simple tile products. For example, they may just produce porcelain or ceramic and the design of the tile may be limited.

To customize a ceramic product, big brand factories would also be your best choice. But keeping in mind, you need to have a big quantity. Different factories have their own standards. Normally the MQT(minimal order quantity) to customize is five thousand square meters (about fifty-four thousand ft²). 

When it comes to the price, big factories will offer you a good price and you can bargain with them. It is the most reasonable ways to import the tile from China. These factories have a series of supporting services provided to buyers. However, not every importer will be their customers due to the required quantity. 

The simplest way to find the right factory is checking its brand name. First, you can check their brand on the internet. And then you need to check whether the brand printed on the product is the same as their brand name. Finally, you can check the factory name to see whether it is same as their shop name. If all the information match, there is a 90 % chance of finding the correct tile factory. 


Special tile shop

The most obvious feature of these shops is its cheap price. Most special tile shops have appeared in recent years. Their mode of operation is as follows. First, they clear the stock of big brand factories at the lowest price to their warehouse. Then, they will sell the goods at a lower price than the market. 

If you want to buy special tiles, you need to keep these points in mind.

 Load your container as soon as possible 

 There are no after-sale services and supporting services

 It is possible to buy the product in question

Special tile shop owners need to pay much money to clear the stock of tiles from big factories. To keep their capital chain stable, they need to sell all their tiles quickly. So they will keep posting tiles on different platforms such as WeChat, Facebook or e-mail. Generally, it takes 5-10 days to sell five thousand boxes of tiles of copy marble for 80*80 cm.

However, there is no quality assurance for special tile shops. Although they claim that their tiles are AAA products ( 3A mean the best quality in tiles ), they understand that their tiles can also have some problems. 

We know that different batches of the same tiles have colour difference problems. Normally the same tiles in special tiles shop have been mixed with different batches. When you put these tile in the same place, you can see their difference. This is just a small problem.

Furthermore, there could be some small black spots or little damages on the surface of the tile. If you don’t load the container in time, your goods will be given to other customers and your deposit cannot be returned. All the information about these rules and risks will be provided to you before you make business with them. 

Due to the cheap price, many customers will still follow their rules. Most of the special tiles are mainly sold to Africa, India and some parts of the Middle-East.

It is very easy to find special tile shops in the tile market. You just need to pay attention to the shop’s door because shopkeepers will post many special advertisements to attract customers. You just need to learn how to express special tiles in Chinese. 

Ceramic Retailer & Exporter

The most obvious feature of ceramic retailer & exporter is good services. They not only have good pre-sale services, but also perfect after-sales service. They are the most ubiquitous in the tile market. 

There are two office modes of Ceramic Retailer & Exporter. One is the showroom business model. Another is the office business model. 

For the showroom business model, they have a big showroom and many kinds of tiles will be displayed there. Customers can buy their tiles in one place and they will help customers to load the container or cooperate with customers to complete the shipment. Good quality is also guaranteed. 

Their business operations are very flexible. They don’t limit the purchased quantity. If you have a big quantity, you can bargain with them. In these kinds of shops, if you buy 1000-5000 square meters tiles, you will become their VIP customer.

The showroom is their main way to attract customers so they will set their showroom in important tile markets. 

For the office business model, people look for customers on foreign platforms such as Alibaba or Facebooks. They also have a price advantage and their tile suppliers are diverse. They can help customers to arrange their Chinese purchase trips such as accommodation, meals, and car rental. They provide a full range of shipping services so that customers do not have to worry about shipping issues. 

The common point of both is that they themselves don’t have a factory but rather they would have a close relationship with their supplying factory. And their price is not the cheapest but in modest. 


Nowadays, China’s tile market is clearly polarized. For big brand tile factories, they continue to enhance the brand’s influence and focus on R&D and innovation. At the same time, they are more inclined to the business model of authorized joining. To some extent, they are no longer just traditional foreign trade exports. They define customers as partners and seek long-term cooperation. 

Ceramic retailers & exporters and special tile shop are the main force in the traditional foreign trade market. However, the price war between them has become increasingly fierce. Which has resulted in uneven product quality in the market. The most common issue is that importers find that the prices of tiles of the same style many vary greatly. 

To be smart importers, you need to handle some knowledge about the tile. Let move into the next part.

What are tiles? 

When you search on the Internet, you will find many passages about the differences between ceramic and porcelain. So in this passage, I won’t focus too much on this but instead will briefly conclude them. In this part, it covers: 

What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain?

What is the producing trend of ceramic and porcelain in the future?

Why does the same design of ceramic and porcelain have a varied price?

In most Chinese people’s minds, they will call porcelain and ceramic as tiles. However, most of the foreigners are confused about porcelain and ceramic. They think both of them have the same appearance. However, there are big differences between porcelain and ceramic. 

What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain?

The main differences have been listed in the below form.




Main ingredient

Fine kaolin clay

Coarse clay

Water Absorption

0.5 percent or less

> 0.5 percent


Indoor and outdoor floors and walls (in mild climates)

Indoor floors and walls

(main bathroom& balcony)



Harder, more brittle than ceramic

Softer than porcelain




Tapping sound

Clear voice

Dull voice




What is the producing trend of ceramic and porcelain in the future?

We will focus on two parts, size and design.

The sizes of ceramic and porcelain in the future





80*80, 60*60, 50*50 120*60, 75*150, 160*80, 240*120, 320*200, 320*80, 120*120, 90*90, 100*100, 120*20

30*60, 40*40, 30*30, 60*60, 15*60, 100*20, 30*90, 30*80, 40*90

This is the current size of ceramic and porcelain in the Chinese tile market. In the future, the normal sizes such as 80*80cm, 60*60cm and 120*60cm will be kept. And the Chinese ceramics manufacturers will continuously develop bigger and thicker porcelain tiles. While for ceramic tiles, it will focus on smaller sizes. 

Why do they have such a big difference? The raw material of porcelain and ceramic decides their development. As we mentioned above, the main ingredient of porcelain is fine kaolin clay. Kaolin has high density, fine texture, softness, and is easily shaped and deformed. Meaning that it is suitable for producing big sized tiles. In addition, due to its high density, the products produced by kaolin have a high hardness and fine texture.

The main ingredient of ceramic is coarse clay. Coarse clay has a rough texture and has a high density and difficult to reform. However, coarse clay is cheaper than kaolin clay. Using coarse clay to make small sized tiles has a similar hardness to the tiles made of kaolin clay. 

The design of ceramic and porcelain in the future

There are many design patterns of ceramic and porcelain. Here, we just focus on the main design patterns. The aim of the design is to replace expensive building materials. Therefore, there are many copying marble design patterns in the ceramic and porcelain market. Meanwhile, for most of the matt finish ceramic and porcelain tiles, they are designed to copy stones such as sandstone. There are three main designs in the Chinese ceramic and porcelain market, the copy marble design, copy concrete design, and copy sandstone design.


In addition, some factories will depend on the requirement of customers to design featured tiles. The most representative is the decor tile. This type of tile has an exaggerated, repetitive pattern and is suitable for decorating small areas of featured walls. 

Import tile from china

In the future, the copy marble tile will be more like marble. The size of the copy marble tile will be bigger and thicker. Their pattern can be connected together just like a piece of big sized marbles. Bigger and thicker tiles will be the main trend in the future, although some regular sizes will be kept, such as 80*80, 60*30, 30*30, 60*60 and 120*60.

The design pattern of ceramic and porcelain tiles will be diverse and personalised. More and more unique design will appear. Therefore, it is good news for importers as they will have more choices.

Why does the same design of ceramic and porcelain have a varied price?

As aforementioned, price wars are the main reason of price differences in the market. There is a vicious circle in low-end tile market. Customers who need big quantities of tiles are more careful about the price than quality. Suppliers try all the best to find cheap tiles for them. In order to receive the order, factories decrease the cost of the tile by reducing the quality of tile and some even treat inferior products as good products. What’s worse, more and more problematic products flow into the market and the importers will be the biggest victims. 

The main composition of porcelain tile is fine Kaolin clay, but in order to reduce the cost, some take low-quality Kaolin clays to make porcelain tiles. These porcelain tiles are very easily broken even in the smallest collision. During long-distance sea shipping, the goods are moved frequently so the possibility of damage would increase exponentially. 

Furthermore, some factories mix kaolin clay and coarse clay together or uses low quality tile glaze to make ceramic or porcelain. This leads to serious problems after the installation of the tile. 

In other words, when imported the tiles are too cheap, you need to be careful. 

In the next part, we will analyze the main characteristics of important markets. According to our passage, you can choose your suitable places to purchase. Let’s move on to next part.

Where are the right places to purchase tile? 

China’s provinces of ceramic tile manufacturing centers include Guangdong, Shandong, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangxi and Hubei. Among them, Foshan is a leading province with more than 5,000 years of experience in ceramic tile production with a production capacity of 1.2 billion square meters. There is a wholesale market in Foshan, which is used for building materials and furniture. So far, this is the best wholesale market for ceramic tiles. The main tile markets in Foshan are located in Shiwan Town. The distance between different markets is not far. So you can visit all the markets by foot. Of course, public transportation is also available and convenient. 

Shiwan Property Ceramics Wholesale Market

This is the biggest and most comprehensive tile market in Shiwan. Here, you can find big brand tile factories, special tile shops and ceramic retailers & exporters. However, this is a market where the price war is very serious. There are many shops that offer similar or same designs of tiles but the price is varied from different shops. 

If you are familiar with the tile markets and you can justify the quality of the tiles, you can come here to find your products. Most African and Indian importers come here to buy tiles. 


China Ceramics City

China Ceramic City is a comprehensive market integrating ceramics and bathroom trade, exhibitions and commercial services.

More than 200 famous Chinese and foreign architectural ceramics and bathroom brands represent the highest level in the Chinese industry.

The price in this market will be the highest but the quality of the products here is also guaranteed to be decent and the after-sale and supporting services is good.


Casa Ceramics And Sanitarywares Mall

The price and quality of tiles in this market is moderate. There are many big showrooms here so you can buy all kinds of tiles in this market. There is also a Sanitarywares market, making it convenient for the customers to buy all the building materials in the on the place.

The style of tiles keeps up with the market and many novice importers will come here to find their products. 

Thank you for reading this passage. I hope it has helped you to better understand the Chinese tiles market. 

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Import tile from China: How do I do it?

A useful guide to help you import tile from China. As the world’s leading manufacture country, China has unique advantages in price and product diversity. Today, we will talk about how you can import tile from China. This passage covers: 
*The status of the Chinese tile market.
*What are tiles?
*Where is the right places to purchase tiles? 

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