Expats considering shipping furniture to China should get quotes from several companies and carefully research those organisations that come recommended. Large international companies may have offices in both one's home country and China, while other companies may outsource one end of the shipping process to local companies.

Because many apartments can be rented furnished in China and there are plenty of furniture and appliance shopping options, it may be worth leaving household belongings in storage in one's home country if planning to return.

Shipping times vary depending on where in the world one is shipping from, though most companies will be able to provide an accurate estimated arrival time. Use expat forums and online testimonials to confirm this estimate if feeling sceptical.

Air freight is a popular method and a much faster way to ship smaller cargo, although costs can be much higher than if shipping by sea – air freight is typically billed by weight while sea freight is billed according to the size of the container. That said, some expats prefer to spend a little more on the cost of excess baggage to have their belongings arrive immediately.

It is a good idea to insure any belongings being shipped to China.

Expats should also note that China levies various taxes depending on the type of imported goods. Electrical goods are always taxed, and books, CDs and DVDs may be confiscated by customs, depending on the material.

Be meticulous about making copies and keeping the paperwork that must be completed, as these will be needed when exporting the items from China back to one's home country.

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