China to Uganda

Importing from China to Uganda: The Ultimate Guide


If you’re importing from China to Uganda, then this is a must-read guide for you.

Because it covers all the basic and fundamental aspects of importing from China to Uganda – from top imports, requirements, customs regulations, shipping process, and many more.

By the end of this guide, you’ll definitely be an expert in importing from China to any city in Uganda.

Importing from Guangzhou to Uganda

Guangzhou is a major manufacturing hub in China.
The city has opened doors for many Ugandan traders dealing in Chinese merchandise.

The city, as most Ugandan traders confess, offers cheap product prices as well as a variety of product alternatives.

This is one of the primary reasons for the influx of Africans in Guangzhou, especially Dengfeng that’s also known as Little Africa.
In other words, Guangzhou is an excellent source for made in China products to retail in Uganda.

The reasons to import from Guangzhou to Uganda

The reasons to import from this city are pretty clear.

One, it is because product prices here are cheap and there is also a variety of product alternatives.

Two, finding products is easy as there are numerous wholesale markets situated next to factories in the city.

And last but not least, the infrastructure in Guangzhou is tremendous.

The road network is superb.

There is also a major seaport as well as several airports from which you can easily and conveniently ship your imports.

Restricted Imports from China to Uganda

These are products whose importation requires authorization from their respective Ugandan authorities.

The restricted products include; live animals, medication, endangered species, hunting weapons, and used cars.

So for instance, if you want to import a live animal/s, you’ll need to have a health certificate along with complete validations and inoculations.

The same applies to hunt weapons; you will have to have authorization from the ministry of interior.

Prohibited Imports in Uganda from China

These are products that are totally prohibited for importation.

In other words, you can’t bring in these products from China or any other country to Uganda.

These products include narcotics, pornography, counterfeit items, henna, explosive material, cultural artifacts and other material of cultural importance, palm tree and any other products thereof.

Also, cosmetic products containing hydroquinone and mercury,

Now for these products, the Ugandan authorities do not allow their importation whatsoever.

They are wholly banned for import into Uganda.

But then, restrictions and prohibitions on product importation are not all there is to the Ugandan custom import regulations.

There is more.


Now, let’s go straight to the main subject of this guide.

China to Uganda

From China to Uganda

Chapter 1: Main Uganda Imports from China

To begin with, Uganda imports a lot of merchandise from China, about 80% of its imports are from China.

As I’ve already mentioned, Chinese merchandise is cheaper and readily available.

This makes it easy for importers to avail a variety of goods to customers in Uganda at more competitive retail prices.

Uganda Imports

Uganda Imports

Among the goods that thrive in the Ugandan market include;

  • Textiles and apparel
  • Electrical appliances
  • Toys
  • Petroleum products
  • Vehicles and their parts
  • Foodstuffs such as beverages and oils
  • machinery
  • manufacturing equipment
  • building materials such as ceramic tiles
  • Pharmaceuticals, etc.

Understand that you don’t have to be a big brand to import from China.

With as little as $300 you can quickly get goods from China and resell for a profit in Uganda.

Origin of imports from Uganda

Origin of imports to Uganda

This is because China, unlike many other countries, caters to everyone in the market.

If you serve high-end clients, you can get high-quality merchandise for them from China.

Similarly, if you cater to the low-income earners, China has just the right products for your customers.

So give it a go and don’t be afraid of how much is in your pocket.

Also, carefully study your target market before you decide on a product to import

Chapter 2: Uganda Import Requirements

Like most countries, the Ugandan government strictly regulates the importation of products from other countries.

For instance, the authorities have regulations governing what can or cannot pass Ugandan borders as imports.

These include restrictions and prohibitions on product imports into the country, and they are;

· Uganda Quality Standards Compliance – What Uganda National Bureau of Standards Requires

As I said to you earlier, the market for made-in-China imports in Uganda is rapidly expanding.

Uganda merely is a thriving market for imported products.

Because of this, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has put forth stringent measures to ensure quality compliance.

Uganda Bureau of Standards

Uganda National Bureau of Standards

Some of these measures and guidelines are:

  • Importers must have a certificate of conformity when importing regulated products
  • Physical inspection of regulated goods before the admission of entry
  • Before admission of entry, UNBS requires that you repackage your imports first
  • All importers are required to use the services of a licensed clearing agent

Other than this, UNBS has also put forth standards that product imports must comply with.

These include measures on design, material, performance, manufacturing, testing, packaging and labeling.

One most crucial regulation on imports to Uganda as I had already mentioned is product inspection.

Here, inspection of products must be done thoroughly before the admission of the imports into the country.

This is done to ensure the health safety of the Ugandan consumers and to protect the environment against dangerous and substandard products.

UNBS also mandates the inspection as a measure to ensure compliance with the set standards and regulations.

The inspection, note, is not just done on the products.

UNBS conducts both document checks as well as physical inspection of products upon their arrival at entry points.

Also note that depending on the value and nature of your imports, the law requires that they are subject to PVoC, undergo destination inspection or both.

Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC), is an inspection and verification program carried out on goods by appointed inspection agents in the origin country.

Here, imports with an aFoB value of above USD 2000 and are covered by compulsory standards are subject to PVoC.

In this case, you’ll need to present a certificate of conformity at the entry point in Uganda.

PVoC also applies to used vehicle importation.

In this case, the importer is also required to present a certificate of roadworthiness to obtain clearance for entry.


Don’t worry.

You can find all these information in great detail on the UNBS website.

For now, let’s look at the paperwork needed to import to Uganda.

· Documents Needed in Clearance and Forwarding in Uganda

Honestly, the processing of importing from China to Uganda can be hectic.

And, this is especially if you lack a clear understanding of the paperwork needed and procedures.

Port of Mombasa

Port of Mombasa

So here are the documents you’ll need to import goods into the country legally.

  • Suppliers invoice
  • Packing list
  • Air waybill ( for imports by air)
  • Commercial invoice
  • Freight invoice
  • Uganda revenue authority for 1 for motor vehicles
  • Road transit customs document (commonly known as C63) prepared at seaport and entry port in Uganda
  • Certificate of origin
  • Railway consignment note (for import by rail)
  • Bill of lading
  • Trade license
  • Release order certificate of compliance
  • Import declaration form
  • Declaration of customs value form
  • Any other relevant documents

Make sure that you have the all the required documents for your imports.

Otherwise, you will have a hard time getting clearance for your goods.

Chapter 3: Importing from Different Cities in China to Uganda

You should know that initially, Uganda wasn’t importing much from China.

It is until the early 2000s that Ugandan importers started exploring China for goods that can resell at a good profit locally.

Now, 80% of consumer and personal care goods sold in Uganda are made-in-China products.

I believe that you know most of the reasons for this.

Majorly, however, it is because of the ease in importing from China.


Retail store in Kampala

Retail store in Kampala

Importing from China to Uganda is no hustle.

One, it is because China has excellent infrastructures for exports and imports.

And secondly, the Ugandan import authorities have streamlined their processes to ensure the smooth importation of goods into the country.

No matter the city you’re importing from in China, there are a million ways to do it.

So depending on the product you’re importing, here are some popular cities to source your products from in China.

· Importing from Shenzhen to Uganda

Like Guangzhou, Shenzhen is also a significant manufacturing hub in China.

It is in fact known as China’s manufacturing hub.

There are thousands of factories in Shenzhen producing a variety of goods from shoes, kids and women clothing, electronics, etc.

The city simply is a scene of bustling trade with hundreds of retail and wholesale shops spread across entire streets.

Note that Shenzhen is located in southeastern China, it is a major city in Guangdong province.

The city is a modern metropolis that links HongKong to mainlandChina.

This proximity to HongKong has Shenzhen at the center of global trade.

The city benefits from the Pearl River, the third longest in China that runs through Guangdong.

· Importing from Shanghai to Uganda

Shanghai, the largest city in China, is located on the eastern coast of China.

It sits on both banks of the Huangpu River near where the Yangtze (Chang) River empties into the East China Sea.

This is why it is known as Shanghai which means ‘on the sea.’

Geography aside, Shanghai is China’sleading commercial, financial and manufacturing center.

Here, you can find a variety of goods ranging from iron and steel, machinery, electronics, textiles, pharmaceutical and a variety of consumer goods, etc.

 Clothes manufacturing in Shanghai

Clothes manufacturing in Shanghai

The city, note, is also one of the county’s largest printing and publishing centers.

On shipping, Shanghai is home to the largest container shipping port in China.

The ports annual container throughput surpasses all of China’s other ports.

As at this moment, the port of Shanghai has 145 berths, 75 of which can serve vessels of over 10,000 tons.

This port also operates more than 20 major international shipping lines among them lines shipping from China to Uganda.

Shipping by air from Shanghai is also a breeze.

The city hosts a large international airport that is strategically located about 40km away from the city center.

This airport, please note, is the main aviation hub of China.

It is also the central Asian Pacific hub for UPS and DHL airlines.

· Buying from Yiwu to Entebbe and Kampala in Uganda

Yiwu is a remarkable city in China.

The city is regarded as the biggest commodity market in the world where you can buy anything that you want.

This city houses lots of wholesale shops, over 40,000 in total and a majority of the suppliers here are wholesalers.

Also, most goods that you can buy cheaply in Yiwu are small value products such as fashion accessories, shoes, etc.

So if you want to buy directly from manufacturers, you may have to consider going to Shenzhen or Guangzhou.

Most suppliers in Yiwu are just wholesaler sourcing goods from Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Yiwu is an excellent source for those of you looking to import small commodities with many varieties in small quantities.

The good thing about importing from Yiwu is that you can consolidate all your goods in place.

You don’t have to go through the hassles of commuting, sourcing, and shipping as occasions with most other cities in China.

Please note:

Yiwu is a huge shopping center with very many shops.

It is tough to patronize all the shops by yourself and on time to meet your supply chain demands.

As such, it advisable that new-to China importers seek the services of a professional and reliable import agent.

The agent will help source the right products for you in Yiwu and also help you ship the products successfully to Uganda.

Well, these are main cities to import from China.

YiWu Market

YiWu Market

As you can see, Shenzhen, Guangzhou,andShanghai are manufacturing cities.

They are best for those looking to import goods in large quantities.

Yiwu, on the other hand, is a wholesale and retail center.

It is an excellent source for small commodities as mentioned above.

Remember that importing from any of these cities has its pros and cons.

To ensure success, however, observe the following tips;

  • Only choose credible traders,e. for Yiwu importers, choose traders with good credit badges. (They always hang these in front of their shops.
  • Always carry out quality inspections on goods to ensure that they meet the set standards for importation.
  • Use a China agent whenever you feel the need to
  • The language barrier may be a limitation especially when sourcing from Yiwu. So either uses a translator or seek out traders that are familiar with the English language.

That is all.

Let’s now factor in the costs of importing from China to Uganda.

Chapter 4: Uganda Custom Tariff Guide – How much will You Pay for Imports from China?

Cost is often something importers have a hard time dealing with when importing from China.

You see,

is quite broad.

Uganda Revenue Authority

Uganda Revenue Authority

Apart from the cost of the product, you’re importing; there are others that you’ll have to incur that make up the total cost of importation.

These include freight charges, surcharges and mostly taxes and duties.

Ultimately, if you’re importing for reselling purposes, this is something you’ll have to consider.

At least then, you’ll be able to estimate the landed cost of your product and know if you’ll be able to make a profit or not.

So then, what are the costs of importing from China to Uganda?

Let’s find out below.

1. Product price

Well, first there is the price of the product.

This is the amount you pay to a product supplier for goods you order.

If you’re trying to calculate the landed cost of a product, the product price is the unit price of the time you’re importing.

2. Freight cost

Freight cost also known as shipping cost is the transportation cost of the goods from China to Uganda.

This cost includes inland transportation and carrier costs from loading port in China to the destination port.

It also includes ports fees and other surcharges such as fuel surcharge.

3. Taxes and duties

So there is the cost of cargo, transportation cost and then the biggest markup which is the import taxes.

You see, it is essential to understand the taxes and duties that apply to your goods when importing to Uganda.

Import taxes in Uganda depends on the VAT of the product as well as the product category as per the harmonized system tariff.

Taxation also depends on the declared value of the imports, the CIF value.

Uganda, note, is a member of the East African Community.

As such, it adopts the EAC duty structure that is three-tiered.

The duty structure is as follows;

Finished products are subjected to an import duty of 25%.

Intermediate products face a 10% levy.

This is on top of a VAT tax of 18% that customs charges on these goods and a 6% withholding tax that’s reclaimable.

According to Ugandan customs taxes, raw materials can enter the country duty-free, apart from foodstuffs.


Uganda import taxes

You can also import capital goods to Uganda duty-free.

The government also charges an additional 1.5% infrastructure tax on all imports.

This is done to raise funds for railway infrastructure development.

Also, certain products imported to Uganda, those deemed as ‘sensitive’ are subject to higher tariffs.

This is done as a means to protect the local industry.

*Sensitive products are those that compete with the local industries

All this in an addition to other small levies that customs levies on imported products.

So note that for customs to process your clearance, you will have to pay the requisite tariff and show proof to customs.

Chapter 5: How to Find Best Selling Imports from China to Uganda

Most Ugandan traders find suppliers for Chinese merchandise on the internet.

While there are other means of locating suppliers, the internet remains the greatest of them all- no matter the number of goods you want to import.

But why the internet?

Well, first, visiting China personally is quite costly.

For a first time importer, the cost of air ticket, accommodation, etc. can be overwhelming.

Secondly, finding a good supplier without the right network is a tough task, unless you’re attending a fair.

And lastly, there are lots of middlemen in China that will want to exploit your naivety, especially if you’re a new-to-China importer.

So to avoid all this, most traders prefer going the internet way.

And so might you after going through this chapter with me.

· Alibaba

Searching for Chinese suppliers on Alibaba is always the first choice for most Ugandan traders.

The problem with Alibaba suppliers is that their MOQ is usually high.

So if you’re looking to source products with a less than USD 400 value, finding a willing supplier on Alibaba can be a problem.

On the bright side, you can find anything and everything on Alibaba.

Besides, you get to see the product picture and verify the credibility of suppliers before you make an order on Alibaba.

If you want to learn how to source from Alibaba, please check out this article: Importing from China: The Definitive Guide.

It has great detail of information including a detailed step by step process on sourcing and verifying suppliers on Alibaba.

· AliExpress

Aliexpress is an excellent alternative for traders who can’t meet the MOQ demands of suppliers on Alibaba.

Suppliers on this site offer a variety of goods at relatively low prices, and you can order as little as one item per product.

The site’s interface is very user-friendly just like Alibaba’s.

So navigating through it to find supplier isn’t a hard task.

· DHgate

Apart from Aliexpress, you can also consider finding suppliers on DHgate.

This is another site that tends to small quantity traders importing from China.



So again, if Alibaba’s MOQ is hard for you to reach, try DHgate.

Also, if you’re not too impressed with the prices and demands of suppliers on Aliexpress, DH gate is a great alternative.

· Made in China

Made in works pretty similarly like AliExpress and DHgate.

The site tends to both retailers and small quantity wholesalers whose buying quantity is between Alibaba and AliExpress.

Made in China

Made in China

However, unlike Alibaba, AliExpress and DH gate, made-in-China focuses more on industrial and construction products.

It offers very little consumer goods.

Products that you can source from include;

  • Machinery
  • Electronics
  • Industrial equipment
  • Furniture
  • Sporting goods
  • Auto and mc products
  • Construction etc.

· Sourcing Agents

Have you had bad experiences when trying to find Chinese suppliers on your own?

Or simply need help sourcing for products?

Well, sourcing agents can be a great help to you.

These agents are there to solve all your problems on finding suppliers and sourcing for products in China.

So instead of searching on the internet, you can opt to use a China sourcing agent.

They offer a wide range of services such as purchasing, quality controlling, products repacking and transportation.

By hiring an agent, you won’t have to do anything.

He/she will send purchase staff to work for you.

The good thing is that they are professional.

They know about the products that you want to buy, and they will even help you to bargain the product prices.

All you need to do is tell the agent the kind of products that you want and your price limit.

The rest is theirs to figure out and work on.

· China trade fairs

For those that prefer finding suppliers personally, visiting China trade fairs is a great option.

China holds some great fairs like the canton fair, which is quite popular among traders from Africa.

China Trade Fair

China Trade Fair

Here, you’ll get the opportunity to meet a variety of suppliers and even get to see product samples up close.

· Contacting factories directly

Last but not least, there is the option of contacting factories directly.

How do you do this?

Well first, you need to know the product you want to import.

Then, find possible manufacturers for the product.

You can search on the internet for these.

After that, take several contacts manufacturers and contact them with inquiries relating to what you want.

You’ll then compare the responses of those manufacturers that reply and choose the one that’s most suitable for you.

It’s that simple.

Chapter 6: Options of Shipping from China to Uganda

When importing from China to Uganda, you’ll realize that the shipping stage is the most challenging.

This is because of the too many shipping options available, costs, paperwork, and other logistics processes.

But then, regardless of the challenges, goods have to get to your destination in Uganda, whichever way.

Lucky for you, there are several options to transport imports from China to Uganda.

Depending on your patience, budget, type, and quantity of imports, you have the following options to consider;

i. Air freight

Air shipping from China to Uganda is predominant among small quantity traders, those shipping imports below 300kg.

Qatar Cargo

Qatar Cargo

If you’re shipping cargoes above 300kg, you may have to consider other shipping options as airfreight will be costly.

Also, you can’t ship liquid goods, power, and battery products among other hazardous goods by air.

So if you’re dealing in this kind of merchandise, air freight might not be for you.

In other words, air shipping is a fast and convenient way of shipping light and small volume goods.

ii. Sea freight

This is by far the most convenient and cost-effective method of international shipping.

Ocean shipping as you can also call it allows you to ship goods of any size, form or shape.

Besides, the cost of sea shipping is pretty affordable, and you have several options when it comes to shipping modes.

COSCO Shipping Lane

COSCO Shipping Lane

The only downside to sea shipping is the transit time.

Well, ships are quite slow, you may have to wait up to 2 months to receive your shipment from China to Uganda by sea.

Note that this is because Uganda is a landlocked country.

Therefore, goods will be shipped by sea to the port of Mombasa Kenya or Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

After that, the products will be transported by other means,i.e. road or air to Uganda and its hither lands.

So the delivery will take longer than usual from China to Uganda.

During this wait time, however, you can choose to track the shipment to ensure that transportation is smooth and delivery is on schedule.

iii. Express shipping

Express shipping option falls under air freight.

The thing with express shipping is that it is faster than standard air shipping.

Express shipping to Uganda takes 1-3 days while delivery by standard air freight means can take an average of 3-7 days.

Express shipping

 Express shipping

Also, with express shipping, the cost of shipping is relatively high compared to standard air freight shipping.

This is why it is advisable that you consider it for very small and light cargoes such as product samples, valuable documents, and jewelry.

Express shipping services are offered by courier companies like FedEx, DHL, UPS, and EMS.

iv. FCL shipping

Full container Load shipping is a mode of sea shipping.

This is an option that you can consider if you are shipping a large volume of cargo from China to Uganda by sea.

FCL vs. LCL Shipping

FCL vs. LCL Shipping

In this case, you can book FCL provided that your cargo can fill up a standard shipping container.

Or, if you can afford to pay for an entire shipping space whether or not your cargo will fill up all the space.

v. LCL shipping

If you’re shipping a lesser volume shipment and can’t afford to book an entire container for shipping, you can ship LCL.

LCL stands for less than container load.

It refers to a scenario where you want to ship goods that can’t fill up an entire shipping space.

Thus, you consolidate your cargo with that of other shippers shipping to Uganda.

LCL Shipping

LCL Shipping

The cost of shipping LCL is usually presumed to be higher than when you ship FCL.

This is because the calculation of LCL shipping charges is done as in air freight.

They use the chargeable weight (the bigger weight between the actual weight of cargo and the dimensional weight).

Also, theft, loss and other shipping risks are quite common in LCL shipping than with FCL.

But there is an upside to shipping LCL.

This is that regardless of the quantity of your shipment, you can transport your goods from any city in China to Uganda.

vi. Reefer shipping

Again, this is under sea shipping.

It is a viable option for shipping perishable goods and those that require special shipping conditions.

Reefer Shipping

Reefer shipping

These are goods such as flowers, dairy products, meats, fish, vegetables, pharmaceuticals, lab chemicals, etc.

vii. Ro-Ro shipping

Ro-Ro shipping enables traders to ship wheeled cargo such as cars, trucks, and buses easily and conveniently.

Ro Ro Shipping

Ro Ro Shipping

When considering Ro-Ro shipping, just ensure that your cargo is in excellent condition.

This is because it will be wheeled onto the vessels and out of it once it reaches the port of unloading.

viii. OOG shipping

For those of you that may want to import heavy machinery, helicopters or any other products that are oversize or abnormal in shape, this is the right option for you.

OOG Shipping

OOG Shipping

With OOG, you can ship goods that may seem ‘unshippable’ due to their large and abnormal shape and size.

xi. Drop shipping

Well, online shopping is a thing now.

If you’re one of those traders that own an online shop and would like to operate without physical inventory, then opt for drop shipping.

By drop shipping, you can easily offer a verity of products to your customers without having to stock the items physically.

Drop shipping


All you need to do is a shop on the various e-commerce platforms for the products that you want

Show your picks to the customer, let them order the goods and commit to their order.

Then, contact your trusted supplier and let them ship the products to the individual customers directly.

x. Door to door shipping

This is another very convenient way to import goods from China to Uganda.

It is especially viable for traders that are pretty busy to handle the import process.

With this, you just need to identify a product, order and let your shipping agent pick and deliver the goods at your doorstep in Uganda.

Door to door shipping

Door to door shipping

Note that this service that will set you back a few coins, but then, the convenience that it brings is simply unmatched.

So as you can see, shipping from China to Uganda is not as difficult as you may think.

You just need to ensure that you’re shipping your goods the right way based on their type nature and shipping distance.

You don’t want to start dealing with damages and losses once goods arrive in Uganda due to inappropriate shipping methods.

Chapter 7: Simple Guide to Online Shopping in Uganda

As I’ve earlier mentioned, online shopping in Uganda is a thing now.

This is because online shopping brings about convenience, access to a variety of products, cheaper products, and instant speeds.

You see, when online shopping was initially being introduced to consumers, most people saw it as just another way of purchasing goods.

But then with time, the relationship dynamic grew.

Consumers began to realize that shopping online provides more than just an alternative way of buying goods.

Online shopping in Uganda

Online shopping in Uganda

For instance with online shopping, you can easily compare product prices and settle for the best deal easily.

You can also view the product that you want and determine if it’s the one you want or not in a matter of seconds.

Now, about online shopping in Uganda?

Well, it is a thing, no doubt.

Ugandan consumers realize the convenience of shopping online and are quickly embracing the trend.

As a trader thus, you need to realize that to operate a successful online shop, you need to meet consumers’ needs.

You need to be conversant with the market trends to ensure that your shop is up to date with those trends.

Also, you need to be more market specific.

Target your market in such a way that you tend to the needs of individual customers entirely.

These are just my two cents.

So how do you shop online in Uganda?

Simple, go to your favorite search engine, type in a keyword relating to the product you’re looking for.

For instance, if you’re looking for ladies handbags, type in ‘ladies handbags.’

Online shopping in Uganda

Online shopping in Uganda

Now, note that when you type these keywords in and press enter, you will receive very many results, hundreds to be specific.

Thus, you have to be more specific in your search.

This means, if you’re looking for handbags, you can add ‘ladies’ to the search term to make it ladies handbags.

And since you want to buy from a Chinese supplier, you can add ‘in China’ to make it ‘ladies handbags in China.’

Doing this will give you more specific results from which you can filter find the exact product/s you want.

You can also go to search images to find a design/s that you can like and follow the links to identify the supplier and possibly make contact.

As you make contact with the product supplier, make sure you inquire about the product price, minimum order quantity, delivery terms, etc.

You need all these details to determine if the supplier is offering you a good deal or not.

Just remember; while online shopping offers all these perks, there is a tradeoff to it.

One, scammers are all over the internet.

If you’re not smart and wise, it is very easy to get conned when shopping online.

Since you’re not making the purchase personally, your money could end up in the wrong hands.

Also, physical absence can lead to you getting a product that is not as it appears on the internet images.

Shipping costs with online shopping also tend to be quite high.

Suppliers tend to let customers take on these costs.

Another derail of shopping online is late deliveries, the hassle of returning items you’re not happy with can be nerve-wracking.

Despite all these setbacks, I can confidently say that the pros of online shopping outweigh its cons.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep you safe when shopping online;

  • Always check the payment options and use the ones that are verified and trustworthy.
  • Never give out your personal information on online shopping sites
  • Always check the sizing and other details of products as pictures can often be deceiving
  • Buy from trusted websites. Known websites are a great place to start.
  • Also, shop from sites that have an ‘https’ on the URL and that have a padlock icon on the address bar. These are indicators of a secure website.
  • Before shopping, always check and confirm the websites return policy and shopping costs
  • Never click on pop up ads, some of these are phishing schemes
  • All that glitters is not gold. Keep an eye for prices and items that seem too good to be true because they probably are

Good luck shopping online in Uganda.

Chapter 8: Buying from AliExpress to Uganda

As I said to you earlier, there are very many ways and places to source for Chinese merchandise.

And, among the many places I told you is Aliexpress.

It is a sister company of Alibaba, China’s and the world’s largest e-commerce platform.

Shopping on Alibaba

Shopping on AliExpress

Aliexpress, as you may well know, is one of these places that continue to offer Ugandan traders easy access to suppliers and their products.

And not just Ugandan traders but traders and consumers from all over the world dealing in Chinese merchandise.

Some of you, I presume, just hear about AliExpress but are yet to explore it.

If you are among these people, this chapter will guide you on an easy and safe way to buy from AliExpress to Uganda.

Here is a simple step by step guide;

Step 1: Create an account

You need first to have an account with AliExpress to be able to shop on the site.

So if you already have one, go ahead and sign in with your details.

If not, just go to the website and click the ‘join’ tab on the top right of the homepage.

After joining, sign in with the username and password that you’ve chosen to start shopping.

Step 2: Search for your preferred product

Once signed in on the AliExpress site, search for your preferred product using the search bar at the top of the page.

To search, use exact or related keywords to the product you’re looking for.

For instance, if you’re looking for duvets, you can search for ‘duvets.’

This will give you plentiful results that you can’t go through all of them.

So try to be a little specific with your search.

For instance, searching for ‘cotton duvet sets’ may give you a more refined search.

Apart from using the search bar, you can use the categories menu on the left side of the homepage to search for products.

Just direct your cursor to the categories menu.

Click on it and scroll through the subcategories to find your product.

Using our example, to find duvet sets, you click on the categories menu, go to home and garden, and then select bedding sets.

This will give you a result of all the available bedding sets.

From here you can browse through the products to find one/s that is suitable for you.

Step 3: Choose a seller

When searching for a product on AliExpress, you will realize that most of the products are similar.

This means that you will have to decide on a seller to work with that is trustworthy and reliable.

But then, how do you identify a reliable and trustworthy seller?

Well, like Alibaba, AliExpress has put forth measures to ensure that buyers have a smooth shopping experience on the site.

Regarding seller’s credibility, you can verify this by looking at their reputation.

The reputation is a scoring method that AliExpress issues to sellers.

This is based on their communication, shipping speed and accuracy of the product described.

The scoring is often as below;

  • Excellent reputation: Crowns
  • Very good reputation: Diamonds
  • Good reputation: Medals

Often, sellers with above average scores will be displayed in green while those below average will be displayed in red.

So when shopping, always avoid sellers with red scores.

Another way to verify the credibility of the seller is to look at the number of buyers for that specific item.

If many people have bought the item and the reviews and ratings are positive, you can trust that seller.

But if very few people have purchased the item or if the reviews are negative, move on to the next seller.

Step 4: Contact seller

Again, pictures can be deceiving.

When shopping on AliExpress, it is best to contact the seller to verify the quality of products beforehand.

This way, you avoid last minute surprises.

Luckily, you can contact AliExpresssellers directly on the site.

Just click on the contact seller tab to message them your queries or concerns.

Step 5: Make your order

Once you’ve verified the seller’s credibility, product quality, and shipping cost and terms,etc., you can go ahead and buy the product.

To buy, just enter the required details,i.e. size, color, quantity, etc. and proceed to buy.

Clicking on the checkout tab will direct you to a payment page.

Here choose the payment method that best suits you,i.e.MasterCard, PayPal, visa, bank transfer or western union.

Credit card and debit card payments are also available on AliExpress, and they are safe as VeriSign SSL secures these.

Once you’ve made an order, AliExpress will email you a tracking number for your shipment.

You’ll use this number to track the delivery progress of your shipment.

Depending on the shipping option you choose, you can expect to receive the item/s in 3 days to 2 months in Uganda.

That’s pretty much it about buying from AliExpress to Uganda.

Now, the site is known to be one of the safest e-commerce platforms.

Nonetheless, there are risks associated with buying from it.

To avoid these risks, consider the following when shopping;

  • Buy from sellers with positive reviews and ratings
  • Don’t be deceived by pictures alone. Ask sellers for detailed information about products before you buy
  • Choose trusted shipping methods like Posta and DHL when shopping on this site. Avoid choosing free shipping methods as these may not cost you a dime, but delivery will take ages.
  • Be wary of the import duties and charges as you have to clear these.
  • Buy products that are protected. Look for buyer protection tags.

Happy shopping on Aliexpress.

Let’s us now discuss importing from Alibaba to Uganda.

Chapter 9: Step-by-step Importing from Alibaba to Kampala Uganda

Unlike AliExpress that caters to retailers and small quantity buyers, Alibaba caters to wholesalers, companies, and resellers.

The site lists thousands of suppliers and products for the easy access to importers from Uganda and the rest of the world.



So if you want to import products from Alibaba to Kampala Uganda, here is a step by step guide for you.

But before that, ensure that you have an import permit.

This is if the product you intend to import requires a permit,i.e. food, drugs, and chemicals.

You can get the permit from the Ugandan revenue authority.

And, before you begin the process of importation, ensure that the goods meet Ugandan import standards as prescribed by the UNBS.

Step 1: Create or sign in to your Alibaba account

This is synonymous with all e-commerce platforms; you need to have an account to be able to shop there.

So with Alibaba, you will also need to create an account and sign in.

If you already have an account, you should just proceed to the signing in the page.

Step 2: Search for product/supplier

Now, unlike AliExpress, there are more than three ways of finding suppliers on the site.

The first method is by using the search bar.

Here, you key in the product name or related keywords to the product of your choice. I.e., men’s shoes.

Then click search.

The site will provide you with results based on your search.

From here, you can filter the results to get the exact product you’re looking for.

The second method is by using the categories menu.

Here, you just go to the sites left-hand side.

Click on the categories menu and choose a subcategory for your product.

For instance, to find men’s shoes, you will click on the categories menu, then go to bags/shoes and accessories.

While here, proceed to the shoes and accessories section, then to men shoes.

From here, you can now browse the available products and suppliers.

Thirdly, you can simply submit a request for quote and let suppliers find you.

The request for quote command is on the bottom right of the site’s homepage.

Just find it and fill the details as required before posting.

Once you post, suppliers offering the product you’re looking for will see your post.

Those interested in selling to you will make contact.

These are the three ways to search. Just use whichever method you think is suitable for you.

Step 3: Verify suppliers

From the list of suppliers that you will have gotten in step 2 above, choose a few that interest you and verify their credibility.

To do this, you will need to look if they are verified, their customer feedback, the truthfulness of details,i.e. address, etc.

If possible, contact them directly or send a representative to their factory to ensure that they are truthful.

Step 4: Make contact to the chosen supplier

From step 3, you should be able to find a supplier that you can trust and work with.

So when you find this supplier, contact him/her and present all your concerns.

Ask them about their product, manufacturing process, etc.

Try to negotiate the MOQ as well as the unit price of commodities.

Once you agree on these things and are satisfied with the supplier demands, proceed to order.

Step 5: Place an order

You can start by ordering sample products first or just go ahead and make the actual order.

Only opt for the latter choice if you trust the supplier enough.

If not, order a sample first to help you verify the product quality and specifications.

If you’re not satisfied with the sample, make recommendations to the supplier on how you’d like the product to be and send it back.

Let the supplier use your recommendations to make the actual products that you need.

Step 6: Pay for goods

Once your order for products, you should go ahead and pay for them as per the agreement with the supplier.

As you do this, keep in mind the incoterm that you agreed upon and know what you’re to pay for, etc.

Also, be wary of the method of payment.

Only use a method that you believe is safe and convenient for both you and the seller.

Step 7: Organize shipping

Again this will depend on the incoterm you signed upon.

There are some terms that will require the seller to organize and cater for shipping to loading port, some to the destination port and some to a specified location.

Depending on your incoterm, make sure that your shipping is guaranteed and is suitable for your supply chain demands.

Step 8: Find a forwarding agent

Yes, you need a forwarding agent that will help you obtain the necessary paperwork for importation.

The forwarding agent will also help foresee the successful shipping of goods from China to Uganda.

You also need someone that will help compute the customs duty, shipping cost and advice you accordingly.

In this case, appoint a customs broker.

Step 9: Clear goods through customs

Once the goods get to Uganda, you should be ready to receive and clear them through customs if the incoterm states so.

So at customs, you will obtain a release order form from the authorities and produce your certificate of compliance for authentication.

Once you do this, pay the customs duty and taxes, collect your goods and transport them to your final destination.

Well, as you can see, importing from Alibaba to Uganda is not as hard as it sounds.

You just need the right guidance and insight to successfully source and ship goods you order from the site.

Chapter 10: BanSar Freight Forwarder – Your Trusted Partner When Importing from China to Uganda

Competition in China’s logistics industry is quite stiff.

Because of this, very many freight forwarding companies have come up to provide services to customers.

BanSar China

 BanSar China

Now, while there are many forwarding companies in the industry, not all of them provide quality and reliable services.

BanSarnonetheless is one of those freight forwarders that stand out by offering both professional and reliable services.

The company is located in China and serves importers from all over the globe including those importing to Uganda.

BanSar offers efficient and fast logistics and freight forwarding services to its customers.

Our services are well streamlined to ensure smooth importation from China to any part in Uganda.

The best part?

Major carriers and airlines back our services in the industry.

You see, as BanSar, we’ve partnered with major carriers in the industry.

Because of this partnership, we can offer competitive prices to our customers and provide fast shipping services.

By choosing BanSar, you can ship from any city in China to any part in Uganda including Kampala, Entebbe, Tororo, and Mbale, etc.

Note also, that BanSar has over 10 year’s freight forwarding experience in the industry.

This experience I must say has helped us gain significant insight into the needs of our clients.

Thus, we’ve been able to streamline our services and delivery process to suit those needs perfectly.

Something else, all our processes are handled by professional staff that we’ve trained.

More importantly, we offer a variety of services which include;

  • Door to door delivery; for this service we pick your cargo from a location you give to use and deliver it to your destination in Uganda.

Note that while this service may set you a few dollars, you won’t have to worry about a thing.

Our staff will take care of every little thing to ensure that the cargo reaches you safely and on time.

  • FCL and LCL shipping; by offering FCL and LCL shipping options, clients can ship with us more reliably and efficiently.

So depending on your cargo quantity and financial ability, you can choose to either ship FCL or LCL.

For FCL shipment, we ensure that goods are properly packaged, loaded and transported safely to Uganda.

For LCL shipment, we take care of the consolidation process to also ensure the safe shipping of your cargo.

  • Customs clearance; we know how troublesome customs clearance processes can be. As such, we offer to help you navigate through the process both in China and Uganda.

Our customs brokers are well experienced and will ensure fast clearance of your goods.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re shipping FCL, LCL or door to door.

Our quick customs clearance service is available to all.

  • Pickup and delivery; the pick and delivery service is more like the door to door service. The only difference is that with pick and delivery, we pick up goods from the manufacturer’s warehouse and deliver it to a location that you provide.
  • Warehousing and distribution; well, our warehousing service is free to customers for the first 20-30 days.

Distribution, however, comes at a cost, a small one that you should worry much about.

  • Cargo insurance; as BanSar, we can help you get insurance for your cargo from China to Uganda.

By ensuring your goods, you’re ensuring their safety during transportation from China to Uganda.

Such that even if a risk like loss, theft or damage occurs during transit, you’ll be able to claim compensation and continue with business.

  • Loading supervision; most cases of damaged goods and loss often occur during the loading stage.

To avoid such occurrences, we encourage that you use BanSar loading supervision services.

We will ensure proper packaging and labeling of your goods before loading takes place.

During loading, we will ensure the safety of the goods such that no single item gets lost or damaged.

In other words, as BanSar we commit to ensuring the safe and proper loading of your goods.

So, why BanSar in general?

Well, that is simple.

We are a well-known freight forwarding company that is professional, reliable, and affordable and customer oriented.

We are also licensed, insured and certified.

We have an excellent professional network for global operations including China to Uganda shipping.

So if you are in need of any of our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Well, we’ve come to the end of our discussion.

And as you can see from this guide, shipping from China to Uganda is not as complex as it is made to sound.

With the right tools and knowledge, you can enjoy profitable and successful China to Uganda import business.

The best part is that there are very many places to get help with the importation process.

BanSarChina, for instance, is a reliable freight forwarder that you can trust your goods with from China to Uganda.

So, feel free to let us know if you need BanSar’s assistance in any way.

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