How do I have to book, load, and ship furniture imported that I buy in China?
If you are buying most of the items from one shop they can do it for you for a small fee. Otherwise you need to hire an agent to handle import from China. Typically these agents will charge 5% of total purchase value to to handle all aspects of shipments.
All containers from China for furniture purchased in Shunde will ship from Shenzhen port. Actual container freight depends on the country where you want to import. It can be between US $2,500 to $4,000 for a 40-ft container, a size that would fit most container for an entire home of 250 square meters/2500 square feet.
What about quality? I heard that Chinese quality is terrible.
This is not entirely true. Major electronics products including iPhone, Sony, and Nokia are made in China. There are good factories and there are those that produce poor quality for a low price. This is largely true for major discount chains with manufacturing facilities in China that have the sole intention of offering low prices. However, there are many quality producers which export furniture from China under OEM license. In malls like the Louvre (LFC), Red Star Macalline Brand Furniture, or TuanYi, only shops with high quality products are allowed to display and sell.
Does it make economic sense to import furniture from China?
If you are buying for entire home (250 square meters/2,500 square feet) with a budget of USD $50,000 or more, it makes sense to buy all of the furniture in China. The price in you home country could be easily three or four times the price in China. Besides buying furniture, you will have the chance to see this exotic country!
A trip to Shunde makes sense if you are buying lots of furniture, but if all you want is a sofa or table, you might as well buy from a store near your home that can offer personalized service and hassle-free installation. Of course, it is not as easy to buy furniture from a far-away country and go through the hassle of dealing with shipment and imports, but in the end it is worth it when you compare prices at home. In general, a piece of furniture that cost USD $1,000 in China can cost $4,000 to $6,000 in your home country.