Business Ideas

How To Start Mini Importation Business From China To Nigeria

Are you looking for a way to make extra income or start your own business? Importing small goods from China to sell in Nigeria can be a profitable venture to pursue. The demand for affordable products in Nigeria creates huge opportunities for mini importers. From hair products to phone accessories, many inexpensive Chinese goods can be marked up for sale locally.

Getting into the mini importation business does take some work. But by following the step-by-step guide below, you’ll be on your way to sourcing your first container shipment from China to sell in the Nigerian market in no time.

Choose Your Niche

The first step is deciding what types of products you want to import. Think about what sells well in your region of Nigeria. Consider contacting shops in your area to see what products they have trouble keeping in stock. Research best-selling items on e-commerce sites and look at import records to see what products are being imported in high quantities.

Some of the most lucrative mini import niches in Nigeria include:

• Hair extensions, wigs, hair accessories

• Mobile phones, tablets, and accessories

• Home appliances and electronics

• Beauty and cosmetics

• Babies & kids clothing, gear, toys

• Shoes and clothing

Once you’ve narrowed your focus to a specific niche or product category, you’re ready to find a supplier.

Find and Vet Suppliers

Alibaba is the largest online B2B marketplace and the best place to connect with manufacturers and trading companies in China. Sign up for an account and start searching for suppliers that match your product niche. Use keywords related to your niche and apply filters for location, minimum order quantity, production capabilities etc.

You’ll likely get hundreds of search results. But don’t simply choose the cheapest supplier or first result.

Thoroughly vet each supplier you consider doing business with:

• Review seller profile, ratings, reviews and response rate. Only consider suppliers with at least a few years of export experience, a rating above 4 stars, and positive client reviews.

• Verify certifications matching your product type (i.e. FDA, CE, ROHS, MSDS, etc.)

• Check capabilities related to order quantity, custom branding, shipping methods etc. Make sure they align with your needs.

• Request production original photos of products, not stolen images. Ask for current inventory availability.

• Discuss production, shipment, payments, and product quality assurance processes. Get clear on the business flow. Consider starting small to test reliability.

Communication can sometimes pose a challenge when dealing with Chinese suppliers. So patience and using a trustworthy translation app is helpful. Take time in your vetting process to find an ethical, responsive partner you can rely on as your importer business grows.

Calculate Costs and Set Your Price

Importing products does involve upfront costs. Make sure to research and account for expenses related to:

• China supplier pricing

• Shipping container fees

• Import taxes and duties

• Inland haulage

• Warehousing

• Local delivery

• Customs agents

• Business registration

• Product packaging and branding

Factor in all costs to determine your breakeven price and profit margin per unit. And make sure to set a retail price in line with customer demand and market expectations for your niche. Apps like Import Cost Calculator can help with the math.

Some products like hair bundles often start at 1000%+ markups. While cheaper electronics may aim for 50% markups after import costs. It’s a balance of volume vs. profit margin.

Pay for Your Order and Arrange Shipping

Once you place a confirmed order with your Chinese supplier, there will be a period of a few days or weeks during production before your goods are ready to ship.

Make sure you have clear agreement on payment terms. Many Chinese suppliers will request 40-50% down payment upfront once they receive your order, with the remainder paid before shipment departure. Payments are simple to complete through Alibaba secure online payment platforms like PayPal or Western Union.

You’ll also need to decide on a freight forwarder or agent to coordinate shipping logistics from China. They will book cargo space with an airline or ocean carrier, arrange customs clearance, and land transport locally once goods arrive at ports in Nigeria.

Ocean shipping containers are cheaper but take 30-45 days to arrive. Air freight costs more but takes under a week – better for high demand inventory that will sell quickly.

Successfully Growing Your Mini Import Business

Congratulations – your first shipping container has cleared customs and arrived! This is an exciting milestone. Though the work isn’t done yet.

For sustained growth and profits selling imported goods in Nigeria, focus on:

Marketing: Create brand awareness through online ads and social media shops. Attend local trade fairs and offer retailers wholesale deals to access wider distribution.

Inventory: Keep adequate stock levels to fulfill orders quickly. But also guard working capital – don’t get overburdened with slow selling products.

Customer Service: Nigerian buyers expect attentive assistance during and after purchase. Build relationships and your reputation will spread fast.

Payment Options: Offer flexible payment solutions. Allow installment payments. Partner with companies like PayAttitude, Payhippo, Monify to capture unbanked customers.

Financial Controls: Carefully track sales and restocking needs. Keep overhead costs lean. Record all expenses diligently using accounting tools.

Legal Compliance: Register your business, get proper import licensing, pay duties correctly. Don’t risk big problems that could derail great progress!

Frequently Asked Questions

What products are best to import from China to Nigeria?

Some of the hottest selling products from China in the Nigerian market right now include hair extensions, wigs and accessories; mobile phones and electronics; home and beauty products; clothing, shoes and bags.

How much does it cost to import from China?

Costs will range widely based on your shipment volume and mode of transport. Small air freight shipments may cost $5,000+ while a full 40ft container sea shipment may be $5,000 to $10,000. Factor in all import duties/taxes, transport, clearance and delivery costs.

How long does shipping take from China to Nigeria?

Sea shipments take 30-45 days from China to Nigerian ports. Air shipments are much faster at 4-7 days door-to-door. So air freight makes sense for high demand products you want to replenish quickly.

What are trusted websites to find Chinese suppliers?

Alibaba is the largest directory, with rigorous supplier verification processes. Other options include, and Thoroughly vet any new supplier on quality, reliability and communication before placing orders.

How do I know what products will sell best in Nigeria?

Visiting local Nigerian markets and shops to see what’s selling; tracking eCommerce and import sales records; even surveying customers can reveal winning niche opportunities. Stay focused on affordable everyday necessities, not luxury items.

What are import duties/taxes for shipments from China?

Nigeria import duties vary from 10-35% depending on the product category. Expect to pay duties, VAT and assorted clearance fees adding 15-25% or more to landed costs. So budget accordingly and price your retail products appropriately.


Launching and growing a profitable mini import business takes strategic planning and persistent effort. But helping meet local consumer demand for affordable goods also creates huge opportunities for personal and community economic empowerment. So be bold, be smart – but take the first step.

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