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50 Best Business ideas You Can Start in China

Do you want to you start a new business in China? If YES, here are 50 best small scale business ideas and investment opportunities in China you can start.

China’s economy is diverse with every key sector of the economy thriving. The Agricultural sector, the manufacturing sector, the technology sector, the oil and gas sector, the automobile industry, the tourism sector, and the pharmaceutical industry are all thriving.

Almost every Fortune 500 company have established businesses in China, including Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, HP, Google and Oracle.

With a population of over one billion and a fast growing economy, China is definitely the next best place to situate and open a business. China’s economy is the world’s second largest and fastest growing economy. The country is also the largest global exporter and importer of goods.

China’s leading position in the world economy is not unrelated to the promotion of small businesses in the country, which some have grown to become leaders in their industries. So if you are living in China and planning to start a business or you intend traveling to China in search of business opportunities, below are some of the 50 best business ideas and opportunities in China.

Business ideas in China

  1. Health Products Supply

In the last few decades, health and wellness consciousness has grown tremendously all over the world, which has resulted in the creation of a huge and growing market for health and wellness products.

China is already popular for its wide range of healthy herbal teas and soups; you can leverage on this popularity in market domination to start producing health products either on a small or large scale. This could range from tea, ginger drink to hair care products, spa products, oil and fragrances. You can expand the scope of your business to include hair and beauty products.

Entrepreneurs with pharmaceutical knowledge can go into production of pharmaceutical items, from clinical drugs to dietary supplements, latex gloves, surgical items, hospital gowns and more.

  1. Import and Export

China is the largest global importer and exporter of products, with facilities, infrastructures and socio-economic structures in places that encourage establishment and growth of large scale, medium and small scale businesses. One of the easiest business idea for someone resident in China or someone planning to is importing and exporting.

Almost every goods you can imagine are manufactured and shipped out of China daily and tons of raw materials including finished goods are shipped in daily also. The market and demand for China made goods are global, perhaps due to their low prices and affordability. So, if you are still unsure about what business to do in China, you can’t go wrong with the import and export business.

  1. Provide supplementary education

One other sector that is big in China now is education. If you cannot afford to establish a school, you can go into private tutoring. You can also take this business further by providing online learning service where people can take different courses in various subject areas with dynamic time line. It could be language tutorials, professional exams tutorial, etc.

  1. Pharmaceutical Products

One other big and profitable industry in China is the pharmaceutical industry. Although, to run a successful business in this industry, you need to have a level of scientific knowledge, you will also go through rigorous process before a license can be issued to you to start production.

However, it is a very financially buoyant industry not just in China alone, but in many parts of the world. Pharmaceutical products are items humans cannot live without. If they are not used directly they are used in the production of other products.

Forbes China listed a Pharmaceutical company among the top 10 small businesses in China in 2012. This is a proof that the pharmaceutical industry is perfect for small businesses to grow and expand.

  1. Crude Oil Import and Export

Crude oil is in demand in every country. Crude oil import and export business is very lucrative and a good means of generating foreign exchange. Though highly capital intensive, you can’t just start this business without a deep market knowledge of crude oil refining, which market to buy from and sell to.

Also, crude oil business is capital intensive so you have to have strong financial capabilities. You do not have to limit your business to crude oil only, you can also include refined crude products in your import and export business.

  1. Networking Services

This is a great business to start in China. There are individuals who want to mingle and meet the right contacts. You can organize a network service where employers would meet potential employees or individuals who are just trying to expand their contacts.

  1. Virtual Assistant

Decent amount of funds could be made if you start rendering services as a virtual assistant. You could carry out jobs for executives in China ranging from maintaining database, coordinating travel arrangements and a host of others. Just like any other business, you will need to make lots of contacts to ensure you thrive.

  1. Ecological environment construction

Starting a business in ecological environment construction sounds like a large scale business run by big companies. Though it could be, but it can also be done perfectly as small scale business. This business includes ecological research, landscape engineering, afforestation, researches on seedlings and many more. This business is preferable for individuals who are skilled or trained ecologists.

  1. Household Items Production

Manufacturing household items is also a very profitable business venture in China; whether for domestic sake or for the foreign market, China made items are in high demand worldwide.

One of the distinct qualities of household items made is China are their beautiful designs and of course affordability. Therefore, if you are interested in manufacturing quality and eye-catching products, why not start with household items.

  1. Haulage Business

For individuals who have interest in the transportation industry, a haulage business of your own is an interesting idea. With the high volume of goods being produced in China daily the need for transportation services to move these goods cannot be over emphasized. As the owner of a haulage service in China, you can always be sure of getting jobs daily and making profits.

  1. Skincare and Beauty Products

This is one good business idea any growing entrepreneur in China can decide on. With the rate at which lots of people are becoming self conscious and the rate at which the line between good health and physical appearance, fitness and beauty are being removed, the skin care and beauty market is one that will not experience a shortage of demand anytime soon.

A large percentage of beauty and skin care products all over the world are either completely made in China or some parts are made in China. Beauty and skincare business in China is one of the best business ideas anyone can come up with.

  1. Mobile Phones and Accessories

What other business is better to start than mobile phones and accessories in a country that revolutionized mobile phone production and cost? China is one country where one can always get mobile phones at cheap prices. You can start exportation of mobile phones and accessories from China to other parts of the world.

  1. Bags and Shoes Production

Shoes and bags production is one other very profitable business in China. Whether for domestic market or export, once you can create really nice designs or employ a creative director to do the designs and art creations for the business, you can’t go wrong.

There is a very high demand for China made products in developing countries, including fashion items such as shoes and bags due to their low prices and availability. With the right capital, shoes and bag production especially for export is a business you can definitely make a fortune from.

  1. Import and Export Insurance

Becoming an insurance broker in China is a good business idea as there is no dearth of import and export businesses. Shipments are covered by cargo insurance against damage, any form of loss that may be caused by weather condition, pirates attack, unprecedented delay etc.

This insurance could be made by the seller or buyer. Importers and exporters many times require the services of international insurance companies for coverage for their cargo. Business owners most times consult insurance experts in order to make the best decisions for their business.

  1. Direct marketing

With the unimaginable number of business activities and transactions happening in China daily, including new businesses commencing operations daily, it is not difficult to realize how much marketing is required daily. Direct marketing is one of the top business opportunities in China.

With an impressive communication skill, marketing skill and business networking skill, direct marketing becomes easy and very lucrative.

  1. Warehousing and Distribution Service

A distribution and warehousing company handles shipping and receipt of goods for different businesses. You will need your own warehouses which should be enough to store goods for importers and exporters. This business is also highly capital intensive and requires a lot of smartness and skills.

  1. Jewelry Production

With the right capital and jewelry design skills, you can start a jewelry making business in China. There are a wide range of affordable materials that you can make beautiful jewelries from. Affordable jewelries are in high demand not only in developing countries but in developed countries too.

Anywhere in the world where there are middle-class and low-class individuals, there is a market for affordable jewelry. Jewelry making skills can be learnt and if you are not very good with creative designs, you can hire an art designer or a fashion art director who would supervise your designs to ensure they are marketable in the fashion world.

  1. Small-scale food production

Everyone everywhere needs food. Even if you do not know how to cook a thing, you can get a good chef or cook, a beautiful, clean and safe environment with impeccable service, your business is perfect and ready to launch.

  1. Online Shop or trading platform

If you are internet savvy in China and looking to start your own business, an online store or trading website is an interesting business idea you might want to consider. Having a successful online store requires having agreement with manufacturers to get listed items on your site at very cheap price.

However, if your Online business is a trading platform, then the business owners who have their goods and services listed on your platform are the ones to bother about price negotiations with companies and from every item sold you get a commission. If you live in China and are internet savvy, then you should consider starting your own online shop or trading platform.

  1. Used Car Business

Used cars are not strange ideas in most parts of the world including many developed countries. As new designs and models of cars are flushed into the market, there is often always a rush to sell off old models and acquire the newer models.

You can also add export and or importation of car spare parts, whether used or new ones to your business. Vehicle spare parts are often in higher demand than the cars.

  1. Electronic Devices Shop

China is one of the largest producers of electronic devices in the world. An electronic device business in China is a highly profitable venture. Thousands come from different parts of the world to buy from China on daily basis. As long as you make quality, attractive and affordable products, you cannot have shortage of demand in China.

  1. Timber Export/Import

All over the world, construction workers and furniture makers cannot do without timber. As a businessman, you can create a profit making business by researching the domestic market and demand for timber. You can connect the local market to foreign timber producers with buyers in the domestic market.

  1. Export Trading Business

Export Trading Companies source for information on goods in foreign markets and scout for domestic manufacturers who want to export their produces or can produce enough items for exportation. You can sometimes make your cut from commission on the goods sold.

  1. Teaching English Language

English is not China’s official language, however a large percentage of those coming into China to do business are English speakers. If you speak English fluently, you can start English classes in China, not only for entrepreneurs but for those who might want to go into other areas of life endeavor.

Your classes can also offer home tutorial for individuals who would prefer such services, and of course you can charge more money for home tutoring.

  1. Tobacco Products Production/Import/Export

Tobacco products are big moneymakers; however, before you can invest your capital in tobacco import or export, you need some level of market research.

Know your market, its taste and pocket size. This is a business that is financial rewarding, but to succeed in it, you need an in depth knowledge of the industry, possible health regulations, government policies in tobacco production and marketing; processes involved in getting license, etc.

  1. Clearing and Forwarding Business

If you have the logistics, business management skills, as well as an entrepreneurial spirit, you may just be fit to learn how to start a freight brokerage business. As a freight brokerage company, it is your duty to act as a mediator between shippers and client companies who need your services and facilities.

Your tasks also involve clearing goods from the ports, paying up your duties and taxes, transporting your consignment to your desired destination, etc.

Sometimes, freight brokers are referred to as clearing and forwarding agents. There is much money to be made as a clearing and forwarding agent. The sweetest part is that this business can be done anywhere and in any country as long as international trade still exists and your country is a partaker.

  1. Seafood Import/Export

Hundreds of seafood are consumed daily. Local dealers cannot provide enough supply to meet demand, this creates opportunities for importers and exporters of seafood.

  1. Exportation of Sesame Seed

China is one of the two leading producers of sesame. For a person in China, Sesame seed exportation is a perfect business idea. You are sure of adequate supply.

  1. Smart Phones Exportation

Almost all the most affordable Smartphones in the world are produced in China. This is a very good and profitable business for individuals in China. There is a huge market and demand for cheap phone especially in developing countries.

However to succeed in this business, you need to have market research done in order to have knowledge of what the consumers want, and which smartphones are in demand. You may even find a market yet to be penetrated, which perhaps can be your best option.

  1. Representing Manufacturers

Individuals who are either experts in certain industries, or from years of buying and selling certain products they have become business authorities in that business, can ask to become representatives for manufacturers of such products. For instance, an expert in baby products business can meet a manufacturer of baby products in China to be his representative in the US.

Majority of manufacturers would gladly agree to have a representative in an oversea market. It is a money making deal for both parties, as the representative you get commission sales done through you, the manufacturer too gets to penetrate a new market, expand his business and make way more money.

  1. Online Factory Directory

This is the creation of an online list of manufactures, and their contact details. You may also feature some of their most popular products and price range. To make your site user friendly and easy to navigate, you can categorize the directory according to the province where factories are located or product type.

A directory like this will serve both the factories and buyers. You will also earn good money from placing adverts on your website. As the popularity of your website grows you can introduce premium ad services for businesses seeking faster visibility.

You charge them a daily, weekly or monthly amount to place their business information on the front page of the directory. Also as the traffic on your site increases you get to make money from affiliate marketing, Google add, AdSense, etc.

  1. Pure Honey Exportation

Honey is one of the most sought after health benefiting item in the world right now, thanks to its increasingly popular health benefits. Honey exportation is an excellent business idea as there is a growing demand for high quality natural honey all over the world.

Package your products attractively and find a market for your product. If you need to do some market research or get some training on the business, do not hesitate.

  1. Export Management Company

This is majorly an exportation business. The EMC connects local sellers to international buyers. EMC is involved in almost every step, from production to packaging, marketing and advertising, getting distributors, shipping and if need be provision of funds.

EMC is a partnership between local sellers in order to find and organize business between them and foreign buyers/businesses.

  1. Import and Export Consultancy

Import and export business though financially rewarding can be daunting and stressful. With varying international trade laws to deal with, different government policies, marketing, market research, warehousing, licenses, insurance, getting skilled labour, etc.

Often times business owners contract these complex aspects of the business to professionals and consultancy firms in exportation and importation business. Import/export consultants handle the complexities of importation and exportation. From legal issues to government policies, international business policies, trade restrictions, marketing and many others.

Starting an import/export consulting business requires experience, skills and expertise in the industry. If you are interested in the business but do not have the skills and experience, there are a number of training schools you can attend, and to gain experience you can apply for internship at an already established company.

  1. Importation of Clothing Items

Another export item China is popular for is clothing items. You can choose to export new clothing items from China to other parts of the world, or it could be used clothes exportation which actually has a huge market.

  1. Beauty Products Export/Import

Beauty products are often expensive especially the high quality products. However, the demands for beauty products keep growing. There are so many beauty products you can chose to export or you can export a wide range of beauty items. It is also best to include phone accessories in your export items.

  1. Household Items Production and Exportation

Household items and accessories is also a lucrative import and export business. It can be anything from the smallest items such as toothpaste dispensers to large items like washing machines. These can also be production of affordable items or luxury and decorative household items.

This business does not really require much expertise, once you have your market ready and your understand your market well enough to know the kind of goods to buy or sell.

  1. Educational/Schools/Office Items

According to, “15 billion-20 billion pencils are made each year, roughly half of them in China.” China made school and office items are the most popular and highly in demand. It is not too late to join the bandwagon of the money making venture.

From pencils, to erasers, school bags, laptop bags, staples, boards, board markers, travel mugs, lunch boxes and launch bags, binders, staplers, the list is endless.

If you can get the finance, it is advisable to manufacture one or more of these items. However of you don’t have the resources or interest to become a manufacturer, you can still get involved in this business by being a distributor of these items, within China or to different parts of the world. The market and demand for these items are unbelievable huge.

  1. Shipping Services

With the high rate of exportation in China, a shipping service business is a right decision. However, you need to realize that this is a highly expertise based business. To succeed in this business, you have to know the nitty-gritty of this business.

Running a shipping company is capital intensive, you also need to have knowledge of import and export processes, laws and regulations of different countries, operation of communication equipment, shipping logistics and many other things.

  1. Agro Products Import and Export

Food never goes out of vogue, it is always in demand. If you are interested and know how to go about it, food business will always be a good business.

When it comes to agriculture, no country has it all. Depending on your market research you can choose to import agro items into China, the second most populous country in the world, or you can export from China to others. Keep it in that you will have to register with the appropriate authorities.

  1. Compliance Officer

The main function of compliance officers is trade investigation and audit to determine if an organizations’ trade processes are in adherence to domestic and, or international trade laws, regulations and agreements. Compliance officers are mostly employed by government agencies either at the local, state or federal level. For example, Department of Commerce and State Bureau of Industry and Securities.

Every serious minded company employs the services of compliance officers to avoid being on the wrong side of trade laws which could attract punishments. Large companies often have an in house compliance officer, while smaller companies that cannot afford departments that handle these issues employ services of consultants in the field.

  1. Export Merchandizing

This involves buying goods in bulk from either local and or foreign manufactures and then reselling the goods locally or internationally. You will also be responsible for the packaging, shipping and at times marketing of the goods. If you are interested in being a wholesaler on an international level, then this business is for you.

  1. Marketing

Marketers are invaluable to companies. They create and develop markets for producers of goods and services. They maintain relationships with companies and their markets. Marketers develop and advice on pricing, how to beat competition, etc. Their work also involves communication, advertising and PR.

If you have the skills, experience and interest in marketing, you can start a marketing consulting organization that carries out market research, forecasting and more. Also, you can simply just start a marketing training institute where you leverage on your skills and wealth experience to organize training programs for entry level marketers and experienced marketers.

  1. Online Import/Export Directory

This is an interesting business idea that most entrepreneurs would overlook. This simply means you creating an electronic version of detailed import and export directory that serves information on new markets, demand patterns, manufacturers, price list and many more.

Although to create a highly informative directory, you will need to do a lot of research and data gathering. You get to charge companies for listing their information on the directory. Also, depending on your website traffic, you can charge businesses for advertisement on your site.

  1. Internet based business

Even if you are a professional who can only offer specific services, it is clever, cost and cost effective to take your business online. You can render your services online; whether writing, consultancy, communication, art, music, journalism and more, all can be done online including making and receiving payments.

  1. Arbitrage

In a highly industrialized and developed country like China, business deals involving stocks, commodities, currencies, bonds and other trade items are always available. With the right knowledge and skills you can start a business from buying one or more of these items and selling to other markets at a higher price depending on price difference. This business relies a great deal on skills and expertise.

  1. Used Electronics

It is already an established fact that most affordable electronic gadgets are made in China. For individuals in China looking for business ideas, starting this export business is a no-brainer! You can either restrict your business to electronic gadgets only or include their spare parts.

It is very profitable to include spare parts of these items in your export business. You may choose to deal in high-end items or go for the affordable items which have huge market especially in developing countries.

  1. Leather Products Exportation

Leather products manufacturing are gradually being moved from places where production cost is high, to countries where labour is more cost effective with more lenient trade, manufacturing and labour laws. Starting leather products import and export business in China is a very profitable business, but an in-depth understanding of the trade is necessary.

You access raw materials from developing countries who are often the major producers of leather raw materials, then bring the raw materials into China to make into finished good, where manufacturing companies and skilled labor are in abundance and cost effective.

  1. Industrial Automation Products

According to Forbes China, Shenzhen Inovance Technology Co. Ltd is the number one small business in the country. In an industrialized country like China where millions of items are produced monthly, the need for automated industrial machine cannot be overstated.

Selling industrial automation products does not have to on a very big scale; you could start small and grow to the point of even expanding beyond China.

  1. Logistics Specialist

If you have the skills set, this is very financially rewarding and interesting business and career in China. A logistics specialist can be involved in production, shipping, warehouse, inventory taking, deliveries and supply chain.

  1. Drop Shipping

With drop shipping business you can sell goods directly to buyers. Although dropped shopping is gradually becoming unpopular, but it a great business idea.

  1. Freight Forwarding

Freight forwarders specialize in global transportation, shipping specifically. They give consult on shipping arrangements and documentation. They also ensure that every shipping aspects and processes are in line with industry standards and laws.

Because freight forwarders deal with different people, businesses and different countries; they are experts in international transportation. They are also experts in international trade policies of many nations.