Does anyone have any experience having large packages (10+ kilos) shipped from the US to China? I'm just concerned about reliability and cost, not time. Would it be best just to have the stuff shipped by the US Postal Service, or to use EMS? (I guess UPS doesn't operate out here?)
Don't worry! Your parcel will be definitely delivered to you by UPS here in Kunming even though you didn't find any UPS Office here. Fortunately there are some UPS agents like us in Kunming who can operate for you. By the way, if you want to send something to foreign countries, you can call us via our toll free hotline: 400-818-9188, we'll provide you direct door to door UPS Service, you can track it on UPS.com with the tracking number from the sender's copy we issued to you. Normally your parcel will be delivered within 3-5 working days after you send it. In addition, you can get a 30-50% discount from the official UPS Market Price.
Toll-free Service Hotline: 400-818-9188
If you are talking about US to China USPS is a good and reliable option. Usual transit time is 10-14 days though for some unknown reason it can extend out to 3 weeks. The package will not be
delivered to your address. The postman will deliver a yellow slip to your house which you take to the EMS office along with your passport to pick up your box. Rather then wait for the yellow slip which can add two days to your wait, just call the EMS office that handles international packages and they'll check if it has arrived.318-4132
Although items sent using International Priority Mail (USPS's offering) usually make it, but not always. A delivery slip may be left for you but not always. The only office where packages from the US are delivered is on Beijing Lu between the DonfFengDong Lu and the train stations. The one plus about that office is that several people speak English and they take pride in serving foreign customers. UPS is a much better choice. If American sender provides an email address for the recipient UPS will contact you with customs clearance information and will arrange delivery to your door. It's a lot less hassle than USPS.
I heard that for UPS, anything of a declared value of over $50 is subject to tariff. Does anybody know if one can take exemptions for items that are for personal use, and used/out of the box? I'm trying to get a bunch of mountaineering equipment sent over and I don't know whether to use UPS or USPS.
We have had a lot of packages sent here from the US using USPS. We haven't had any problems. Most of them have been larger packages. They will take from 2-4 weeks most of the time. If the person sending the package puts gift on the customs slip you won't be charged any tariffs. If you use UPS however you have to pay a large tariff. The one time we got a package UPS we paid more in tariffs than the package was worth. USPS is also significantly cheaper than anyone else. Just have the person check and double check the address and customs form before they send it to make sure there isn't any mistakes. It's also very easy to pick up your package from the international post office. Just make sure you bring your passport.
Slightly off topic, whats the situation with sending second hand domestic appliances / clothes etc INTO kunming. I mean personal effects when I relocate there
You can contact FedEx Domestic Services: 400-889-1888 or Sino-trans: 4006565656 Better FedEx because most of the staff can speak fluent English
Thanks everyone for your help with this topic. I appreciate it!
Just to give everyone an example: I sent packages from San Diego to Kunming last January (via USPS). The packages were sent on January 26th and were received around February 6th if memory serves. All packages were sent via airmail as the US post office no longer offers surface mail for international shipping. Contents of the package were mostly personal items and none of the boxes had been opened on arrival (though I have had arrive somewhat mangled by customs before). All boxes were Xerox sized boxes.
List of prices:
14lbs - $75.75
16 lbs - $83.25
17 lbs - $87
22 lbs - $105.75
When the boxes arrived, I was given a notice to pick them up with ID (passport) at the International Post office on Beijing Lu.
Recommendations: Write your address in English and in Chinese. If the people sending cannot write Chinese, you can scan the address and send it to them.