Key Points:

  • China Post is the main postal service for China and engages in the delivery of parcels and postal items within China and beyond
  • Hong Kong Post is the postal service for Hong Kong, which includes courier services like Hong Kong SpeedPost
  • Deciding whether to use China Post or Hong Kong Post for fulfillment depends on factors such as your budget, delivery time requirements, need for parcel tracking, and the like

Satisfactory customer fulfillment is one of the main factors that determine whether an eCommerce company succeeds or fails. As China and Hong Kong are both major global fulfillment centers, their postal services, China Post and Hong Kong Post, are frequently used for fulfillment and shipping by many eCommerce SMBs. But which postal service in the China Post vs. Hong Kong Post-debate is best for your business?

This guide takes a closer look at both postal services and examines them in detail, also exploring whether shipping from Hong Kong could be the answer to escape the impact of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war!

Table of Contents

What is China Post?

China Post is the main postal service for China and engages in the delivery of parcels and postal items within China and beyond. Most of the shipments delivered by China Post come from a variety of trading platforms, especially Aliexpress, which has become the most popular trading platform in China.

With China Post shipping services, registered items are usually assigned unique tracking numbers (approximately 13 symbols) that correspond to the S10 standard of the Universal Postal Union. The parcels shipped through China Post are primarily delivered via:

  • Air
  • Surface Air Lifted
  • Surface

This postal service offers both local and international shipping services. Specifically, the international shipping services offered by China Post include:

  • Small Parcel – For lightweight parcels that weigh less than 4.4 lbs. This is the most economical solution offered by China Post.
  • Large Package – For larger packages that weigh more than 4.4 lbs.
  • EMS – This is the fastest of all shipping services offered by China Post. With EMS, it typically takes between one to two weeks to get your items delivered from China to your country of choice.
  • Ordinary Small Packet Plus -  This service is usually for non-registered items and offers lower rates, as there are no China Post shipment tracking services or compensation for lost items offered.
  • Registered Mail: This service comes at higher rates and offers online parcel tracking. It’s mostly suitable for sellers of electronic products, crafts, art, accessories, clothes, and the like.
  • e-Packet: This service offered by China Post offers a medium between airmail shipping and EMS in terms of delivery speed.

Notably, China Post shipment tracking has been an issue that’s frustrated many online merchants using the postal service for fulfillment. Tracking is only done for packages that are registered and not registering a package, which in turn, means no tracking services are offered.

The delivery duration of  China Post shipments depends on the method of transportation. For example:

  • Airmail takes between seven to 20 business days to be delivered
  • Surface Air Lifted mail also take between seven to 20 working days to be delivered
  • Surface mail takes between 40 to 70 days to be delivered, depending on the destination country. In cases of delays, it could even take up to 180 days for delivery.

What is Hong Kong Post?

Hong Kong Post is the postal service for Hong Kong. With its various shipping solutions, including Hong Kong SpeedPost, this postal service offers well-regarded delivery services for Hong Kong and around the world.

Mail shipping options and transportation methods available with Hong Kong Post include:

  • Speedpost. Fast delivery option with a maximum weight of 66 lbs.
  • Air (with tracking) covering e-Express, iMail, Registered Letter/Packet, and Parcel. The maximum weight for Parcel is 22 to 66 lbs. while the maximum weight is 4.4lbs. for all other services.
  • Air (without tracking) covering Ordinary Letter/Packet, Bulk Air Mail, Bulk Posting of Lightweight Mail Items, and International Periodicals.
  • Surface (with tracking) covering Registered Letter/Packet and Parcel.
  • Surface (without tracking) covering Ordinary Letter/Packet, Bulk Posting of Lightweight Mail Items, and Direct Agent Bag.

The delivery speed for Speedpost is two to six business days, depending on the destination. With Air, e-Express is seven to 14 business days, iMail and Registered Letter/Packet is four to 24 business days while Parcel is six to 20 working days. Surface takes between two to 120 days for delivery, depending on destination and whether you opt to use Hong Kong Post tracking or not.

Tariffs, UPU Withdrawal Could Have Major Impact

When it comes to which particular shipping solution to use, your shipping budget, intended delivery time, and parcel tracking needs are among the main factors to consider.

China Post is generally seen by many online merchants as being more affordable than Hong Kong Post, though Hong Kong Post is typically a better option for quick delivery and often offers superior tracking.

Just as important is the impact of geopolitics on the situation. The ongoing U.S.-China trade war will likely alter fulfillment from China in a number of notable ways.

The enactment of tariffs by the Trump Administration will likely raise the cost of products in targeted categories shipped from China to the U.S., possibly causing consumers to turn to other options and depressing demand in the world's largest consumer market.

Likewise, the distinct possibility of a U.S. withdrawal from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) will also have a considerable impact on fulfillment from China. A U.S. withdrawal from the organization, if ultimately followed through, will almost certainly mean higher postal shipping costs from China to the U.S., raising prices even further.

Between the tariffs and possible higher postal charges from a U.S. withdrawal from the UPU, fulfilling from mainland China will likely get more expensive in the future, especially when the U.S. is the destination country. These higher prices could possibly cancel out the lower shipping costs that China Post has to offer online merchants, meaning that finding a new fulfillment hub could be a necessity for many SMBs in the near future.

Trade War: Is Shipping from Hong Kong the Answer?

As a result of the U.S.-China trade war, many online merchants previously using China Post shipping and fulfillment have been hit hard by tariffs and geopolitical uncertainty with little relief in sight. A lot, not surprisingly, have turned to Hong Kong as an answer for their fulfillment needs.

Unaffected by the tariffs, Hong Kong offers many advantages when it comes to fulfillment compared to mainland China. Just a few of these include:

  • Lower costs due to Hong Kong’s status as a free port with a great degree of economic freedom, including a lack of import and sales taxes
  • Excellent global connections, with direct flights to 220 destinations and easy access to major Asian markets such as mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and elsewhere
  • Close proximity to China’s massive manufacturing industry

Therefore, Hong Kong is certainly a great choice when it comes to fulfillment. The city-state offers a solid option for online merchants looking to escape the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and should be seriously considered for eCommerce businesses seeking a global distribution hub that offers much flexibility, freedom, and a prime location!

Choose Which Courier is Best for Your Fulfillment Needs

Deciding whether to use China Post or Hong Kong Post for fulfillment depends on factors such as your budget, delivery time requirements, need for parcel tracking, and the like. Generally, China Post is probably a better choice for fulfillment for budget-conscious SMBs while Hong Kong Post typically works better if your company prioritizes fast delivery and needs superior parcel tracking. The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China should also be carefully taken into account by eCommerce SMBs.

Should you choose to fulfill from Hong Kong, Easyship offers 250+ shipping solutions with pre-negotiated rates from a wide array of couriers. Sign up for free today to start fulfilling and shipping worldwide!