Chinese Moms Shop Overseas for Baby Products

July 19, 2011 10:54 am Last Updated: October 1, 2015 4:11 pm
Chinese parents have developed the habit of looking overseas for baby food, after a poison-milk powder scandal in 2008 and a constant drumbeat of bad food news in China. (AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese parents have developed the habit of looking overseas for baby food, after a poison-milk powder scandal in 2008 and a constant drumbeat of bad food news in China. (AFP/Getty Images)

Young mothers in China are turning to overseas online shopping sites for baby food and other baby-care items, given they have lost trust in the safety of domestic products, according to a recent report by Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA).

Ever since 2008, when melamine tainted milk powder killed at least six Chinese infants and sickened hundreds of thousands, young parents’ trust in the nation’s baby formula powder has never been fully restored.

Ms. Hu, a Beijing resident, told CNA that since her baby was born she has been shopping for foreign goods such as milk powder and skin care products.

“Although the final cost is higher than the price for similar products in China, I feel comfortable with the quality of foreign products,” Ms. Hu said.

Parents either order directly from overseas shopping websites, or use the help of a friend or an agency abroad to help with the ordering and shipping of foreign purchases.

The products they purchase include milk powder, feeding bottles, dietary supplements, baby cradles and strollers.

Ms. Guo, a mother of a six-month-old baby, said she was browsing different online shopping sites in the United States and Europe to look for a good brand of milk powder.

“I won’t take any chances with my baby’s food. I will not consider any domestic brands. All my friends are also buying baby food from overseas, some from France through an agency, some order directly from a U.S. online shopping site.”

Another online shopper, Ms. Zhang, said she has become quite experienced at buying things overseas, and has just bought six cans of milk powder, four boxes of rice cereal, and two bags of teething biscuits for her baby.

The price for the baby food is actually less expensive than the domestic equivalent, Ms. Zhang said, but shipping it doesn’t come cheap. She said she paid a total 156 euros (US$220.33) for her purchase, and 60 percent of that was for shipping.

Chinese import duties can raise the cost of such foreign purchases even more, the China News Service report said. Since last October a new 10-30 percent duty charge applies to all purchases from overseas. For cosmetics the customs charge can be as high as 50 percent.

Read the original Chinese article.