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Tile Export Journey: China’s Ceramic Market & Global Exports

tile shipping 2

People everywhere appreciate interiors that are both beautiful and inviting, leading to a significant focus on ceramics and tiles’ creation and global distribution.

The industry, with origins in several countries including China, quickly rose to global prominence. Now, China is recognized as the top player in this field.

With its global reputation, especially from China, the path forward is clear. Producing and exporting ceramics and tiles from China should continue, ensuring China’s position as the world’s premier tile exporter.

Click here to learn about Top Countries in Global Ceramic Tile Manufacturing.

Table of Contents

China: Leading the Global Tile Export Market

China is now the most powerful player in the world of tile production and export.

This high level of production comes from over 3,500 production lines in 1,400 specialized plants. Within China, people are expected to use 5,475 million square meters, or 42.8% of the ceramic tiles used worldwide.

Asia is the biggest market for Chinese tiles, taking in about 58% of all exports. The Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Cambodia are among the top eight buyers in Asia.

With all this information, it’s clear that China is the top tile exporter in the world.

ceramic tile industry

In 2023, the top 10 destinations for China’s ceramic tile exports, ranked by export value, were as follows: 

  1. The Philippines
  2. Vietnam
  3. Hong Kong (China)
  4. Indonesia
  5. South Korea
  6. Malaysia
  7. Thailand
  8. Australia
  9. Cambodia
  10. Myanmar

The Philippines (7.2 million square meters), Indonesia (6.8 million square meters), and South Korea (5 million square meters) stood out as the primary recipients of China’s ceramic tile exports, making up 34% of the total. Following them were Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, and Cambodia, which combined added another 22% to the total exports.

Among the top 10 exporting provinces, 5 saw a year-on-year increase, while 5 experienced a decrease.

Guangdong Province’s exports made up 41.76% of the total, with a 1.39% decrease from the previous year. The top 10 provinces accounted for 92.28% of the total export value.

Italy: The Epicenter of Artistic Brilliance and Design

Across the globe, Italy stands out for its leadership in art and interior decoration.

Tiles from Italy, known for exceptional craftsmanship, have gained a notable reputation through decades of skill and experience.

Design studios in Italy also receive high praise, with consistent recognition as among the world’s best.

The label “Made in Italy” serves both as a promise of quality and as a symbol of luxury and excellence, winning respect from consumers worldwide. Confidence in Italian craftsmanship, deeply rooted in history, turns “Made in Italy” into a lasting emblem of excellence.

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Turkey: The Ancient Forerunners of Design and Artistry

Turkey’s history shows it as one of the earliest places where people made art.

Ceramics from Turkey are some of the oldest in the world, putting the country at the forefront of tile exports. Turkish ceramics draw from designs and production methods from around the globe. The country’s tiles, known for their wide range of colors and complex designs, are in high demand worldwide.

Colors like deep blue, light blue, black, and dark purple are very popular. There are two main types of Turkish tiles: one with a shiny finish and one without. These tiles, often found in places of worship for their beauty, also decorate some of Istanbul’s tallest buildings.

Turkish tiles come in shapes like squares, hexagons, and triangles. Turkey’s greatest contribution to art may well be its skill in creating mosaic tilework.

Spain: The Unquestioned Global Leader in Tile Production

Spain stands out from other European nations in tile production, marking itself as a top exporter on the global stage.

Bright colors, complex geometric shapes, and unique floral designs often characterize Spanish floor tiles. Such distinctive, appealing elements have led to increased demand, enhancing Spain’s position as a leading country for tile exports.

The unique, captivating designs set Spanish tiles apart, including intricate mosaic patterns and elaborate motifs. Spain gains global acclaim for its colorful, eye-catching tile patterns, establishing it as a go-to source for unique, high-quality tiles.

Tile Water Absorption- boiling method

Iran: Unbeatable Quality, Competitive Pricing, and Global Reach

The tile and ceramic industry is growing fast worldwide, and Iran has become one of the top countries for tile exports.

The market is expanding quickly, shown by the rapid increase in export values. In Iran’s tile and ceramic sector, about half of the production is for domestic use. The main interest for investors is in selling these products abroad.

Around half of Iran’s tile and ceramic output goes to other countries, making it a leading exporter in this field. Despite challenges and sanctions, Iran’s tile and ceramic exports reached their highest value in 2014. That year, sanctions eased, and by 2021, exports had grown by 6% from the year before. The total export value jumped from 15 million dollars in 2003 to 223 million dollars in 2021.

Looking at all the information, it’s evident that Italy, Turkey, Spain, and Iran are key players in the global tile export market.

Choosing Ceramic Tiles in China A Buyer's Guide

China, with centers like Foshan in Guangdong, is a hub for ceramic tile manufacturing, blending innovation and sustainability. The industry extends beyond mere production, encompassing fairs, extensive facilities, and strategic partnerships. This guide highlights a journey through China’s dynamic ceramics landscape, covering selection to international shipping.

Which Regions in China Lead the Way in Ceramic Tile Production?

China’s vast ceramic tile industry spreads over its large territory, with each area bringing its own unique features and strengths. Here’s a closer look at these key production regions:

Guangdong

Guangdong stands out as the leading force in China’s ceramics industry, with Foshan at its heart. This area alone accounts for more than half of China’s tile production each year. Foshan Ceramics is recognized worldwide, leading the way with its manufacturing quality, support in commerce, technological advancements, and product range.

In this region, customers can choose from many top-tier flooring brands. Foshan, especially, has made a name for itself as a leader in the market, notably in ceramic and porcelain tile categories.

Shandong

Shandong has a varied and important role in the ceramic tile industry. It offers a wide range of patterns and designs. Here, not only ceramic and porcelain tiles are produced but also items for buildings, industries, art, gardens, and bathrooms.

A broad market reach helps Shandong stay successful. Shandong is known for tiles that are good quality but not too expensive. Many of the big names in the tile business here are managed by the government.

Where Can You Buy Your Ceramics Tiles in China

Fujian

Fujian now stands out as a central figure in tile production. Originally famous for brick walls and floor tiles, Fujian has undergone significant development.

Currently, Fujian is known for producing distinct stone bricks, wall tiles, and other unique items. Numerous small factories operate in the area, but their size should not mislead anyone. Even though small, these factories produce top-quality tiles from China, recognized and respected around the world.

Hebei

Hebei is home to many pioneers in the export of ceramic and decorative tiles. The range of products includes ceramic, polished, glazed, brick, mosaic, and wall tiles, all meeting European quality standards.

Suppliers focused on environmental sustainability have a significant influence on Hebei by using eco-friendly materials. Its beautiful, hand-painted ceramic art tiles, crafted by artisans, draw countless customers looking for unique items.

Jiangxi

Jiangxi, once known for glazed brick tiles, has seen a change in its reputation. Suppliers from different areas have invested in Jiangxi, focusing on reducing emissions and saving energy. Now, big production plants thrive in Gao’an, Pingxiang, and Jiujiang.

Experts predict a bright future, expecting Jiangxi to surpass Foshan as the main center for tile production.

Your quest for high-quality, practical products will surely find success in these regions of China. Each area offers its own unique contributions, showcasing the richness and variety of China’s tile industry. Whether for artistic beauty or architectural practicality, China’s regions are prepared to fulfill the demand with unparalleled quality and innovation.

Where Can You Buy Your Ceramics Tiles in China?

Decided on your tiles? You might wonder where to get those special ceramic tiles in China. China’s fairs are more than just places for business; they are lively platforms where creativity and potential come together. These busy events are about more than just buying and selling; they help you find the perfect tiles.

Let me guide you through a path brimming with possibilities and innovations:

1. Visit Ceramic Tile Fairs

Tile fairs in China are your doorways to what’s next. Full of innovators and craftsmen, these events showcase the newest trends, technological breakthroughs, artistic expressions, and much more.

  • Meet with brands and creators, make contacts for your future projects.
  • Collect a wealth of brochures, product flyers, and design magazines to spark your creativity.

  • Satisfy your curiosity by talking to knowledgeable exhibitors, the masters of their craft.

Here are some illustrious fairs to mark on your calendar:

Ceramic Tile Fairs canton fair

Canton Fair

Known as the China Import and Export Fair, the Canton Fair is a hub of innovation and trade. Established in 1957, it covers various industries such as electronics, lighting, textiles, garments, and food. Held in Guangzhou, China, the fair occurs every spring and autumn, offering plenty of opportunities for exploration.

Shanghai New International Expo Centre

● Ceramics, Tile & Sanitary Ware China

Located in Shanghai, the fair focuses on ceramics, tiles, and sanitary wares. It’s not just a market but a gathering for professionals in the ceramics industry. If you’re looking for design inspiration for kitchen and bathroom projects, this fair is a must-attend.

cerambath

● Cerambath

Also known as the Foshan Ceramic and Bathroom Fair, this event takes place in Foshan, known as the “first ceramics city in China.” Circle April 18-21 on your calendar this 2024. From ceramic wall and floor tiles to mosaic, sanitary ware, and bathroom accessories, it’s a celebration of both form and function.

2. Visit Ceramics Tile Manufacturing Bases and Markets in China

Casa-Ceramics-Sanitary-ware-Mall

Location: Jihua 4th Rd, Chancheng District, Foshan

Casa Ceramics and Sanitarywares Mall is a destination for quality and elegance. It showcases over 650 distinguished brands of ceramics and sanitary wares. Whether you’re looking for building ceramics, sanitary pieces, leisure ceramics, or bathroom and water fixture accessories, this mall offers a wide range of choices in the medium to high price range.

China-Ceramics-City

Location: No. 2 Jiangwan 3rd Rd., Chancheng District, Foshan

Established in 2002, China Ceramics City is a five-story complex covering 130,000 square meters. It brings together over 200 well-known Chinese and international brands of building ceramics and sanitary wares. Going beyond the ordinary, local artisans add their unique ceramic decorations to the space, blending artistry with functionality.

China-Ceramics-Industry-Headquarters

Location: Nanzhuang Jihua West Road, Chancheng District, Foshan

Established in 2008, China Ceramics Industry Headquarters (CCIH) is possibly the pinnacle of ceramic manufacturing bases, covering an area of 330,000 square meters. It houses over 300 top ceramic and bathroom brands, offering a world where you can discover over 3000 diverse categories of ceramic and bathroom elegance.

With structures such as the China Ceramic Theater, Ceramic Mechanical Raw Material Supporting Center, Material Center, and the Conference Service Center, CCIH goes beyond retail and becomes a center of inspiration and innovation.

How to Ship Ceramic Tiles from China?

Planning a journey to ship ceramic tiles from China for your next beautiful project? Securing these exquisite materials for your local venture can be a complex task. Let’s elucidate the critical steps and pearls of wisdom you’ll need to keep in mind:

1. Choosing Product and Supplier

For Small Projects: Websites like alibaba.com are best for smaller projects. They offer a wide range of tile suppliers, ensuring quality and variety.

For Large Projects: For projects involving entire buildings or complexes, it’s crucial to consult a sourcing agent based in China. Evaluate factors such as price, quality, availability, and others to make an informed decision.

2. Managing Your Order

Communication: In the digital era, you can place your order online directly with a supplier or through a sourcing agent. Requesting a quotation for a sample order with a clear price statement can be done via email.

Payment Terms: It’s crucial to have clarity with your supplier regarding payment methods. Payment options may include:

  • Cash
  • Alibaba Escrow
  • PayPal
  • Telegraphic Transfer (a conventional method)
  • Letter of Credit

Usually, a 30% down payment is made when managing the order, and the remaining balance is due before delivery.

shipment process

3. Review All Additional Costs

There are other expenses aside from shipping. Additional charges may include:

  • Transportation fees from the manufacturer to the loading port
  • Export clearance fees, as stipulated by Chinese Customs
  • Freight costs for transporting products from China
  • Customs Clearance charges in your country
  • Local transportation to your warehouse
  • Other documentary expenses (e.g., receipts, packing lists, etc.)

Typically, a 30% down payment is made at the time of order, with the balance due before delivery.

4. Plan for Shipping Time

Shipping tiles from China is a process that requires time, especially when crossing international borders. Ask your supplier or sourcing agent for a realistic estimate. Patience will be essential; for example, it might take about 16 days from China to Australia, but 60 days to Slovakia. Understanding the shipping route will give you an initial idea of how the container will reach its destination.

Based in Foshan, George Ceramic is a well-known brand in the ceramics industry. We blend traditional craftsmanship with innovation to provide high-quality tiles and decorative pieces. Committed to sustainability and customer satisfaction, George Ceramic symbolizes quality and creativity in China’s diverse ceramic landscape.

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