China Pumps Items under $5 into the US 1st Class Mail Service

The minimum an American must pay to send a box to China is $13.75 (10April2016 rates, 8 oz max, International 1st Class Small Parcel service).    A flat item under 4 oz will go if you put $5.10 in postage on it.   Of course, not everything is flat.  But let's say it works.  How can China sell anything on eBay for $4 to $5 dollars -- the whole thing, postage usually included?   Chinese postage is magical for us.  If our mailmen just carry everything for them, somebody must be paying for it. 

The number of $4 to $5 eBay items for sale this moment (May 206, evening) from China, typically with postage included, is 728,403.  Here's a selection from the  728,403 items in the $4 to $5 bracket. 


China5-02 Chinese eBay items under $5, postage included
This is an interesting item -- it's so lumpy.

If the Chinese can use the ePacket system set up by eBay's trilateral negotiations with ChinaPost and the US Postal Service to sell items whose total cost is $5 or less, then they can't be paying much postage to use our postal system.

Our postage for a 4 oz flat to China  ("International FLATS", Zone 3) is $5.10 -- just the postage, no item.  That inspired me  to see what China can sell postage-free for $4 to $5, less than our postage alone of $5.10.  But can we mail this pearl for $5.10, let alone sell it and mail it and have a profit?

You don't get a cheap " $5.10 for FLATS" rate (4 oz) if your item is not flat.  This 3/4 inch  x 1/2+ inch pearl would cost an  American $13.75 (First Class Mail International Package, Zone 3, 8 oz minimum) to China; it would have to go out as a small package or box. If our "flat" was not flat enough (more than 1/4 inch in thickness variation), why not make the whole thing into a thick enough little sandwich to protect the pearl?  Because then you won't pass the flexibility test.   

They can drop anything in a plastic bag and mail it, we can't.  For Americans to enjoy what eBay negotiated for China, we need different rules, not just different rates.  Chinese mail their plastic "ePacket" sealed bags a box, a wad of bubble wrap, any thickness.  Americans are not just paying postage that costs more than the whole thing -- postage free! -- from China. Americans have also been left out of an entire new service negotiated on our behalf by our Postal Service and then turned on for China. 

How much money will 
728,403 listings earn the United States' Postal Service when these $4-$5 items are sold?  Either the service that carries these items First Class across the USA either earns significant  money and contributes to our post office profitability, or it does not.   If it does not, then we are running our system into debt to support China -- a subsidy.  I'm sure China can use our  money, but why do we have to give so much corporate welfare to eBay?  eBay gets millions of listings they can charge for, millions of payments from which they can take their cut.    Ebay negotiated the tri-lateral agreement between ChinaPost, the USA mail system, and eBay.  Corporations are run for their own profit. "The collaboration will make the most of the advantages of the three while helping expand eBay's profits," said Jeff Liao, CEO for eBay's Greater China, head of eBay's Asia-Pacific cross-border trade, and negotiator of your postal agreement with ChinaPost. 

China5-03  Chinese eBay items under $5, postage included   

The $4 baby shoes leave China with  "Economy Shipping", which is the cheapest service, and costs less than eBay's creation, the ePacket. 

China5-04 Chinese eBay items under $5, postage included 
This free-shipping seller wants two dollars more to ship by ePacket, higher than others.

China5-05 Chinese eBay items under $5, postage included

Even at the four-dollar level, seller like this one use the ePacket postal service which eBay got set up by driving negotiations and government policy at the Postal Service.  However, ePackets -- full first-class American service, including scanning, tracking and delivery confirmation -- are not seller's dominant choice for items under five dollars. 

China5-06  Chinese eBay items under $5, postage includedChina5-06 Chinese eBay items under $5, postage included 
China5-07 Chinese eBay items under $5, postage included



China5-11  Chinese eBay items under $5, postage included 

China5-12  Ebay items from China for sale under $5, shipping included 
Here's a window into another world.  When you ramp up a new battery line in a production facility, the first cylindrical cells ("rechargeable batteries") may fail quality control for your buyer and have to be sold as NoNames.  The plain wrapper on a no-name battery is a length of heat-shrink tubing, shrunk down over the cell (photo). When you shut down a factory, what do you do with the leftovers?  Sell them on eBay -- it's cheaper than paying for garbage collection. 

China5-13  China5-12  Ebay items from China for sale under $5, shipping included  

China5-14 Ebay items from China for sale under $5, shipping included.
Other items from this seller mix consumer items with bits and pieces used to manufacture them.

Business & Industrial Industrial   
Other Emergency & Safety Lights
Other MRO & IndustriaI Supply
Pneumatic Cylinders
MRO & IndustriaI Supply
IndustriaI Screws
Other Lab Supplies
Bearings for Manufacturing Equipment
Electrical & Test Equipment

Home & Garden
Other Home & Garden             .
Other Home lmprovement
Other Fasteners
Air Conditioner Air Filters
Other Lumber & Composites
Other  tools
Home lmprovement
Connectors, Clamps & Fittings

Sporting Goods
Cameras & Photo
Computers,   Tablets &    Networking
Consumer EIectronics
Toys & Hobbies

I have seen other odd Chinese sellers like this on eBay.  eBay invites you to browse their "store".  You get a random salad of items.  The seller's selection seems like a clearing house for just about anything you could sweep up off the factory floor or clean out of a market stall.   Stunning. 

I clicked something and the full list appeared. 

They sell about 250 categories of stuff.  It's not the length of the list that startles you,  but what's on it.    One category has nothing to do with another.  Consumer goods are mixed with the tooling needed to manufacture them.  Production line shifting?  Entire factory shutting down?  Why pay anyone to haul it away when you can make the item appear in America for magical amounts of postage and sell it there!   

I'll show you every category sold by this eBay member at the bottom after the pictures.  Have a look, you can jump back here. 

China5-15  Ebay items from China for sale under $5, shipping included 

Ebay items from China for sale under $5, shipping included 

Ebay items from China for sale under $5, shipping included.
728,403 listings     between $4 and $5. 
I am doing 200 items per screen, it doesn't go any higher. 
I'm 18 screens into the list.  Good that it does not tell me how many screens there are.  Maybe 1,900?  Too tired to think.

Due to quirks in eBay's search engine, we are working upward from $4.00 instead of down from 5.   Got to $4.03.
Looks like a long night. 
Do you suppose there's a lot of stuff at two or three dollars? How could they sell and ship at two dollars. 
One dollar?

      Shipper offers ePacket shipping for $1.17 more;   some ask 73ยข, hope America gets some of that. 
      Now that I've looked at gambling dice from a seller that specializes in sexy underwear,
      my shopping experience on eBay ("You may also be interested in . . . ")  is changed forever.   :-(


China5-18 Ebay items from China for sale under $5, shipping included.

China5-19 Ebay items from China for sale under $5, shipping included.

China5-20 Ebay items from China for sale under $5, shipping included.
        $4.07 free shipping; $2.99 for ePacket is out of step with most sellers, who will do ePacket for a dollar more. 

China5-22.jpg  Ebay items from China for sale under $5, shipping included.


31,210 Items are Listed Tonight by One Chinese Seller in these 250 Categories

Don't litter, keep China beautiful,  magical shipping moves all  this to America.
--------------------------Industrial & Electrical                 this seller's $4-5 item picture  (a dark gray capacitor)
Electric  Tools                                                             top of this $5 page

Motors & Transmissions                                           main postage page - China/eBay rant at the end
Indicator LED Lights                                                  main postage page - top, mail rates
Other                                                                            bottom
Pressure Gauges
Sirens & Alarms
Aviation Plug
Power Supplies
Solar Controller
Drill Bits
3D Printer

--------------------------Electrical & Test Equipment
Wire & Cable
Nylon cable gland
Metal cable gland
Terminal Blocks
        Timer Switches
        Push Buttons
        Temperature Switches
        Circuit Breaker & Transformers
        Overload Switches
        Micro Switches
        Proximity Switches
        AC Contactors
        Socket Bases
        Selector Switches
        Power Relays
        DIP Switches
        Boat Rocker Switch
        KWH Meters
        Change-Over Switches
        Emergency Switches
        Light Control Switches
        Disconnect Switches
        Stick Switches
        Switch Accessories
        DIN Rails
        Drum Switch

--------------------MRO & Industrial Supply
Hoist Remote  Controllers
Pendant Controllers
Rubber damper
Welding Gloves
Ceramic Products
Industrial Endoscope
Swivel Wheels
Pumps & Plumbing
        Brass Ball Valves
        Stainless Ball Valves
        Check Valves
        One Way Check Valves
        Needle Valves
        Pressure Relief Valves
        Oil Distributor Valves
        Gas Valves
        Brass Fittings
        Swagelok Coupler
        Other Fittings
        Plug Fittings
        Pump Accessories & Parts

--------------  Manufacturing & Metalworking
Molybdenum Wire
Toggle Clamp
Knurl Tools
Hand tools
Woodworking Tools

--------------  Hydraulics & Pneumatics
Tube Connectors
Air Pipe Hose
Pneumatic Valves

--------------Sports & Outdoor & Protection
Foot Protection
        Chemical Boots
        Insulated Boots
        Safety Shoes
        Anti Static Shoes
Noise Protection
Head Protection
Vest Protection
Knee Protection
Armor Protective
Mask Protective
Stick & Shield

--------------   Home & Garden
Air Purifier
Furniture Leg
Water Filter
Nozzle & Sprayer
Wood Carved

-------------Healthcare,Lab & Life Science
LAB Supplies
Teaching & Learn
        Embedded Specimens
        Specimen tools
        Medical Model
        Trilobite Fossils
        Rock Specimen

Camera & Photo Accessories
Flash Brackets
this seller's $4-5 item picture
top of this $5 page
main postage page - China/eBay rant at the end
main postage page - top, mail rates   You need to get the mail out, you shouldn't be here. 

------------Fasteners & Hardware
Grub Screws
Hex Socket Bolt
Stainless steel screw/nut
Steel Outside Hex Screw
Brass Hexagon Spacer
Hex socket Countersunk screw
Slotted cheese head screw
Brass Countersunk head screw
Eyes Bolts/Nuts
Brass Cross Recessed Screws
Hexagon Threaded Spacers
Round Hexagon Bolt
Brass Outside Hex Screws
Brass knurl nut
Nylon Metric Screws/Bolts
Stainless steel eyelet bolt
Fine pitch thread nut
Stainless steel studs
Stainless steel wing screw/nut
Wire Rope Clips(L)
Wave washer
photo album screw
Nylon Stainless steel lock nut
Stainless steel flange nuts
Cover Nuts
Nylon Metric Nuts
Nylon outside hex screw
Brass Hex Nuts
Brass Wing Nuts
Left Hand Nuts
Rivet Nut
Nylon Countersunk head screw
Tripod Camera Screws
Four Claw Nuts
Rubber Products
Mould Springs

Roller Liner
Deep Groove Bearings
        Micro Model bearing
        rubber seals
        steel shields
Flange Bearings
        Common Flange Bearing
        Stainless Steel Flange Bearing
Thrust Needle Bearings
        Axial Ball Bearing
        Needle Roller bearing
Rod End Joint Bearings
Stain Steel Ball Bearings
One Way Clutch Bearings
Bearing Balls
Bearing Pullers

SDA Cylinder
        SDA Cylinder Double Acting
        SDAD Double Rod
        SDAS Cylinder with Magnet
        SSA Single Acting Push Type
        STA Single Acting Pull Type
General Model Cylinder
CDU Cylinder
        CDUW Double Acting Double Rod
        CDU Double Acting Single Rod
        CDUK Non-Rotating Rod Type
        CDU Single Acting Single Rod
        CXSM Slide Bearing
        CXSL Ball Bushing Bearing
CDM2B Single Acting
        Spring Extend
        Spring Return
MXS Cylinder
        MXS Adjuster on both ends
        MXS Adjuster on extension end
MA Cylinder
        MAD Double Rod Double Acting
        MTA Single Acting-Pull Type
        MSA Single Acting-Push Type
        MA Single Rod Double Acting
CDQSB Single Acting
        Single acting
        Spring Extend
        Single acting
        Spring Return
TDA Cylinder
CDJ2B Cylinder Single Acting
        Spring Extend
        Spring Return
CDM2B Double Acting
CDM2WB Double Rod
MXH Cylinder
CDQSB Double Acting Single Rod
CDQSWB Double Rod
Rotary Clamp Cylinder MKB
CDJ2B Cylinder Double Acting
CDJ2D Cylinder
CXSW Cylinder
MSQ Cylinder
MHS Air Gripper
Other Cylinders
Sealing Ring

Sewing Machine
Fabric Cutters (21 kinds)

---------------------Auto Accessories
Auto Repair Tools (selection of 47)

Things even we couldn't recognize
we put in our "other" category.

------------------Other (603)
"Other"? I can do this!!
Dremel wire brushes, what's so hard about that?
An optical refractometer for measuring the
        alcohol "proof" of drinks. Neat.
Screw pitch guide, like the Starrett one.
        $46 for Starrett, $8.90 China.
Food processing plant pumps and tubing
Diamond saw blade for granite counter tops
Pumps for automobile windshield washers
Brushes to put in motors that wore out.
Tool bits for the ones that wore out
        on your CNC engraving machines
Remote control radio transmitters for
        running construction cranes
        next time you're pouring concrete
Electrical solenoid valves for propane, water,
        fuel, you need, we got.
        20 of some, 30 of others,
        they're selling.
--end  categories of items in one Chinese seller's "store"

Keep China beautiful, move it all here. 

this seller's $4-5 item picture
top of this $5 page
main postage page - China/eBay rant at the end
main postage page - top, mail rates