Before you can start selling your water treatment products in China, you first need to have your products certified with the local Ministry of Health and in some cases obtain CCC certification. In this article we will briefly explain the steps involved in obtaining product certification with the Ministry of Health in China.
All residential water treatment products, both full systems and components, entering the Chinese market must obtain approval from the Ministry of Health. As is common in China, the road to successful registration can often be somewhat of an exercise in ‘relationships’.
Often the process can become a hindrance for foreign companies who wish to quickly sell their products in China. However, with the right approach it is a very manageable process.
Deciding who will register your products in China
Foreign companies that do not have a legal entity in China must first approve a local Chinese entity to act on their behalf during the application process, and it is important to choose this party very wisely. It is advisable to avoid entrusting a distributor with this position. Read more on the dangers of entrusting a distributor to register your products in our complimentary white paper on distributing your residential water treatment products in China.
Choosing a reliable and trustworthy contractor is a common approach, taken by the majority of foreign companies in this market. Even by those who do have a local presence. As good local agencies enjoy strong ties with local certifying bodies and possess extensive experience in the registration process, working with a local agency can speed up the procedure significantly and ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Even with an agency fee included, Ministry of Health certification is likely cheaper than many water industry accreditations abroad.
Registering your devices with the Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health registration process comprises three stages: qualification, testing and permit approval. The entire process can take anywhere from three months to 2 years. However, the majority of companies are able to obtain product approval within 3-6 months through working with an agency. An approved permit means that your product is valid for sale for 5 years before renewal or retesting is necessary.
The First Step: Qualification
The qualification stage consists of the submission of a variety of documents, for instance including Ministry of Health Application Form for Health-Related Product Testing, copies of the product manual translated into Chinese, and company standards. The extent of the documentation and probable language barrier contribute towards making qualification the longest part of the registration process.
Without using an agency it is common for paperwork to be returned in need of correction many times. A good agency will be able to assist your company in the compilation of necessary documents and speed up the process.
The Second Step: Product Testing
For testing, 3 sample units are picked up by the Centre for Disease Control. At this stage, a testing fee must be paid. One testing fee must be paid for the system as a whole whilst each core component must each be tested, each for a separate fee. For example, a conventional filtration system may contain two core components meaning three testing fees must be paid altogether.
Treated water must then meet China’s Standards for Drinking Water Quality (GB5749-2006) requirements. Expect to wait 2 months to have your products tested and returned. However, this is highly dependent on how long the ‘queue’ is at the time.
The Third Step: Permit Approval
Once testing has been successfully passed the manufacturer will be granted the testing reports, which are then used as one part of the permit application process. The documentation required at this stage is extensive.
Testing reports must be used in a permit application within two years, or they are otherwise invalid.
Once you have been granted your Ministry of Health permit, and CCC if necessary, you can now legally begin distributing and selling your products in China.
As said before, timeframes for the entire process vary considerably, with some applications taking approximately four times longer than others. Using an agency not only goes a long way to ensuring the process is shortened as much as possible, but also to avoiding common problems faced by foreign companies.
With or without using an agency, the Ministry of Health registration process is not one to be feared if the right preparation and support is in place. The end reward is a passport to a booming residential water treatment market.
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