Shanghai Import-Export and Sourcing Internships


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Industry Overview

China’s sophisticated manufacturing infrastructure, competitive labor force and countless government incentives have made the country the most desirable location for international companies to expand their supply chains. Asian countries such as Thailand and the Philippines have emerged as alternatives for sourcing thanks their low cost of labor, however these countries face similar problems China faced when it first opened up: a lawless business environment, poor infrastructure, ignorance of international trade protocol and language and cultural barriers. Moreover, China’s mature supply chain and its growing presence in global business keep China an attractive candidate. The challenges companies face once they get their feet in the door are to protect intellectual and technical property, the environmental costs and the complicated (and at times, changing) laws.

Fast Facts

  • China’s export exceeded $2 trillion in 2014. China shipped nearly $270 billion worth of goods to the U.S., and this accounted for 17 percent of overall export from China.
  • Most of the shipments to the U.S. consisted of machines, electronic and medical equipment, furniture, clothing, toys, and plastic items.
  • The sourcing industry in China has developed and matured since China became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001.
  • Shanghai is the center of China’s business activities. Its harbor makes it one of the more developed areas in China with established sourcing companies. Shanghai will be a wonderful place for you to start the internship.
  • An interest in Chinese business culture, trademark and commercial law will be tremendously helpful.

China is the world's leading exporter and has recently surpassed the USA as the largest trading nation. Importing, exporting and related industries are perfect for getting experience early in your career as it'll mean firsthand knowledge of international trade and building relationships with distributers, manufacturers, shipping companies and sourcing teams. Shanghai is located at a strategic point along the coast, with an entrance to the Huangpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze. 


Current Sourcing and Import-Export Openings

Please keep in mind that the below openings represent only a portion of our total openings. For more information about opportunities in Import and Export in Shanghai, apply below or contact us!

Current Openings (March 2015):

Position: Sales, Event & Marketing Intern

A large importer & distributer in Shanghai is seeking interns to join the team. Work with very well known F&B brands from the US. Responsibilities and tasks will cover the areas of sales, account management, and event planning. A truly unique opportunity for the right student/intern. For those applicable, there is a possibility of full-time work after the internship.

Who We Are Looking For: Must be outgoing, ready for a night-oriented work schedule, excited to be around people and lively venues. Looking for a great talker, and someone with a keen eye for making sales. Knowledge of Chinese is a huge plus.

What You’ll Learn:
  • Business development
  • Sales to foreign and Chinese venues
  • Learning and using practical Mandarin
  • Distribution
  • Event Planning & Promotion

Position: Business Development Intern

A Spanish-owned distribution company is looking for a confident, independent intern to join the team. For those applicable, there is a possibility of full-time work after the internship.

Who We Are Looking For: Looking for someone with an interest business development and finding new clients. Ready to work with a small, but growing team and contribute to following through with finding new sales channels. In addition to business development, the intern will be able to gain experience in international business consulting.

What You’ll Learn:
  • Business development
  • Distribution & Sourcing
  • Communication skills across various channels
  • Online marketing

Position: Business Development Intern

A European company that specializes in helping foreign companies sell their products in China is offering an internship. Contribute in helping to seek out new distribution channels in Shanghai and mainland China. Learn directly from the owner, who has years of experience selling to and navigating the Chinese business landscape through his own businesses, with possible full-time hire following your internship.

Who We Are Looking For: Looking for someone with a keen sense for business development and sales. Ready to work with a small team and contribute to developing sales channels.

What You’ll Learn:
  • Business development
  • Distribution
  • Client communication
  • Marketing


Learn More About Import & Export and Sourcing in Shanghai

China is no stranger to international trade- with a major trade route established nearly three thousand years ago through central Asia and into Europe. The Silk Road, named for the silk trade made prominent during the Han Dynasty in China. Trade along the Silk Road was crucial to the development of Chinese, Indian and central Asian civilizations, and gave Europeans exotic and never-before-seen products. Of course this evolved into sea routes which some would argue led to the restriction of Chinese development in the 19th century. 

Thousands of years later, globalization has significantly shrunk the world, and most developed nations have turned to China's low-cost manufacturing capabilities to provide them with everyday goods. Anything can be sourced from Shanghai, from fabric to electronics. SmartIntern has partner companies that want confident, independent students for sourcing internships in Shanghai. 


That's not all- many foreign companies continue to export to China. Imported food and drink products are currently hot due to food safety scares in mainland China. Plenty of products manufactured and sourced from Shanghai are then turned around and imported back, creating a full, lucrative ($$) circle and a market that demands it! Whether you're looking for a distribution internship in Shanghai or an import & export internship in Shanghai, SmartIntern has highly-respected partner companies ready to give you the boost you need in your career.