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Buying Japanese Knives on AliExpress from China

If you are looking for a cheap Japanese knife, then you probably end up on AliExpress. I wrote an article about what you need to know about kitchen knives, and I wrote about ”Buying a Japanese VG10 Damascus Chef’s Knife from China”. Sure, you can get a Japanese knife made in China on Amazon too, but they are mostly from resellers, and the price can be 50% higher for the same knife that you can buy on AliExpress.

Update 11.11.2020

After talking to multiple OEM’s and pretty much every single one of them told me that imported Japanese VG10 is not possible (anymore), but 10Cr15CoMoV is a Chinese equivalent to the Japanese VG10.

Some OEM’s told me that VG10 export is banned, so pretty much exclusive to Japan and the knife makers in Japan. (Imported Japanese AUS10 is possible for import, but not the Japanese VG10)

Like you all know, when you guys asked in the comment sections if it was the real Japanese VG10, I always said that I have my doubts or the heat treatment was not on par with Japanese-made VG10.

This pretty much confirms why and why I have pushed AUS10 over VG10 a lot more when it comes to knives made in China. 10Cr15CoMoV would not be bad steel if heat-treated correctly. It will indeed sit between VG10 and AUS10 if the heat treatment is good.

It may be possible to import VG10 again in the future since the Export ban will eventually hurt the steel manufacturer in the long run as competitors order from their competitor (AUS10, German Steel, Swedish Steel etc.).

Update 8.31.2022

The Japnese VG10 Export ban has been lifted.

Why I recommend AliExpress

It does not have to be knives. You can buy more kitchen supplies from ALiExpress than knives that are way cheaper than all the Amazon resellers. AliExpress has its pros and cons. But let’s put all the AliExpress pros on a list.

AliExpress Pros:

  • Very Cheap, up to 80% discount compared to the same product that you can buy from an Amazon reseller.
  • Some resellers are actually on both Amazon and AliExpress, but they offer the products cheaper on AliExpress.
  • Free Shipping on most products.
  • Original branded products for 50% less (beware, there are fake products too).
  • Great buyers protection program.
  • A full or partial refund, and if you can’t agree with the solution, an AliExpress employee will evaluate the progress and give both parties a solution.
  • Some products come from the manufacturers themselves.
  • Extremely improved shipping time in 2019 (The fastest shipping I got was in 5 days).
  • A lot of special offers, sales, events like winter sales, etc.
  • The quality of non-branded kitchen appliances is on par with branded ones (sometimes the same as branded ones without the logo stamped).
  • AliExpress branded sellers are handpicked and checked by AliExpress

AliExpress Cons:

  • Import Taxes (Even with the import taxes, the product will be cheaper than buying it from an Amazon reseller).
  • Shipping time (even if they improved the shipping time in 2019, some products can get lost or comes after 6 weeks; however, I did get my full refund after my dispute on some products, and they still got them delivered 5 months later).
  • Full of resellers (if it is the same product, choose the cheapest reseller).
  • Full of rebranded products, which basically are the same but then stamped with the reseller’s logo.
  • Not good for bulk ordering (more about this later).
  • Warranty, RMA: The products are so cheap that it will cost you more to send the product back. You are better off repurchasing the product.
  • Partial shipping without notice: This one is for the sellers since the government fund the free shipping. They calculate the price by weight. If the product weight is big, then you will see a shipping cost price. To avoid the shipping cost, the sellers usually ship your item in 2 or 3 batches without telling you. To avoid any confusion, message the seller and ask about why you did not receive everything yet. In most cases, you will get the other products a week later.

Japanese Knife manufacturer and resellers on AliExpress

If you are searching for a Japanese VG10 Damascus knife on AliExpress, you will see that the knives look the same but then with a different logo. This is because the big resellers buy the products from the manufacturers with their own logo. The manufacturers themselves also sell their own products on AliExpress.

Most brands can get a special filter for their own brand once AliExpress has checked their company and licenses. For this reason, you absolutely need to read the description to know what you get since most resellers use magic words to make their knives look better.

Bulk ordering on AliExpress

If you buy 2 or more of the same knife, I recommend looking closely at your total price. Even when manufacturers are selling their knives on AliExpress, you will be cheaper buying just one than 2 or more. Since manufacturers usually don’t want to deal with small orders, they have resellers that sell the same products for cheaper or at the same price on AliExpress competing with the manufacturer. This is where the bulk orders get interesting. Resellers actually order it from the manufacturers on Alibaba, from AliExpress, but more for B2B instead of B2C. My advice is not to bulk order on AliExpress.

Japanese knife resellers on AliExpress

You know that the resellers order their products from the manufacturer. They buy in bulk and have options for the logo and design changes if they order in high volume. If you see a Japanese VG10 Damascus chef knife sold for $35, you can be sure that they ordered it in high volume with their logo on it. This price is only there because they want to create a name for themselves. And it will go up once they have established their brand. Since all resellers are from China, they don’t have to pay import tax and shipping costs to make the bulk order cheaper.

Bulk Order Example:

7-inch Professional Japanese VG10 Hammered Damascus Santoku Knife.

  • 2-99 Pieces; Minimal order 2; $25 per piece; Total $50 factory brand stamp.
  • 2-99 Pieces; Minimal order 2; $26 per piece; Total $52 factory no brand stamped
  • 100-499 Pieces; Minimal order 100; $23 per piece; Total $2300

Special Design or Logo:

  • 50 pieces or more: Customized logo and logo on the packaging.
  • 100 Pieces or more: Customized packaging design.
  • 500 Pieces or more: Customized logo, packaging design, blade and handle redesign possible.
  • 1000 Pieces or more: All the above and different steel types possible, including imported Japanese VG10 Steel.

Disclaimer: The above prices and examples are the manufacturers’ real quoted prices after I had contacted them. They actually linked their AliExpress store when I asked about 1 sample order.

Note: Import taxes, shipping cost, marketing, customer support, lost bulk shipping, import licenses, etc. are all your responsibility. So for better consumer protection, buy from AliExpress and not from Alibaba or the manufacturer.

Extra Details:

Type: Knives
Knife Blade Material: Carbon Steel, 316l stainless (outside)
Steel core: 10Cr15CoMoV Damascus Steel
Knife Type: Santoku Knives
Material: Damascus Steel
Certification: CE / EU, CIQ, FDA, LFGB
SGSFeature: Eco-Friendly, StockedPlace of Origin: Guangdong, China (Mainland)
Brand Name: Xinzuo
Model Number: B1H-3
Blade material:67layers Damascus steel
Handle material: Pakka wood handle
Packing: Magnetic Box or Customized
Logo: Customized Logo
Usage: Daily Kitchen Cut Usage or promotion gift
Hardness:60-62 HRC
Sharpness level: 6.0-8.0N international
Supplier sample lead time: 2-7days

▶ If you want to know what knife you should buy you can read 
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Hi, I'm ChefPanko, I have worked for multiple restaurants and have decided to share my experience with you guys. I will share recipes and techniques that I have learned, taken, and improved from the French, Japanese restaurants that I have worked for. I will also explore other cuisines with you guys.

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