Online business - Where to base it?

Hi everyone,

I am developing some ideas for an online side business. Product will probably be produced in China, although I am still trying to find manufacturers in Europe that can be competitive.

I have the possibility of being based in Switzerland or Portugal.

Considering I have to receive the product and ship it worldwide (hopefully), what are your first thoughts on where I should base it from ?

Even if you are not able point a direction I would appreciate any help to complete the list of things I should look into:

  • shipping prices (no sea here but product is small enough to be competitively sent by air, I believe )
  • cost of registration of business (I can find this one out easily, don’t worry)
  • import taxes and fees
  • income taxes
  • … ?

I appreciate your help. Thank you.

For market access, I would definitely recommend Portugal (assuming it is B2C).

Not having that possibility, based in Switzerland it is kind of a shitty thing being outside of the EU, because basically you will either have to write somewhere that VAT&Customs might be charged seperately for everyone outside Switzerland, or you have to create an entity outside of Switzerland anyway (with some EORI number if I am not wrong).

And EU customers are not used to pay VAT separately, therefore it is a big hindrance (plus annonucing prices in CHF instead of EUR).

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Thank you very much for your comment. I guess I was hopping to do it from Switzerland but everything seems to show otherwise.

Question is, where are you based? If you set up the business in Portugal and you live in Switzerland, and still need to handle shipping, isn’t that even more complicated?

You can operate the business remotely, you might also consider Estonia. I don’t have personal experience but I believe this could be interesting: Best Way to Start a Company Online in EU | e-Residency

Dropshipping is not an option?

If I sell from my business website I would like to ship from Europe. I would like to control packaging and quality. If I decide to go to with something like amazon fba, later, then yes I would try to ship directly to amazon centers. But right now, I want to start small and test it.

Here I would do it myself, but back in Portugal I already have two people that can prepare and send orders. They do the same for my niece’s online store.

As a final costumer, I would prefer to receive a product from Europe even though it was made in China than to come each time from China.

I have been researching on Alibaba and European manufacturers. So far I haven’t nailed the material itself, but it’s getting narrower. As I do the research, I am able to better describe the product each time, which is also good.
Next step will be send out some inquiries and order samples of the main material needed. And test it.

Wish me luck. :slightly_smiling_face:


I am really curious what it is about


I’d go for the Portugal route if you expect this to be more popular in total numbers of sales in EU countries than in Switzerland. The hassle with customs declaration from/to Switzerland is rather annoying and afaik within EU there’s no customs to be payed for shipments.

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