True Chinese Porcelain has been produced since the end of the fourteenth century, hundreds of years before the secrets of porcelain production were discovered in the Western World. Up until the seventeenth Chinese export porcelain was the only true porcelain available in Europe.
Chinese Porcelain has highly influenced the ceramics of the rest of the World. Chinese porcelain is one of the most interesting areas of ceramics collection.
I would suggest studying Chinese porcelain and collecting it go hand in hand. Collecting without research may lead to purchasing fake items. Antique pieces normally show some wear (but even the wear can be faked). Good copies of earlier pieces have been made for centuries.
Collectors should try to handle as many genuine pieces as possible at Auctions etc and view pieces at Museums etc to gain knoledge needed for puchasing. Chinese Porcelain can be marked with reign marks and cyclical dating marks, other marks may include good luck symbols, owners marks and some marks just for decoration.
When starting a collection reliable dealers should be used when purchasing blue and white as there are many people selling new pieces as old.
I would suggest collecting a specific area such as a certain reign, export porcelain or shipwreck porcelain. As you build up your expertise good purchases can be made online and at auctions.