9 business tips when SOURCING product from China suppliers

As with many Asian nations, the Chinese emphasize guanxi. This refers to your place in the hierarchy. This word is used to describe connections or relationships, but it has a much greater impact than these words. It is about giving trust, respect, and dignity to someone’s role in a network. They cannot be described in rules or written into contracts. A lot of it is behavioral and needs to be learned.

Outsiders are not likely to get a lot of love and guanxi immediately. You have to work hard for it. To develop guanxi, you have to put in a lot of work into your business relationships. Unaccustomed to mixing business and personal lives, this might not be a good idea. Bill is from Nantucket (Massachusetts). His small business makes tents, marquees as well as backpacks. He is currently looking for canvas material suppliers to China. As they can withstand the salty sourcing companies in china sprays of Cape Cod, his long-standing customers love his products. These are difficult times lately. The sole supplier of canvas for him closed because no one was interested anymore in learning how to weave fabric.

Zhao manages to whip out a Purchase Agreement in laughter as he prepares the third course. Bill, in between bites of stir-frys, negotiates the price per meter, sets a minimum order amount, and lays out the payment terms. Bill also signs his first Purchase Order after desserts have been delivered.

Bill had a wonderful time at the Chinese banquet. He intends to put the bill on his Amex for business expenses. Zhao, however, insists that Bill pay for it. Zhao is giving Bill “face” to respect him by paying for his nice dinner and giving him a treat. This is in the expectation Bill will do the same for him with more orders.

After months of waiting, Bill finally receives his first shipment. He is certain that they will exceed the quality of his old supplier after making a few minor adjustments. Zhao can weave them any color and in any pattern that he desires. Bill was thrilled to find a new supplier. With nationwide orders pouring in for durable materials, business picks up quickly.

Zhao calls Bill for advice the following year after many years of back-and-forth business exchanges. He wants his son to be a successful teenager and asks Bill about Massachusetts high schools. Bill, who is a former student at many schools, will gladly help you to learn more about the application process.

Zhao and his family will be invited by Bill to Cape Cod. He will show them around Boston’s high schools and allow them to meet the admissions staff. Zhao is delighted and gladly accepts the invitation. Bill has added depth to the business-only relationship. He is extending Zhao’s hospitality and helping Zhao and his families. They have a mutual respect.

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