US companies sourcing from China will find it easier to do business in the country if they keep certain tips in mind. Here is a look at the top 5 things that will help them gain a foothold in the market and maximize their growth opportunities.
Find a local company that can help US players in China
China is a complex and vast market with thousands of manufacturers. Decades of being the global manufacturing hub has made the country’s supplier chain quite complex. It can be very confusing and difficult for a US company new to China to comprehend this complex labyrinth. This is where a local firm can help ease the sourcing process. From finding the appropriate supplier to entering into negotiations on the US client’s behalf, these local players help with the entire sourcing process.
Understand Chinese culture is different
China has been a great civilization for thousands of years. This translates into an ancient country where the new juxtaposes with the old without any contradiction. Everything from the way people talk to the manner of doing business is different in the country than the US. For instance, people are likely to be direct in the USA, while in China, all business discussions are done in a roundabout way. This is not a strange custom, it is just how things are done in the country. People in China do not expect Westerners to understand their culture fully but showing respect for their venerable customs and traditions always helps.
Appreciate the complexity of discussions
The Chinese way of discussions are intertwined with a concept called Face and which can be loosely translated into English as honor and reputation. There are many ways you can increase Face for your manufacturer. For instance, you can praise them, give them properly wrapped gifts, accept their invitation to dinner or lunch and give them respect when you are in discussions with them. Do not lose control of your emotions as that will be a sign of weakness and make you lose Face. Respecting the other party, and understanding and appreciating the long discussions will help you get more brownie points than you can ever imagine.
Know the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese
Mandarin and Cantonese are two dialects of the larger Chinese language, and it is essential for you to understand the difference. Mandarin is the official language and the primary spoken language in areas such as Beijing and Shanghai while Cantonese is spoken in Hong Kong, Macau, and the Guangdong province and its capital Guangzhou and Shenzhen, regions located in the south of the country. Make sure your interpreter or the local firm you hire (the better local professional firms will know this) do not use Cantonese with a supplier in Beijing and Shanghai, or Mandarin with a manufacturer in Guangdong.
Think long term
Do not plan to source products from China for the short term. The Chinese appreciate and honor long-term relationships and will turn you down if they think you are there for only a few months or years. Think of your relationship in decades. This is also better business sense, as you will develop long-term relations that will hold you in good stead well into the future.