Thursday, December 30, 2010

11-Dollar Box of Cheerios

I think we had dinosaur that night for dinner...

Some thoughts on dining options in China. 

If you come over from the Western world to live in China and continue to eat as you did in the Western world, your food bill will quickly add up.  When living and working in China, why not live and work as the Chinese do? 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Educate your Supplier on the Product

Although fine production line workers, these ladies are not
up-to-date on the latest trends
“Educate the factory on the product???  Is that a typo?  Shouldn’t they be the ones educating the customer?”

The following are areas where your Chinese supplier / factory may be in-the-dark and it’s up to you to shed some light.


Target Market


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Skip the Stock Sample Jazz

They're busy producing, not fishing for orders w/stock samples. 

Samples:  You need them.  Without a sample, how will know you the quality?  How can you signoff on the deal with your brand or your retail customer without presenting them with a physical item to hold in their hands? 

Obviously there’s not a sample vending machine inside the factory (although many customers talk as if they think there is one).  The following scenario is not likely to happen.

Customer:  “We’re going to need samples to further confirm the order”

Factory: “Please tell us what size, shape and color and we’ll get those to you right away;  we definitely understand how important samples are.”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Proceed with Caution in Asking for Lower Price

If you want quality, it comes with a cost. 
Keep in mind, for the majority of the time, especially in the promo, branded, retail merchandise industries, when you tell a factory you need a low price;  that directly translates into “I need low quality”.

Monday, December 20, 2010

9-year anniversary in China_Pt II

My 2nd Apt., downtown Nanjing.  
You can find Part I here.  As of last week, I’ve been in China on a consecutive tour-of-duty since December 2001.  This posting cover memoirs of that first year. 

My flight landed in Shanghai and from there a driver was supposed to take me to Nanjing.  After coming out of the gate in Shanghai, I didn’t see my driver.  He was to have been there with a sign.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Urgent Delivery Time Checklist

Delivery time is confirmed; but do they have sufficient
workers on production line to reach the target?
Consider what can go wrong...

When you’re importing from China, chances are you are going to be faced with an urgent delivery time.  Whether it’s the promo business and you’ve got a launch date or it’s the retail business and the box store requires a certain date to stock the shelves, timing can and will be a super-important issue.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lasting First Impressions

Visit factories as often as you can; watch them run samples,
implement changes and show understanding of production requests.

When dealing with a factory be especially watchful when a change comes into play.  (This article is promo / gift industry specific but the concept holds true in any basic dealing with a factory)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nobody is Willing to Quote?

Factories include real people, doing a real job.
You send an inquiry, you're connected to every worker in there.
Quoting, purchasing and importing from overseas can be tricky business.   There are many factors involved in closing an order and making that sale.  Some of the contributing factors of success or failure can be on the production-side but just as many can be on the purchasing-side.  In this day and age of globalization and offshore production, it’s imperative that any importer maintains solid contacts with his overseas suppliers and potential suppliers. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Temper: Achilles Heel in China

In China, the #1 cardinal mistake is to get excited, lose your temper or even show emotion.  It’s drilled into the Chinese mind, not to do this.

 Impatience, anger, worry; these are some of the biggies that you’re best not to show in public, in front of business partners, colleagues, or even in front of the fabled lady behind the bank window, who I’ve referred in a previous post. 

In the West; we’d agree,…”yeah, yeah, keep calm”.  But we don’t really mean that; at least not the 100% absolute way it’s meant here. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A System of Favor

China operates on a system of “favor”.  From the lowliest pauper (in this case, perhaps, street sweeper) to the highest noble (in this case, perhaps government worker), the entire country operates in this manner.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Promo Products: Should you Narrow Down your Item Range?

As an overseas promo item importer (supplier, distributer); you know that unless you work specifically in one material, you will not find one or even a handful of factories that can handle your inquiries and production.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Coming to China as an Expat, Should I Learn Chinese?

Your company is sending you to China for an extended amount of time; for example… 3 to 4 year contract.  And you are considering that it might not be necessary to learn the language!?!?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why is Your Inquiry (RFQ) Important to a Chinese Factory?

News flash** Just because you brought an inquiry to a factory or supplier doesn’t mean they are going to fall all over themselves to quote you. 

Many overseas buyers act as if there is an empty factory over here, all the machines are turned off, all the workers are playing cards, leaning against the wall and sleeping.  The boss is wringing his hands and pulling his hair out.  As soon as your email comes through, somebody blows the steam whistle and everyone runs into action, diligently working to make sure you get a perfect, detailed and exact quote as soon as possible.  Of course we all obviously would answer that we know that’s not how it works….. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Emailing the Factory / Supplier in China

If you’re emailing specifications and confirmations to your Chinese supplier remember not to write to them the same way you would write to your cousin or your colleague.   

Spring Festival: Enjoying Traditional Lanterns
Keep in mind with your supplier, whether factory or trading company, English is their 2nd language.  I know this is obvious, but the way most overseas buyers email their suppliers, you would think they are not aware of this. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Different Take on "Doing Things Right the 1st Time"

(Thanks for stopping by this post.  After you read this, please visit my new house: - I know you're busy and there are zillions of blogs.  I'm very grateful for you taking time out of your day to ready my posts and add your own insights.  See you over at the new house.  ~ Jacob Mar 16, '12)

This is my first blog on China life, business and culture.  My business is in sourcing, manufacturing and export, so I approach topics from this perspective.  

This article will only touch on generalizations and overarching themes.  After writing more articles, I can eventually get more specific and detailed.  I’ve worked and lived in China consecutively (not business trips) for close to 9 years and my head is so full of information, thoughts, observations, it may be tough to organize and clearly state a meaning…but here I go…..

Monday, December 6, 2010

Coming up on 9 Year Anniversary in China_Pt I

It's been a long haul.  This month, December, around the 17th or 18th, will have first arrived in China, 9 years ago.  Was 22 years old at the time.  

The job I had lined up was in Nanjing, Jiangsu.  Actually applied and was hired for the job while still in the University.  Was a December graduate on the 4 1/2 year plan, not out of slackness for those wondering but because decided to turn my minor in the Spanish language into a major, which was another degree...worth extending the process by 6-months.

1st Entry on a Monday in Suzhou China

Why I’ve been itching to start a blog….