5 rules of communication with Chinese suppliers


You can order almost anything in China but you’ve got to be cautious. There’s a huge risk to get a pig in a poke. Doing business in China is different from what we’re used to, that’s why during negotiation it’s better to consider all the customs of this country and the mentality of its citizens.

Chinese aren’t used to be in a hurry, say “no” and keep treaties. We’ve prepared 5 main rules, which help to conduct negotiations about product manufacturing in China.

Chinese don’t say “no” straight-forwardly

If the citizens of China say “no” — it doesn’t mean anything. In this country, they don’t like to give such an answer, and usually, it means “I will try but no guarantees”. They will postpone the decision for as long as possible.

However, in China, they love saying “yes”. Even if they can’t do what they’re talking about. “Yes” for them means “I understand what you’re talking about”.

«There’s no use in asking a few questions at a time. They will ask you again anyway. Specify all the nuances one at a time», — EMPO procurement manager Bruce Xu.

Don’t make quick conclusions and don’t make decisions right after negotiations. Don’t be in a hurry — it takes the Chinese a few days to answer even the simplest question.

That’s why hold the pause and specify the question which interests you.

Economy is not success

КThe Chinese are very witty. And they will demonstrate this skill if you strongly insist on price reduction. They won’t refuse and will make a product for the stated price.
But it won’t be like you’d imagine it.

If you don’t want to get a low-quality product, specify at cost of what will the price drop.

Trust but check up

When negotiating with a supplier, thoughtfully discuss every little thing — in this country they like to “act maturely”. Before ordering, always provide the product maquette with the details about the color, logo, and size.

«The manufacturing process involves plenty of people, that’s why any additional recommendations or wishes may not be communicated to the right people», — EMPO procurement manager Bruce Xu.

Before paying, specify the product price, delivery date, package format and terms of manufacturing. Keep specifying when the manufacturing starts.

An agreement can be easily broken

The most dangerous questions when making deals in China are delivery and quality. You can easily get a faulty product, not full kit or a cheap analog. The delivery and manufacturing line changes in favor of most respected clients.

A deal won’t help. Personal agreements are the most important here. Take care of the manufacturing inspection and control of shipping in advance.

«Add plus 30% to the delivery time. The deadlines are rarely met», — EMPO logistics specialist Nikita Sinitskiy.

Don’t bother to write emails

Almost all China is communicating in WeChat, so forget about communication via email or other chats. Nobody will answer you.

Make a rule to call directly, to let them know the message was sent. Only after this, they will pay attention to your chat.

Negotiations with the Chinese need persistence and patience, scrupulousness, and forethought. These are the qualities you need to make deals in China.


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