Once you’ve established contact, due diligence is paramount. Are they who they say they are? The LinkedIn profile of the person you are talking to is one of only a few social media sites allowed in China. Verified profiles are essential for anyone who deals with international customers. Also, make sure to check out the website. Does the website look professional? Are you able to read it in a single page at a free website? Don’t let “accredited”, or “trusted badges” fool you. They can be easily copied or bought from anywhere else. Is there a registered address for the business? Google the company’s name to obtain any relevant news, whether good or poor.
Next, make contact with them over Skype. Ask them for their products via the webcam. WeChat, a popular Chinese chat-and social media app, is a great place to keep the business conversation alive. The tone of their voice and the gut feeling you get will tell you if they’re trustworthy suppliers. You should importing from china to usa attend trade shows and meet your suppliers in person. Also, visit their offices and factories. Face-to–face interaction is far more efficient than endless emails and phone calls to the office.
The Canton Fair (also known as China Import and Export Fair) is China’s biggest trade show. It is held twice each year in Guangzhou. This trade fair has nearly everything under one roof. Other regional trade shows are focused on specific categories, such gifts and consumer goods. They tend to have lower prices and smaller suppliers which may allow for smaller, customisable order. ChinaExhibition.com will have all the latest trade shows.
Take care not to assume that all trade show attendees are manufacturers. Some are trading firms, usually wholesalers and retail companies. While prices tend to be higher when dealing with trading companies, they will often accept a lower order minimum. Directly dealing with manufacturers will result in lower prices, but they will need a commitment to a MOQ.
Avoiding Suppliers is a Cost-Effective Way to Save Money I hear you say, “But I don’t want to visit China!” I must bring Natalie to her first dental appointment next week.” It’s your company and you have to make sure you find trustworthy suppliers who can supply you with goods to keep your business afloat.
You may find Chinese trade fairs in the country where you live, but they are less frequent and the supply pool is smaller. It is possible that you won’t get a full, accurate picture of all available products if this market is smaller. If you are going to restrict your business efforts to chatting, sending emails and making calls, it is unlikely that you will find success. Face time is essential. You must remember that your competitors may be in China, even if they aren’t!
It’s not like you are going to book the next flight in order to meet just one supplier. Your business trip should coincide with a major trade event in Hong Kong. After that, you will travel to Shenzhen where you can meet several suppliers. Perhaps you want to spend a whole week in Guangzhou, then chill out at The Canton Fair.
It’s important to learn more about geography. China is nearly the same size of the United States. In fact, the flying distance between Shenzhen (China’s largest city) and Shanghai (a Chinese powerhouse in the Chinese industry), is the equivalent to that between San Francisco or Tucson, Arizona. It’s not worth making a long cross-country journey. Before moving on to the next destination, you’ll need to ensure that your meetings are properly scheduled.