When you are looking to import from China and start a business relationship with companies there it is important to properly prepare. Your standard business knowledge is not going to be enough to have real success that lasts long term. The Chinese do business in a certain manner and for anyone wanting to be a part of that, learning and understanding certain things are essential. Here are some tips.
Have some patience
You will need a lot of patience. You may like to make quick decisions and take swift action in business but when dealing with Chinese businesses, you may need to accept that some parts may be slow. It depends on how they view the transaction, their international experience and how strong the relationship is.
Develop a strong business relationship
That leads us to the importance of developing a strong business relationship. The Chinese place a lot of importance on trust and respect, their drive is not just about the money. To import from China you need to show you are trustworthy, dependable and transactions with you will be secure and low risk.
Understand the Chinese concept of guanxi
The literal meaning of Guanxi is relationships but in this context, it refers to developing a strong network of contacts and business relationships. Having strong guanxi with the government and with the right businesses can have a huge impact on how well your business transactions do and how well you prosper. It is about having honour, being courteous, communicating regularly and correctly, having respect, following through on promises and showing loyalty. It needs nurturing for it to stay strong.
Build some good local contacts
It really helps to have local contacts who are good at what they do. When negotiating with the Chinese to import from China they have more respect for those who use excellent representatives or themselves speak Chinese and follow the Chinese way of doing business. A local who works in imports and exports and has worked successfully with the business can really help with any issues and help when decisions need to be made.
Learn about the differences in business etiquette there
While you employ local experts to help with transactions it is still important that you also learn about their different systems and the etiquette expected of you. For example, when you do business in the US or Europe the contract is the seal of the deal between you, it binds both businesses to the agreed-upon transaction or deal. For the Chinese, you do not present a contract at the start of negotiations and a contract does not indicate full commitment. That is about the relationship not a piece of paper.
Use experts who have experience and can guide you
As well as using local experts when you import from China, there is also the option of using a quality control company experienced in inspecting products who know how to product source and can ensure your standards are maintained. Having an in-depth knowledge of this process could be a crucial part of making sure you get exactly what you want to be delivered when you need it.