Our company is fortunate enough to work with a very large retailer in the U.S. I was visiting the city of this retailer’s headquarters last week on unrelated business so I thought “You know, I’ve never actually met our buyer Todd and seeing I’m right there, maybe I’ll see if he wants to have a quick bite to eat and finally put a face to a name”. Veiled behind his response of “I’m afraid I won’t have time” I could hear Todd asking himself “That is so strange. Why would this Dave guy want to have lunch together?”.
Contrast this last year on a trip to Ningbo, China. I had been working with a supplier, Fei, for about a year and had never had a chance to meet him. His factory’s location was about 2 hours from Ningbo and so I thought I would go to his city and meet him. Unfortunately he was going to be in Germany the week I was coming, although he was flying back into Shanghai at 6pm on the Thursday, while I was leaving the following morning on Friday. Despite the horrible timing, Fei came directly to Ningbo after a 14 hour flight, arriving around 9:30pm at our Hotel, all for a brief 30 minute meal. The man looked like he had walked all the way from Hamburg!
Being married to a Chinese woman and spending several weeks a year in China I’ve come so accustomed to Chinese culture I often find myself thinking the differences in Western and Chinese culture are over-stated. However, when I step back and contrast situations from time to time I realize how significant the differences can be.
The moral of the story is that even with Western educated sales associates and more KFCs than America, China is still a vastly different country. And oh yeah, make sure to visit your supplier’s at least once or twice a year.
Want to find out how to find products to import when you have no idea to start? Why should you NOT use Alibaba to look for Suppliers and where SHOULD you look?
Join the ChineseImporting.com course today
Like Us on Facebook for tips on finding great products to import (and tons more)