Cutting your China vendors some slack is good for your business

When you do business in China it is important to see your China vendor as your equal not as your subordinate. You should never unload excessive demands on them or at any point consider that you call all the shots in the relationship. If you consider that your China vendor probably has many customers while you may have only one or two suppliers it is not unreasonable to say that you need them more than they need you. Yet many overseas companies that do business in China expect vendors to be at their beck and call.  While this attitude may have been acceptable at one time it is no longer the right attitude to have when doing business in China.

A case in point is a vendor I approached at the recent Canton Fair.  I have a major project and I gave the vendor a good number of items to quote on.  Some of the items I had samples for and submitted them to the vendor and some I had only specs for .  After I returned to Tokyo I followed up with the vendor to see where they were on quotes but they only gave me costs on about 2/3 of the items I had asked them to quote on.  Knowing that this vendor is extremely busy (they attended phases 2 and 3 of the fair and probably had between 100-200 customers to follow up with) and that I was only able to give them actual samples for some of the products I was happy that I got the costs I did,  although my customer wanted costs on everything.  I also felt that what they had given to me was sufficient to see where they were on pricing while pushing them to quote on everything ( including all the items I had not given them samples for)  would only have created extra work for them at what must be a very busy time.  By choosing not to pursue them on this matter – other than a brief email asking them when I could expect to see all the quotes – I am being respectful of a vendor that I may want to deal with later.  If you give a vendor any sense you are difficult to work with or don’t respect their time ( by pushing them to quote on items without providing them with a sample) then they will not take your business. In China nowadays many vendors don’t need it.


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