What people are saying about Mulberry Fields
“I have already learned a great deal about China and your business through your website and blog posts. Very impressive. ” – a children’s products company in Toronto.
I am doing an article for my June newsletter EAC Newsletter subscribe on Home Depot’s failure in China and the thought occurred to me that, look, China is just not an easy place to do business. Home Depot invested about 130 million dollars in its 12 stores in China and they closed the last of them in Sept 2012. When you think of how much planning and investment went into the venture it is really astounding that they failed. After all, we are not talking about a small regional DIY chain here but the biggest DIY store in the world. Ditto for Best Buy who attempted to enter the China market but closed the last of their five mega stores there last year as well. What is the line in the Robert Burns poem, “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.”
I think it is useful when you source in China to remember the examples of Home Depot and Best Buy et al. From what I have read the main reason that Home Deport and Best Buy did not succeed in China was that they simply just failed to accept the fact that China is different from the US and that success in the US does not necessarily translate to success in China. So keep this in mind at all times when you are sourcing or doing business in China. Respect China for what it is and do not force your external cultural pre-concepts and expectations on the country you are doing business in. And and give yourself a break if something does not go as you expect. As I have said many times before, the goal to succeeding in China is managing your expectations. And a heavy dose of realism does not hurt either.
I sometimes have what I call a “China Zen Moment.” This is when I see beyond specific topics like auditing vendors, product testing, trade shows, communicating with vendors, doing spec sheets etc etc and I am able to reduce China Sourcing to its simplest terms. Here are some of those Zen moments
How to win in China
China quality is not that bad
Doing business in China is easy
Don’t expect perfection
Locals too find the going difficult