In the China business a name is not just a name

I see a new trend with China vendors these days. Sales and account managers are taking western names. And I don’t mean just western first names but last names as well ! I realized this the other day when a vendor came to visit me here in Tokyo. He came with two people from his sales group one of whom I had been told beforehand was a guy by the name of “Bob Smith.” I was told this person spoke English so I just assumed that he was from the US or Canada or another English speaking country. But lo and behold, when they showed up there was the Chinese “Bob Smith.” Of course I wanted to ask him why he chose this name but I didn’t want to embarrass him. And then yesterday I got an email from a furniture vendor in China signed by “Tom Mead.” But when I read the email – a sales email – it was obviously written by a Chinese national ( I read enough of them so I can tell). And yet another email today. Same thing. Chinese vendor. Non-Chinese name.

I guess business is so slow for some vendors now they will go to any lengths to get business. Silly as it seems it is effective. I had actually seen Bob Smiths name copied on many emails before I actually met him the other day. Subliminally it always lent an air of credibility to the vendor’s emails seeing that they had in their company someone who was probably a western national.

Chinese vendors with western names. All the more reason why you need to visit your vendor before you give them an order.

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