China sourcing is not like India sourcing

A former client of mine who does a lot of business in India is just getting into China and he already feels China is a little difficult vis a vis India. His first China order did not go well. He had received good samples from the China vendor but when he received his production order quality left much to be desired. He has done some things right, in terms of starting out with a very small order. And some things he obviously overlooked, e.g. the necessity to inspect the order before it left China. I had advised him to do this but he admitted that he did not want to inspect the order because the monetary value of the PO was not large. And he has built his business sourcing in India and pretty much letting the India vendors do their own QC and ship to him. I think he just assumed what worked for him in India would work for him in China.

However, I explained to him that China and India are very different. I have worked with vendors from both countries and although India vendors can be difficult they generally are easier to work with. I think this is because India is an open democracy built on the shoulders of a longstanding British colonial presence, not to mention the fact and most educated people in India speak near fluent English. Dealing with India vendors is sometimes very easy. When there are problems they will talk to you about them.

China vendors on the other hand can be very difficult. When problems come up their tendency is to look the other way and their response can be extremely slow as it happens to be in the case of my client who has yet to hear back from the vendor after he had emailed them detailing all the problems with the order. That is when he came to me.

This is a good lesson though. Never make assumptions when you go from country to country. Always have a game plan in place that has been based on a LOT of research. Try to talk to as many people as possible to get valuable feedback. And never look just at the monetary value of your POs. Consider always what a failed order will cost you in terms of lost sales and frustrated customers. Inspect your orders before they are shipped to you.

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