This will be the first of a number of articles that I will post regarding doing business in China... As some of you know, I have been living and working in China/HK for about five years, and originally from KZN.
How to find a reputable Chinese supplier?
There are three main trade shows in HK/China, generally April and October:
1. Global Sources, near HK airport
2. HKTDC, in WanChai
3. Canton Fair in GuangZhou
Typically, the exhibitors will have a squeaky clean stand, with a bunch of girls with fair english skills. They will push for a deal to be agreed on at the show, with cost incentive.
DO NOT MAKE ANY AGREEMENTS AT THE SHOW!!!
If you feel that you have found a preferred supplier, try arrange to visit the factory. If you do visit the factory, be sensitive to the management - you will need their cooperation later, if any problems arise. Do not let them loose face at any time. It's a real challenge to understand the Chinese mentality - even for me after 5 years living here!
Next, if you wish to proceed with a vendor, arrange for a Factory Audit (shameless punt, my company! www.TopInspection.com ). This accomplishes two things: 1. it gives you a good overview of the manufacturing capabilities of the factory, and, 2. it sends a clear message to the factory that you are doing serious due diligence, and that you care about quality.
In my next post, I will go into Initial Production Inspections, and Incoming QC procedures.