Obviously, each China business trip can have different goals that require a different kind of preparation. Very likely, your first trip and second trip will be different. Typically, a first trip is to evaluate several factories that will narrow your list to a few that you will consider partnering with after further study.
Eventually, you will likely visit China to complete each of the goals outlined here. Any one or combination of these four goals is on the business traveler’s agenda when importers make a trip to China.
Goal 1 – Visiting new suppliers/factories for the first time for a detailed evaluation
These are probably suppliers/factories that you have met during one of the Chinese Trade Fairs or suppliers/factories that you made preliminary contact with from home. Naturally, you will want to spend plenty of time evaluating these suppliers/factories to be sure they can comply with your business and import requirements. These meetings will primarily focus on the supplier/factory.
Goal 2 – Visiting a supplier/factory to discuss a new large volume project
Preparations for this will mostly focus on the details of your project. Hopefully, you have already visited this supplier/factory, performed a thorough evaluation and concluded they have the background, experience, and capability to deliver what you want.
It is also a good idea to first purchase a small batch of your product from the factory to prove the evaluation is accurate before placing a large order.
If you have not performed an evaluation and would like it performed by an experienced professional, our company offers Importing Consultations and other related services. Please contact us at:
This is especially important if you want a high volume import project to run smoothly and without surprises.
Goal 3 – Visiting a supplier/factory when you are having major problems with the quality and/or scheduled deliveries
In this scenario, you clearly want to understand what caused the problem and if it can be solved or if it has already been solved. The reasons given by the factory may not be whole and complete. There could even be some cover up of the true problem. Problems will cost you money if they are not solved within a short time period. You will need to have good investigative skills and be prepared to dig deeper. This is definitely a good time to bring your own interpreter so that you can talk directly to the supplier’s/factory’s engineers. The most effective and efficient way to solve a problem is by talking directly with those involved.
Goal 4 – Negotiate conditions and prices for new large volume orders
Similar to goal 2, here the preparations will mostly focus on the details of your project. Again, you have already visited this supplier/factory, performed a thorough evaluation, and concluded they have the background, experience, and capability to deliver what you want.
The difference with this visit is that you are now prepared to place the order and want to take advantage of your last opportunity to negotiate the price and terms. When you have large volume orders in your hands you have a stronger bargaining power towards your supplier/factory because larger orders also allow the suppliers/factories to save costs by buying raw material and components at special bulk prices.
Nowadays, I would say it is the only chance to negotiate better conditions and prices because increasing costs are forcing the factories to order raw material and their components only after they have received your L/C. If it is really a larger than average order volume, your supplier/factory will get better prices and conditions and they may be able to pass some of the savings along to you. We will keep these four goals in mind as we progress through the rest of the book.