It should not be this way but believe me, even as a permanent Hong Kong resident it has happened to me. I arrive at a supplier’s office address only to find out they moved to a new location several weeks ago.
Sometimes the managers may be using up a supply of old business cards and forget to let customers know about their new office location. Or it has been a while since you last talked to them and when you call or email to arrange a meeting, they have forgotten you do not know that they moved. This is especially true in cities like Hong Kong or Shanghai where offices frequently move. You need to make sure that you have up to date addresses in your records.
Even more important are the correct cell phone numbers because this is your primary way of contacting the person while you are traveling. In large cities, the traffic conditions can at times be terrible and you will want to inform your business partner if you will cannot make it on time for an appointment.
A Few of Good Travel Tips
A sketch with a Chinese character description of the supplier’s location sometimes works wonders helping your taxi driver find your supplier’s location. You might be able to draw the sketch and have someone at your hotel add the Chinese characters or have the factory email something similar to you.
If your taxi driver still has trouble finding the supplier’s location, you can call the supplier on your cell phone and ask him to give directions to the taxi driver in the local language. This usually does the trick. You can always ask your supplier to pick you up from the hotel to avoid this problem but it can be inconvenient and time consuming to wait for the factory to send a car. Most Chinese factories are usually glad to send a company car to pick you up. However, companies in Hong Kong or Shanghai may not be willing to provide this service.