Working with Chinese manufacturers

Working with Chinese manufacturers

Chinese manufacturing is booming.  In the market for disposable medical products they’ve already got the lion’s share.  Now they’re becoming competitors in the equipment market as well.


They’re so central to manufacturing, in fact, that most European and United States manufacturers are moving their production to China, or they’re considering it.


We won’t go into why this has happened.  But we will talk to you about how you should prepare, if you’re going to interact with manufacturing colleagues in China.  China is an unfamiliar culture to a lot of people in the business world.  There are things to know about how they do things there – how they think about business ethics, how they run day-to-day operations, how they tend to think about cooperation and collaboration … what’s important to know about Chinese business culture, in other words.


One of the features you may notice is that Chinese business people often appear to trust each other more than they do their non-Chinese colleagues.  This is simply part of the culture.  You should expect it, at least at first.

Another feature is that they like to communicate long-distance by e-mail, rather than by phone.  This, too, may be different from what you’re used to.


But the way they really like to interact is face-to-face.  They value interaction in person above all, and you’ll find that they’re always easiest to work with this way.  Person-to-person business runs very deep in Chinese culture.


Here’s why – and this brings us to the most important thing of all:


Chinese actually don’t put much value on paper contracts, at least not in the way you may be used to.  For the Chinese, it’s okay to change your mind, or not to stick on contracts clauses, in other words, if there’s a reason to.  In fact, to them, it’s illogical to stick to a contract if the overall business situation has changed.


If you’re distributor, and you’re considering to sign exclusive agreement with Chinese mfr, you should always keep this in mind.

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