China Tip 14: Locating safe Suppliers in China

There are numerous negative stories circulating about doing business with Chinese companies. Some business people let themselves be influenced by these tales and based on the preconception formed they decide not to go to China, referring to the country as the “Wild East”.
We have firsthand experiences with companies that have no intention of achieving a win-win situation. Unfortunately, it is difficult to achieve things via legal channels in China. In addition, the contact may, after seizing his chances, simply disappear. 

Taking great risks can be avoided by a more conservative attitude when meeting a new company. Firstly, it is of importance to analyze how the contact between you and the future partner came about. In case the contact was established via internet or a meeting at the stock exchange, instead of via an existing reliable relation, caution is advised.

For most people, the first step towards analyzing reliability is a visit to Google. If the name of the company yields no results, there is always the possibility of basing the search on the company’s phone number.

When this yields no results either, or when the website of the company is not convincing enough, a phone call to the general number is advisable. In this case, it is wise to let the call be made by a Chinese speaking individual. A reputable organization will, even in China, have a receptionist who, during normal working hours, can connect your call to different departments. In case the phone is not answered after consecutive attempts, it can be construed as a bad sign.          
Should you be able to make contact, ask after the sales department and explain your situation. General information, references, business licenses and payment processes are readily available in companies with nothing to hide. 

Finally, untrustworthy companies can easily be recognized considering that they are often (too) quick in offering an extremely attractive business proposal. 

If it appears to be too good to be true, it usually is.