David Dayton is the owner and manager of Silk Road International, an international procurement and project management company that helps clients find the right factories in Asia along with coordinating production, logistics and quality control needs for clients.

David pens a blog of the same name, which provides a perspective representing his 20 years of experience working with manufacturing companies in Asia.  The Silk Road International blog is listed on our Blogroll, and is a site I visit for insights on supply chain issues within China.

David recently penned a series, Chinese Culture for the Frustrated Foreign Buyer, which I highly recommend for reading by sourcing and procurement professionals with activities within China. I’ll warn you up-front that series is rather long on content, but the observations and insights are truly candid and insightful, and may help you to overcome frustrations as an outsider doing business within China.

I learned a lot from reading the entire piece, but I will tease my readers by calling attention to a few worthy insights from David:

Insight 5. The rules in China work for only one party, and that party ain’t you.

First, it is not unique to China that laws favor the locals.  Don’t complain about the fact that the field is tilted against you—it is.  Deal with it.  Second, unless you’re a big deal (e.g. you are spending 6 figures per order) you’re not going to get any special attention, so take your ego down a couple notches before you start working here—…”

Insight 7. “We just don’t really work like that.”

“The reality of contracts (even the good Chinese ones) is that no one but you has ever read them.  When contracts are broken in China (and court is not an option) your going to just hear “well, we don’t really work like that in China” or something similar. “

Insight 9.  If you’re not here, it doesn’t matter what you want or what you say.

Learn this now: there is no such thing as potential when you’re manufacturing in China.  There is no future, only now.  No one feeds their family on potential.  Just think about how may hundreds of clients tell your supplier the exact same thing every week?”

You will find David’s posting very educational and perhaps helpful.

Bob Ferrari