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How to foster successful relationships with Chinese suppliers

Blog By Duncan Khoury – 12 January 2017

Australia and China have never been closer from a trading perspective; the recent signing of a free trade agreement is a testament to this. Even more so now, small business owners must have a good handle on how to establish fruitful and long lasting relationships with Chinese suppliers in order to see success.
I have seen what it takes for strong relationships to form over my seven years with Octet and have been able to analyse at what factors determine success in this arena, from both sides of the coin.

Take time to do your research properly

When it comes to research, cutting corners can be lethal in the long term. Business owners seeking suppliers need to be prepared to put a sizeable amount of time and effort into sourcing the best Chinese suppliers for their business.

While travelling to China might seem like a daunting prospect to some, there is no substitute for meeting your supplier face-to-face and inspecting their facility in person. For first time business owners hiring a local guide can be of great assistance here, as they will know the best factories in the area and will be able to educate on cultural customs and avoid traps for foreigners.

Transparency is becoming increasingly more important for businesses, as consumers begin to pay more attention to where their goods are coming from. For this reason, putting effort into the researching different suppliers can pay dividends in the long run.

Communicate regularly

Given Australia’s relatively small trading significance on a global scale, it can be a challenge for Australian companies to stay relevant and secure the best prices from Chinese suppliers. Frequent communication helps to mitigate this, keeping your business at the front of your supplier’s mind.

While technology is providing more convenient avenues for communication, some businesses take it a step further and set up teams on the ground in China, specifically to communicate with and monitor their suppliers.

Be punctual and reliable

It might seem like common sense, but paying bills on time is crucial to long term success in your supplier relationships. You might be best mates with your supplier, but if you can’t pay him on time, every time, then your business relationship is not going to last very long.

Traditionally, paying suppliers was a time consuming and arduous process, often requiring cooperation with banks at both ends. Thankfully those days are behind us, with advancements in technology, like Octet, allowing Australian businesses to pay Chinese suppliers immediately, without that painful paper trail.
Like all things, successful supplier relationships take time and effort. Treat your supplier with the same respect that you would expect and watch your relationship grow.