Although there are many opportunities for doing business in China, there are also challenges in sourcing goods for businesses, Michelle Low Chew Tung, managing director, Inveni Business and Technology, said yesterday.
"Sourcing in China is not easy. There are lots of horror stories. If you do not know what you are doing you are going to lose your money, you will lose time. The truth is, doing business with China takes a lot of time. China is 12 hours ahead and while you are sleeping, you are hoping your goods are being manufactured in China," she told participants at a breakfast seminar on doing business with China at the Marriott Hotel, Invaders Bay.
Low Chew Tung said the aim of the seminar was to provide information on sourcing directly from China. Inveni is the premier product sourcing and manufacturing company in the Caribbean and their main source market is China.
Low Chew Tung identified cultural differences with China: "In Western culture you place your order while doing business and wait. In China you have to be there for the process everyday and every step of the way, checking what is happening with the product. You build relationships with your Chinese manufacturer or contact. There are also language barriers, handling of payments. In terms of intellectual property rights, China is not there as yet."
Despite these challenges, she said, people are sourcing goods in China because of that country's growing economic power globally.
"The labour cost is good, the profit margins will be higher. China has world class consistent quality. Sometimes you hear people talk about low quality goods from China but I believe you can get any quality you want from China. There is a process involved for what you want.
"China is known as the factory of the world and you can get on time delivery. It is the largest producer, manufacturer and on the level of innovation they are really up there. China is also on par to overtake the US economy" Low Chew Tung said.
She added that China has "an abundance of resources" that are available.
"That is one of the reasons we source there because everything you want and you believe that you can get, it is there in China," she said.
Dandan Feng, a consultant for Inveni, said there are opportunities for the Chinese to transfer technology and skills to T&T businesses.
Responding to questions concerning the lack of technology transfer from Chinese companies in T&T, Feng said: "Chinese workers work better with their hands that machines in construction. Although the culture is different from T&T, there are ways in which technology can be transferred locally."