March 2009 Archives

P1050110.JPGExhibitions are normally considerd as a one-stop approach for buyers to meet suppliers. However, many people experience limited outcomes from attending an exhibition in China because of insufficient communications with suppliers (if the exhibition is too crowded, for example); absence of senior management at the booths; language barriers; limited product displays, etc. Yet to achieve good results from an exhibition is not difficult as long as you:
1) choose the right exhibition; 2) do sufficient preparation; and 3) follow up well afterwards.

In the next several postings, we will discuss this in more details, according to my experience in assisting clients with exhibitions in China.

Choose the right exhibition
After you have done your needs analysis and figured out the product list that you would like to source from China, you may find that attending exhibitions is one way to meet a group of Chinese suppliers within 3-4 days. Then you can start to collect the exhibition information and list them together for comparison later. Here are some indications for you to tell if the exhibition is worth your while:

  • Location
Location is not absolute indication of quality but most of the time exhibitions held in China’s first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou are generally better in terms of size and attendance. There are also several exhibition centers in Beijing, yet the New China International Exhibition Center and China International Exhibition Center are some of the bigger ones. The Beijing International Convention Center is usually used for forum-type exhibitions.

  • Size
P1050111.JPGMany exhibitions will put detailed information on their websites, including the information of previous exhibitions if this exhibition is held annually. By studying the number of exhibitors and attendees of the previous exhibition, you can judge if the exhibition is good or bad. If the related industry is also substantial, exhibitions with more than 500 exhibitors and more than 30,000 persons attending are normally worthwhile to attend. As a reference, Canton Fair 2008 (Autumn) had 21,917exhibitors for exports and 424 exhibitors for imports while 174, 562 persons registered to attend from overseas.

To be continued...

(Images from the recently staged International New Materials Fair, Handan, China)

This series of articles is about QC inspections. Maybe you let your supplier ship the goods without inspecting. Maybe you use a third-party company to control your products. Maybe you have your own inspectors. Are you taking unnecessary risks? Are you paying too much? The only way to form an opinion about these questions is to be familiar with the basics of quality control.

A word about applicable standards

Militari Standard 105 was created by the US Department of Defense to control their procurements more efficiently. In 1994 they decided to rely on non-governmental organizations to maintain this type of standard. The ANSI, ISO, and other institutes all created their own standard, but in essence they are similar to the latest version of Mlt-Std 105. All third-party QC firms use the same standards and the same statistical tables.

Why use random sampling?

Shipments often represent thousands of products. Checking 100% of the quantity would be long and expensive. A solution is to select samples at random and inspect them, instead of checking the whole lot. But how many samples to select? On the one hand, checking only a few pieces might prevent the inspector from noticing quality issues; on the other hand, the objective is to keep the inspection short by reducing the number of samples to check. The relevant standards propose a standard severity, called “normal level” or “level II”. It is designed to balance these two imperatives in the most efficient manner, and it is used for more than 90% of inspections. For example, for an order of 8,000 products, only 200 samples are checked.

When to switch to tightened or reduced levels?

Suppose you source a product from a factory that often ships substandard quality. You know that the risk is higher than average. How to increase the discriminating power of the inspection? You can opt for the “tightened level” (level III) and more samples are checked. Similarly, if a supplier has consistently delivered acceptable products in the past and keeps using the same workshop, you can choose the “reduced level” (level I). As fewer samples have to be checked, the inspection might take less time and be cheaper. In practice, the relevant standards give very precise guidelines about when to switch, but most importers rely on their “gut feeling”. If you want to respect these guidelines strictly, ask your QC manager or your external inspection provider.

The “special levels”

Inspectors frequently have to perform some special tests on the products they are checking. In some cases the tests can only be performed on very few samples, for two reasons:

  • They might take a long time (e.g. doing a full function test as per claims on the retail box).
  • They end up in product destruction. (e.g. unstitching a jacket to check the lining fabric). For these situations only, the inspector can choose a “special level”.

So we have three “general” inspection levels, and four “special levels”. For a given order quantity, each level gives a different number of samples to check. Let's see how it plays out in two examples.

Example 1: You order 40,000 products

Special levels

General levels

S-1

S-2

S-3

S-4

Reduced (I)

Normal (II)

Tightened (III)

8 pcs

13 pcs

32 pcs

80 pcs

80 pcs

500 pcs

800 pcs


The number of samples to draw from varies from 8 to 800. Depending on the level you choose, the inspection might take only one day, or up to 4 or 5 days.
Example 2: You order 3,000 products

Special levels

General levels

S-1

S-2

S-3

S-4

Reduced (I)

Normal (II)

Tightened (III)

5 pcs

8 pcs

13 pcs

32 pcs

20 pcs

125 pcs

200 pcs


The number of samples to draw from varies from 5 to 200. If the product is not particularly complex, a professional inspector can check 200 samples in a day. In this case you can choose the tightened level for more reliability at no extra cost. But the factory might have a little more repackaging work.

In practice, how to know the number of samples to select for each order quantity and each level? In the next article I will show how to read the statistical tables and get this information.

Renaud Anjoran is the founder of Sofeast Quality Control, a third-party QC firm specializing in garments and textile in China. He also writes on the Quality Inspection blog. You can contact him at info@sofeast.com. 

Chinese Auto Market Takes the Lead

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The unfolding global economic crisis keeps introducing shifts in world markets, and change has now come also to a sector where the dominance of the United States was unrivaled for many years – car sales.

The first indication occurred in January, when China overtook the United States to become the world’s largest market for motor vehicles. A total of 735,000 automobiles were sold in China in January, compared with 656,976 in the United States. This jump in sales has been ascribed to the increased purchasing activity in China just before the Chinese New Year, as well as price cuts and government incentives to boost sales of smaller automobiles.

Its clear, however, that this change of the line-up in the car industry is not just a mere coincidence brought on by favorable conditions and timing. Sales of cars in China have surged five-fold in the past decade as the country’s economic boom boosted incomes, especially of the urban middle-class, during which the car has become a must-have accessory for families, up-and-coming young people and officials.

Statistical data of car sales in February confirmed China’s determination to preserve its leading position. On March 10 the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) announced that sales of domestically-made cars rose 12.4% month-on-month and 24.7% year-on-year to 827,600 units in February. The tally for the first two months rose 2.7% to 1.56 million, compared with a 39% decline to 1.35 million in the U.S.

This surge in China was supported by the Chinese government’s continuing policy to stimulate demand, including tax cuts on some models. In particular, China has halved retail taxes on small cars and drawn up plans to provide vehicle subsidies in rural areas.

Taking into account the rapid growth in China during the past two months, General Motors, the biggest overseas automaker in China, raised its forecast for the nation’s market growth this year to a range of between 5 and 10%. During the current recession in the US and EU, when leading global auto companies are on the verge of bankruptcy because of slumping demand, China has an opportunity to become a primary market for them. But traditional giants like GM, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen and other overseas auto companies operating in China now have to deal with fierce competition not just between themselves, but also with leading Chinese manufacturers.
The following article narrates a typical fraud case that occurred earlier this year, explaining the process step by step and analysing the actions taken by the buyer in more detail.
 

如上次文章中提到的,金融危机发生后,受财务影响,买家主导的国际贸易欺诈事件的发生率也有明显提高。这成为我们在出口环节中非常值得注意的问题之一。这次我们就一个案例实际讨论一下这种买方,货代,银行等多方勾结的欺诈的具体情况。

2008年时,有家中东客户向广东某公司下单订购一个货柜的小家电。买方国家一家银行开的L/C,不可撤销即期,FOB,客户指定货代。

在货物装船时,卖方被告知要收取很高的ORC费用,为此卖方于客户争论很久,但鉴于信用证规定装船期越来越近,又不能换货代,后不得已同意了此要求。注:其实这笔费用的高出部分在买家和货代勾结的情况下往往是平分的,而这正是这种欺诈的开始。并且,如果卖方实在不接受,只会造成贻误船期。从而买家就可以装作接受改期装船但是在货物到港口堂而皇之的翻脸拒付。

卖方在准备了相关单据提交议付行,并确认文件发到了开证行后,多次电话,邮件联系却找不到买家。后来,经在多方努力,最后和买家取得联系时,买家却突然提一个了不符点。和自己的议付行沟通后,卖方驳回了这个不符点。当时开证银行没有回驳。据此,银行不驳回就表示会付款,所以也就放松了警惕并等待回信。谁知一拖就拖来了麻烦。

两个星期后,买方突然通知卖方要降价50%才能接受这批货物。说因为经济危机财务紧张,没有足够的头寸,并答应下次下单时给于一定补偿。在卖方严词拒绝后,此买家就露出了本来面目,声称如果不答应他们要求就不去提货。此时,卖方银行也在和开证行据理力争要求无条件付款,却再次被告知所谓的‘不符点’不被买方接受,无法进行下去,但是可以按照议付行的要求把单据寄回。注:其实他们的这种姿态是因为已经帮买家拖够了足够的时间。一般说来,好多买家不愿意陷入如此麻烦的退货程序,再加运回来的成本,一般情况下如果客户要求的折扣率不是很过分,很多卖家往往会选择忍气吞声,吃个小亏保本算了。但是此单业务的买方实在过分,在卖方不可接受的情况下他只能选择下一步—退运。

在联系退运时,麻烦又出来了。卖方却被告知需要收货人出具的同意退运的证明才可以办理。并且如果一直空置那边没人提货的话,在若干天内货物就会被海关扣留并进入拍卖程序。对此毫无准备的卖方一下子陷入了极大的被动,在多方打听并且知道这种事情在对方国家即使诉诸法律也遥遥无期后,不得不最终接受了35%的折扣率并付出了大笔相应的滞港费。

此案例的结果很令人沮丧,但是不得不承认它很有代表性。在下篇文章里,我们将详细讨论如何在最大程度上绕开风险和预防这种案例的发生并且让卖方掌握一定的主动权。

The recently released Supply Chain Intelligence Report (SCIR) is an international, independent study on supply chain management and logistics practices in emerging economies, conducted in South Africa. The aim of the research is to provide insight into many forces that are driving change in supply chain management and to demonstrate how the most successful companies are dealing with these new and evolving challenges. Conducted annually, the SCIR facilitates progress and development in supply chain and logistics practices through the sharing of information and knowledge, without compromising confidential or strategic information.

The basic premise of the report is that planning and forecasting are undoubtedly the only big challenges to efficient supply chain management – as further illustrated by several international studies in recent years. Yet as we all clearly realize, the world is changing, and it is changing at a far faster rate than before – one of the primary drivers of this rapid change is information, the freely available and accessible information that the average person has access to.

What the SCIR 2009 proposes is that the only really effective way of addressing the planning and forecasting challenge is to improve visibility (both for demand and supply) in a supply chain, while simultaneously increasing the supply chain’s reactivity. If this is achieved, one will be able to plan and forecast and thus have an effective and efficient supply chain.

Visibility is the capability of easily observing, of being able to provide a clear view in respect of both supply & demand and is primarily determined by two drivers: technology and collaboration. By increasing forward and backward visibility along the supply chain, companies will have a greater lead time to adjust their production schedules and orders. Through the efficient use of technology, one is able to have greater access to information (in real time) and thus greater visibility.

Reactivity on the other hand is the ability to readily respond to a change, in this case a change in demand, with supply chain reactivity being best improved through the appropriate use of in-sourcing, outsourcing and virtual resourcing, as well as through integrative practice techniques. The report elaborates on the fact that the essential components of reactivity are ‘flexibility with respect to the ability to deploy supply chain assets, and the ability to assemble a virtual best of breed supply chain team that can redesign, implement and operate what will need to be almost an organic supply chain - one that changes, learns and evolves continuously.’

The report further goes on to expound the hypothesis that planning and forecasting are inseparable parts of what drives competitive advantage. In fact, planning and forecasting really drive efficiency – defined as cost reduction and precise execution – which is also matched by effectiveness – defined as doing the right thing at the right time. Effectiveness in itself is supported/driven by market sensitivity; which is an ability to acutely read and/or understand the market and be able to detect and anticipate events before they actually occur. Once all these are in place, understood and properly managed/executed, then a company has created a competitive advantage and can be defined as a ‘winning company.’

You can get a free copy of the main research report if you participate in the survey, which will take you about 10 minutes to complete, on the official SCIR 2009 website.  

After you have arrived in China, the following are crucial points to consider. 

  • Choose your visiting time wisely
We always try to arrange plant visits at two time slots: 8:30 – 11:00 and 14:00 – 16:00. Compared to normal office times in the West, Chinese plants have different working hours. They start and close earlier and have a longer lunch break. You can only see the production line in operation in one of these two time slots.

  • Things to look out for during the workshop tour
Every company has their own evaluation methods to rate suppliers. Here we just mention a few basic points that we have picked up from experience.
  1. Ask and verify the raw material sources of your suppliers to make sure that the products are qualified to meet your country standard
  2. Check the production process in detail. Make sure their examining and testing machines are actually functioning properly
  3. Check the warehouse. By doing this you will easily be able to figure out their production capability and product development
  4. Make sure their export packaging meets your requirements, especially if you are the first client from your country working with this supplier. The customs of different countries have varying rules regarding packaging. Do not assume the supplier knows the requirements of your country
  • Meeting manners
When you hand out business cards, please hand it out with both hands and try to pronounce your name slowly and clearly.

  • When in China, do as the Chinese do
Chinese people will always invite guests for lunch or dinner, especially if it is the first time you meet them. You may follow the head of the group and get seated beside him. Fewer suppliers these days will force you to drink with them, but if you do drink with them, it is definitely a sure way to establishing a good relationship.
white rabbit.jpgIn recent years, a significant number of alarming incidents concerning food safety have taken place in China. These events have reflected that presently China still has numerous problems with food safety, such as food industry management flaws, supervision lags, and inefficient law enforcement.



The following are some of the most glaring food safety scandals that have occurred during the last three years.

2008
  • Several domestic milk manufacturers are involved in a high-profile melamine contamination scandal. Thousands of babies and infants nationwide are affected
  • Man-made jujube appears in the Urumqi market, infused with soluble saccharin and sodium cyclamate liquid in order to make them taste better
2007
  • Big White Rabbit toffee, a famous Chinese candy brand, is found to contain formaldehyde and other deleterious substances in the Philippines
  • Longfeng and Sinian, two famous frozen food companies, are found to have made products that contain pathogenic bacteria
2006
  • In Beijing, 70 people who ate snails are confirmed to be affected with thelaziasis
  • In Wuhan, Hubei, man-made honey syrup is found to have been injected with many kinds of chemicals such as thickening agents, sweetening agents, antiseptics etc.
  • A batch of pork from Zhejiang poisons 336 people in Shanghai due to high amounts of thin carnosine
  • In Yangjiang, all Jiudu fish samples from 7 big agricultural markets are found to contain the antiseptic formaldehyde at ten times higher than the permitted level
  • Some red yolk salty duck eggs produced by a Hebei plant is found to contain tonyred, which improves the colour of the food

These concerns are not merely isolated incidents of negligence or malfeasance, but are closely tied to China’s model of economic development. The dynamic environment of the Chinese economic miracle of the last 30 years is key to understanding these food safety problems. For more than twenty years, China has enjoyed a rapid pace of economic growth, and we can observe a situation where the development of China's legal system has lagged behind the country’s fast economic development. Thus China's not yet fully developed legal framework has limited laws to refer to, or even if these exist, they are mostly out of date.

In addition, since overall social wealth and accumulation of individual wealth are still relatively low in China, social responsibility is not yet fully developed. China’s growing gap between rich and poor, moreover, contributes to the problem, resulting in large numbers of people desperate for instant success and potentially open to the crooked incentives of secretly tampering with food quality.

While there can never be an excuse for deliberate malfeasance with food (or any) products, the issues raised above can serve to contextualize food safety problems in China. The outlook is changing, however, and the Chinese government has stepped up formal regulation efforts to prevent food safety scandals. The latest government initiative was announced on 28 February, when China’s top legislature approved the Food Safety Law, providing a legal basis to strengthen food safety control from the production line to the dining table. The law, which goes into effect on June 1 2009, will enhance monitoring and supervision, tighten safety standards, recall substandard products and severely punish offenders.

Still, there can be no guarantees that food safety problems are completely in the past, yet hopefully most of them are.

This article analyzes instances of typical fraudulent behavior in international trade processes, especially in the current environment dominated by the financial crisis. The author warns Chinese suppliers to pay special attention to some major points in the trading process, so as to be able to minimize risk as much as possible...


金融危机发生后,很多国外买家的金融状况受到很大影响,现金流短缺的困境使很多不法或者没有商业道德的国外买家使用了很极端的做法来削减成本,减轻财务负担---那就是外贸诈骗

这里所说的外贸诈骗,通常来说是指买家勾结其银行及货代,采取FOB条款,提单to order 买家,全额信用证付款的方式来制造陷阱,并利用其海关规则,迫使卖家在货物到港时给于很大的折扣的方式来获取他们的利润。这一类骗局,或者我们称之为要挟,对国内很多急于出口的卖家来讲很不容易预测和防备。

一般说来,这种典型的骗局都采取L/C付款,FOB中国港口,开证行为买家所在国家内信誉评级不是很高的银行。这里我们要解释一下这种诈骗的几个重要点。

  • 采用L/C全额付款方式,买家就不用提前支付任何预付款,从而达到他们的利益最大化。
  • 采用FOB付款,这样一来一般买家就可以正大光明的指定货代和船公司。这种情况下,买家多为和其指定的货代有密切联系的,从而常常会指示其货代在出具如提单,货代证明,航线证明(甚至有时候在信用证里规定要求货代发货通知的传真件)等相关文件时制造一些小的麻烦或不符点来达到合理拒付的目的。例如:客户让他自己的指定货代在准备单据时故意作出一些不符点,而且坚持不能修改(如果是直接面对船公司,这些条款是完全可以修改的)。同时在ORC和THC上,故意收取比较贵的ORC(应该是收TCH),制造事端,拖延时间。因为一来货已经上船,客户坚持不改L/C条款;就算货到港了,客户可以选择要这批货物,也可以轻松提出不接受不符点,拒收此票货物。同时,如果坚持跟货代扯皮,就赶不上交单期了。货代多收的这部分钱,是与客户平摊的。
  • 采取一些小银行来开证,这样情况下这些开证行往往不珍惜羽毛,不遵守UCP规则,往往根据买家的要求无理拒付,不回复卖方银行的质询,甚至提前放单等。就算通过银行系统投诉,也不可能因为这一个事情就降低银行的资信级别
  • 提单背书给买家,一般来说都是因为相关货运公司有规定,需要被背书人出具证明才可以退运。这样一来在买家不付款,对方银行也不答复的情况下,卖方即使想办理退运手续都很麻烦。
  • 很多国家都有这样的海关规则。即在货物到港多少天之后,如无人提货,将自动进入拍卖程序。而其实前期的开证行不回复,甚至客户不接电话一般都是为等到这个海关拍卖程序来铺垫的。在这种情况下,如果卖家不答应降低价格,那么就面临着货物被拍卖的危险。

To be continued...

The 21st International Medical Instruments and Equipment Exhibition

Venue:        China International Exhibition Center(New Venue), Beijing
Date:          19 - 21 March 2009
Organizer:   Health Department of General Logistics Department of PLA
                  China World Trade Center Co., Ltd.
                  Huitong Xingye International Exhibition(Beijing) Co., Ltd.
                  Messe Dusseldorf China Ltd.       
Tel:           +86 (0)10 6505 1018

Briefing:
As the only UFI-Approved international medical instruments and equipment exhibition, China Med 2009 will display the latest industry information as well as the most advanced medical instruments, equipment and technology. The event is intended as a cooperative platform for enterprises at home and abroad for establishing and maintaining relations with customers.

More information

Now that we have established that plant tours are an absolute necessity, we can move on to how these tours should be undertaken. The following are a few basic tips to consider before you leave for China:

  • Make sure that the plant's senior managers are confirmed for attending your meeting
  • Sometimes your contact person may say that he/she is from the plant, yet they could actually only be from a trading company with a working relationship with the plant. The problem you may encounter under such conditions is that you might be unable to meet with the senior managers of the plant. The trading company will probably just contact the salesman of the plant whom they are dealing with.

  • Re-confirm the schedule for your visit before traveling
  • Due to cultural differences, Chinese businessmen prefer short-term meeting arrangements, which is in large part different from Western norms. If you set up your visit schedule one month before your departure, make sure you confirm it again one week in advance and then double confirm one day in advance.

  • Plan your logistics realistically
  • If it’s your first time to China, you will need to ask a Chinese person or someone who's lived in China for a while to help plan your schedule. China is a large country geographically and is not fully developed. There are simply no flights between some cities, only busy highways. The only way to reach your destination is to drive there. In some provinces it takes 2.5 hours to drive 300 kilometers, but in other provinces it could take 4 hours or even more. You need to plan carefully in order to be both realistic and efficient.

  • Bring small gifts to the meetings
  • You should prepare some small gifts which are typical and unique from your country, not necessarily expensive but something special. You can hand these out before you say goodbye to your suppliers, thanking them for their time and hospitality.

In Part 2, we will raise several points that you should be aware of during your actual China plant visit.
For many years, China has been criticized for lacking innovative and creative ideas in the course of its economic development, a shortcoming in large part ascribed to the technological gap between China and developed countries. As an inevitable consequence of this gap, China has few other options but to adopt, legally or illegally, innovations from developed states. This often led to IPR violations in China, which in turn resulted in China being labeled as a nation that imitates rather than innovates. Yet in trying to make China a leading world economy, the Chinese government is increasingly exerting itself to shake off this negative image. And 2008 was a year when the results of its work in this direction took a more visible shape.

Patents

In 2008, China received 828,328 patent applications, an increase of 19.4% year-on-year. Among these applications, 86.6% (717,144) were submitted by Chinese companies, and 13.4% (111,184) came from foreign companies. China granted 411,982 patent rights, 17% more than in 2007. 352,406 were granted for domestic companies and 59,576 for foreign companies, with a growth rate of 16.8% and 14.5% respectively, according to the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).

Patent applications have grown steadily, with an increased number of applications from enterprises. Around 40,500 domestic companies submitted patent applications in 2008, a year-on-year rise of 23.9%, while 420 enterprises had more than 100 patent applications. 27% of the total number of domestic applications was for invention patents, a rise of 1% on the previous year. The rate of approvals for applications from Chinese companies increased, but the ratio of granted patents to total applications was still slightly in favor of foreign companies. The gap was especially evident in high-tech fields, such as audio-visual, optical and semiconductor technologies, where Chinese companies still lag far behind foreign countries. The number of patent applications in every domestic technical area increased, and most of these achieved double-digit growth.

Policy and Anti-piracy campaigns

With the adoption of the latest National Intellectual Property Strategy, China's Patent Law is undergoing amendment in order to ensure enhanced IPR protection and more efficient application processes. In the past, each application took one to three years to be processed, depending on their complexity. The revised law, which will take effect on October 1 2009, will encourage Chinese companies to develop more high-tech patents.

China has also conducted a number of anti-piracy campaigns, aiming to demonstrate a more rigorous response to numerous violations in the IPR sphere. In 2008, China confiscated over 76 million pirated publications and investigated 12,490 piracy cases. Among the seized publications, there were over 56 million pirated audio-visual products, 13 million pirated books, over 3 million fake teaching materials and pirated software and 2.8 million pirated electronic publications.

With the financial crisis affecting most of the world economies, it becomes even more crucial for China to integrate further with the development trends of global IPR protection. To overcome the most serious economic challenge in this century so far, countries will inevitably need to unite and coordinate their efforts, and exchange new plans and ideas with each other. At times like these, trust and responsibility plays an even more crucial role.

China sourcing has become a leading trend in the last 20 years. Yet the current crisis is not an easy time for Made-In-China products. The posting reminds Chinese companies to carry out some practical measures in order to survive or benefit from the crisis.

 

从上世纪末到本世纪初,二十多年来,中国的成品出口占到了全球出口的一半以上,成就了中国的制造业大国地位,而在数量的意义上,中国被赋予了世界作坊的称号。这是不争的事实。然而,金融危机对从中国采购的趋势是否有影响呢?

 

根据目前的情况来看,中国出口商品正经历着国际国内的空前挑战:从国际方面来看,金融危机一方面使外国公司各个自身难保,迫使他们不得不取消或推迟从中国采购的订单,另一方面,也促使一些国家推行贸易保护主义,提高进口关税、购国货等政策使爱国的外国企业也不得不忍着国内高价商品的痛而割舍物美廉价的中国商品这块肥肉;国内的情况也好不到哪儿去,国内原材料价格上涨、劳动力成本提升、人民币升值。一般情况下,外国公司从中国采购的目标都是,中国商品至少可以节省20-30%的成本。一旦这一优势消失,从中国采购对这些外国公司而言就无利可图,会想办法开发其它市场,比如印度、越南、朝鲜等成本相对更低的国家。

 

看来,2009年对中国的外贸企业来说形式比较严峻。针对这一情况,中央政府将加强纵向联动推进省部合作机制,以及推动商务部、海关、质检、检验检疫等部门横向合作,营造有利于外贸企业的政策环境。建议中国企业密切关注中央政府为帮助企业应对危机、保持出口稳定而推行的政策、办法,使企业的损失最小化。同时,企业应该积极应对危机,不能坐以待毙,比如想办法降低成本、提高产品质量来争取出口订单;此外,对于有条件的企业,主动走出去也许是一个不错的出路。

 

最后,在中国赴欧采购团在英国停留期间,英国商务大臣曼德尔森给商务部部长陈德铭的存储盘也值得关注,据说里面有1000家想与中国做生意的英国企业名录。

The following article analyses the trade process by emphasizing particular cosiderations for the efficient use of containers in the transportation of goods. 

在外贸出口过程中,大部分卖方都会非常注意相关单据的审查,交货期的安排,付款方式的磋商,订舱,报关等等主流的注意事项。然而我们知道,虽然出口流程是固定的,但是随着各种外在变量变化,同样的出口流程会产生很多额外需要注意的细节。例如,在准备发货时,往往很少有人注意到集装箱摆放这样的细节。

当然,在拼柜情况下,出口方也会记得交待货代不要把自己的货合不合适的产品装在一个柜里,如食品和化学品的拼柜。但是,更进一步的细节呢?

笔者曾见到过这样一个案例:某出口商和其长期客户签订了一单出口合同,货物是上百吨的青豆,整柜出口。在正常的商检,订舱,报关,发货后,一切看起来很正常,客户甚至也已支付了剩余款项。但是半个月后客户来传真说当打开集装箱,准备转卖给下家的时候发现,所有的豆子表面都是裂纹,有的已经完全裂开了,并且要求赔付!

出口商在装船之前无疑是经过了小心的检查和严格的包装的,在正常情况下是不应该出现这种事情的。到底是什么原因造成的呢?出口方立即咨询了货物代理,但是货代也说不清。最后,他们给货代下达了最后通牒,要求货代必须给个合理的交代。后来货代又去找了船公司,一直找到这艘船的二副,问题才终于搞清楚。

原来,这批货上船时被配载在最上面,由于产品含水率高,又被放在了最上面,而交货期是一个日照十分充足的季节,高温造成集装箱温度升高,产品内水分的蒸发。同时,集装箱密封的比较好,里面的压力比较大,产品会保持原来的样子。 当货物到达目的港开箱后,压力被释放,豆子就都开裂了,就造成了上述的结果。

由此可见,有时候极不易注意的一个小小细节都会照成意料之外的后果。所以我们在出口流程中一定不要掉以轻心,对任何简单的一个细节都要再三检查和思量,才是避免风险的唯一办法。同时也提醒大家,以后有类似的产品,订舱的时候一定要注意和货代说清楚,避免出现以上类似问题。
All international purchasing managers try to minimize import risk. As a China sourcing expert, in order to achieve this goal we will always recommend you to undertake plant visits to China before you place an order, for the following reasons: 

 

  • It makes sense to meet the people who you will be working with before you place an order. You will get to know their personality and will start building a relationship with them. As we know, good relationships (or guanxi in Chinese) play a crucial role in business in China - hence the value of a face-to-face meeting can never be underestimated.
  • You can inspect manufacturing areas to get an idea of raw material quality, workers’ skills, production capabilities and the internal QC process of the manufacturer. There is nothing better than to see it with your own eyes.
  • You can find out to what extent your manufacturers subcontract their production to other plants by checking their work areas and warehouses, or by asking them during meetings.
  • You can experience the working environment and meet the workers to be sure that your suppliers are not using child labour and are providing protection masks etc. 
  • By making the trip to China, you can give your suppliers a sure signal that you are really serious about quality issues, and more so if you emphasize quality during your meeting. When they produce and deliver products, they will put you in a ‘Picky clients’ list and will therefore be more careful with your products.

 

Some extra benefits you can gain from visiting your China plant:


  • You may find out that you can actually source many other products in China besides those in your current plan. I had a client before who saw good packaging material during his plant tour in a steel tube plant and finally ordered some packaging materials as well.
  • You may see your competitors’ products in a production line during your plant tour. This happens a lot in the top equipment manufacturing plants of China as they get orders from all major international players.
Canton fair.jpg

It is said that a trip to the Canton Fair saves one from undertaking a sourcing trip around China. It is also said that the Fair is the ‘weatherglass of China’s foreign trade.’ If one currently sources from China or is looking to source from China, one certainly has to be aware of this event and what it offers.

 

The China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, is held twice a year in Guangzhou. The Canton Fair has been held every year since 1957 and is regarded as the ‘number 1’ trade fair in China due to its long history, the wealth and variety of products exhibited and the turnover generated.

 

The Canton Fair is unique in that it combines the traditional advantages of a comprehensive exhibition with the recent trend of moving towards specialised events. The Fair contains over 150,000 product types, ranging from light industry, textiles and garments to high-tech and high value-added electromechanical products.

 

More than 200,000 attendees from over 210 countries and regions come to the fair twice a year to exchange information and procure their products of choice; in fact, more than 150 of the world’s top 250 retailers attend the Canton Fair for procurement.


 

2009 Exhibition Dates


The fair is divided into 3 phases:

Phase 1:
Spring Session 15-19 April (9:30-19:00) and Autumn Session 15-19 October (9:30-19:00)
Electronics & Household Electrical Appliances; Hardware & Tools; Machinery; Vehicles & Spare Parts; Building Materials; Lighting Equipment; Chemical Products; International Pavilion

 

Phase 2:

Spring Session, 24-28 April (9:30-19:00) and Autumn Session 24-28 October (9:30-19:00)

Consumer Goods; Gifts; Home Decorations

 

Phase 3:
Spring Session, 3-7 May (9:30 -19:00) and Autumn Session 2-6 November (9:30 -19:00)
Textiles & Garments; Shoes; Office Supplies; Cases & Bags; Recreational Products; Medicines, Medical Devices & Health Products; Food Produce

 

 

Exhibitors

 

About 22, 000 Chinese companies have in the past attend each session of the Fair; among them are 11,329 manufacturing companies (51.69%); 8,134 foreign trade companies (37.11%); 2,266 industrial trade companies (10.34%); 16 scientific research institutions (0.07%); and 172 companies classified under ‘other’.

 

 

Information on Exhibiting

 

One can apply for exhibitor status through either of the following 3 procedures:

 

Through agents of the Canton Fair


Direct application to China Foreign Trade Exhibition Company

Contact person: Mr. Hu

Tel: +86 20 2608 1808

Fax: +86 20 8668 0925 31

cief@fairwindow.com


Online application

www.cantonfair.org.cn

 

 

Other Information

 

A host of information and details on everything from where to stay to how to attend or exhibit can be viewed on the Canton Fair homepage at www.cantonfair.org.cn.

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