香港7日-工作、生活及心得-the sixth day(大量图片分享)

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 

一直引用创世纪的文字,是因为,第六天,有了生物,这个世界,才算是世界。

第六天,到中环,看到占中。一个民族,因有民主,才能进步。

第六天:展会结束,继续拜访客户,占中现场,皇后大道

占中现场部分:

1,皇后像广场花园statue square gardens,从这里,进入占中现场

2,提防煽动,坚持理想

3,我要真普选

4,香港警察,滥用私刑

5,帐篷

6,我们来自布拉格

7,一个内地人的占中

8,提防共谋破坏运动

9,本来属于我们的真普选,竟要我们特意更抵夜的争取,何等荒谬

10,学生是香港的未来

11,撑起雨伞

12,大陆人变特权阶级,香港人沦为二等公民(很反感这句话,不论香港人,还是大陆人,或者英国人,我们都要争取大家的平等,而不是煽起对彼此的仇恨)

13,追求公义

14,急救站

15,大背景

16,国外势力,呵呵

17,剩下就是我/咱们的事了

18,帐篷

19,桥上拍摄

20,习?

21,自修室

22,桥上的标语(后面的大楼,是港府办公大楼)

23,帐篷

24,路上的标语

25,墙上的标语

26,小黄伞,撑起“我要真普选”的愿景

27,知其不可而为之(这是让我感动的地方,因为港人心里有理想)

皇后大道部分:

1,双层大巴(貌似香港的大巴都是双层的哦)

2,香港高等法院

3,中国建设银行

4,老式电车(我认为是老式的啊,呵呵)

5,永业中心–总感觉在以前的港片中,看到过好多次这个地方

6,皇后大道中的路牌(皇后大道西又皇后大道东,皇后大道东转皇后大道中……,罗大佑的这首“皇后大道东”,让我在很小的时候就知道了这条路)。

7,永利贸易,雅居乐地产,都是很熟悉的名字。文化的渗透,会让人自然而然的对某个地方,产生一种亲切感。

夜里,都九龙公园转了一圈,竟然后露天的泳池!

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

因恰好碰到占中事件,以及在皇后大道被撩起童年的记忆,这一天,拍摄的照片的确比较多。


~to be continued~

Travel

香港7日-工作、生活及心得-the fifth day(大量图片分享)

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 


第五天:展会第四天,拜访客户,时代广场,读书人

1,这个客户,够大的,不多解释

2,九龙湾街道,与商业区、旅游区的街道,是完全不同的,安静了好多

3,学生的校服,清纯!

4,时代广场(TIMES SQUARE)

这里充分说明,香港是名副其实的购物天堂,大牌云集。好多好多好多的大陆人在此购物。美女也是很多滴!这对面有个书店,在二楼,主要卖在内地买不到的书。同事去购物了,我就到书店呆了几个小时。

5,要不要买个表?:-)

6,时代广场附近的小吃,类似于关东煮之类的吧,对小吃不怎么懂,价格嘛,我只能呵呵了。

7,性事良品的LED广告,比较有意思,找的老婆婆做的广告啊。

8,打出租车的地方,就在时代广场前。特别要指出的是,如果要过隧道的话,需要到时代广场对面打车。两个方向的打车点是不同的。

这边等车,乘坐不过隧道的出租:

这边等车,乘坐过隧道的出租:

9,晚上吃饭,看到这位大哥,他就要了2瓶啤酒,边喝边看书,吃饭时间大概是2个小时吧,他就看了2个多小时的书,汗颜!我也得多读书!


And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. 


~to be continued~

Travel

香港7日-工作、生活及心得-the fourth day(大量图片分享)

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 


第四天:展会第三天,顺丰快递小哥

1,见到顺丰快递小哥,顺丰在香港也是做的风生水起,很牛叉

2,香港的货车,大部分在尾部安装了自动升降,如此一来,使用托盘和叉车,大大减少了人工费用

3,港币(注意看,发行的银行是不一样的)

4,这一天事情并不多,也没有出去转,发一下展会期间的模特走秀吧,养养眼,呵呵

And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. 


~to be continued~

Travel

香港7日-工作、生活及心得-the third day(大量图片分享)

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 


第三天:展会第二天,弥顿道与香港码头

1,因需要步行到展会大巴集合处,得以拍摄一些白天的街景

1)尖沙咀警署

2)弥顿道的榕树,历史感的厚重感自然而然的出来了


3)尖沙咀中部栢丽购物大道(拍摄时间是早上9:20左右,店铺还没有开门呢.此处有丰泽,同事的单反就是在丰泽买的。服务员一看大陆的,那个热情啊,呵呵)

4)香港的文明,估计也是罚款罚出来的

A. 文字:“廢屑箱外棄置垃圾,最高可被罰款二萬五千元及入獄六個月”

B. 文字:“車內嚴禁飲食,違者罰款$2,000”

2,香港作为自由港,船运物流非常发达,很多的集装箱,很多的场站,估计能沿海都利用的差不多了。

3,夜里,继续转,逛街,货币兑换在商业区是随处可见的

And the evening and the morning were the third day. 

~To be continued~

Thoughts

香港7日-工作、生活及心得-the second day(大量图片分享)

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 


第二天:参加展会(第二天起,所有提及的钱的币种,均为港币)

1,因是第一天,对路线不熟悉(也没有查地图了),乘坐地铁从佐敦到香港机场,然后坐专线车到亚洲国际博览馆(Asia World Expo).

香港机场,较国内机场,更大、更有文化氛围

1) 香港机场:

2)香港机场到亚洲国际博览馆专列,几分钟的时间,金额:20.00/人

3,亚洲国际博览馆,挺高大上的

4,上午10:00-下午6点,展会进行中,此段时间的事情,不贴图。值得一提的是,展会的午饭,价格还是很有良心的,75元一份。

5,当天展会结束,研究好了路线,之后可以坐展会的免费大巴到达住处。

以下为夜间活动了:

下大巴后,首先看到的是这个,因为我是做服装出口的,恰好正在给这个品牌生产,所以拍照留念一下。

6,由于香港对知识产权保护力度比较大,还是能够看到音像店的。

7,路边广告(貌似是专门贴广告的地方吧,没见到到处是牛皮癣),从广告的内容来看,香港的房屋租赁、买卖,以及娱乐业是很发达的(搞笑的是“全场本地美少女”,很明显,是针对外地人的广告啊!)

8,转累了,吃饭!价格及菜品(肉品是真心的贵)

既然谈到物价,再发一张图片,看一下本地的物价水平(备注:由于是在人流量比较大的地方,相比之下,物价偏高)

9,吃完饭,继续转,到处是SASA,没进去转,但对女孩子来说,肯定是个好去处吧

10,到处是药房,THE BODY SHOP,还有周生生

11,最后转到夜市,由于香港是一个国际大都市,各国人都有,所以,大家也特别的平等。如下图中蹲着吃饭的老外,都是很常见的。

12,回去睡觉。

And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. 


~to be continued~

Thoughts

香港7日-工作、生活及心得-the first day(大量图片分享)

题记:

因工作原因,2014年10月26日至2014年11月1日,共计7天,在香港参加展会、拜访客户,并在空余时间到香港部分景点。以此为记,分享香港7日的工作、生活,及心得。

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 

第一天:青岛-深圳机场-香港,一切顺利

因此次到港是办理的团队旅游的通行证,到深圳机场后,直接乘坐“中港通”专线,到深圳湾口岸通关(在深圳机场有指示牌的,貌似是8号出口,但真心记不清楚了,在机场问一下服务人员就可以)。费用:办理团队的介绍信,每人人民币150.00元,中港通到佐敦人民币130.00元。

1,深圳机场中港通的标识:

2,吐槽一下,看来不仅仅在青岛,即便在改革开放的前沿深圳,政府部门的项目,也会常常看到神翻译。把吸烟点翻译成“Smoking Point",请问译者,你这么屌,你英语老师知道吗?

3,到深圳湾口岸,从旅行社取得证明信(旅行社在口岸内),办理通关。

4,通关结束,进入香港境内,看到了繁体字,很亲切(130元的票价中,是包含到香港目的地的费用的,根据相应的指示牌坐车即可)

5,坐上大巴,驶往目的地(看到大巴上的字-”嚴禁攜帶食物在車上飲食“,”大聲者請後座,謝謝!!!!”,“請保持車內清潔”)。真的很窝心。

6,到达目的地

7,夜间活动-直奔苹果店

1)站点

2)苹果店:

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. 

Thoughts

这是对当下习政府的绝好讽刺-让西门庆告诉你,为何“肤浅”的人更易成功?

不知道有这种感觉的是不是我一个人:见过一些有钱人,看着又粗鲁又没修养,居然人家就随随便便就年收入千万以上;电视台上的巨贾大腕吧,也经常说蠢话或做蠢事,比如一些企业家或艺术家,千金散尽却收藏了一屋子的假货;有些行业大佬,被骗子李一和王林及各色“活佛”骗得团团转,还甘之如饴。

弄得大家经常有一种“这种笨蛋怎么也能成功”的世事无常之感。但细想起来,这些都是人精,刀山火海都过来了,一定见多识广,为什么会犯这种低级错误?

最近我在读格非的新书《雪隐鹭鸶——格非赏〈金瓶梅〉》中,就有了一层更深的体会。他谈到了西门庆的“经济型”人格:

“《金瓶梅》中的西门庆,在日常生活中并不是一个智商很高的人。相反,他身上有很多孩子气的任性,洋洋自喜乃至天真。不论是朋友之间的酒食征逐,还是在家中与妻妾相处,乃至在院中与妓女们周旋,西门庆都可以说是一个极其肤浅的人。”

“肤浅”这个评价,开始令我吃一惊。一方面,西门庆相当成功。如我们所知,西门庆出场时已无父母兄弟,也无亲眷故旧,更无任何家庭社会关系的脉络,财富积累几乎全凭自己打下江山;到小说七十九回西门庆临死前(三十三岁)吩咐遗产事项时,其财富已达十万余两(明朝七品官一年的官俸四五百两,西门庆之财是七品官员年俸的两百余倍);如果再考虑到他挥霍无度、撒泼使钱、不喜积蓄的习惯,西门庆的赚钱能力不可谓不巨。另一方面,西门庆憎恶美德,蔑视法律,深谙官商勾结之道,其“强奸了姮娥,各奸了织女,拐了许飞琼,盗了西王母的女儿,也不减我泼天富贵!”的价值理念不可谓不振聋发聩。此人之道行,如何是“肤浅”二字可衡度?

不过,看整本《金瓶梅》中,他与李桂姐、吴银儿、应伯爵、吴典恩之流的精明人打交道,他的肤浅和愚痴又被衬托得极其醒目。

比如,西门庆由儿女亲家陈氏而遭遇大祸,命悬一线,他吓得魂飞魄散,每日将大门紧闭;幸好打点得当,逢凶化吉,他“渐渐出来走动了”,这时,在大街上碰见了应伯爵和谢希大两人。这两人都是西门庆的“十兄弟”,平时得了他无数的好处,但在他罹祸的两个月里,两人一次也没去探望过,尴尬中,应伯爵假装没事人儿似问:你忙什么啊,娶了嫂子没啊,也不请兄弟喝酒啊……而西门庆也老老实实地回答,陈家出了点事,有点忙……

西门庆并没有吸取教训,丝毫不以为忤,应伯爵借二十两银子,西门庆就给五十两;常峙节想买套三十五两的房子,西门庆就给五十两,让他多开个小店铺。当然,这种恩情是肯定不会有好报的,西门庆一死,应伯爵便教人赖了西门家的四五百两银子,自己投奔张二官去也。

西门庆受骗何止一遭。李三、黄四由应伯爵作中间人向西门庆借款,西门庆借了一千五百两给他们;他们赚钱后还了约一千两,又诱骗西门庆再追加五百两投资。另一方面,应伯爵又教他们“香里头多放些木头,蜡里头多掺些柏油”,“借着他(西门庆)的名声,才好行事”。

西门庆几乎可以说是处处受蒙骗,时时被愚弄,而且不长记性。骗完之后,对方稍加安抚,他便立即芥蒂全消,主动投入下一场骗局。

西门庆的伙计和家丁们,几乎全都是白眼狼。韩道国听说西门庆已死,便发卖了西门庆的部分货物,拐一千两银子回家。来保也偷了西门庆八百两货物,装上大车运回家。来旺要拐走小妾孙雪蛾,玳安成了西门府大当家,平安儿偷东西、再诬告主母偷情……一个两个忘恩负义不足为奇,一窝都寡情薄义,西门庆的言传身教功不可没。

作为一个近乎白手起家的商人,西门庆无亲无故,光靠着自己经商本领让钱生钱,又四处行贿和结交,就能当上提刑千户,可想其对官场的揣测把握、对潜规则的谙熟、对人心幽微之处的洞察,不可谓不透测。书中写他对蔡状元的讨好,对夏、刘二太监的奉承,对生意和数字开了天眼般的敏锐,无一不证明,西门庆从商、从政的天分之高。很难想象这样一个人,在生活中却总是显得很蠢。

这种性格的形成,显然与时代有关。只有在明代那种社会环境中,因为城市生活结构发生的剧变,他这样的商人才有可能应运而生。城市商业繁荣、资本萌芽导致了拜金主义与纵欲主义流行,正是所谓的“一了此心,则市金可攫,处子可搂”。一切都肆无忌惮、直露、赤裸。

不过,越是这样的社会,礼法就越是在某些地方固执地停留。比如说,西门庆去拜望蔡太师、宴请六黄太尉,上下官员的酬应,等级森严,极端繁琐;妻、妾、婢之间,宗法俨然、礼数周全,亦凛然不可侵犯,月娘甚至有权力把当初的姐妹都卖掉。明代也是最强调女性贞节的朝代:《宋史》里面记载的节烈女不过55人,《元史》才几十年就达187人,《明史》所发现的竟不下万人了。而另一部《古今图书集成》里,烈女节妇唐代只有51人,宋代增至267人,明代则是3.6万人。——不过,越强调道德的时代就是道德全面崩坏;所以此时涌现了大量三言二拍这样的世情小说,以及大量诲淫诲盗的狭邪小说;《金瓶梅》本身更是最轻蔑的道德炸弹,炸得贞节观和道德观魂飞魄散,无所遁形。
  
明代也是个“法治社会”。明初还建立了刑部、都察院、大理寺三个相互制衡的法律机构,制定了《大诰》,大力推进普法运动,甚至通晓《大诰》或《大明律》的罪犯可以得到一定程度的减刑;《大明律》中还有专门的法律来防止刑讯逼供。可《金瓶梅》一书里,由西门庆为首,动辄就用榔头把犯人打得“胫骨皆碎,杀猪似也喊叫”;哪里发现了凶杀案,旁边的僧人或百姓全都抓起来,先打二十大板,拷得口供。苗青杀主一案,凌迟大罪,西门庆收了一千两银子摆平了(自己得了五百两);蒋竹山被殴打陷害,地方保甲抓了一干人等,夏提刑首先就把蒋竹山打三十大板,打得皮开肉绽,因为他“一看就像个赖债的”。而对于西门庆而言,多少官司、多少参劾,都在财物的运营转送间,灰飞烟灭。

这么一想就不难理解了。这就是一个鼓吹禁欲的纵欲时代,一个无法无天的法治时代,新的社会共识(比如说商业社会、契约社会)还未形成,而旧的价值观已溃烂。最聪明的、拥有最多财富和社会资源的一群人,对时代作出的应激反应,必然也是自相矛盾的。一方面,他们在这种失序的社会里闷声大发财,礼崩乐坏、律法松驰,成为他们财富积累并且操纵法律、指挥官场的绝佳机会;不少商人本身就通过行贿成为主持公道的“父母官”。而初具商业社会雏形的时代,又创造了大量的财富可供剥夺。这就是一个黄金时代,专门留给不要脸的精明人的。

另一方面,他们也必须鼓吹出一个“守礼”、“守法”的基本面;因为必须保持等级,提倡道德,才能凸显有钱有权有势者的优势,已褫夺的财富才可能安然地装在他们的口袋里。当然,他们知道这种“礼”和“法”自己是不必守的。只是,世界上的聪明人不只是西门庆们,许多小人物虽然不具备资源,却也懂得像蟑螂一样顽强地在各种缝隙中存活,在乱世里尽可能地捞一票,把廉耻良心当作赔钱货。西门庆当真不知道打秋风的应伯爵常峙节、妓院里的李桂姐郑爱月们是什么货色么?不,他知道,只是他更知道没有资格要求别人讲义气、讲道德、知恩图报。他了解自己有多无耻,所以把对别人的要求和标准也放得非常低,不计较应伯爵的背叛和李桂姐的三心二意。即便骗了他,他也觉得不过是小事。

从这个角度来看,西门庆性格中有“真”的一面。
况且,正如今天某些商界老大在李一、王林等骗子的行为已被新闻媒体充分揭发后,仍然说“我认为他是一个了不起的人”一样,西门庆的心理也不难猜想:我够牛逼,即便骗我也不过是我身上的九牛一毛,我随时还可以像虱子一样碾死他,老子骗得起,老子乐意!

所以在我们凡人眼里,被骗与其说是伤自尊、不如说是伤金钱,在这些权势者眼中根本不值一提;这也就理解了当下查抄贪官府中收藏时为何常常发现大量的赝品:他们并不在乎有没有被骗,钱对他们来说只是数目字,他们要的就是像西门庆那样被应伯爵和诸多媳妇婆子们众星拱月的吹捧和需求。

是的,在那个名实不符,精神分裂的互害社会里,思考和良知都是累赘;只有没心没肺地随波逐流,全面俗化,才有可能从那种游戏规则里分得最后的一杯羹。

文/候虹斌 来源:作者博客 原文地址:http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_62de07120102v9hb.html

Thoughts

I am back

I has been a long time since last update, as, there was problem with website server.

All problems are fixed and I am back now.

Will update gradually.

Thanks.

back now

Thoughts

The China I know-Part I

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Rural migrant workers in cities: peasants who move from countryside to cities to work, in order to earn more money.

Sponsorship and extra fees charged to Migrant Students: a charge to children of those who work in cities but not citizens of the city. Chinese government charge this because they think such people have not contributed to the city. However, this policy stopped in China in 2010.

Hukou System: see the detailed explanation on wikipedia.com (CLICK HERE)

Guanxi: see the detailed explanation on wikipedia.com (CLICK HERE)

I was born in the countryside but later worked and settled down in Qingdao City-the best city in Shandong Province. 

I was helping one of my relatives to move from my hometown to the city I live recently. It is not a big problem for the adults–they can become citizens after buying apartment in this city. However, it is a big problem regarding the education of their kid-a 10 year old boy, due to the Hukou system.

I tried to get help from my Guanxi and finally found one who can help. Indeed there is no sponsorship and extra fees charged to migrant students now, BUT I need to pay RMB6,000.00 (about USD1,000.00) to the schoolmaster. And, surely, this amount will be kept by the schoolmaster as private asset.

POWER IS THE LAW, for most cases, this is the truth in China.

And, Guanxi is more powerful. If I do not have Guanxi, there is no way to spend RMB6,000.00 and help the kid continue his education.

This is China.

I love China, but I do not love the communist party. 

Thoughts

Doing Deals In China

This is one of the best articles I read recently on doing business in China! Click HERE to see the original!

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Doing Deals In China

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

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Editor’s note: Ruslan Kogan is founder and CEO of consumer electronics company Kogan. Follow him on Twitter @ruslankogan.

If you’re in business, you can’t ignore China. The economy is booming and it is the manufacturing capital of the world. In the last six years as founder and CEO of Kogan, I’ve travelled to China countless times. Each time, I fall more in love with it. It’s developing very quickly and has rapidly become a global commerce hub. A lot of people still think of China as cheap and dirty – this may have been the case once, but not anymore. The hotels I stay at in China are nicer and more luxurious than any hotel I’ve seen in Manhattan.

Here are lessons I’ve learned and the approaches that have worked best for me to avoid hassle, find great deals and ensure our products remain the best value money can find.

In the first part, I’ll share some killer tips that I’ve learned during my time in China – all of which have helped me keep the upper hand in critical business negotiations. In the second, I’ll share practical advice to help you navigate China’s complex business landscape.

Negotiating

Create A Win/Win

Always understand the incentives of your Chinese business partners. Understand how they are benefiting from the cooperation and ensure every deal you do in China results in a win/win scenario for both you and your Chinese partners.

When I first started Kogan, I had no money in the bank and no start-up capital. When I was asking factories to provide quotes for the production of TVs, I told them my order was for 10,000 units. Once all the factories had submitted their tenders, I picked the best factory and price offering. I then told them my order was going to be a “trial order” and that I would only be ordering “80 units”. They laughed at me. Assembly lines rely on mass production to achieve efficiencies. Large and professional factories would never accept a small order – they would not make any money from it and it would mess up their schedules.

The manager at the factory I had chosen had no desire to work with me. There was no commercial benefit for him. I lost a few nights sleep trying to work out how to convince him to work with me. Then it hit me. All Chinese factories I had been targeting were huge organizations – they were multi-billion dollar companies. But all the correspondence I had received from them was in “Chinglish” and very unprofessional. Their pricing spreadsheets used 15 different fonts and colours, and nothing was aligned or consistent. The product brochures barely made sense. The images were all misaligned. The user manuals for all the TVs had no logical flow and were missing many diagrams.

I stayed up for a few days and redid all of this documentation for the factory. I sent it to them and said: “I may not be able to give you commercial value through a large order, but I can help you in other ways to make this a mutually beneficial business arrangement”. The factory manager replied within hours, accepting my order of 80 units, put them on a priority schedule and gave me an even better price than we had previously agreed.

A week later, the manager told me that his factory had just won a huge customer in the USA. The reason? Of all the factories they had encountered, his was by far the most professional and the documentation was the best by a long margin.

Looking for a win/win does not always mean the deal will go ahead. Often I will be negotiating in China when I get asked: “Why are you not accepting the order? We are offering this to you for below cost price!” I tell them: “I am not accepting the order because you are either lying or stupid. If you are lying, I don’t want to deal with you. If you are stupid, I don’t want to deal with you. I need my supplier to be making profit so they are still around in years to come”.

Think Outside The Box

I was once sitting in a boardroom of a big Chinese factory and was the only representative from Kogan. I was sitting there in jeans and a t-shirt. On the other side of the boardroom table were five senior managers of the factory all suited up. Only one of the managers spoke English.

The meeting started. I would speak English with the only Chinese manager who could speak English and then he would translate to his team and they would discuss among themselves. The discussions were of a very serious nature – pricing for a new large order, payment terms and quality control procedures.

Every few minutes, they would all laugh hysterically among themselves. It made me feel very uncomfortable because nothing in our discussions had been funny. Naturally, I was curious as to what they were discussing and thought to myself: “how good would it be if I had a translator here?” Then I realised that they obviously wouldn’t be saying half the stuff they were saying if I had a translator with me.

Then an interesting idea came to mind. While they were having a chat and a giggle, I pulled my phone out of my pocket and switched on the voice recorder. I then casually put the phone down on the table and recorded the whole meeting.

As soon as I got back to my hotel room, I uploaded the audio file and then posted a translator job on a few online job boards. Within a few hours, I had received full transcripts of the entire meeting – including their “private” discussions. I now knew all their pricing, the strategy they were using against me and more importantly, what the lowest price they were willing to deal at was. With some quick lateral thinking, I had gained a significant advantage in the negotiation.

Time Is The Best Negotiation Tool

In China, nothing has a fixed price and there is no better negotiation tool than time. The moment the Chinese smell desperation, they will pounce on it. You can never reveal that you really need something or that your deadlines are tight.

We always try to lock in deals and production runs as early as possible so that we are not at the mercy of the Chinese during a negotiation. For example, the Olympic Games in July will cause a huge global spike in Big Screen TV sales. We started negotiating our Olympic Games production runs in January. We reached some very good prices by the end of January but then we stayed silent throughout February. The factory owner could see there was no desperation from us and wasn’t sure why we were not locking it in. We told him we had a better price and virtually stopped responding – when we did, it was only with one-liners. He lowered his price in February by more than 10 per cent.

In March, we kept telling him we had an even better price. We asked for a certain price that was slightly below his last offer. He told us he could not match that price, so we put our communications on ice.

After a couple of weeks of silence, we realised that the factory could simply not transact at that price. In late March, we offered slightly more and struck a deal. The price was about 30 per cent better than the initial pricing in early January.

The key to negotiation is to not show desperation, and use time to find a price at which the vendor is not willing to transact. Then slowly creep your offer up from that point and it will ensure you get a great deal.

Never Reveal A Target Price

Often, the Chinese will ask: “What is your target price?” I always say “$0”, or “Don’t worry about my target price – just give me your best price. When you walk into a supermarket, do they ask you for your target price for bread?” This usually gets a bit of a giggle but it is very true.

The Chinese negotiators are very clever. They will try and get as much commercial information out of you as possible. They will use this to determine what price to offer you. Your goal is to give out as little information as possible.

For instance, if they know that you have a customer that you are selling your product to, and you are going to charge $50, they may assume that you are happy with a 30 per cent margin and will quote you $35, whereas in reality they could be willing to sell the product for $10.
Ensure that you reveal as little as possible and make them aware that you are getting many factories to bid on your order. Explain that the factory with the best price, which can most adequately meet your specifications will win the order.

The Landscape

Shelve The Chinese Culture Books

I have never read a book about Chinese culture and how to do business there. Hundreds of these books exist. Some of my western associates have read them and it’s amazing how far fetched they are from reality.

No matter what the books say, transactions get conducted using the terms of the person paying the bills. Therefore, if you are the customer buying hundreds of millions of dollars of product every year, the factory will speak to you in whatever language you wish. Furthermore, they will not mind in the least if you choose to eat your meal with chopsticks, a fork or with your hands.

I’m told a lot of books say that in China, business is just as much about the relationship as it is about the commercial arrangement. The bottom line is, even if you have the best relationship in the world with someone at a Chinese factory, they will never dispatch your goods unless you pay your bill first. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to maintain good relationships with your key vendors, but don’t let it cloud your commercial judgment.

One of my business partners told me that he read a chapter about “toughness” and it said that when you get taken out to meals, they will try and serve you all sorts of weird types of food to see how tough you are. If you don’t eat something and the other person does, it means they are a tougher negotiator than you. Rubbish.

We were once at a dinner with a supplier. There were some incredibly bizarre dishes on the table. We were served a whole chicken that looked raw and still had the head attached; there were monkey brains and many other repulsive-looking dishes that I had no idea about. I picked at a few things and then went to McDonalds afterwards. My business partner tried his best to appear “tough” and proceeded to eat everything. Watching his face was hilarious. He later realised that the book was meaningless and our supplier would still be nice to us as long as we paid on time and kept ordering massive volumes. He learnt the hard way. We still have dinner with that supplier every few months, but these days we take him to a restaurant at our hotel.

Round, Round, Get around!

Ensure all your factories know that you get around. They should never feel like your business is exclusively with them – this will make them become complacent.
I don’t like trade fairs very much – I think they are out-dated and brimming with old technology. However, I do still go to them every now and then, and I send our products team to them as often as possible. We visit the booths of many of our factories/suppliers. Not only is this a way to see them all under the one roof and save a lot of time, it also sends a message to the factory owners that you are looking around and they must keep bringing their A-game!

Other than the trade fairs, whenever I meet with one of our suppliers, I always tell them that I just came from a meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting, I make sure to let them know I am heading to another meeting.

The bottom line is, we will never hesitate to cease a relationship if the other party is not meeting their end of the deal. At all times, we have a plan B and C for all product lines, and we ensure our existing partners are well aware of it. Vendors get complacent when they think you do not have other relationships, or a plan B and C. It is important suppliers always know we are looking around so that they always feel pressure to offer awesome prices and service – which we can then pass onto our customers.

Go Direct

In China, every man and his dog will claim to own a factory. For any given product, there may be 20 or so large factories in China that produce it. Then there will be about 200 trading companies onselling the products from the factory. For each of these trading companies, there will be roughly another 25 agents – that’s another 5000 or so eager “middle-men” to contend with. The only way to get the absolute best prices is to produce products in mass volumes and deal with the factories direct. Each extra party you involve will cost you about 10 per cent.

The biggest problem is, nobody will ever admit to being a “middle-man”. They will all claim to be “from the factory”. While uncovering the truth is critical, it can be extremely difficult. But there are few methods that can help:

Check out their email address – This doesn’t always work as some huge factories still have their staff on generic email accounts like Hotmail.com. It may seem obvious, but it’s something I see many people overlook.

Visit the factory – Check that the Chinese symbols on the business card of the person you are dealing with match up to the characters on the building.
Check the uniforms of the staff – is there any branding?

Ask the production staff if they have ever seen the person who is showing you around.

Over and above all these easy checks, there is one that is yet to fail me. I ask the person I am dealing with to open a random door at the factory. If they take a long time to organise for it to be opened, I know that they aren’t as intimately involved with the factory as they claim.

Compare Pink Lady Apples with Pink Lady Apples

Most factories in China are just assembly lines. This means they get all the components you need to make a great product and then put it together.

Very often, the same product from differing factories will look identical, because the same casing is being used. Don’t be fooled by this – the internal componentry can be very different. It would be the same as assuming that two desktop computers that use the same case are identical.

Ensure you properly test all products and scrutinize the components inside. This is particularly important when you are comparing prices.
Whenever you are getting factories to tender for large work, ensure there is no ambiguity about your product and everything is explicitly stated. Then triple-confirm it with them.

Money in the bank is the best contract

Many westerners waste time trying to draft contracts with Chinese factories. This is a huge waste of time because the contract is not worth the paper it’s written on. These sorts of contracts are near impossible to enforce and would require the involvements of embassies and lots of bureaucrats.

From my experience, the Chinese will always hold their side of the deal. Just ensure everything is communicated properly. Ensure that there is a clear understanding of the expectations of both parties. This can be easily achieved by emailing and asking them to confirm that they understand.

To keep transactions running smoothly, only pay once you see the goods have been produced. This should give you enough protection without the need for litigation.

Birds of a feather

China has over 1 billion people: millions of sales agents; hundreds of thousands of trading companies; thousands of factories. Finding the right partner for each product you deal with isn’t easy. A good trick is to use the networks of factories you cooperate with and get referrals from them. For instance, chances are that a top-tier LED TV factory knows a top-tier Blu-Ray player factory and a top-tier HDMI cable manufacturing facility. They will not want to screw you over, because you already do business with them. But even though they won’t recommend duds, be sure to still conduct your usual due diligence. In China, you can’t be too careful.

Trade, Work