The Return to China Pt 2: 8 Tips for a Great Sourcing Trip
May 24, 2023
In our last travel blog, The Return to China Pt 1, we covered how to carefully plan and prepare a trip to China for a factory visit or a trade fair. And, due to the complexities and challenges of such a grueling international trip, many companies are choosing not to travel to China, but to rely on their on-the-ground China support team instead.
For the intrepid leader who decides that visiting the middle kingdom is worth the effort, it is wise to engage a professional China sourcing company that can provide travel assistance–such as arranging factory visits, booking travel arrangements, providing interpreter services as well as being able to leverage their expertise to analyze factory capabilities, discuss products, and assist in negotiations–to ensure the trip is pleasant and productive.
This week, we’re happy to provide more details on the required preparation for your China visit.
8 Tips for a Great China Trip
1. Obtain a visa: The first step to traveling to China is to obtain the appropriate visa based on where you live. If you live in the United States, the Chinese Embassy website is a good source of information for various visa types. For business travel, this is often referred to as an M-Visa.
2. Communicate with your China supply chain management stakeholders: Before traveling, it is essential to share your China trip objectives with the manufacturers and suppliers you will be visiting, and also with your on-the-ground China support team. What would a successful China sourcing business trip look like for your company? Thinking about this question will help you plan accordingly.
3. Review China Travel Notices and Advisories:
-China Notices: First you should check with the PRC Embassy website for all updated notices and regulations.
4. Plan your business itinerary: Your business itinerary should include your factory visit schedule, any additional meetings or site visits you may have, as well as your travel and accommodation arrangements. You must confirm the date and time of your visit with each factory to ensure they can accommodate your visit. If you use a China sourcing company, they will be able to arrange up to 4 factory visits in one day, as well as interpreter services and use of an office facility.
5. Plan your cultural itinerary: You should also plan for some free time to explore the local area and experience Chinese culture. Some sightseeing is justified during a China sourcing business trip because it pays to understand the culture of your suppliers. Some of that culture can be appreciated by visiting famous sites such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and Xian’s Terracotta warriors, or by visiting museums and attending a Peking Opera (“Jingju”) performance.
6. Find a great translator: As covered in The Return to China Pt 1:, you should not rely solely on translators provided by your suppliers, or important points might be “lost in translation.” A China sourcing company will be able to interpret not only the language, but the situation to ensure you communicate effectively with your supplier.
7. Follow local customs and etiquette: Being respectful of local customs and etiquette, and avoiding behaviors that may be considered offensive is an important matter of business. For example, it is considered polite to bring a small gift to a business meeting such as a box of tea, but expensive gifts may be seen as bribery. It is also impolite to be too direct or confrontational during meetings.
8. Make copies of important documents: As a matter of safety, you should always make copies of important documents before traveling, such as your passport and visa, and keep them in a safe place. In case these documents are lost or stolen, having copies can make the process of obtaining replacements much easier. You should also consider carrying a copy of your itinerary and contact information for your embassy or consulate in case of emergencies. Also, research where your embassy is located, and keep the phone number on hand for emergencies.
Are you traveling to China this year? What are your traveling tips?