Wednesday 20 Sep 2017

Traveling Overseas to Visit Suppliers

Many buyers on Alibaba.com will travel overseas to personally inspect their supplier’s products and facilities – and to get to know their supplier.  Some will also use the trip to interview other suppliers in the country or region.

Long-distance travel makes sense for large orders and long-term partnerships.  You want to make sure your money is well placed.  But if you can’t make the trip, an alternative is to use a local inspection agent to do inspections for you and then report back to you.  This might not be as good as a personal inspection, but it’s cheaper and involves a lot less hassle.  (Inspection agents are discussed in more detail later in the book.)

If you do travel, expect to be treated like an honored guest, especially in a country like China.  You’ll be wined and dined at a series of large banquets.  Appreciate the festivities and give thanks, but don’t let it distract you from the real purpose of the visit.  You’re there to objectively size up your supplier and perhaps negotiate prices with him.  The banquets are a nice gesture, but what you really want is good quality at a good price.

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