Cutting out In the Middleman:Why Your Company Needs an Agent

July 14, 2008 · Print This Article

No one wants to use a middleman if the job can be kept in-house. Trying to complete a project without the help of a mediator in China, however, can result in unnecessary complications. The divides of language, culture, and production standards can naturally lead to the disastrous outcomes that have made headlines in past years. But is it really that difficult? Don’t thousands of foreign companies come to China every year, produce excellent products, and yield high profits? Perhaps, but it’s not as easy as it looks.

1. Research takes time and requires presence.
The production process in China requires evaluating a supplier’s capacity to handle your project, determining quality, negotiating prices, sampling, performing a trial order, assessing the exporting situation, etc… Attempting to go through this process remotely or with inexperienced staff will greatly hinder the efficiency of your project. Hiring an agent who knows that doing business in China requires extensive face to face interactions and who can proactively minimize potential risks can save your company time, money, and frustration.

2. “You get what you inspect not what you expect,”
as international businessman Etienne Charlier says. Relying on information from factory sales staff may not be a good option because, in the end, they answer to their boss not to you. Often they are not well versed in technical issues and their reports to you might not reflect reality. An independent middleman’s job is to inspect the goods at crucial points of production, thereby, catching problems early.

3. Everything is possible, nothing is easy.
Misunderstanding culture and norms create a lot of the problems companies face in China. While many factories have English speaking staff, differences in communication can create a great divide and affect production. Here again is the need for a middleman, a person who understands the viewpoint of both sides and finds solutions to challenges that arise.

Setting out to do business in China requires a solid plan. A competent agent will look out for your best interests, is able to prevent problems before they occur, minimizes risk and save money for you. Before you start your new venture in China, why not consider hiring an experienced middleman.

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42 Responses to “Cutting out In the Middleman:Why Your Company Needs an Agent”

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