I am betting I can beat Dan Harris and Renaud Anjoran at pool…

Only because I can’t beat them at blogging. I am daily reminded of how badly I am outclassed at blogging by the China Law Blog and the Quality Inspection Tips blog. I get daily gems from these two blogs, and these days if i post once a week I am lucky. Needless to say, I recommend you subscribe to both.

I am not nearly as erudite as these gentlemen. They daily manage to serve up something worth reading, and by that measure, if I produce something worth reading once a month, hallelujah.

I titled this post as I did, because it is a daily discipline that I play 4-5 games of 8 ball on my home table. I have a fine old AMF pool table and shoot a few games each night as I complete my daily correspondence with PassageMaker’s clients around the world. If you are ever in Salem around 10 PM – 1 AM Eastern, be sure to stop by for a game. This is nothing more than relaxation, so I shouldn’t read too much into it, but I will anyway for the sake of this blog.

I am a better than fair shot, and 5 and 6 ball runs are common in my game. I have only ever had one 8 ball run off the break, and my opponent in that blessed game has refused to play me ever since (nearly 20 years and counting).

The reason I torture you with such an agonizing metaphor, is that pool tables are NOT the same in China. You would think that pool is pool around the world, but as with so many things, local differences make ALL the difference.

I am a pretty good shot, but when in China, I have to adjust my game. Chinese pool tables have rounded bumpers around the pockets, versus the standard angled bumpers on American tables. This means that a shot that would go in in America will bounce out in China. This has taught me to have a gentle hand and plan my shots better than is required in the USA.

This is an apt metaphor for doing business in China. What is easy and straightforward in the USA is a miss in China. Not a week goes by that I don’t have a client that wants to cut corners and do things “quick” in China. I always push back, insisting that they take their time, whether that means finishing their design database (rather than leaving the engineering up to the Chinese suppliers) or taking steps to properly protect their intellectual property by filing for Chinese patents and trademarks.

My point is that you always have to assume that doing business in China will take longer and be more difficult than the same task in your home market. 99.9% of the time this will be the case.

China is the way to go for inexpensive tooling and production parts, but it is NOT always the easiest way to go. Before you decide to work in China, you need to make sure you understand the difficulties involved, something PassageMaker can help you with.

Because those round pockets are a bitch.

Great China Law Blog post related to “Sheer Import Genius”

A most excellent post on the importance of protecting your supply chain from Dan Harris of the (most excellent) China Law Blog. If you are not a subscriber, you should be. He is kind enough to link to my post yesterday, “Sheer Import Genius“.

The importance of contracts and compartmentalizing your supply chain cannot be overstated. You have invested too much to build the business. Don’t give it away because you are too lazy or too cheap to do the work to protect that investment.

Money ‘graph:

The other day, a really savvy client of ours stopped by the office. This company has been doing business in China for a long long time and it has non-disclosure/non compete/non circumvention agreements with all of its Chinese suppliers and US Buyers I mentioned the above conversation (no names or other identifiers, of course) and we talked about the benefits of the contracts his company has both in China and in the U.S. He then reminded me that this was also one of the reasons his company had set up its own trading companies in China. This company gets its product from about a dozen different Chinese factories, but the records in both China and the United States all point to the U.S. company’s own trading company as the exporter. This company has never had a problem with its customers going around it.

PassageMaker can help you secure your China supply chain. Our “Black Box” Assembly Center is a far less expensive option than setting up your own trading company. If you still want your own presence in China, we can help you with our Factory Formation service. Give us a call, and when you need a lawyer in China, you could do far worse than Mr. Harris.

Good suggestion from Dan

Short post tonight.

Dan Welygan, who worked in our Shenzhen office for 4 years and is now back on the team as the sales representative serving Oregon and Washington, sent me a link to the China Law Blog. Thus far looks like a good read.

Another good China business blog is our friends at Silk Road International. Both well worth the time.