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Trade shows in China & Holiday Schedule for PassageMaker – 2011

Trade shows in China & Holiday Schedule for PassageMaker

As part of the China Sourcing Information Center (CSIC) booth, PassageMaker will be exhibiting at various trade shows in China as listed below. PassageMaker staff will also be hosting level 100, 200 and advanced level 300 sourcing seminars at each of the shows in conjunction with www.GlobalSources.com. The shows and seminars are free to attend.

And because so many of our clients and prospective clients like to visit us in Shenzhen, included is our holiday schedule for this year as well.

Here are all the Global Sources trade shows we’ll be attending in 2011 (booth numbers will be posted as they are assigned):

12-14 January – ShanghaiBaby & Children’s Products; Fashion Accessories; Gifts & Premiums; Home Products; Swimwear & Underwear

Chinese New Year Holiday: 2-9 February

Tomb-Sweeping Holiday: 3-5 April

12-15 April – Hong KongElectronics & Components; Security Products; Solar & Energy Saving Products

20-23 April – Hong KongHome Products; Baby & Children’s Products; Gifts & Premiums; Medical & Health Products

27-30 April – Hong KongUnderwear & Swimwear; Fashion Accessories; Garments & Textiles

May Day Holiday: 30 April – 2 May

31 May – 2 June – DubaiElectronics; Home Products; Baby & Children’s Products; Gifts & Premiums; Fashion Accessories; Hardware & Building Materials; Garments & Textiles

Dragon Boat Holiday: 4-6 June

28-30 June – ShanghaiElectronics

11-13 July – MiamiGifts & Premiums; Home Products; Fashion Accessories; Garments & Textiles; Baby & Children’s Products; Electronics

Moon Cake Holiday: 10-12 September

National Day Holiday: 1-7 October

12-15 October – Hong KongElectronics & Components; Security Products; Solar & Energy Saving Products

20-23 October – Hong KongHome Products; Baby & Children’s Products; Gifts & Premiums; Medical & Health Products; Christmas & Seasonal Products

27-30 October – Hong KongUnderwear & Swimwear; Fashion Accessories; Garments & Textiles

13-25 November – MumbaiElectronics & Components; Security Products; Home Products; Gifts & Premiums; Hardware & Building Materials; Auto Parts & Accessories; Bathroom Products

30 November – 2 December – JohannesburgHome Products; Gifts & Premiums; Electronics; Hardware & Building Materials; Garments & Textiles; Fashion Accessories; Medical & Health Products; Solar & Energy Saving Products

6-8 December – SingaporeHome Products; Gifts & Premiums; Hardware & Building Materials; Garments & Textiles; Auto Parts & Accessories; Food & Beverages

To learn more about the shows and seminars, please visit Global Sources.

We look forward to seeing you at the shows!

PassageMaker 2010 trade show schedule

PassageMaker and our sister company China Quality Focus will also exhibit at the following booth numbers on the following dates. Come and visit if you are in the area!

Here are all the trade shows we’ll be attending this year:

September 8-10, 2010, Mumbai: Booth 1M14

  • Electronics & Components
  • Security Products
  • Home Products
  • Gifts & Premiums
  • Hardware & Building materials
  • Auto parts & Accessories
  • Bathroom products

October 12-15, 2010 , Hong Kong: Booth 1G11

  • Electronics & Components
  • Security Products

October 20-23, 2010, Hong Kong: 1Q01

  • Home Products
  • Gifts and Premiums
  • Baby & Children’s Products

October 27-30, 2010, Hong Kong: 5A37

  • Fashion Accessories
  • Garments and Textiles

December 1-3, 2010, Johannesburg: booth not yet assigned

  • Gifts & Premiums
  • Home Products
  • Baby & Children’s Products
  • Electronics & Components
  • Hardware & Building materials
  • Garments & Textile
  • Fashion Accessories

The Shanghai show has begun

The latest Global Sources Trade Fair is underway in Shanghai. Sadly, I could not make this one, but the PassageMaker / China Quality Focus booth is there, staffed by personnel speaking English, Mandarin, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Russian.

Stop by booth # 3A55 and meet our team and make the time to participate in Mike Bellamy’s conference on sourcing in China!

Great trip is almost complete

I apologize for my recent absence from blogging. I am wrapping up a month long trip to Shenzhen and Hong Kong, and it has been insanely busy and VERY successful. New clients signed (including one WHALE), several huge trade shows, a new Assembly Center, customer visits, many new foods eaten, legendary hangovers and a whopping case of food poisoning.

I have hundreds of photos and much to write about, but I also have about 600 trade show leads to follow-up, and money comes before blogging.

I will be back in the USA next week and will begin posting the travel log Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thanks for your patience.

Day 14

Day 14 hong kong border fence

Day 14 – Tuesday – Some interesting China article links to kick things off:

I had some customer calls this morning and got to the office later than planned. It was a beautiful day, clear and warm and actually worked up a sweat walking to work. Mike is very frugal (like a good entrepreneur should be) and he sited PassageMaker and the corporate apartment on purpose. Liantang, our “town” in the Luohu district, is not upscale at all, and most Western companies are based in tonier districts like Futian and Shekou. Liantang is very Chinese, we are the only foreigners and there is no Starbucks or other Western shops. We do have a KFC and a McD’s, but both these brands are so well established in China they are almost like local offerings now. KFC especially has a very different menu than in the States, tailored to the local market. When Mike was researching our new home a few years ago, he chose this area because he could buy a house across the street from the office. Also we are an important tenant for the landlord, so we can control the HVAC. In many of the high rise office towers, the landlord controls the thermostat. And rents are also much lower in Liantang.

Day 14 hong kong border fence

In order to get to work, you have to cross a foot bridge over the main highway. Chinese steps are instructive.

Day 14 chinese stairs

For breakfast I went to a vendor around the corner selling a type of flatbread. The size of a large pizza but wafer thin, it is fluffy and crispy at the same time. I has green onions cooked into it and is coated with sesame seeds. A real taste delight. I bought half a pizza, cut up into bite-sized pieces and shared with the office. All for 4 RMB = $0.60.

Day 14 flatbeard

It was a busy day in the office. We had customers visiting from France in the morning and USA in the afternoon. Late afternoon, my friend from Taiwan stopped by for a meeting to learn more about PassageMaker. We gave her the run down on all the companies – PassageMaker, QTP Bag & Case, and China Quality Focus – and their services – Sourcing Feasibility Studies, Vendor Coordination, Assembly-Inspection-Packaging, China Sourcing Office, our Medical Assembly Center with Clean Room and Sterile Packaging, Logistics, VAT Rebate Processing, Simple Factory Audits, on-site Quality Inspections, Market Feasibility Studies, Factory Formation, and our Endorsed Service Provider network. She has USA friends and clients contacting her to help source in China and she wants to introduce them to us. I am confident we will find a good way to work together. Only one dish of note today at lunch, the variation on my favorite shrimp skewer dish, this time without the chiles and salt baked, to give them an intense somewhat smokey flavor.

Day 14 salt baked shrimp skewers

I head out a bit earlier than normal to join her for dinner. It is not uncommon for folks at PassageMaker to work until 8 or 9 PM, so I felt a little bad leaving at 5:30 PM. My friend is in the mood for Japanese, so we head to Coco Park, a big mall and surrounding shopping area in Futian. Our driver heads off and we are mired in a few minutes time in rush hour traffic. Liantang is on the east end of Shenzhen, almost to Yantian, the most eastern district of Shenzhen and the location of the port. Shenzhen was the first Special Economic Zone set up by Deng Xiao Ping when China decided to open to the West. 30 years ago it was a farming and fishing village that just happened to abut British Hong Kong. Today it is a sprawling city of around 12 million people. From Shekou and Baoan in the west to Yantian in the east, even in good traffic at highway speeds it can take an hour or more end to end. The original Luohu district is crammed right up on the border and it is obvious that the city planners years ago had no idea what was to come. The highway in Liantang running to the port that I’ve posted in the past, was built because this area was almost a suburb. In central Luohu, the highways take crazy S curves weaving in and out of skyscrapers, and in some areas are reduced to two or even one lane. This is the polar opposite of the planned asphalt and concrete expanses of Pudong in Shanghai. Thus the trip to Coco Park takes around 45 minutes.

Coco Park is across the street from the new McCawley’s we visited the other night, and is a big beautiful mall. Lots of stone and neon and every major Western brand represented. In contrast to some of the malls in China, I actually saw people buying, not just looking. In we go to a Japanese restaurant, which if you take the bad blood between the two nations seriously, should be deserted. Instead we have to wait 25 minutes for a table the size of a matchbook, crammed between a large party of Hong Kongers and a couple on a date. This lao wai barely draws a second glance, except when I take a picture of the food. My friend tells them I am a food critic, which I guess is accurate.

We start the meal with raw beef tongue sliced paper thin. We initially opt to cook it ourselves on a portable butane burner, but after nearly giving ourselves 3rd degree burns (the cast iron cooking plate doesn’t exactly fit the burner and keeps sliding around), we send it away for them to cook.

Day 14 beef tongue

Day 14 japanese fried chicken and the cooked beef tongue

Beef tongue is a bit more unctuous than other cuts, despite having not much visible fat, and is quite good. I am not sure I would be able to tell the difference if I was not told though. I remember that in his book Undaunted Courage, Steven Ambrose reported that Lewis only ate the tongue and the fat of the buffalo they killed. Now I understand.

Day 14 japanese potato omelet with bonito shavings not good

Day 14 japanese lamb chops pretty hard to mess up lamb

Day 14 japanese salad

Day 14 japanese fried tofu with bonito shavings

We rounded out the meal with some sashimi, which everyone has seen so I didn’t bother with photos. My friend is into dessert, so we had ice cream and cheesecake, neither of which were anything special. The highlight for me was the Suntory beer, which I hadn’t had since my last trip to Japan nearly 12 years ago. Suntory is an brand rarely exported (I’ve never seen it in the USA, even in major cities) and it is a good basic lager. Just the thing for the food.

Conversation over dinner gets philosophical. She and I have known each other a long time through a string of career and life changes. She’s met my family and I’ve spoken to her significant other on the phone a number of times, though we’ve never met. She and I may not talk for a year, but whenever we do, the conversation picks up just where it left off like no time had passed. She looks great, hasn’t aged a bit. It has been 5 years since we’ve actually seen each other. It felt like last week. OK, so it WAS last week at the Italian restaurant, but you get my meaning.

Life is nothing but a string of anecdotes, with book learning thrown in for filler. You never really know anything but what you see with you own eyes, smell with your own nose, etc. When Mike asked me to write this blog, it was to boost our search engine results. I immediately realized I couldn’t do it if every post was a string of key words. It had to be about life. It really should be called “Whit’s tiny slice of Shenzhen, Hong Kong, a couple places in Dongguan and Guangzhou, a few trips to Shanghai and Beijing, Singapore from 15 years ago, Taiwan from 12 years ago Business Blog”. I know more about China than most people, but as our rep in Brazil, Andrea Martins, who lived in China for 25 years once told me, “If you go to China for a week, you can write a book. If you go for a year, you can write an article. If you live there for 25 years, you have nothing to say.”

A professor of mine once introduced me to an audience at a speaking engagement as one of the happiest people he knows. I don’t know if that is the truth, but I AM happy. Not because I don’t have anything to be sad about, but because it doesn’t do any good to fret and worry. I have a beautiful wife and a wonderful family, I love to meet people and make new friends. I love what I do, because I essentially made my own path (with lots of help from everyone in my life, including The Man upstairs). Some years ago, I made a silent promise to myself to “live a life less ordinary”. So far, I think I’ve succeeded.

When I am at home I am happy and content. I love Salem, VA and the USA. I love my family and friends. It is a beautiful small town, safe and pleasant. Do I miss China when I am at home? Of course.

When I am in China I am likewise happy and content. I cannot say I love China, so much as I am fascinated by it. Every day is a new experience. Buying a loaf of bread or a carton of milk is an adventure. Do I miss my home when I am in China? Of course. I miss my family terribly.

But there is work to do and money to make. You put it out of your mind. Absence really DOES make the heart grow fonder. I know when I see my family in 3 weeks, it will be a wonderful homecoming.

 

Days 6-13 – Shanghai Hooters, Mao’s Revenge, and rotten cell phone companies

1 view from the apartment 1

Day 6 – Woke to steady rain after a fitful sleep. The Chinese believe in sleeping on hard beds, as it is supposed to be good for you. And when I say hard, I mean sheet of plywood hard. And how having your hips so sore you can barely get out of the bed in morning after tossing and turning all night is supposed to be good for you beats me. We will be upgrading the mattress shortly.

View from the apartment window.

1 view from the apartment 1

2 view from the apartment 2

And though it feels cold here because of the damp, it is about 62 F. Salem, VA was in single digits in comparison. The company apartment is decorated with Chinese art (Mike has good taste). We even have a life sized terracotta warrior.

6 this guy startles me everytime

4 love the screws

5 ill have one of these in va soon

Our apartment complex

11 the fountain

he walk to the office takes maybe 5-6 minutes. The rain was coming pretty hard and the wind overwhelmed the umbrella. One thing you notice about side streets like ours is how poorly they are sloped to drain the water. Makes for enormous puddles.

Stopped at my snack shop for dumplings and a tea egg. I make tea eggs at home, and they are just that – eggs boiled in tea, dark soy sauce and spiced with star anise. The flavor is very subtle – it is 90% a regular hard boiled egg, but the last 10% makes all the difference.

12 tea egg for breakfast

Worked the morning in the office, and then had lunch at the restaurant around the corner. It has a few dishes that are wonderful, but is certainly not fine dining. The highlights:

Day 6 lunch best use for broccoli

Day 6 best use for squid

Back to work until late in afternoon, then I head to Futian district to take an old friend from Taiwan to dinner at an Italian restaurant. We were the only ones there, so service was exceptional, as was the food, as was the wine, AS WAS THE PRICE. Dinner for two cost 7 times as much as dinner on the street the night before! Luckily she is bringing some of her USA friends to PassageMaker, it was a legit business dinner, but man it is easy to get spoiled by the cheap food over here. I figured we all know what Italian food looks like, so I’ll spare you photos of gnocchi and tiramisu.

Day 7 – A clear day, rain has stopped. It’s knocked the smog out of the air, so a bright blue morning.

Day 7 morning

Day 7 street-scenes

Off early to our Assembly Center in Buji. I’m working on continuous improvement initiatives there as part of our new ISO 9000:2008 certification, something we achieved just last month. My background is in manufacturing, and since we are gearing up for what we think will be a very strong 2010, Mike asked me to come over and assist with introducing the alphabet soup of kaizen related initiatives – 5S, JIT, OJT, etc. Meet and greet the staff, which is dominated by women at the manager level. Only one man on the senior staff. You are seeing more of this in China, but my impression is PassageMaker is ahead of the curve here. On to lunch, which is fabulous as usual.

Day 7 an even better use for squid1

Day 7 best use for duck

Day 7 i love these little fish

Day 7 man they do vegetables well

Day 7 you have to get used to your food staring at you

On the way out, we passed the fish tanks that hold the seafood fresh and alive until it’s time to cook it. Everything in China is prepared fresh.

Day 7 if id known they had had geoduck

Day 7 duck fish

Later that afternoon we headed back to the office to pick up Julien Roger of China Quality Focus, our sister company. Mike, Julien and I flew to Shanghai for the Global Sources trade show, a trip that wasn’t scheduled for me when I came over, but I’m glad I went. The show went well and I’ve never really been to downtown Shanghai before, just the industrial area around the old Hongqiao airport. We flew into the new Pudong airport and I am convinced the planning went something like this – “To demonstrate the greatness of the People’s Republic of China, we will build the longest airport in the world!”. We landed late at the last gate and walked for 10 minutes in a straight line down the terminal until we got to the baggage claim area. This is a seriously long building. And thoughtfully they included no people movers like the trams at the Detroit airport. Considering the late hour and the lack of other arrivals, you’d think they could’ve found a found a gate closer to the exit.

Heading to the hotel, Ibis, a chain of affordable hotels owned by Novotel, a French company, what struck me about Pudong at night were the vast highways. Six to eight lane interstate grade roads as compared to the cramped streets typical of most Chinese cities. Pudong was farmland just a few years ago, and it definitely has a planned feel.

Although they fed us on the plane (a 2 hour flight with meal service – haven’t seen that in the States in decades), Mike and I were still hungry, so we found an American bar, Malone’s across the street and had a very good hamburger while listening to a GREAT Filipino cover band. Every bar and hotel in China has a Filipino band, all playing English cover tunes, even when the clientele is Chinese. And nearly all of them suck. This was an astounding exception. They were tight and the covers were quite good, including good hard rock and heavy metal. The singer had some serious pipes.

Back at the hotel, I noticed the bathroom is a pre-fabricated assembly. Smart idea for a chain. It was one of the nicer bathrooms I’ve had in China.

Day 7 pre fabed bathroom

 

Day 8 – After the best night’s sleep so far, up early to get to the show and set up the booth. On the way to the convention center, I saw this:

Day 8 just bizarre

They switched us at the last minute to give us a corner booth, which meant we had to cut up the posters to make them fit. I think the booth looked pretty good, considering.

Day 8 our booth

I’ve been to a fair number of trade shows over the years. Heavy truck shows are dull unless you really like trucks and truckers, car shows are fun, and motorcycle rallies are a blast. But in every case before, I was selling a product. If the guy’s got a Road King we have something for him, but not if he has a Dyna. We’re on this model of Peterbilt, but not that one. But now that I’ve done it, nothing beats selling a service. EVERYONE doing business in China needs Quality Inspections, Product Testing, Sourcing Feasibility Studies, Vendor Coordination, Intellectual Property Protection, Logistics and Assembly Inspection & Packaging. The industry doesn’t matter, they all needed at least one of our services. This was a gift and clothing fair, but it is the same at every show. It’s like we are selling beer at a NASCAR race. We got business cards from USA, France, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Israel, Nigeria, Iran, South Africa, New Zealand, etc.

Mike is a featured speaker at every Global Sources trade show (including Dubai, Hong Kong, Mumbai and South Africa this year), and he gave a two-part presentation spread over the first two days of the show. He did a great job and it was extremely well received by the standing room only audience. Rather than a canned sales pitch, he tells it like it is, barely mentioning PassageMaker or China Quality Focus. The soft sell works and many attendees stopped by the booth afterward to tell us so. They figure anyone with enough confidence to NOT shove his company down their throats must have it going on. And they are quite right. We do.

Day 8 mike is featured speaker

Day 8 mike giving his presentation

Julien Roger is also a tremendous salesman and very knowledgeable. I learned a great deal from watching his methods. Selling China Quality Focus’s services is easier, as Quality Inspections are very straightforward compared to PassageMaker’s services, but the combined message of the two companies meshes very well. We often have the same customers.

The convention center is still under construction and gigantic. As with the airport, the point seems to be making you walk as far as possible to get anywhere. Despite the impressive size, they apparently forgot about effective HVAC. It is unseasonably cold and I packed for south China. Day 1 of the show had no heat at all, which made it a real grind. Day 2 was a little warmer, but still uncomfortable. By Day 3 they’d gotten it going to the point it was now actually hot inside. HVAC needs some work for sure.

They also have very little in the way of food. The restaurants inside looked just plain bad, serving cold rolls and sandwiches wrapped in plastic like a vending machine. However, there was a McDonald’s right across from our hall, W2. It turned out to be the world’s smallest McD’s, about the size of a broom closet, with one little girl selling horrible looking “chicken sandwiches” out of coolers. I put that in quotes, because they were actually pork. Menu says chicken, she will say in English it is chicken, the box says chicken, but she insisted in Chinese that they were pork. We passed and were directed to the other McD’s at W5.

W5 is an international airport runway away from where we were. In 30 F weather, I was not interested in the walk, but there was nothing else, so walk we did. Entering W5 was a shock as it was still under construction, freezing cold and reeked of paint fumes. The McD’s was even colder than the rest of the building. It was a huge McD’s, brand new and manned by an army of eager young staffers in winter parkas. McDonald’s can’t heat their own place. It was also completely deserted. We were it for customers stoopid enough to walk that far in the cold for genuine simulated food. Our “food” in hand we sat down to eat our rapidly cooling cheeseburgers (with cucumbers instead of pickles) in 25 F comfort, huffing paint. Then the staff helpfully turned on the Backstreet Boys at headache inducing volumes to entertain us, because what lao wai doesn’t love the Backstreet Boys? We’d shout over the music to tell them to turn it down please. And they would, just a little. As it was the only food around, we ate there all three days of the convention. Our experience was exactly the same each time, including the yelling over the music to turn it down. Note to China: the progress over the last 30 years has been astounding, but build convention centers with decent places to eat and heaters.

Day 8 holy crap this place is big

Day 8 holy crap this place is big 3

Day 8 holy crap this place is big 2

Day 8 this is the smallest mcds in the world

Day 8 why put the real mcdonalds as far away as possible

Day 8 w5 under construction

Day 8 way to plan fellas

The interior of the McD’s was just as bizarre.

Day 8 mcds posters wtf

Day 8 mcds posters wtf 2

Day 8 mcds posters wtf 3

Day 8 rarest sign in china

With the first day of thee show successfully behind us, we head out into a bitterly cold Shanghai sunset.

Day 8 shanghai sunset

For dinner, we are off to meet friends at Shanghai Hooters. Yes, really. This turns out to be loads of fun. Mike, Julien and I meet up with one of our sales reps, Dan Welygan, who worked in our Shenzhen office for about 4 years. Also in our quintet is a classmate from the University of South Carolina now living in China. Many, many wings and beer later, I have a new found appreciation for Hooters. It was a bold decision to open this restaurant, as typical Chinese girls lack the requisite body type required of a Hooters waitress. And they have to be attractive and be able to speak English. A pretty small labor pool. Our waitress was very good, spoke solid English and really new how to work a room. A very bright young lady, she has a future in sales for sure.

Day 8 our waitress elva

Day 8 hard to find hooters in chinaDay 8 hard to find hooters in china

Day 9 – Second day of the show went as well as the first. Part two of Mike’s seminar was very well received and many of the attendees have stopped by the booth, several 2-3 times. After the show, we meet our web developer, a French graphic designer living in Shanghai, at a trendy coffee shop for sandwiches. This place was in a glittering new mall, still decorated for Christmas. My cameras does a poor job in low light, so my apologies for the quality of the photos.

Day 9 christmas decorations

Day 9 first of two ferraris in 2 minutes

Day 9 yep thats a christmas tree

Day 9 this is what irony looks like

So far no Chinese food in Shanghai. After the meeting, off to meet another USC classmate at The Boxing Cat Brewery, the nicest brewpub I’ve ever been to. As I was once in this business, that is quite a statement. It was in a 100+ year old home in the old part of Shanghai, beautifully refurbished. The brewpub was 3 stories, with a bar on the 1st and 3rd floors. It felt exactly like a British pub, with beer selection and menu to match. Since we had already eaten we did not order anything, which now that I know the chef was trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, I heartily regret. I have a feeling it will not be my last trip. My, how far this country has come in just a few short years. However, even The Boxing Cat has moments that confound.

Day 9 were the heck do you want me to put it

Day 10 – Last day of show, and the pollution is pretty bad today. Traffic is light, and some exhibitors start packing up almost from the opening bell. We stayed until nearly the scheduled end at 5:30 PM, though we give up when they start dismantling the booth around us at about 5:10 PM. Global Sources has been good to us and we thought it the honorable thing to do to stick it out to the end, though honestly the show really ended around noon. Off to Pudong airport (which is even more gigantic from the outside and has the coolest road system connecting it I’ve ever seen) to catch our flight to Shenzhen. Our first Chinese meal of the trip is some very good Cantonese cuisine at the airport.

Day 10 shanghai pollution

Day 10 always a bad sign when the gates are in triple digits

 

Day 10 cantonese food chinese airport food is much better than usa

Day 10 cantonese food chinese airport food is much better than usa 3

Day 10 cantonese food chinese airport food is much better than usa 2

Day 11 – Worked all day to get caught up from the show. Verizon’s data service here stinks, a pale comparison to my old AT&T service (of course, that is reversed in the USA, which is why I switched). Many emails did not come through to my blackberry. I also discovered that Verizon is charging me $2/minute to RECEIVE CALLS. This was one of the specific questions I asked before adding the “China plan” for this trip. I have already written about how woefully trained their salespeople are, and this takes the cake. Since the trip began, I have been receiving calls from clients, family and friends – including a call a 3 AM from a client who had missed I was not in USA. My team in the USA is having words with Verizon about this, but let’s just say, it was a cute phone bill. China Mobile by comparison, charges nothing to receive an international call. Heck, their rates to MAKE an international call are less than Verizon. So, if you want to get in touch with me, send me an email and I’ll give you my China Mobile number.

I join Mike and Adam Supernant for dinner at a local place in Liantang.

Day 11 chinese donuts I like the fried ones steamed ones not so much

Day 11 gross

Day 11 very common to have fire at the table

Day 11 quite tasty tofu and pork

After dinner I was invited to join some of our Chinese co-workers at a nightclub. I was flattered to be invited and went along. After several hours, I had my first run in on this trip with the dreaded Mao’s Revenge. I am trying to tell it like it is for those of you who don’t travel overseas, and if this strikes you as TMI, it isn’t. You need to know what you are in for.

While western style “sitters” are becoming more common, squatters still dominate. In a sense this is good, as sitters are not as sanitary ( I mean, everyone else is sitting there too). But when you’re in an emergency situation and you are not used to squatters, this can get dicey fast. My advice for survival in these situations:

  1. Wear sensible shoes with good rubber shoes – I prefer Blundstones.
  2. Wear jeans. Avoid khakis – not the color issue but the way the pockets are cut. I always keep everything – wallet, keys, passport, phones – in the front pockets of my jeans.
  3. This is a very uncommon position for a Westerner. I have pretty strong calves and thighs, and have learned how to balance, but if you never done it before, try it and hold the position for 2-3 mins. It takes some getting used to and you don’t want to find out the hard way you can’t do it. Luckily the squatting position is more conducive to the situation at hand, and so things tend to go quickly.
  4. Carrying a small packet of tissues is a good idea. Toilet paper in a public restroom anywhere in the world is never a given. Handkerchiefs and socks (single use of course) will do in a crisis.
  5. Carry a bottle of prescription Lomotil or the generic. I always do and there is no OTC medicine that comes close. It WILL stop the drama.

My evening cut short, off to sleep. Day 12 is Sunday, market day in Liantang, and Mike and I head to Mian Dian Wang, or “Noodle Snack King”, my favorite fast food chain in the world. 14 line cooks actually making the food by hand. Total cost of the meal is about 60 RMB, or less than $9.

Mian dian wang

Day 12 mian dian wang

Day 12 mian dian wang 2

Day 12 mian dian wang 3

Day 12 mian dian wang 4

That evening, Mike threw a dinner party at his home. It was great to see old friends and an even better meal. Simply the best food I’ve ever eaten in China. Mike’s wife and the maid did all the cooking.

Day 12 two women in this kitchen in about 2 hours..

Day 12 two women in this kitchen in about 2 hours.. 2

Day 12 made this

Day 13 – Monday – Last night there was a little too much “medicinal wine”. Whenever you hear that phrase, run screaming in the other direction. After such an amazing meal, we needed something basic to calm the acid seas, so off to Subway (yes, really). A steak and cheese later and all is right with the world. With some lingering Mao’s, I head to the apartment to work from home. It was a glorious day, 70 F and clear blue skies with a light breeze.

Day 13 our apartment complex

Later Mike asked me over to finish up the leftover ingredients from the dinner party – there was no left over dishes, just raw materials. This is the modest result.

Day 13 a light meal

Two customer visits tomorrow and time at the factory.

All for now…

 

Meet the PassageMaker Sales Team!

My biggest project this year is the development of an international team of sales representatives to promote PassageMaker. While the roster is not complete by any stretch, we have a good start, with representatives in Brazil, Europe, Mexico and the USA. We will be adding more photos and bios shortly, and I will post updates as appropriate.

We are currently seeking representation in India. If anyone is interested, please contact me directly.

I love it when a plan comes together…

Boy, were the trade shows REALLY different this October

I’ve written about this before. Mike Bellamy asked me to avoid politics in this blog. Which is mostly fine, because generally I am sick of politics.

But there are times when it is really, really, really, reeeeaaaaally hard, and this is one of those times. Why? Well, I’ve been going through the follow-ups from the recent Global Sources trade shows and one thing stands out like a sore thumb – the shortage of Americans in attendance.

I’ve spent the last 7 months putting together a group of sales reps to better serve our clients and help PassageMaker grow. We have 8 reps serving USA and Canada (more on the way), but my top priority was to establish reps in key foreign markets – Mexico, Brazil and Europe are already place, and I am working on covering the rest of the globe – but I had no idea this effort would pay off so soon.

Easily 85% of the follow-ups are non-USA leads. In years past, at least 60-70% were American. The reason for this reversal is disheartening. The USA is mired in recession, with a shortage of business credit, rising unemployment, etc.; while the rest of the world is recovering nicely. It does not have to be this way. As a small business owner, it is mighty disheartening to see so much indecision and ineptitude in Washington. When you have no clue what to expect next, caution dictates you batten down the hatches. The economy will not really get going again until people can plan for the future. And the solons in DC haven’t a clue the havoc they are creating.

And that is the extent of my political commentary for today. Have a great weekend.

Mike Bellamy knows his stuff (part 2)

For anyone thinking of doing business in China, please listen here for an excellent interview with PassageMaker founder Mike Bellamy. In this interview, he focuses on practical measures to protect your Intellectual Property (IP) when dealing with Chinese suppliers.

PassageMaker has years of experience protecting our clients’ IP, including filling Chinese patents and trademarks using our Endorsed Service Provider for legal services, Ms. Li Yan of the JunZeJun Law Firm. All of our core service offerings – Sourcing Feasibility Studies, Vendor Coordination, Assembly-Inspection-Packaging, Factory Formation – were developed with the primary goal of IP protection.

And don’t ignore protecting your design in your home market. For our American clients, we recommend Michael Mann and Todd Serbin of Nexsen|Pruet.

If you’ve spent the time and money to design the product, why would you not take every effort to protect it from theft? Contact PassageMaker and let us show you how to successfully and securely manufacture your product in China.

Trade Show Season 2009 is different

In years past, the China trade shows were dominated by American buyers. What we’ve seen at the trade shows in April 2009 and so far this October is an increase of attendees from the developing world. It is not for nothing that PassageMaker opened our first two satellite sales offices outside of the USA in Mexico and Brazil.

This article from the NYT provides a good overview of the current situation. Key paragraphs:

As throngs of prospective buyers swarmed the exhibitions, equal to five times the floor space of the Empire State Building, Chinese exporters were upbeat. By keeping China’s currency, the renminbi, tightly yoked to the weak and weakening dollar, Beijing had made Chinese exports increasingly competitive around the world.

“We are very confident,” said Liu En Tian, the marketing manager of the Huasheng Jiangquan Group, a manufacturer of ceramic tiles in Linyi City. “Already the buyers who are coming this morning are more than last year.”

Like those of many Chinese manufacturers, his company’s exports fell by nearly half last winter because of the global economic slowdown, but they are now down only 20 percent from their peak more than a year ago because of a surge in sales to South America and the Middle East. “The economy will get better very soon” around the world, Mr. Liu said. [ed. – emphasis added]

While Washington seems hell-bent on borrowing / printing / spending money in reckless abandon, almost as though they want to destroy the dollar and the rest of the USA economy (much to the horror of American businessmen like me), other markets around the world are recovering quite well. It seems that many nations know that Keynesian economics is bunk without having to try it out each and every generation.

I’ve avoided commenting on the decline of the dollar, mainly because it feels like commenting on a slow motion video of a train full of children hitting a bus load of nuns, but as a global company PassageMaker is working daily to position ourselves to take advantage of the global rebound. We have sales representatives in Mexico, Brazil and Europe and are interviewing for sub-Saharan Africa, India and Australia. Like it or not, China is a global player and PassageMaker is well positioned to help our clients succeed in China. Please contact us an let us know how we can be of assistance.