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Learn from Our Mistakes! The Smart Way to Buy from China


After many failed attempts to purchase goods from China, we learned the hard way how not to do business in China. It took many costly mistakes and a considerable waste of our time and money before we learned the smart way to purchase goods from China.

After learning such valuable lessons, and talking to many other businesses who had similar experiences to our own, we decided to set up our own company Old China Plate Limited to help other businesses from making the same mistakes.

Common Mistake 1: Purchasing and Communicating Online
Many of the companies we initially contacted claimed to be the manufacturer. It wasn't until after I had paid for the products and organised shipping documents that I learned that the person I was dealing with was an individual operating as unauthorised agent for the manufacturer. My warranties were null and void. In one instance the agent simply disappeared after receiving payment, the manufacturer had never received an order or known the agent.

Common Mistake 2: Not Visiting the Factory
Visiting the factory is essential. Trying to save time and money by not visiting the factory is the very definition of 'cutting off your nose despite your face'. Visiting the factory not only helps to prove that the company you are dealing with is actually the manufacturer (and not just an agent), it also allows you to inspect the quality of the products and procedures and shows the manufacturer that you are a serious buyer - building your credibility.

Common Mistake 3: 'Yes' does not mean 'Yes'
The word 'Yes' in China has many different meanings. It can either mean 'I hear you (but I don't necessarily agree)' or 'I am not sure but I am afraid to say No' or 'The answer is really No but I am sure that with time I can find a way to make the answer Yes' and in relation to price negotiation, here is the best one, 'Yes we can drop the price (but we won't mention how we will compromise quality to achieve that price)'. There is a massive cultural difference in the way the Chinese communicate with western buyers. A trusted local is essential - particularly at the beginning.

These are just 3 of the most common mistakes not only made by us but many of our clients prior to engaging us to help them.

Now based full-time in China Old China Plate Limited is an Australian managed company that specialises in commercial sourcing, procurement, supply chain management and Quality Assurance across a diverse range of industries and products with customers from Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, South Africa and throughout Europe.

Our experienced team of Australian and Chinese nationals are fluent in both Chinese

and English, this together with our extensive experience dealing directly with a carefully chosen network of Chinese manufacturers ensures that our customers can always expect personalised service and receive the highest product quality for the best value for money. 


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