16 Jan
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ABOUT SSN AROUND CHINA CULTURE DOING BUSINESS LATEST NEWS TRENDS

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If you’ve spent a little time in China you’ve undoubtedly come across the sound of a single cylinder diesel engine. Its putt putt putt sound is that which we found in the original John Deere tractors years ago. The design is German and they can be found in Eastern European countries as well as China. They abound in China providing power to things like the pictured farm tractor which looks like a quite large rototiller with a wagon hooked to it. They are quite strong and can haul one and a half yards of sand or bricks piled up way higher than appears safe. Engines come in the 10 to 20 horse power range for the most part. So in the range of most lawn tractors in the US but with much higher torque and high speeds of less than 10 miles per hour.

If y0u look at the picture to the right the green container on top of the engine is filled with water.  The top opening is left open I imagine so water can be added as needed.  There is always steam rising from that area as they putt putt along.

Then there are the barges that move heavy loads of sand and other products for the building business up and down the many canals in Eastern China.   The barges sport 3 or 4 of the engines which all drive a common shaft to the propeller.   As with all modes of transportation in China it appears to be way overloaded.  Seems to me if a wave came along from a passing boat that the water would make its way into the hold and the whole thing would be at the bottom of the canal.  I spent hours standing on a bridge watching them but they seem to manage to carry their loads of sand and coal along without incident.
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The Supply Solutions Network China office is located on the 16th floor of a 30 story office building in the heart of Changzhou in Jiangsu province. It is about 130 miles north and west of Shanghai. I like to consider the corridor the golden highway; starting with Shanghai, then Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou and finally Nanjing.
 
The area is credited with the highest contribution to GDP; more than any other area in China and is connected together by high speed trains and modern six-lane highways. The trains travel at speeds close to 200 mph and are as smooth as your car on a new highway. There are no railroad crossings and the majority of the line is elevated. Stay tuned I’ll be writing about the trains in a future blog article.
 
Please click on the play button for a quick tour of our office and to meet our staff.
 

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First, just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a long way to go but I think it is way under reported as to the progress made to date.  My China Sourcing Agency is located in Changzhou in Jiangsu Province.  What would be considered an up and coming 3rd tier city in China.  More and more foreign firms are investing here each year but I still stick out when I’m out and about.
 
Foreign Brands Available
 
Like all cities in China the shopping malls are full of brand names with every upscale brand you’d expect to find in a typical New York shopping center available to the new Chinese middle class.
 

 
What you might not realize though
 
In the downtown area within walking distance from my office there are lots of choices for dining as you would expect in any large city.  I think what would surprise those who have not spent much time in China recently is the variety of Western foods that are available.  Be aware; this is just in the city center.  This is repeated in other areas of the city as well.
 
4 – McDonalds

4 – KFCs

2 – Pizza Huts

1 – Papa Johns

2 – Dairy Queens

1 – Haagendazs

2 – Ajisen Ramen Noodle

1 – Starbucks Coffee
 
They are always packed and do a good business in China.  I suspect if you where to check the corporations involved like Yum Foods are reporting growing profits from their Asian sector.  Unlike in the US, KFC stores here have seating for 100 or so and are always packed and if you call in they’ll deliver to you.  What’s missing though is the drive through.  There are a few in China but I think you could safely say they total less than a hundred overall.  Gas station convenience stores are also pretty much non existent or at least not with the same merchandise that westerners are used to.  7-Eleven is here as well as the Chinese owned Kedi small store chains.
 
For those that cook at home there is a Walmart Super Center, British owned Tesco and Taiwan owned RT Mart close by so you can pick up a few things.

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When doing business in China quality slippage in regards to materials is very common. No matter what particular materials are involved in your product your supplier will try to save money in order to make a profit on your product.  Now you may look at this as a form of unethical behavior especially if your BOM and specifications spell out what materials and the amount/percentage or other requirements for those materials that are to be used.  From a Chinese perspective it’s just smart business. 
 
When doing business in China quality slippage in regards to materials is very common. I once had a conversation with the owner of the company I worked for many years ago in the US who explained that, what might get you sent to hell in your personal life, in the business world was just “business” and thus okay.  For certain it’s totally acceptable socially in China to conduct business this way. If you took a survey of average citizens in China they would use words like wise, crafty and industrious to describe this phenomenon.
 
I’m sure you know the different ways material shortcuts can happen in your particular product category.  It might be a good idea to get together with your team and make a list just so everyone is aware what to look out for.  From a sales standpoint we had such a ready list of things, if not on paper certainly in our heads, to justify why our price was a little higher than the competition.  We only used this or that particular material which enhanced this or that in the final product.
 
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