• Sourcing Solutions
  • Services & Membership
  • Help & Community

4 Common Mistakes Importers Make with Asian Suppliers

January 14, 2018
2 min read

Operating between suppliers in Asia and overseas buyers, we here at China Importal often see the same common mistakes made over and over—by both sides.


While many issues originate on the vendor side, buyers aren’t entirely blameless. Here are four common mistakes that buyers make and how you can prevent them.

1. Don’t treat your supplier as a price database

Responding to quotation requests from buyers is part of a sales rep’s job. However, calculating production costs take time, and may require multiple subcontractors. If you keep submitting requests or changing the specifications without ever placing an order, the supplier will eventually lose interest and stop responding to you.

2. Always provide swift feedback and status updates

Buyers are often quick to complain about excessive lead times, long holidays, and prototype development spanning several months.


However, it’s common that buyers wait several days, or even weeks, to provide basic feedback to their suppliers. This may relate to feedback on quotations, quality options, or even product samples.


If you have a deadline, always try to respond to emails within 24 hours, and keep the supplier informed. 

3. Provide clear instructions, not long paragraphs

There are few things that are more frustrating to an engineer than product specifications written like a novel. Yet it’s common that buyers write long and often vague paragraphs describing the product’s design, quality, and functions.


This leaves the sales person interpreting what your product is supposed to be, which is likely to cause misunderstanding, which in turn may result in quality issues. Instead, a product specification should be on point and crystal clear, such as:


Please provide a quotation for both 1000 pcs and 2000 pcs, based on the specification below:


Case Design File: case-design.dxf

Logo File: logo.eps

Material: 316L Stainless Steel

Coating: IP Rose Gold

Logo: Print

Logo Position: Centered


PS: Please see the file attachments

4. Don’t be too aggressive in your price negotiations

While price negotiation is part of the game, many buyers go too far in their attempts to cut pricing.


While a supplier may eventually give in to price pressure from their buyers, it may end up costing you down the road. Forcing a supplier to cut unit pricing can leave them with only one option: to reduce production costs. To reduce costs, a supplier might: 

  • procure cheap raw materials
  • use components of a lower quality
  • use components that are non-compliant with overseas regulations
  • cut corners during mass production