China Business Travel 101 |

Ever wondered if you could deal directly with manufacturers… in China?! It’s easier than you think.

First Impressions:

I visited China in Autumn 2005 with a group of business associates and must admit that I was amazed, both by the warm reception we received wherever we went, and at the factories we toured. Having never been there before, and having only news accounts of “difficulties” between China and the U.S. to fuel my imagination, I assumed things would be overly formal and official at best… at worst, cold… and we would be “watched” constantly. I was so wrong on both counts. We were treated as welcome visitors and had only to ask the hotel staff for something to have it almost magically produced.

Lost in Translation:

Outside of the hotels and manufacturing facilities, doing business in the streets and in small shops was, at most times, terribly difficult. We had arranged our factory visits and business meetings with our contacts in China, and there were no problems on that side when it came to language. But once we stepped out on our own, we rarely found anyone – even in tourist gift shops – who could communicate in English at all. Next time I visit China, I’ll hopefully be armed with a few more basic Mandarin phrases, but for everyone visiting, even just for leisure, I’d recommend hiring translators to assist you.

Cash in China:

Another word of warning: business owners back home in the States may be suitably impressed by your Gold Card, but to the Chinese shopkeeper it’s just a pretty piece of plastic that won’t buy a cup of Chinese tea. Even in the large cities, you’re going to have to carry around Chinese Yuan (aka Renminbi) in cash if you want to be able to go shopping or eat at a restaurant. I have to say, the upside of this is that you won’t find yourself going over budget. But with the incredibly low Chinese retail prices, that probably wouldn’t happen anyway.

Low Retail Prices:

Once you’ve overcome the communication difficulties you’ll be amazed to find the bargains you’ll find in the small shops. For a start, it’s an electronics paradise. Just make sure you do your homework on what will and won’t work back in the States. Of course it is easy to load yourself up with personal purchases, but the real value is getting even more ideas of attractive products to start selling back home.

Factories in China:

Our visit to a manufacturing plant in Huizhou left us all . . . well, ‘impressed’ hardly seems like a strong enough word. The building, on the outside was sort of drab looking with banners hanging here and there but inside was quite a different story. First of all we were treated as if we were VIPs instead of mid-level managers from Kenosha. Most importantly, however, the level of automation in this factory was remarkable, even by American standards and, when you look at the numbers, you see that the productivity is really impressive. It’s no longer a mystery to this American why China is finding such a willing market in America.

Back Again:

I wish I had more than the seven days we were able to stay in China, but it won’t be long before I’m back, this time with a group of my friends who have been listening to me talking about the business opportunities since I got back… and who now want to go out there to get a piece of the action for themselves.

Some Personal and Security Advices When Business Travelling |

When you travel many times a year because your business demands it, reducing travel costs, personal safety concerns, stress and other travel related issues is important, since you might save yourself many uncomfortable situations that might affect your business directly.

If you are a frequent traveler, you should be keeping track of all your frequent flyer miles and points in one secure place in order to track different awards program and take advantage of any tour packages that can be redeemed of all accumulated points because of business travel. Be aware that some programs also offer follow up points for hotels and rental cars so you can take advantage of all kinds of opportunities.

When you are at the airport, be certain to keep an eye on your luggage and personal belongings. Even though there are surveillance cameras and security systems deployed on most airports, you should always remember to carry all your belongings with you and not let any stranger to get too close to them.

By using latest communication technology, you can anticipate difficulties of travel and stay on schedule by having information and knowledge into the palm of your hand. Many frequent business travelers never leave home or office without their smart phones that help them stay informed on every part of their trip, such as flight schedules and possible delays because of weather conditions at airports. If you are always connected, even in those situations you can be connected with your office and check electronic mail and important incoming text messages. You can also tell your colleagues in advance if you will be able to arrive on time to your destination.

When you have a security system installed at home, you could also have an internet connection to surveillance cameras installed there, in order to check periodically what is happening at home when you are not around. Being connected this way, you are always in communication with your beloved ones, and can feel better about their safety when they are at home.

If you have updated information on air transport and connectivity with your colleagues, all small scheduling changes can be handled with administrative tasks that will reduce impact on efficiency of your plans and will help you manage your journey as well. This will leave you more time to deal with work related tasks.

When travelling for business, reducing costs is also an issue, so having information about hotel and non-hotel accommodations for working day periods is a common trend among frequent travelers. Many alternative accommodation facilities may appeal to executives who need to travel regularly for business.

Check security measures at hotels where you stay when travelling outside your country. A good hotel will always have security systems insalled and fully operational, in order to keep you and your belongings safe.

Some important issues such as low cost or free access to kitchen, washing and ironing facilities are becoming popular because they lower costs and increase of sense of being at home specially in case of longer stays.

It is important to choose accommodations that are near convention and conference halls, since traffic can be inconvenient in some places around the world.

One last important thing when travelling for business is to feel assured that your family stays safe at home, knowing that some security devices are installed and deployed correctly. Always check safety equipment thoroughly before travelling, bringing safety to your beloved ones.