China Ceramics City, the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association, the U.S. China Ceramic Tile Association, and the city of Foshan sponsored the trade mission.
Both Chinese manufacturing executives and U.S. ceramic tile distributors were on hand for the U.S. China Ceramic Forum. One Chinese manufacturer said, “More communication is needed to know the U.S. market. Service, brand and design are problems. In five years, we will make great improvements.”
Said Newzhongci Ceramic Co. (NCC) president Li Ju Xiang, “Chinese manufacturers are not looking for quick sales from the Trade Mission, but rather a long-term partnership with U.S. distributors and manufacturers.”
Trade mission participant Harold Yarborough of D & B Tile Distributors, Sunrise, Fla. voiced the need that U.S. distributors need more consistent manufacturing with smaller order commitments. Packaging and shading were issues of concern for Rudy Llerena, D & B Tile Distributors, Miami.
Jodi Henry of Robert Henry Tile Co., Montgomery, Ala. added Chinese manufacturers need to provide marketing tools for the commercial segment, technical data and use U.S. photos for ceramic products that are going to be marketed and sold in the United States; product packaging should utilize the same stacking pattern and logo; and strive to increase partner trust and loyalty.
Jim Thayer of Eleganza Tile, Fullerton, Calif. stressed the importance of having trim pieces and tile sizes designed for the U.S. market. Helen Wang of Foshan HiYi Artistic Building Material Co., Ltd., suggested some ways to better work with Chinese manufacturers: select a Chinese agent with excellent verbal and written language skills to communicate with the manufacturer, avoid using substitute suppliers, and ensure a member of the team is able to communicate in Chinese. If this option is not viable, hire a Chinese student.
At the conclusion of the event, Andy Peng of Bravura International commented that, “I think this was Mission Accomplished. With the softness of the U.S. economy there was a concern about pulling this effort off. This has been a wonderful communication opportunity for both sides.”
Peng added that after the trip it seems like a lot of distributors have started talks with Chinese manufacturers. The message from the manufacturers was to create a long- term business relationship.
The 3rd U.S. China Trade Mission is now being planned. For details, contact Andy Peng of Bravura International Corp., Castro Valley, CA at 408-898-4104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.