Today I’d like to welcome Harco Bouwman, Co-Founder of Buyers Meeting Point, who is sharing a guest post on the cultural aspects of low cost country sourcing.

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In today’s business environment, organizations are forced by competitive pressure and high labor rates to working more and more globally in areas that they may not have done before. Even people who speak the same language often misunderstand each other.

Unfortunately, there is an even greater potential for Chinese and Westerners to misunderstand each other due to different cultural and business practices. In my travels to Asia, I have learned a few key areas that have helped in my professional interactions.

In order to understand why that occurs, it is important to know the way people in the two cultures think. This table outlines a few of the differences.

(US and Most European)
(Chinese and most Asian)
Communication of InformationMore meaning is in the explicit, verbal message. Use of direct languageMeaning is often implied or must be inferred. Use of indirect language patterns
The IndividualHas to have rights and greater need for
autonomy and individual achievement
Group duty, preservation of harmony
Conflict ResolutionTrial or confrontation, use of lawyers and courtsMore mediation though trusted third parties

There are many aspects of the interactions between two individuals. The ones listed above are just a sampling. Our hope is that this information is helpful in the professional dealings between cultures. For more information around this topic, please visit our forum or procurement solutions area.

I encourage you to continue to understand your clients and their backgrounds. It should make for a more rewarding relationship and overall partnership.

Disclosure: Buyers Meeting Point is a sponsor of the Purchasing Certification Blog and a global community hosted for procurement professionals. The company is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands with a subsidiary in the United States, located in Boston. You can visit Buyers Meeting Point on the Web at

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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