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Employees of a small Chinese trading company checking e-commerce orders at their office. Many medium- and small-sized enterprises are seeking to develop their business through online platforms as the gloomy global economy has led to a sharp decrease in orders from regular overseas clients. Provided to China Daily
Shrinking orders prompt small businesses to find fresh solutions for controlling costs
Getting professional advice on how to attract more buyers from overseas via business-to-business platforms is a new trend among small and medium-sized enterprises in China as the European financial crisis severely weakens the export industry.
B2B platforms are an essential tool for buyers around the world looking for a cost-effective way to connect with trusted supplier partners.
Wu Ailing, the manager of Shanghai Reaching Kayo Fashion Co, a Shanghai-based medium-sized clothes manufacturer, had never thought of expanding her client network through another company until she was introduced to Tradegood, a US-based B2B company mainly supplying professional services for manufacturers.
"We have had about 100 clients regularly placing orders from abroad mainly in the United States and also European countries over the past two decades," said Wu.
She added it had been difficult to find new clients to expand her network in the textile industry because she didn't have the resources to contact overseas companies.
The gloomy global economy led to a sharp decrease in orders from regular overseas clients so Wu and her team are seeking to develop their network to find more clients to maintain production levels at their factories.
Kayo was expecting zero growth in profits this year, a situation symptomatic of the majority of manufacturing-based enterprises.
"We decided to seek the B2B platform's help in obtaining a professional new look for our company profile and get to know more authorized global buyers from different countries," said Wu, who was introduced to Tradegood's office in Shanghai.
The Tradegood sourcing community was launched on Aug 20 in Las Vegas and has been used by about 3,000 buyers from more than 300 leading brands and retailers from 100 countries, as well as 20,000 suppliers, the majority of which are China-based companies.
"Tradegood opens the door for real suppliers to gain access to the world's biggest markets and serves as a crucial platform for suppliers to broadcast their capabilities to global buyers in the competitive sourcing environment," said William Quilindo, chief operating officer at Tradegood.
Tradegood aims to schedule and organize about 1,000 business matching events annually to enable buyers and suppliers to have the opportunity to discuss their ideas and find appropriate business partners face-to-face.
"It provides a new experience and solutions to experienced suppliers who are keen to find more buyers to order their high-quality products," said Quilindo.
He added experts from the company will first give professional suggestions to suppliers on company profiles and product brochures and then discuss the detailed requirements of the buyers to narrow down the selection process.
The supplier of products is not the only side to benefit from services provided by B2B businesses. They also offer information enabling foreign companies to discover different manufacturers.
"We are delighted to see the B2B industry booming because it provides sufficient information about qualified manufacturers for us to select and start negotiations with," said Cathy Gao, divisional merchandiser manager at Redcats Asia Management Consulting (Shanghai) Co, which also works with Tradegood.
She added that using a B2B company to find product suppliers is the wisest choice for buyers if they have proved their reliability.
Tradegood worked with Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production to make sure that all the products they deal with are manufactured under lawful, humane and ethical conditions by suppliers.
"It is important for suppliers to demonstrate their good manufacturing practices in order to stand out from the sea of suppliers, especially since buyers are becoming increasingly concerned about their suppliers' commitment to social regulations and compliance," said Avedis Seferian, president and chief executive officer of Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production.
Seferian added that suppliers can prove they are responsible and trusted players in the industry by working with partners such as Tradegood.
Economists also predicted more small and medium-sized enterprises would turn to B2B businesses for help in expanding their network of regular clients.
"Expanding the market is the best way forward for SMEs to escape this miserable period, which is going to affect the trading industry for a long time," said Shi Jinchuan, dean of Zhejiang University School of Economics.
Shi added that using B2B business to get in touch with more global buyers in the same industry will be a smart move for SMEs in helping them go forward, making better quality products and delivering them to more clients.
(China Daily 12/31/2012 page15)