Sourcing from China

Buying from China

Harry Hughes Portwest - Sourcing in China

This business podcast, in the words of Mr. Harry Hughes, CEO of PortWest, tells us about sourcing in China. China is vying with the United States for the title of world’s largest economy. It has been the fastest growing major economy during the past thirty years. Its enormous size with over 1.3 billion people gives it massive economies of scale. This coupled with a culture that is inherently industrious makes China attractive to Western companies looking for competitive locations to source manufactured goods. The Pearl River Delta region north of Hong Kong is now widely known as the ‘Workshop of the World.’ Most people are familiar with China’s increasing role in world and economic affairs, but have little practical experience of direct engagement with China.

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Mr. Harry Hughes, CEO of PortWest shares some of his insights after years of experience sourcing directly from China.

“They think business is complicated. business is the simplest thing you do.”

Harry Hughes began his talk by reassuring participants that buying in China is no different than buying in the UK or Germany. From his many years of doing business in China, Harry has found the Chinese to be honest and trustworthy counterparts.

In his experience, when things go wrong it tends to be because of mistakes and incompetence rather than short cuts. He feels that a good specification and master sample resolves 99% of potential errors – A detailed specification is a must.

“A good specification and a master sample resolves 99% of errors.”

There are mainly two types of suppliers, direct from a factory or via an agent.

According to Harry, a good place to start when looking to source from China is as factories rarely have a website and instead use this website. Harry offers some tips on engaging a potential supplier once a connection is made including what to look out for, and the right questions to ask. He then discusses the practicalities of arranging production and facilitating payment. Harry also covers groupage, logistics, importation and customs.




Asia Inspection

Kuhne & Nagel Ireland

Expeditors Ireland

Harry Hughes is CEO of PortWest. A century ago, PortWest was founded in a picturesque tourist town along Ireland’s Atlantic coastline by the Hughes family, who have been an important part of commercial life in the area ever since. Harry Hughes runs PortWest in collaboration with his brothers Cathal and Owen. Together they have overseen a major global expansion programme for the company, having made an early decision to internationalise their operations in order to compete in a globalised world. They now employ 800 people in Bangladesh, with plans to increase this number to 2,000 by 2016. The company also has long standing relationships with manufacturers in China, who in turn employ over 4,000 people. PortWest now has a turnover of €80 million. The company ships to over eighty countries and boasts international warehouses in the UK, Poland, Dubai, and the USA. Under Mr. Hughes’ leadership staff at PortWest acquired world-class skillsets that facilitated rapid growth over a short timeframe.