Global Sources
Ready to import from China? Find verified suppliers on Global Sources.
Share / Recommend:

Are bilingual contracts necessary?

by Sophie Mao

After Chibridge’s presentation regarding the importance of bilingual contracts at the Hong Kong sourcing fair hosted by Global Sources, some clients wrote me asking more about bilingual contracts. A few clients wanted to know: “Do you really think bilingual contracts are necessary?”

I understand clients’ concerns. We are dealing with China, if something goes wrong, many clients doubt a good contract will protect them from trouble. Periodically I hear comments like: "the Chinese legal system is slated against foreigners." I agree that China’s legal system is far from being perfect, but I do not think it is slated. A Chinese person could feel just as confused as any foreigner when dealing with all these changing laws and regulations, although foreigners do face the cultural difference and language barrier.

The truth is, it is not easy for Chinese to win a case, and it is more difficult for them to recover his or her money, even if the judge rules in his or her favor.

So, why do we need a bilingual contract?

First, a well prepared contract gives out the signal: I care. Other people will think before acting against you.
Second, a good contract provides remedy if something goes wrong.  Although it is not easy to win a case, with a bilingual contract, if you do your homework thoroughly, you will find you can win!

In my opinion, doing business without a good contract is akin to parking your car in public with a broken window.

What do you think?

Sophie Mao is the founder & Directing Partner of Chibridge Law Firm, which offers advice on foreign direct investment and sourcing in China. She writes for overseas investors and buyers at Chibridge Law Blog, and lives full time in Guangzhou. You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Add comment

Security code

Stay Connected

Get Import from China Headlines by E-mail

Attend the Global Sources Summit

  • For online & Amazon sellers
  • Interactive training led by sourcing & Amazon experts
  • Learn how to source profitably, avoid pitfalls
  • April 17 - 19, 2017 in Hong Kong
  • Co-located with Mobile Electronics and
    Gifts & Home shows

Learn More

Join the Smart China Sourcing Facebook Group
  • Connect with other buyers
  • Ask questions
  • Get advice from experts

Join Group

Join Global Sources on Facebook

Be our fan now for the latest sourcing news, practical sourcing guides and expert advice.

Follow Global Sources on Twitter

We'll keep you updated with tweets on sourcing news, trade resources & more.