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?