By Jacob Yount
Let’s refresh on money wires for supplier payments in China.
It’s not going to be any great revelation just basic reminders and things I’m hearing.
I know about this from doing.
My business still sends money to vendors.
We just sent a deposit for the first container of our new private label. It feels good, fingers crossed.
Also, I know from just keeping my ear to the ground.
“We need to give you a personal account”
Don’t pay personal accounts.
You may hear the vendor say they need you to pay a personal account for whatever business convenience.
Don’t do it.
If you don’t know them, they may steal the money.
If something bad happens to the order, if you pay a personal account, you’ll have even less recourse.
You may be used to doing this and have done it for years with no problem.
About 10 years ago, maybe less, they changed the law/rule where an individual could receive up to US$50,000.00 max.
So you had vendors exhausting accounts in order not to receive the payments in a company account.
This was for tax dodge reasons, company registered as a different entity, whatever the reason may be.
My own commandment on supplier payments
This applies to my company, our old model, new model, whatever the hell model, never, ever, ever, ever pay a personal account.
We used to do it.
The last time we attempted, it was sent back.
The news on the streets is that unless the receiver can show a contract that they are doing work for you, then the bank isn’t going to issue the funds.
This timeframe is ending. China is working to be more professional and precise.
You should pay an official business account for supplier payments
Some suppliers will send you an invoice with bank detail and the beneficiary is a person not a company
Don’t pay it.
That’s my advice.
Demand a company account. If they cannot provide a company account, don’t work with them.
“But this is a great supplier and we really want to work with them”.
But it’s not long-term sustainable.
If they’re a good supplier, they will properly register their business.
If you’re not thinking long-term, then take the risk.
Lastly, be sure all supplier payments coincide with bank detail on an official invoice
Don’t send money to a bank detail that the supplier gives in the body of an email.
This is scam and the body of the email was hacked.
Dan Harris from The China Law Blog wrote on this over a year ago. It doesn’t seem to be going away.
The bank detail inserted into the email is from a rogue element who “supposedly” hacked the supplier’s email.
The dupe makes a payment to the vendor, as per the email.
The vendor says they never received the money.
Was it a legitimate hack? I have my doubts. But that’s what they say.
I’ve seen it firsthand from someone who wired to a different bank account. The main supplier says they don’t have the money and they still aren’t releasing goods.
Client shows them the email, they say, “this ain’t from me”.
It becomes a standoff.
Say this with me, “All payments to any account should be clearly laid out on an official invoice, with company header and proper Chinese stamp”.
- Pay only company beneficiary. Not an individual.
- Bank detail should always be on official invoice.
- Never accept bank detail from email body or chat window.
Jacob Yount lived in China from 2001 to 2012, during which time he started JLmade. He is now based out of North Carolina in the US and his home office is still in Suzhou, China; manufacturing and exporting branded merchandise, promotional products and retail gifts for distributors worldwide. Contact Jacob at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find him on his blog.