Using Chinese culture to resolve disputes easier on Aliexpress

I have a class about Chinese culture this semester. I’ve found a few of the things I’ve learned there to be pretty helpful with Aliexpress. I’m not 100% serious with this post. Obviously everyone is different and Chinese people respond well to different things. But it doesn’t hurt to try these tips.

  1. Emphasize relationships. If you’ve been a long time customer of a store, mention that. Relationships are extremely important in Chinese business negotiations.

  2. Do not put a time limit. Don’t say “Send a new item by Thursday or I’m giving you bad feedback!” That is the Chinese culture equivalent of murdering kittens. Just don’t do it, ever. It’s way too pushy and out of line.

  3. Consider face. Criticizing or being overly opinionated can cause the owner of the shop to lose face. Often the person you’re talking to on Aliexpress is actually the owner of the company. Saying that their company is shit or their products suck is going to make them hate you. Do not criticize their English.

  4. Recognize that “the customer is always right” is not nearly as strong in China. Don’t expect them to bend over backwards to try to make you happy. Instead, phrase problems in the context that you wanted to enjoy their product, but it was broken, didn’t arrive, etc.

So yeah. Just try it out. I’ve been shocked at how many people go in “guns blazing” and expect good results. That doesn’t work with Western companies and certainly won’t work with Chinese.

Posted by u/YarnPens on Reddit

For instance, let’s say I got a pen that is cracked.

Western business: Hello, I received order #X today. Unfortunately, the pen is cracked. Can you please tell me how to return it? I also paid for 2 day shipping so I would like it overnighted if possible. Thanks.

Chinese business: Hello friend, I received order #X today. It’s a great looking pen, just like the other quality items I have received from your shop in the past. However, it seems to be cracked. Please check the photos. If it is possible, I would appreciate it if you could resolve it. Thank you! [Don’t suggest a resolution. Wait for their suggestion.]

Both would really work for either company, but I think it might just do a bit better this way.

Most Aliexpress sellers aren’t rich fatcats who have tons of time to sit around studying English. They tend to just know the basics and use Baidu Translate for the rest. You can’t simply “pick up English” by talking to customers through email. It’s a lot harder than that.