Doing things the right way

Doing things the right way

A couple of years ago, Mr Yap Kok Kin discovered that a supplier had delivered fake parts to his electronics factory in Shenzhen.

He decided to withhold payment. That riled the supplier, who dispatched nasty-looking men to stand in front of the factory and bombarded Mr Yap's e-mail and mobile phone with threatening messages.

"I decided we needed to talk. I didn't want to talk to the sales guy, so I told my men to call the owner instead," says says the 52-year-old chairman of Earns Technologies.

The owner - a big, burly chap - turned up.

"I tried to tell him what he did was wrong but he said it was common practice in the market. He said, 'Only a couple of the parts didn't work, the others did. What's wrong with you?' "

Mr Yap stood his ground and told the man to pay a penalty and write a letter of apology.

"He said, 'What is your penalty?' I replied, 'One renminbi.' My purchasing manager asked me if I meant 10,000 renminbi, I said, 'No.' "

One renminbi or yuan is about 20 Singapore cents.

After a lengthy silence, the incredulous supplier told Mr Yap he could not accede to the demand. "He said, 'This is too degrading, I feel so ashamed.' "

The man insisted on paying 20,000 yuan instead. A few days later, Mr Yap also received a long, profusely apologetic letter.

In business, says the entrepreneur, there are no short cuts or easy ways out.

"You just have to do what's right," he says.

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