Buying from China — What You Need to Know about Mr and Ms. Cha Bu Duo

Cha bu duo(差不多), which means nearly, almost the same, is still a belief governing many Chinese in their daily life and work.

Under the influence of Confucius’ the Doctrine of the Mean, we are educated to be tolerant instead of being too serious with strict standards. The goal of the Mean is to maintain balance and harmony from directing the mind to a state of constant equilibrium.

Therefore, in China you might come across some Mr. And Ms. Cha bu duo as well as lots of cha bu duo circumstances.

1.Chinglish
People don’t care whether it is right or not as long as it exists. 米 should be translated into mile but with the help of Google translation it turned out to be waiting outside a noodle, which they think cha bu duo.

Chinglish translation of miles
Chinglish translation of miles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.Cooking
Unlike cookery books in the west, our old-fashioned recipe has a Cha bu duo way to record the quantity or weight of some ingredients. For example, 盐少许,白糖适量,一点料酒which means a small amount of salt, an appropriate amount of sugar, a little cooking wine…

3.Getting the right quotation
When it comes to business especially getting quotation for OEM orders, it is so hard to get a right one rather than one that is cha bu duo. Asking them to repeat your requirements, asking more about the technical aspects of the products..would help to make sure they would not give a veryyy low price to get the orders then find out they can’t do it and have to increase the price.

4.Getting the exact products
If you have very strict requirements on the products better state it clearly before going into the deal, for instance, the color difference, size difference, the deadline of delivery time… Etc. Or else people would think it is acceptable to give you something cha bu duo.

I’ve come across lots of Mr. And Ms. Cha bu duo in China, however, most fall into these two categories:
* The old generation;
* The less educated.

Indeed, for most of the young generation in China, cha bu duo in our mind is:
* The principle of cha bu duo is applicable to make us more tolerant and kind-hearted, which is also the core value of Confucius’ doctrine.
* The principle of cha bu duo is never applicable to anything related to accuracy, profession and honesty.

1 Comment on Buying from China — What You Need to Know about Mr and Ms. Cha Bu Duo

  1. This post may not make sense to people who havent done business in china but it makes perfect sense to me. Im always more at ease when i meet a young educated chinese, i’m most certain i wont get a cha bu duo

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