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ADVERTORIAL – Challenges and triumphs in partnering with China for display solutions


by Tony Large, technical director CDS

Venturing into the Chinese self-service terminals and digital signage market solutions’ market presents a unique set of challenges. As manufacturers, integrators and deployers, the path to finding reliable partners and navigating the intricate landscape of suppliers demands a technical precision that goes beyond conventional business strategies.

China’s vast supplier network is a minefield, rife with risks such as non-original, rebadged and resold used parts. At CDS, our extensive experience in procurement from the east has equipped us with the ability to decipher genuine-quality products. Robust supplier management processes ensure continual monitoring and improvements in our supply chain, essential in overcoming the challenges posed by:

  • Customer reluctance: Some customers express reluctance to embrace products built in China, reflecting concerns about quality and reliability.
  • Language barriers: Communication hurdles can impede collaboration, requiring a meticulous approach to ensure accurate conveyance of technical specifications and requirements.
  • Geographical time zone: Negotiating time zone differences poses a challenge, necessitating efficient communication strategies to maximise the limited contact window.
  • Supplier verification: Unfamiliarity with suppliers at the outset, despite an impressive online presence, demands a reliance on instincts, emphasising the need for due diligence in establishing business relationships.
  • Payment expectations: The expectation of upfront payments in China requires adept cash flow management and building trusting relationships with suppliers.
  • Volume requirements: Many China-based partners prioritise large-volume business, making it challenging to find suppliers aligned with high-end, smaller-volume applications.

Navigating the supplier landscape

The journey to find the right partner involves overcoming numerous trials and tribulations, with potential suppliers often presenting challenges such as:

  • Made-to-order model: Many suppliers boast extensive catalogues but operate on a made-to-order model with high minimum order quantities (MOQ) after the evaluation sample, which can be incompatible with the smaller volumes typical in the UK/European market.
  • Translation challenges: Translations from Chinese to English can be misleading and verifying the accuracy of information provided by potential partners is essential.
  • Divergent business models: Addressing the divergence between UK/ Europe and Chinese business models, where the former often targets industrial, medical and automotive/aerospace markets with smaller volumes and longer production timelines.

From stumbling blocks to success: the journey to Startek

While challenges abound, CDS has formed a fruitful collaboration with Startek. The journey involved:

  • Identification via internet search: Startek was discovered through an internet search for a specific product (Bar TFT), highlighting the importance of a comprehensive online presence.
  • Responsive Communication: Startek’s responsiveness via email fostered an open and efficient dialogue, crucial in establishing a fruitful partnership.
  • Alignment of business philosophy: CDS was drawn to Startek not only for its comprehensive range but also for the alignment of the business philosophy with CDS’s own values, clearly communicated on their website.

Benefits to our customers: elevating display solutions

The partnership with Startek has translated into tangible benefits for our customers, reinforcing CDS’s commitment to delivering top-notch display solutions. These include:

  • Broad Range of TFT LCDs: Startek offers the broadest range of TFT LCDs seen from a single supplier, catering to diverse application needs.
  • No MOQ and No EOL: Startek’s commitment to no MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) and no unplanned End-of-Life (EOL) ensures flexibility and long-term availability for our customers.
  • Rapid availability: With ample stock of raw materials, Startek enables quick shipment of evaluation samples and prompt availability of pre-production quantities.
  • High-quality parts: Startek’s reputation for high-quality parts and compatibility with other suppliers facilitates seamless integration and offers drop-in replacements.
  • Innovation and flexibility: Startek’s investment in new products ensures that they remain at the forefront of design trends and technological advancements, accommodating varied display formats.
  • Customer-centric philosophy: Startek’s philosophy of valuing all customers, irrespective of order size, resonates with CDS’s commitment to treating every customer with equal importance.

Navigating the technical landscape of partnering with China for self-service terminals and digital signage solutions demands a meticulous approach, technical expertise and a discerning eye for reliable partners. 


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