Chinese club operators band together for bargaining power

Lau Tong Chye

Lau Tong Chye

SINGAPORE – In a move that may have far-reaching implications in the way suppliers conduct their business with golfing facilities in Asia, a group of mainland Chinese golf clubs is finding strength in numbers.

Golf clubs in Yunnan Province have joined forces in a concerted bid to get more leverage in their buying power.

The 13-course united front wants collective-bargaining power in dealing with suppliers.

It’s a bold development that, if successful, may pave the way for similar alliances among clubs in other areas of China and Asia.

Speaking on the sidelines at the recent China Media Golf Forum in Kunming, Lau Tong Chye, general manager at Spring City Golf & Lake Resort, said that the Yunnan clubs realized the potential bottom-line benefits of dealing as a group with suppliers, rather than as individuals.

That would apply, he indicated, whether dealing with mainland or foreign companies supplying any goods and services, including turf grass, irrigation, sand for bunkers, heavy machinery, golf buggies, golf equipment – and even food and beverage.

“Of course we face a lot of challenges with different companies having different cultures,” Lau said. “But we all recognize that it makes sense for us to come together. It gives us a stronger negotiating position.”

Lau explained that there are now quarterly meetings of the respective course superintendents from the Yunnan clubs and also meetings among the purchasing managers.

The idea of Yunnan’s clubs acting jointly came from regular bi-monthly meetings that discuss common issues, such as purchasing trends, use of suppliers and junior golf.

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