CNY CHINESE NEW YEAR: ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE AND GUIDANCE FOR IMPORTERS

Every year almost 400 million people travel from across the world to come celebrate Chinese New Year. This season is one of the biggest festivals in the world with so much value attached to it. The Lunar year as some call it goes deep in the roots of the Chinese people, it is so important that Chinese factories close their doors from one to four weeks to commemorate the Spring Festival. Consequently, the tumultuous nature of the festival has an immense effect on different sectors of the economy. Evidently, the changes in times and seasons poses a huge threat for many businesses, importers usually are in dire situations during the Chinese new year custom. Suppliers are most times scarce during Chinese new year preparation, coupled with the disruptive effects of employee turnover – importers can be in shambles during this period.

Not to worry, your questions as a serious importer will be answered in this article. From understanding the Chinese new year custom to when the Chinese new year ends will be properly explained. Furthermore, information on how you can make the best out of an impossible situation as well as how you can minimize the risk of receiving your good weeks in poor condition will be served to you on a golden platter.

CHINESE NEW YEAR PERIOD

As an importer it is very vital to know the schedule of the Chinese new year custom as it varies each year based on the lunar calendar. This is the first guide as an importer in preparing yourself for the inevitable disruptions posed by the festival. You should expect Chinese new year preparation to interrupt your supply chain for at least a month as workers leave early. Also, factories will need a bit of time to rekindle their production processes. Here are the dates for the next five years of the Chinese new year custom:

  • February 5th, 2019
  • January 25th, 2020
  • February 12th, 2021
  • February 1st, 2022
  • January 22nd, 2023
  • February 10th, 2024
  • January 29th, 2025
  • February 17th, 2026
  • February 6th, 2027
  • January 26th, 2028

CHINESE NEW YEAR CUSTOM

The Chinese new year custom has been widely celebrated and observed fit many generations and will still continue to be a cold representation of the Chinese Culture. The celebration is filled with plethora of activities from family reunions to setting off fireworks which are must to complement the ambience of the whole country. people have a chunk of duties to perform therefore they most time prepare for Chinese new year a week preceding the festival till the 15th Day after. It is quite a big deal, you have to understand the tradition to fully grasp the essence of the festival.

Amidst the family reunion dinner and eating dumplings, there are other things that ignite the festival, these events are more or less rituals that unite the people. Some of these events are the Paste Spring Festival Couplets,Paste the “Fu” Character,Glutimous Rice Balls,CCTV New Year’s Gala,Firecrackers and Fireworks,Give Red Envelopes,Visit Friends. One of my favorite events is watching the Shehuo performance which is an ancient folk art that originated from the worship of earth – extremely glamorous.

Shehuo performance
Shehuo is a form of folk art that derives from the Han ethnic group and refers to various acrobatic performances put on by people during festivals and sacrificial rites.

WHY IS CHINESE NEW YEAR IMPORTANT TO IMPORTERS

The Chinese new year custom is rich with divergent culture, food, art and heritage. It is one of those festivals you don’t want to end. However, with the massive human migration and effect on different sectors it would be detrimental for importers not to recognize it’s importance. A few intricacies need to be properly evaluated to enlighten importers in the significance of Chinese new year custom. Let’s look at the following standpoints.

DELAY IN PRODUCTION AND SHIPPING IS INEVITABLE

Chinese new years information will help importers brace themselves for certain eventualities that will happen during the season. One of those inevitable events is production is halted one of two weeks before the Chinese new year eve. Also, there is a halt in production for a minimum of two weeks after the Chinese New Years eve. There is a strain here to consider -since workers leave weeks in advance, suppliers may source material from another place. Relying on sub-suppliers may cause delay in production and runs the risk of Chinese new year shipping delays. Most likely if your goods don’t leave the factories before they close, you will experience some delay. It is therefore important to make the necessary arrangements seeks before the hassles that the Chinese new year preparation may cause.

SUPPLIERS WILL RUSH THE PROCESS

During this festival, suppliers have more adrenaline in their systems as they tend to rush orders. Factories also will want to hastily ship orders to avoid any complications around the new year celebrations. Some of the workers might not come back so factories will rather rush the orders than lose employees which will affect their production. In a volatile line such as production, the consequences of rushing to do things can be devastating, many quality issues arose during this period. It becomes increasingly difficult trying to rework and cover those lapses as a lot of people are unsettled during Chinese new year preparation. It is essential you monitor your products weeks before the Chinese new year celebrations, ensure the goods meet your standards and work smartly.

LOGISTICS CAN BE A BIT HAZY

As at 2017, the population of China was 1.386 billion that is about 18% of the total world population. Already there is a strain in the country’s transportation system, you can imagine how much of a stretch transportation systems will have to make during the Chinese new year. Notably, importers experience a lot of problems concerning shipping, truck availability, container issues around this time. It will be in your best interest to liaise with your supplier and freight forwarder to ensure your goods reach the ports on time as they do not stay open for very long this peroid. Time is of the essence when importing during Chinese new year, the train stations, roads and airports are usually overcrowded so you have to make your moves quickly if you don’t want to stare into the sky in despair.

SOME FACTORY WORKERS MAY NEVER RETURN

The Chinese new year is the longest and the biggest holiday in China as such some of the workers have only this time to spend with their families. They sometimes don’t return to the factories after the Chinese New Year celebrations, this prompts the factories to promote inexperienced employees to high positions or employ people who might not be able to cope with the pressure that comes after the celebrations. You can expect a significant decline in quality if you don’t act fast. Suppliers most times rely on individual workers rather than waiting for the documentation and training done in factories.

EXPECTED INCREASE IN FRIEGHT RATES

The holiday ushers in an increment in rates of production, manufacturing and transportation. As the celebrations approach, ocean carriers will announce the GRI (General rates increases). Carriers launched their blank sailing programs in early 2018, they made this announcement to retain unpredictability in the market, in an effort to make GRI/PSS stick. Depending on the strength of the market, carriers may add additional capacity to match demand. As information concerning this issue unfolds be sure to know that you will be notified.

ADVISE ON CHINESE NEW YEAR

You can imagine the dilemma importers face during the Chinese new year preparation, however it is very possible to make the best of a situation that has “wrecked” the “ship” of many. Let’s look at the following guidelines that can help you sail comfortably during this turbulent season.

PLACE YOUR ORDERS IN TIME

Time is an important factor in anything you do, in a business such as this you need to act fast to ensure the success of your business. One of the ways you can guarantee the success of your business as an importer during the Chinese new year is to ensure that  production starts in late November, at the latest. That assumes an average production time of 30 to 40 days. If longer, you must start counting backwards. Also, confirm when your supplier halts production and accepts new orders. Try to have a minimum 2-week buffer between the end date of the production, and the date they close.

AVOID COMPLICATIONS BY INCREASING INVENTORY LEVELS

It will be very wise to increase your safety stock for your products to cover for the factories downtime. Increasing your inventory before the holiday will help to avoid back-orders if post-holiday production is delayed or affected by serious quality issues. Another important feature to have is to place your orders in time before the celebrations to give your supplier enough time to get the workers ready for production. Get Chinese new year information from your suppliers and factory managers, it is very essential to have a firm knowledge of how the season will look like to make adequate preparations for the production.

DO THE QUALITY INSPECTIONS

This is more like a plea to the importers, do not be hurried into anything at all when transacting business in China. This goes especially when suppliers tell you not to worry about quality control inspections, the suppliers do this under the guise of making sure your product gets shipped on time. As thoughtful as that may seem, a lot of constraints such as poor quality and product defects most times arise as a result of lack of quality control. If you are running on a tight schedule, you can perform during production (DUPRO) inspections to limit product defects that appear later in the finished goods. Pre-shipping inspection does not really leave enough time for you to inspect the products conducting a DUPRO early is your safe bet. 

FIND TRUSTWORTHY SUPPLIERS

China is a very busy place with a conglomeration of different cultures, races and lifestyles. Finding a supplier is one way of getting ahead but getting one who you can trust takes most of the stress of worrying away. In addition to working with trustworthy suppliers, ensure that these suppliers know what they are doing and take quality quality seriously. What is the essence it having a trustworthy supplier when there is no quality.

AVOID HURRIED DEPOSITS

This is another plea, do not be cajoled into making any hasty deposits to a supplier prior to the Chinese new year. The reason is very simple, some suppliers never open again and if they do intend to shut down they will do so at the time of the festival.

SOME COMMON QUESTIONS

As importers who want to stay relevant in the business, there would be some burning questions you will be eager to ask. The questions highlighted below are some of the most frequently asked questions by enthusiastic importers.

  1. How Long Do They Shut Down For Chinese New Year ?

The fanciful festival lasts for 20 days thus factories tend to close a week before the eve of the festival – it goes on for two weeks after that. So ensure all the loose ends are properly tied before the week preceding the eve of the festival.

  1. Are All Suppliers Closed During The Chinese New Year?

The Chinese New Year is more like Christmas, all suppliers are expected to close during the festivals but some might still be available.

  1. Do All Counties In Asia Celebrate The Chinese New Year?

No, not all countries in Asia celebrate the Chinese New Year. The term lunar year appropriately characterizes the Chinese New Year. Asia is much more larger than China but Vietnam and some other Chinese communities in South East Asia celebrate the festival. That said, it only disrupts production in Mainland China, and to a lesser extent, in Vietnam

4.how long do factories shut down for Chinese new year 2020?

During the Chinese New Year holiday, all factories close and employees go on holiday for at least four weeks. For Chinese new year 2020, most of factories shut down from Jan.14 2020 to Feb.8 2020.

CONCLUSION

The Chinese New Year custom is one festival that accommodates different people from divergent cultures, it is one of the busiest times of the year. As such, importers should be able to effectively manage situations peculiar to the season to suit them. Some of the intricacies involved in successfully maneuvering the treacherous waters of the system have been highlighted. However, time is one element that has to be emphasized, don’t slack, seize the moment and make your plans early.

  • Growth through innovation/creativity:
    Rather than be constrained by ideas for new products, services and new markets coming from just a few people, a Thinking Corporation can tap into the employees.
  • Increased profits:
    The corporation will experience an increase in profits due to savings in operating costs as well as sales from new products, services and ventures.
  • Higher business values:
    The link between profits and business value means that the moment a corporation creates a new sustainable level of profit, the business value is adjusted accordingly.
  • Lower staff turnover:
    This, combined with the culture that must exist for innovation and creativity to flourish, means that new employees will be attracted to the organization.

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