Chinese New Year will be celebrated by more than a billion people this year, bidding farewell to the Year of the Dog and welcoming the Year of the Pig.
Festivities will take place not just in mainland China but all over the world. While it’s a time filled with celebration, it’s not always smooth sailing for businesses who use Chinese suppliers.
With factories shutting down before and after the festive period and the coming disruption to all production, many importers are caught by surprise.
So, how can you avoid severe delays and disappointed customers during Chinese New Year?
1. Create your timeline of key Chinese New Year dates
|January 21st||Suppliers begin to stop production and factory works begin to leave|
|February 4th||All personnel have left the factory|
|February 4th to 10th||Official public holiday period and all personnel off work|
|February 18th||For those who haven’t taken extended leave, employees (mostly sales reps and some engineers) start to return to work|
|February 25th||Most employees, including assembly line workers, are back in the factories|
|March 4th||Normal operations start to resume|
Now that you have an idea of the deadlines and have marked them in your calendar, how can you avoid severe delays in production?
2. Don’t wait until January to place your orders
Orders placed from the beginning of January may not be completed on time, or they may get stuck at the port due to lack of haulage/shipping space.
3. Even if a factory reopens after Chinese New Year, this doesn’t mean business is fully resumed
It’s a good idea to wait for a few weeks after Chinese New Year, as freight rates will come down from the high rates previously advertised.
In addition, when establishing a relationship with a new supplier, it is good practice to account for triple the production time – things are often more difficult with your first order.
Lack of stock supply due to CNY may also be a common problem. Allow enough stock to last for at least 10 weeks after the factories have reopened – especially if you are shipping by sea.
4. Depositing payments before CNY
You may be asked to pay for orders before Spring Festival kicks off. According to Chinese tradition, factory owners should not owe workers any money by end of lunar year 2018 if they wish the New Year to be profitable and prosperous.
It’s not unusual for some suppliers to shut down completely at the time of CNY. Keep keep this in mind when it comes to placing a deposit for your next order right before the period kicks off.[i]
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Now you’ve set a plan to place orders early to avoid too much disruption, you need to update your customers.
You can do this in a range of different ways, including:
- Send an email to your customer database
- Update your email signature to include any noteworthy dates
- Communicate via social media by uploading a series of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts. Your followers can also comment on the posts if they have any questions
[i] China Importal, Chinese New Year 2019: how importers can prevent disaster https://www.chinaimportal.com/blog/chinese-new-year-impac ts-import-business/
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