Doing business in China is easier as the days go by, but it’s important to understand some cultural differences about business are conducted in China. Chinese culture is deeply embedded in the business arena so having a good understanding of the holidays will give you an advantage. China has two major festivals in the year: the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year and the Golden Week, and having a good understanding of what those festivals mean can represent a better business opportunity and save you from some potential problems.
What is the Chinese new year?
The Chinese New Year or Spring Festival (the literal translation of the modern Chinese name) is not only the biggest festivity in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and some other parts of South East Asia such as Singapore that has a big Chinese heritage. The date of the festival changes every year, based in the lunar calendar, the first day of the New Year falls on the new moon between 21 January and 20 February. Every year is represented by one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, being 2016 the Year of the Monkey.
The 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
The Chinese New Year Eve is tantamount to the western Christmas Day, in this day Chinese families gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes (specially for the kids).
Note: If in China during Chinese New Year, avoid giving “Lucky Money” 红包 in any amount related to the number 4, which is in Chinese mandarin is 四 (Sì) and can be misinterpreted as si 死 (Sǐ) which means death.
The festival extends during a whole week and the celebrations culminate officially in the 15th day of the new year, causing businesses to shut during the celebrations, and open again after the 8th day which is an auspicious number for Chinese people, although schools have a month break for this celebration.
If doing business in China need to be aware of the dates in which Chinese New Year will be celebrated as all the factories will close and this can disrupt your manufacturing schedule. You need to take into consideration 3-4 days before and after the CNY break in your schedule, as bottlenecks can be caused in the ports due the amount of merchandises needed to be dispatched before and after the celebration.
And due that most of Chinese people will travel to their hometowns (causing the biggest migration on earth every year, with around 300 million people travelling during a 7 days period) some factories can present delays on the manufacture, due the lack of personnel pre and post season.
We ought to mention that is important to conduct several QC inspections to your production, specially before CNY as factories will rush to finish your production right before the festival, causing plausible quality flaws.
Last but not least, all the banks in Mainland China and Hong Kong are closed during these days so it’s not possible to process any payments, so its better to communicate with your Chinese manufacturer and sort the best way to deal with the money transactions.
Having an adequate communication with your Chinese counterpart, and creating your manufacturing schedule according to the holidays will ensure that the Chinese New Year Festivities won’t disrupt your China Manufacturing ventures.
If you’re looking to manufacture in China, look no further than China 2 West, we have more than 10 years helping companies from all over the globe sourcing and manufacturing goods in China.