Chinese New Year’s Day is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. But the date is different each year on the Gregorian (internationally-used) calendar, between January 21st and February 20th. For 2016, Chinese New Year falls on Monday, February 8th.
Chinese New Year is the only long break for migrant workers to go home and spend quality time with their family, leading to a soon very large migration all over the world.
For those who plan to visit Chinese suppliers or want to have enough stock running during Chinese New Year, below are 6 business things you should know about Chinese New Year:
1. Order inventory at least four weeks beforehand
Normally Chinese migrant workers will go back to their hometowns to celebrate Chinese New Year for two weeks. Some of them leave two weeks prior to Chinese New Year and back two weeks after which means you need to order at least 4-5 weeks prior, depending on the production time of your products. If you want to OEM your product you need to allow yourself at least two months.
2. Increase inventory beforehand
Plan to have enough stock that will last for at least 10 weeks. Since many experienced importers will order additional inventory prior to Chinese New Year just to keep the stock running until 4-5 weeks after Chinese new year, factories are under huge pressure to produce large amounts of orders.
3. Travel wisely
What is the worst time to travel within China? Chinese New Year! With over 200 million Chinese traveling during this period, we call it ?ChunYun? – the largest annual human migration in the world. The ChunYun peak will normally last over 30 days. Most workers choose train as the transport system of choice because they normally earn very little wages and trains are much cheaper than flights.
However, it will also be the perfect time to visit big cities in China. Shanghai, for example, is packed with tourists every day especially during holidays, but it?s like a ghost town during Chinese New Year since most migrant workers go back to their hometowns for the new year. You can take time and explore the culture at every corner of the city. And you will be able to see the authentic dragon dancing, lantern show, fireworks, and traditional customs, etc. The precondition is that you need to book everything way in advance, since all tickets will be more expensive and rare as it gets closer to Chinese New Year. You might end up with a motorbike 🙂
Lantern Show in Shanghai during Chinese New Year.
Migrant workers have to use motorbikes because all rail tickets sold out.
4. New workers after Chinese New Year
Factories in China after the holiday are now struggling to replace employees who have not returned from the holidays. Additionally, it will take over a week to train new workers. The orders might be delayed due to new workers who have not been trained properly to deal with the products and quality control.
5. Chinese lucky numbers
Chinese prefer even numbers over odd numbers because we believe that good things come in pairs. For example, the number 6 represents success, and 8 is the luckiest number in Chinese which represents wealth. People will even pay to get their cars register plate number with 8888 or at least one 8 in it. There are exceptions, like the number 4 represents death in Chinese because the pronunciation of 4 is the same as ?Si? (death in Chinese). And 9 represents permanence because the pronunciation of 9 is the same as ?Jiu? (permanence in Chinese).
Chinese businessmen who are very superstitious when it comes to numbers will pick dates with lucky numbers for business openings or signing contracts. On New Year day, Chinese business people will give out red envelopes and the amounts will be even numbers: ?666, 688, 888? etc. If you want to order 100 units of inventory before Chinese New Year, you can always mention to your supplier that you can order 88 extra units just to bring both parties good fortune for 2016 and they will be very impressed.
6. Chinese Zodiac
2016 is the year of the “Monkey” according to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac (Heavenly Stem) cycle. If you were born in a Monkey year you should be careful this year. Normally people born in a Monkey year will wear something red all year around because red is a lucky color in China which will protect you from misfortune. My parents will prepare enough red underwear to get them through the year when it comes to their animal years. As business gifts, underwear are definitely too personal; however, any red accessories or small gifts will impress your Chinese business partners.
2016 is the year of Monkey.
The years of birth indicate animal signs.
Chinese New Year dates in the next 10 years
The Chinese New Year begins and ends on various dates in the calendar every year. It normally takes place in January and February. Below follows a list list the CNY dates for the coming ten years so you can prepare yourself for it:-)
2016: February 8
2017: January 28
2018: February 16
2019: February 5
2020: January 25
2021: February 12
2022: February 1
2023: January 22
2024: February 10
2025: January 29
2026: February 17
2027: February 6
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.