Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) is a very important part of the Chinese culture. It is the time where all factories close down for the New Year festival celebrations. The holiday is based on the Chinese Traditional Calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar used by the western world. The upcoming date of this Spring festival is the 8th February 2016. Most of the factories will begin to shut down from around the 25th of January, and not reopen until the around the 25th of February. This is the only significant Chinese holiday which allows all of the workers to travel back to their hometowns to see their family. China’s population of over 1 billion people makes this time a nightmare for internal travel. All flights, coaches, trains and motorways are sold out and usually have significant travel delays.
What does this mean for production?
The Chinese New Year shutdown period causes significant production delays. Leading up to the holidays, factories will become so busy trying to finish all promised orders, so they will often stop accepting orders 4-6 weeks before they shutdown. They may even not be able to finish and ship all orders before the holidays, so some orders may not be sent out until they return in another 4 weeks! During the CNY holiday period factory salesmen will often be contactable but will not be able to answer all questions or provide detailed information during this period.
When the factories reopen after 4 weeks of no production, they face a huge backlog of orders from all around the world. To put it simply, the bigger orders will be treated with high priority (multiple 40’ container orders), whilst smaller orders can be delayed by a significant amount of time. It can take up to a month or more for some factories to return to the usual production lead times. The Chinese New Year periods are always a very disruptive period. All orders should be placed well in advance, before mid December to be safe.