Preparing Your Business for the Chinese New Year

When celebrating the Chinese New Year, many businesses close down or have limited hours. This year, Chinese New Year falls on Saturday, January 28 in the Year of the Rooster. It’s also known as the Spring Festival and happens to be China’s most important traditional festival, usually extending for a week. This is a week-long period of rest and celebration as people reflect on a year of hard work and promises of a good year ahead.

During this time, it’s common for businesses to hit the pause button as they celebrate with their families. As an American business that does NOT celebrate Chinese New Year, you must prepare ahead of time for this period of shut-down.

Even though Chinese New Year doesn’t officially begin until January 28, expect businesses to start slowing down mid-month. They are cleaning house, preparing for the shut-down and having end-of-year company events. Think of this like the time period between Christmas and New Year’s here in the States. Yes, businesses are open for the most part, but not much productive work gets done.

On Chinese New Year Eve (January 27), businesses will shut down starting around noon. Being prepared well ahead of time to deal with this work stoppage is key for American businesses.

Conduct all meetings by the beginning of January. To ensure shipments can make it out of the country before shut down, order any products or materials you need from that country at least two weeks in advance of the holiday. Shipping delays are huge this time of year, as the global economy is just getting back on track from the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Prepare for at least a week shut-down of the Chinese trading markets. Financial centers such as Hong Kong and Singapore also take a break but not always for the full week. Expect trading volumes to start to decrease about three days before the holiday.

In America, when we have a holiday, such as Christmas, the hours are set in stone by many businesses. They may be closed for just one day or two, to include Christmas Eve, but those start and stop dates are usually pretty clear. Not so in China. The New Year celebrations can extend up to a whole month, and even when businesses say they will resume operation, they could put this off a few additional days.

This presents a major headache for those who rely on China for business. Even after factories and shops re-open, don’t expect on-time deliveries. In addition to that, many employees – up to 50 percent in any given workplace – may simply not show back up to work at all. That’s because many people view Chinese New Year break as an ideal time to re-evaluate their careers and switch jobs. Guess what that means? Yup, more delays.

It’s all about forecasting your needs and buying early in order to minimize disruption to your business, says Inc. For instance, you may want to order a three-month supply of whatever products you need for delivery before the start of Chinese New Year. Safeguarding the stability of your inventory is key.

Learning Mandarin Chinese is also key, in order to be able to communicate your deadlines and expectations effectively. Let BRIC Language Systems help you with that!

In honor of the Chinese New Year – we are offering all 15% off all of our Mandarin Chinese classes. Use code CNY17 at checkout for the discount to be applied automatically.