Chinese New Year 2019

We have written about the Chinese New Year (CNY), a.k.a. Spring Festival, every year for the last few years and how it can affect our China sourcing operation. As usual, a wave of closures and delays will hit importers everywhere. So, how do you prepare for this every year?

Know the culture: The dates change every year because the New Year is based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. CNY starts on Feb 5th and ends on Feb 19th this year with the actual New Year Day falling on February 5th.

The public holiday lasts from Feb 4th to the 10th but the commonly known “New Year calendar” lasts much longer, it begins from the New Year’s Eve to the Lantern Festival on February 19th, 2019.

This year is the Year of the Pig. The pig is the 12thsign of the Chinese Zodiac and regarded as a symbol of wealth. (See more fun facts about the Year of the Pig and on the Chinese Zodiac.)

Prepare early: It’s important to know these dates and understand the culture to help make arrangements and prevent too much disruption to your China sourcing operations. You will have to work around this holiday as suppliers and China based businesses will close. You should also be aware that some will stay closed longer than others. (Usually, manufacturers that depend on migrant workers stay closed the longest.)

 Forwarders will close too and this will cause a logistics headache.  Concerned importers will have pushed for early deliveries BEFORE the holiday (too late for that now!), or will wait until the holiday is over to get their deliveries.

This holiday also triggers the biggest regular human migration on earth. For more on why this is so and on the effects of this mass migration on your China sourcing, see our blog about CNY from 2016.

So, just as we are finishing our own holiday season and getting back to work after the festivities and the office closures in the US, our Chinese counterparts are now entering their holiday season in earnest.   Those with good China sourcing teams will have prepared early and will hardly be affected. We hope that includes all of you!

In anticipation of February 5th, the Year of the Pig, we borrow the traditional New Year phrases to wish you “Congratulations, make a fortune! May all things turn out as you wish!”

How did you deal with the CNY? Share your tips with us in the comments below.


By Jocelyn Trigueros

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