Are you ready for the Chinese New Year?

by Rikard Wallin*

Are you ready for the Chinese New Year?

In a great part of the Western World, the Christmas and New Year holidays will impact production business for a number of days; many companies will lower production for 1-2 weeks before production levels are normal again. For China, the Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year or Spring Festival) will come later, more specific for 2014 starting January 31, and celebrations continue for approximately one week.

The Chinese New Year, is the one time of the year, when many workers return home to their native cities. It is said from Chinese Government that approximately 2.3 million people are travelling this week. Furthermore, the implications of the travel is not workers getting home, it is the large number of people not returning to work after New Year. As many individuals in China leave their home town to seek employment elsewhere, the visit back home will cause many people to stay also after the holiday. To be closer to your family, friends and relatives will increase the risk/opportunity of people choosing a less-paid job in the local area than returning for one more year in a distant part of the country. For many companies, this means anything from 30% to 80% of the workforce will return after holidays, leaving several factories without personnel.

So no matter how well production and vacations are planned, if employees do not return, it might have a big impact on production start-up and recovery. It is therefore important to work close with your business partners, both ensuring the company offer good terms to its employees making them want to return, as well as planning for a longer break than 1 week, in reality production will be impacted for 3-4 weeks. Every new generation of Chinese people seem to put higher value in the individual freedom and able to choose to be closer to the family.

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*Rikard Wallin is based in Stockholm Sweden. He is a Future Strategist and Electronics Industry Professional, with Management experience since ’93 and People experience since ’72. Rikard believes that Business is done between people first, and organizations come second. Therefore how you communicate is of essence for your success.