Chinese Golden Week 2018 – What every importer needs to know
Just as the UK is getting back into a routine following the summer holidays and the kids going back to school, China is preparing for Golden Week – a week-long holiday that coincides with Chinese National Day to commemorate the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
When is Chinese National Day?
Chinese National Day is celebrated in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau on the 1st of October every year. Unlike national bank holidays in the UK, Chinese National Day is a week-long national holiday. While Golden Week officially ends on the 7th October, the effects are likely to remain until the 10th October.
Why the week-long holiday you may wonder? The Chinese Government implemented Golden Week to encourage domestic tourism, improve the national standard of living and enable families to travel long distances to visit family – so much so, China will see around 480 million people travelling during this time.
During Golden Week, celebrations include military reviews, flag raising ceremonies, dance and music shows, firework displays and painting and calligraphy exhibitions. It’s also a great opportunity for shopping and many shopping malls in China will offer large discounts.
How does Chinese Golden Week affect importing?
During Golden Week, China comes to a virtual standstill with most businesses closing for the duration. For importing, this means potential delays to your supply chain so being aware of it and planning to mitigate any problems is essential.
Inevitably, as the Chinese take time off to enjoy the celebrations and spend time with family, Chinese suppliers will shut down for the week, and you probably won’t be able to contact your suppliers. As a result, fewer cargo flights will be operating, ports will operate with skeleton crews, and to ensure ships don’t sail under capacity, carriers will reduce their sailings to approximately 40% of average weekly capacity which means little product gets in or out of China during this time.
Typically, there will be large backlogs of orders and freight tends to pile up in the days before and after the holiday (especially as retailers plan for Amazon’s Black Friday and Christmas) which can leave importers fighting for space and rates at a premium.
The best thing you can do, if you need to ship goods from China in the run-up to, during or after Golden Week, is to speak with your freight forwarder as soon as possible to discuss your options and get your cargo space secured.
Golden Week always happens on the same dates each year, so mark it on your calendar and always plan to avoid any time-critical shipments during this time.
John Good Shipping’s offices in China will be closed during Golden Week, however, for our UK offices it’s business as usual and our team will be available to keep you updated and answer your questions during this time.