The Chinese New Year holiday is the mother of all holidays. Chinese manufacturing companies are normally closed for at least two weeks during this time, and then it takes them another 2 weeks to get back to full production strength as they await the return of their workers. Several hundred million employees of manufacturers in China migrate from the east coast, which is where the bulk of their manufacturing base is located, and go back to their homes in the inland cities.

Normally the workers don’t leave until the last minute, but this year we’re hearing it’s different. One large factory we work with told our partner company in China that some of their workers have already left for the holiday. These workers will probably be gone for at least three to four weeks. The factory is still in production, it’s just that they’re not running at full capacity.

Thanksgiving is a big travel time here in the U.S. as the airlines are filled to overflowing. Imagine getting caught with several hundren million people who are travelling at the same time. China’s rail and airline systems are packed to capacity.

Sometime between January 15 and 20th, factories will stop quoting new orders as the holiday nears. The first two weeks of February are usually a lost cause when it comes to production time as manufacturing companies are still closed for the first week and then they need to wait for their workers to return. Sea shipment companies will resume container shipments some time around February 20.

Please keep all of this in mind when planning production times.