The Big Picture, by Graham Burgess

Chinese New Year 2022  – the Year of the Tiger

(Though unfortunately not Hull City’s)

The year of the Tiger is the next major celebration in the lunisolar calendar (the traditional Chinese calendar) with New Year’s Day falling on 1st February 2022 according to the western calendar. There are many sources on the web that explain the significance of these events, but I’m here to talk about the way the Lunar New Year impacts upon our industry.

Anyone who has been in China in the days leading up to the Spring Festival holidays cannot fail to have been amazed at the wave of humanity that sweeps across the Middle Kingdom during this time. It is generally accepted that around 600 million people return to their hometown for the celebrations; of course this was a major contributory factor in the spread of Covid 19 early in 2020.

Less well known is the fact that this is a time of life changing decisions in China. Commonly up to 10% of workers will fail to return to their place of work after their family celebrations finish, a significant factor in China’s astonishing “churn” – meaning turnover of workers during the working year. Employee attrition (turnover) averages over 20% per annum, in some industries it is as high as 40%.

When visiting Chinese factories foreigners are often amazed at the size of training facilities in each factory. These spaces are in constant use, needed to educate new workers in the processes and procedures required on the factory floor.

This makes the production of new products immediately after Chinese New Year something of a lottery. QC staff have their work cut out ensuring suitable product quality as new workers are trained to meet the standards required.

This issue is always a good reason to ensure products are ordered for delivery well before the Chinese holiday season; shipping is always backed up during this time so ordering early is crucial to ensure goods are delivered on time.

The shortage of semi-conductors and increasing costs of raw and finished materials, the recently announced power outages (all mentioned in previous posts) compound what is always a difficult time of year.

If you thought we already had problems ahead in the supply chain………prepare yourselves!


In 2022 Chinese New Year Day will be 1st February but travel often starts 7 to 14 days before this, and officially the festival lasts for 15 days. Workers often return after 8 days (8 is a lucky number in Chinese culture). In practise most factories will close between January 31st and February 6th, inclusive, but the disruption due to the holiday period will last up to 50 to 60 days in a normal year.

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