Could Chinese New Year work stoppages cause havoc in Western firms?


Returning from Christmas and New Year's vacation on Jan. 3, employees at companies in the West may have assumed they still had a four-week window to place and have orders shipped from their Chinese suppliers before the Chinese New Year and subsequent two-week holiday period impacted that country's manufacturing. In 2011 the Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 3, but Hellen Zhang, marketing manager at injection mold manufacturer Bluestar Mould in Shenzhen, predicts many Chinese companies effectively only have 50% of their workforce available by Jan. 22.

If you are supplied parts or assemblies from Chinese manufacturers, then hopefully you have sufficient stock, or already have scrambled to line up suppliers. The Chinese New Year (CNY) falls on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, and most factories shut down for the two weeks following the date. But what many Western firms may overlook is that workers often leave early to take advantage of cheaper travel fares, leaving some Chinese manufacturers undermanned for three full weeks.
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