Understand-China announces the addition of an online China Map library. The easy to navigate and well organized gallery showcases China top FDI regions and cities with many more than 25 crisp and clean maps. View the full China Map Gallery here
Based on the lunar calendar, the New Year is always the first day of the first lunar month (this coming year it is on February 3, 2011) and lasts two full weeks ending on the fifteenth day with the full moon. Most people get at least one week off of work to spend time eating lavish meals and welcoming the new year; which means factories are usually closed during the first week of the new year (from February 3-10). The Chinese New Year celebration is actually the single largest annual migration of human beings, when China’s nearly 150 million migrant workers return home from the big cities to see their families. Be sure to take this into consideration when setting up production schedules and shipments as the New Year will have an impact on your factories. In addition, if you happen to be traveling in China during this time, you will find extremely crowded airports, train stations and hotels.
Seeing as how I was already doing the research, I decided to include a little history on the background of the holiday and where you should go to celebrate just in case you do happen to find yourself in China that week.
While Americans celebrate winter with turkey, sleigh bells and mistletoe, the Chinese celebrate their most important holiday with dumplings, fireworks, lanterns and parades. The New Year, also called Spring Festival, is arguably China’s biggest, most important celebration that has been celebrated for centuries and is deeply rooted in myth, legends and traditions.
The main focus of the celebration? Family and prosperity. A few days prior to the first day of the New Year, it is customary to clean and prepare for the celebrations, in efforts to “sweep away” the bad luck of the previous year and make room for the New Year’s good luck.
New Year’s Eve in China is full of parties with family and friends, firecrackers and lots of food. It is customary to serve dumplings to symbolize the coming of wealth and a new year replacing the old. Children are often given gifts of money and fireworks are often set off all over the cities.
Over the next two weeks, people spend time visiting families and catching up with relatives. Spring Festival ends on a high note on the fifteenth day, with the Lantern Festival, or Yuanxiao. Lanterns are typically made by children who march through the streets beneath the full moon. Lantern shows, games and dancing take place all over China, but a few of the most notable celebration spots are in Hong Kong, Beijing ,and Shanghai, where the “lanterns” look more like huge, brightly lit floats.
Chinese New Year in Hong Kong
If you are going to be in China, Hong Kong has a spectacular parade and fireworks show on the second day of the Lunar New Year. Starting at around 8pm in Victoria Harbor, the streets are lit up with colorful costumes, music, performers and floats. Following the parade is a magnificent fireworks show that continues into the night throughout the cities.
Chinese New Year in Beijing
Beijing’s impressive Lantern Festival is held every year in Longtan Park. As China’s capital, Beijing has extensive experience with putting on world-class Lantern Festivals, including the many performances for the Olympics Games in 2008, so you are in for a good show.
Chinese New Year in Shanghai
If you are going to be near Shanghai, head out to the Yuyuan Garden for a festive atmosphere with traditional sticky rice balls (the round shape represents wholeness and unity) and lanterns of all shapes and sizes.
You don’t have to travel to China to celebrate though; Chinatowns all over the world have celebrations as well. Here is a list of Chinatowns all over the world.
China, chinese new year, chinese new year activities, factory closures during chinese new year.
According to the China Daily Newspaper, China has made great strides to meet the energy consumption goals the Central Government has set for 2010. The mission is to cut energy use per unit of GDP by 20 percent by the end of 2010. The Minister of Industry and Information Technology of China, Li Yizhong said on Friday that they are on track to hit the mark in efforts to become a more green country.
This goal could affect where your company chooses to invest or start a business. Provinces heavy in highly consumptive and pollutant industries like steel, iron and cement production are being affected more than other regions. Areas with more of a balanced landscape of industries are having an easier time reducing overall energy consumption.
Some of the struggling provinces have received orders to shut down certain factories after the government ordered for more than 2,000 closures of inefficient, highly polluting factories nationwide in August. According to Bloomberg, some specifically challenged cities have faced blackouts affecting businesses, homes, traffic signals and hospitals as the local governments strain to meet the proposed energy goals. The Central Government has been halting these outages as quickly as possible to encourage regions to meet the goal the right way.
China has also reduced its energy consumption and helped improve environmental conditions through the closure of some small thermal power plants and other energy-hogging projects and by slowing the growth of additional highly consumptive and pollutant projects.
Resources:China and the environment, China Energy, China environment, China green, China pollution.
China is home to literally thousands of industrial parks. While mostly concentrated along China’s eastern coast from Dalian in the north to Shenzhen and Guangzhou in the south, Industrial Parks of all sizes can be found throughout the country. As the Chinese government has been trying to attract more investment in China’s western and interior provinces, Industrial Parks are becoming increasingly more common in these areas as well.
As you consider various different locations within China, it is important to remember that not all industrial parks are created equal, and it’s important to make physical site visits to inspect infrastructure, access to logistics, etc., before making a commitment. In China you will find that many Industrial Parks are better suited for (sometimes designed specifically for) certain types of industries. This is also important to take into consideration – you don’t want to be the only electronics manufacturer surrounded by a bunch of folks in heavy industry.
To help you with your search, I have compiled a list of resources to assist your China Site Selection Process:
Good Question. That’s something that most companies struggle with at first, and something many companies struggle with after they set up a factory. I recommend avoiding the latter by doing your research. China is slightly larger than the United States in total land area and has cities (some more desirable than others) scattered throughout the country. I often use this example to help people begin this conversation: If you were an automotive manufacturer, would you be better off setting up your factory in Detroit or South Beach? Obviously in Detroit. Detroit would provide a skilled labor force, companies in similar industries, a pro-manufacturing regulatory environment, local supply chains, etc. As such, I recommend thinking about the location of your existing facilities first. What works? What hurts? Then you can begin to look for similarities in China and begin to narrow down investment locations.
Most foreign companies end up in the greater Shanghai area or in the greater Guangzhou area. This is largely because these are the major manufacturing regions that have invested heavily in infrastructure. These regions may both be places you want to consider, but I recommend doing additional research as you may find that another region will be far more suited to your industry and may offer more attractive investment incentives as a result.
Start with your customers.
Locating a facility down the street from your customers is always a good idea. I recommend using Google Maps or Google Earth to map out all of your customers on a map of China. This will help you to identify regional groupings that exist.
Focus on your competition.
After you know where your customers are, take a look at your competitors. If you find that your competitors are all located near your customers, there might be a reason for this…
What about your supply chain?
This may be one of the most critical factors to take into consideration as you evaluate different regions and go through your site selection process. It is extremely important to make sure that your supply chain can support a facility in a certain geography.China factory research, China manufacturing, China Supply Chain, Setting up a business in China, Setting up a factory in china.
Today marked the Official Launch of Understand-China.com. If you are reading this, you have already realized that the site is up and running, but we were excited to make the announcement nonetheless. After more than nine months of ongoing development, twelve hundred hours of research and over 250 pages of detailed information, Understand-China is the leading authority on doing business in China.
The site is intended to assist business looking at investing in China by providing a one-stop resource for all of the information they need to be successful in China. The Understand China site breaks down pertinent manufacturing and investment information by major investment region. The site includes detailed information on Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Hong Kong and twenty other provinces, special economic zones and Chinese special administrative regions.
This video is not new, but I watched it again the other day and found it fascinating yet again. It is about Walmart’s operations worldwide, but the part on China begins at 42 minutes. I have shown this video to countless friends and colleagues over the past few months. I find Walmart’s rapid expansion in China over the last decade to be a great case study for large multinationals entering the China market not for sourcing and access to low cost labor, but instead offering their products and services to the Chinese domestic consumers.Fortune 500 in China, Wal Mart China.
A great article in the Wall Street Journal this morning titled “Southeast Asia Tries to Link Up to Compete”. Like many others, the authors discuss the impact of rising wages in China. What I found most interesting though, is that these authors brought up a good point that I have been sharing with our customers for months – the point that, despite these wage increases, China is still the best option for many companies sourcing goods from low cost regions. I have chatted with tens of companies over the last few months about Vietnam, India, etc. While these geographies do have very competitive labor rates, often significantly cheaper than China’s, they lack the infrastructure, skilled workforces, and production experience required to support robust supply chains.China Competition, China Wages.
In late June, the People’s Bank of China made the decision to allow the Renminbi, or the Yuan, to once again appreciate against the US Dollar, after nearly a two-year freeze period. As world economic conditions slowly begin to improve and pressure from trading partners mount, Beijing is allowing for a more flexible exchange rate.
Beijing’s decision could possibly lead to increases in labor and production costs and has left some US companies uncomfortable with future China investments. Fortunately, historical data and perspectives from industry experts prove otherwise.
China still boasts an extraordinarily large low-wage labor pool, robust infrastructure, extensive investment incentives and preferential tax policies to encourage continued foreign investment. China will remain on the forefront for quite some time.Renmenbi/RMB/Yuan.