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The Chinese Festival Calendar

This is an abstract from an article written by Bart Horsten and published on the WeChat account of the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce on 21 July 2020. 

The two most important public holidays in China are National Day, celebrated at the 1st of October, and Chinese New Year (also called Spring Festival), celebrated at the end of January or the beginning of February. China’s National Day celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. It kicks off a one-week nationwide holiday called Golden Week, during which hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel and shop.

Most traditional holidays in China are scheduled according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Currently there are seven public holidays: New Year’s Day (1st of January), Chinese New Year, Tomb Sweeping Day (Qing Ming Festival), Labor Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day.

On each of these 7 public holidays all Chinese citizens officially have 1 to 3 days off, hence in total there are 11 official public holidays in China. However, at Spring Festival and National Day in reality businesses and schools are closed for a 7-day or 8-day holiday, because citizens are required to come to work or go to school during a nearby weekend day. The reasoning behind this is to give Chinese citizens the chance to travel back to their families in their far-away hometowns and boost consumptionPublic holiday schedules are released by the Chinese government late in the preceding year and might even change during the year.

As a foreign company it is important to take into account the Chinese Festival Calendar when you manage your Chinese staff, communicate with your Chinese partners, plan your business trips and shape your sales and marketing campaigns in China. Not only public holidays are important shopping days in China, in recent years there are also other special days to keep in mind, such as Valentine’s Day (14 February), 520 shopping festival (20 May), 618 shopping festival (18  June), Qixi Festival (Chinese Valentine’s Day, in August), Single’s Day (11 November), Double 12 (12 December).

Especially E-commerce sales are heavily impacted by those shopping festivals. Brands should be ready to take advantage of these shopping holidays when Chinese consumers are actively looking to spend money online. With more than half a billion e-commerce shoppers, China is the world’s largest marketplace, offering significant opportunities for Western and Belgian companies.

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