Published 06 February 2018 Category: Compass Tips, Entrepreneurs, Startups, SMEs, Business

Chinese New Year - How Your Business Can Leverage This Annual Celebration

Perhaps the biggest and most significant of all the Chinese cultural holidays, Chinese New Year is one of the best times to show professional acquaintances your understanding and appreciation for Chinese culture. 2018 is the year of the Dog, and celebrations will commence on the 16th January 2018.

Here are 8 helpful suggestions for business owners looking to understand and leverage this annual celebration.

For those with Chinese business acquaintances locally:
1. Use Your Brand
Within families, elders offer red envelopes or red packets of money to children as an expression of good luck and affection. You can leverage this by distributing them to your staff and gift them to suppliers or customers for their personal use.

It’s a great way to associate your company with this holiday and create general brand awareness. Ensure the envelopes are high quality paper and if you really want to impress, think about getting gold foil or embossing on them. You could also consider creating custom branded greeting cards or eCards to send, however, while red is a lucky colour, do not use red ink to write in the cards as this is an indication you are severing ties.

2. Personal Visits
Sales reps can make a point of dropping in to see business associates or clients either before the Chinese New Year day or not long after to personally offer new year greetings. If stopping in after New Year’s day, it’s fine to wish people a “Belated Happy New Year” as some people may not be in the office on the actual New Year’s day

3. Gift Baskets
If you’d like to bring or send a gift, you can make up a basket of Chinese rice cakes (niangao) and a selection of fresh summer fruit like kiwis, mangoes and cherries with a greeting card wishing your client or supplier a happy and prosperous new year. Include a few lucky red envelopes in the basket that they can use should they need some to fill and gift to their families and friends.

4. Don’t Shy Away From Social Media Or Text
Consider creating a social media graphic wishing your digital community a happy new year and posting on the day and if you have access to mobile phone numbers, sending a SMS is also a nice touch.

5. Make Dinner Plans
You can make your professional connections feel important and establish trust and rapport by inviting them to a traditional Chinese restaurant during the new year period.

Do your research on authentic places to dine and once there, be sure to order fish and seafood (Food and toys shaped as fish mean “wealth” and “good fortune” and seafood is considered a luxurious delicacy). Arrive early and make sure you pay appropriate regard to seniority and rank. Senior company representatives should sit together and shake hands with each other first.

For those with Chinese business acquaintances overseas:
1. Be Proactive
In many asian countries, Chinese New Year is the largest holiday of year and a majority of workplaces will close to allow employees to enjoy a break and some time off with their families. Businesses can be closed anywhere from 4-5 days to two or three weeks from Chinese New Year’s eve.

It’s wise to contact your suppliers and clients and politely ask them if their office will be open and if so, if it will be business as usual or if it will be a time when only a few staff will be working. If you are told there will be delays or closures, it’s fine to ask when these may commence as some companies start slowing day a week or even two weeks before the holidays officially begin.

2. Organise Your Accounts
For those with suppliers and clients based overseas, understand that businesses expect to be paid and have all of their accounts balanced prior to the new year. You can get on the front foot by making sure your account records are up to date and touch base with them to see if there is any way you can assist with making this process run more smoothly.

3. Send Good Wishes
If New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day falls on a business day, your Chinese clients and suppliers will not be at work but it’s a good idea to send your wishes that day anyway and this can be done on social media or via a SMS for immediacy (don’t forget to factor in the time difference in order to avoid sending your messages at an inappropriate hour!)

With China being a particularly dominant market, understanding this holiday can be key to strengthening relationships with your business partners and clients based in China, or overseas where it may also be celebrated.

Being able to leverage your knowledge of Chinese New Year will demonstrate to your suppliers and existing and prospective clients that you value their business and customs.