Chinese New Year 2024: Importing from China in The Year of the Dragon

The Year of the Dragon – Meaning, culture and impact on imports

The meaning of Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year (春节 chūnjié), or Spring Festival and abbreviated as CNY, is more than just a holiday in China; it is a deep-rooted cultural phenomenon with a significant impact on both personal and business lives in China and beyond. In 2024, this important event begins on February 10, marking the start of the Year of the Dragon. The celebration officially lasts 15 days and ends with the Lantern Festival (元宵节 yuánxiāo jié), but weeks before that, workers leave the factory, causing capacity to plummet.

Source: REUTERS/Stringer Hangzhou East Train Station during Chinese New Year.

Cultural importance of The Year of the Dragon

Chinese New Year is a time of family, tradition and cultural ceremonies. A crucial aspect of the celebration is the mass migration of workers, who return from urban centers on the east coast to their home villages inland to celebrate the New Year with family. This Chūnyùn (春运, Spring Festival travel rush) period is the largest annual human migration in the world, leading to a temporary standstill of normal business activities in China. For many workers, Chinese New Year is the only time to be with their parents and child(ren), because they work and stay in the factories all year round.

Historically, the Chinese dragon was associated with the Emperor of China and used as a symbol to represent imperial power. It was believed that people born in a Year of the Dragon were destined for good fortune and greatness. Previous studies have shown that fertility rates increase in Years of the Dragon.

Effects: Importing from China

For importers, Chinese New Year means a period of delays and uncertainty. Factories and offices often close for an extended period, leading to delays in production and logistics. Many importers want to have their shipments shipped at the last minute, which means there is a high chance of orders being ripped off by the factory. 

In addition to these points, the prices of container transport from China are traditionally at their highest.

It is therefore essential for importers to be aware of these disruptions and adjust their plans accordingly.

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Planning production around Chinese New Year 2024

Efficient planning around Chinese New Year is crucial. Importers are advised to have their orders shipped well in advance of the celebration and allow additional time for production and shipping. Additional delays may occur after the holiday season as factories need time to resume operations and train any new workers. A significant number of workers do not return because they get a better offer at another factory. Briefly; it could be that nothing at all happens for two months.


Chinese New Year 2024, the Year of the Dragon, offers an opportunity to appreciate China's rich cultural traditions, but also brings challenges for importers from China. Strategic planning and an understanding of the cultural significance of this festival are essential to successfully navigating the challenges this period brings.

Does your company face the challenge of importing from China around Chinese New Year?

Does your company face the challenge of importing from China around Chinese New Year? Westwood offers specialist support and strategic advice to help you navigate the complexities of this period. Contact us for expert help in planning and managing your import activities to ensure your production and deliveries run smoothly and on time.

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