If you are engaged with overseas manufacturing in China, it’s always a good idea to know a little about the culture. As 2015 continues to get under way here in the West, China is in the process of celebrating its own new year. Each year is represented by a different facet of the Chinese Zodiac, and 2015 on the Western calendar is the equivalent of China’s Year of the Goat. Each year has its own traditions and superstitions, and understanding the cultural impact of the new year is a key part of understanding not just Chinese culture, but doing business in China.
The Chinese calendar is cyclical, with the same patterns repeating roughly every sixty years. As such, this year of the Goat is considered to have the same signs and portents that were featured in 1955 and 1895. The year of the goat has several meanings, many of which surround inspiration and starting life in an honest manner. It’s not thought to be a particularly good year for those born in past years of the Goat (financial losses are predicted), but the year itself can be both prosperous and helpful for many others.
In the Chinese system, 2015 is the Year of the Wood Goat. The astronomical significance of that particularly pairing actually leads to a number of very specific superstitions, in particular that the year is both to be rife with conflict and compromise. Indeed, those who follow the Chinese zodiac will point out that years of the Goat tend to be years that see war, but that they also seem to be years that bring in many international treaties. This can make the year a particularly good time to put to bed any lingering disputes that you might have with your manufacturing partners.
As the New Year itself strikes in mid-February, you will also need to be aware of several traditions that have to do with the New Year itself. Luck is a huge factor during this time of year, so be prepared to give (and get) gifts in red envelopes. Superstitions run high, so don’t be put off by those who don’t wash their hair during the first three days of the year, or those who are particularly worried about crying babies. These are major superstitions in China, and a huge part of making sure that the new year is prosperous.
Whether you believe in the same traditions or superstitions as your manufacturing partners or not, it’s always wise to keep yourself in the loop when it comes to the beliefs of the Chinese people. Understanding the significance of the new year will help you to understand how some of your partners may act in the coming year, and will give you a better idea of what is going on near your manufacturing facilities in February. Taking the time to learn a little more about Chinese culture is a great way to build up your relationships with your partners and make sure that you are prepared for the challenges of the new year.
Contact ITI Manufacturing today, we can’t wait to begin the new year in both cultures!