China celebrates its second Golden Week of the year this October with mass migrations and billions of dollars spent on retail, travel and other consumer goods. So much money is generated during these long holidays, which is how they got their prosperous name.
Other than China, are there any other countries in the world which have such long breaks that are officially recognised? Research shows only Japan and Korea come close, although with creative use of annual leave, Scandinavians, Malaysians and Singaporeans also enjoy their own versions of a golden week – which usually comes about during festive holidays. On the other end of the scale, Mexico only has 5 official public holidays, which should make them the world’s hardest working nation... or the most burnt out, depending on how you look at it.
While Joe Everyday in China goes about celebrating their Golden Week, what becomes of the commercial side of life? As one of the largest economies on the planet grinds to a halt for a hard-earned holiday, the pin drop silence in the factories & central business districts reverberates throughout the world.
Roll back to a couple of months earlier, and you see a mad rush in domestic order production and the import of luxury goods. The orders for exports are controlled so as to allow priority for domestic orders to be completed and sent out to the shops before the holidays start as Golden Week sees the major shopping areas packed with people eager to spend their wages on a bit of retail therapy. In the week before Golden Week, it is like a whistle is blown and everyone puts their tools down and turns their machines off in unison. Ships sail away empty, planes carry more passengers and their bags than commercial cargo and the creaking, overloaded cargo train carriages sit silently empty. Then suddenly, the holiday ends as if that proverbial whistle is blown and the wheels of work go from zero to 100mph in 60 seconds.
This goes without saying that planning your shipping requires a world public holiday calendar, some alien foresight and a really good logistics partner. Hint, hint…