Kickstarter Lesson #124: If You Manufacture in China, Account for Chinese Holidays

14 October 2014 | 6 Comments

Chinese Golden Week 2014
Chinese Golden Week 2014

The title pretty much says it all, but I’ll write a few words just in case this isn’t clear. I’ll start with a story to demonstrate that I’m just now learning this lesson.

For about a month now, I’ve been expecting to receive the advance copies of our Treasure Chest on October 8. Leading up to that date, there was no indication from our manufacturer (Panda) that the date wouldn’t be met. It wasn’t a firm deadline, but I had told backers to expect a project update with photos on that date.

Meanwhile, in late September I submitted the shipping information for early copies of Viticulture to be sent from 4px (a fulfillment center in Hong Kong) to backers in Asia and a few other areas. The orders were successfully processed, no problem. [UPDATE: 4px did not package the games correctly, so I no longer use or recommend them.]

However, as of October 8, not only had I not received the advanced Treasure Chests, but according to the tracking numbers for Viticulture, the fulfillment center hadn’t sent any of the packages. The two were seemingly unrelated, as they’re handled by different companies…but then I realized what was happening.

China and Hong Kong were on holiday.

You see, I live in the US. We have exactly 10 national holidays, and they’re spread out throughout the year. Also, many US businesses still operate on national holidays.

Compare that to China, which has up to 52 different holidays. They’re not all national holidays, and it’s tough to tell from that list when industry actually shuts down, but I know from experience that it’s a significant number of them.

How does this affect Kickstarter creators who manufacture in China? For most of the year, it doesn’t impact us at all. But if you have a deadline or are planning a production schedule, you need to account for those dates, particularly early February and early October.

In the end, the advanced copies of the Treasure Chest were rescheduled for arrival this Friday, and the copies of Viticulture started moving again on Monday. No long-term damage was incurred. But I thought I’d share this cautionary tale with you so you can avoid the same foibles I ran into.

6 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #124: If You Manufacture in China, Account for Chinese Holidays

  1. You’re not the only creator to run into this. I’ve received updates on at least two projects since the beginning of the month that were along the lines of, “we’ve been trying to get a quote, but it turns out China is on holiday.”

    As an aside: I find it troublesome the number of creators that are only just getting quotes after the campaign has closed. I’m not even talking about the ones who’ve had materials improvements because of unanticipated success – I seem to have run into a streak of backing projects where it doesn’t sound like they even have a manufacturer lined up yet, and that’s not made clear until it’s too late for me to say, “hm… you don’t sound prepared enough to receive my money…”

    1. Adrienne: I see what you’re saying about getting quotes for the first time after Kickstarter. I’m all about creators doing everything up front and being transparent about it. But as a backer, I do feel some responsibility to check the project page (particularly the Risks and Challenges section) to see if a creator has all of their ducks in a row before backing the project so I’m not subject to unpleasant surprises like that.

  2. Jamey, great post. And I’ll second the advice.

    We made the mistake of making a very minor Pre-Press update just before this holiday, not realizing it was coming. Had we known, we would have authorized the Pre-Production copies instead (to have them in transit during the holiday), and updated the simple art fix afterward (which I wouldn’t need to have seen to trust). This could have saved us 3 weeks to a month, but as a result, the opposite has happened.
    The pre-press fix took longer than expected, went into the holiday, had to wait till after the holiday to finish, THEN the PPCs got started. As of now, I’m yet to receive confirmation that they’re even being printed, let alone shipped. It was utterly terrible timing, and has pushed our ship date back a very critical month. ie: 2015 instead of 2014!

    Will it all work out? Oh yes. Just not the way *I* planned. But lesson learned!

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