This year has not come to a close yet, but for some Chinese factories, it’s already time to close operations and wait for the spring holiday.

According to Qihuo  Daily Newspaper, a mainland media, manufacturers in China’s textile, printing, dyeing, chemical, and other industries have already told workers to stay home for Lunar New Year break this month, which is a lot earlier than the traditional time. 

In China and Asia in general, the spring break would extend 15 days, 7 days before and after the Lunar New Year. But Zhang Qiang, editor-in-chief of China Silk City, told the publication that some printing and dyeing factories are calling it a day even one month ahead. Some manufacturers, as he said, are planning to stay offline for 60 days. 

Wang Weifei, a senior analyst at Huarui Information, calls it the longest holiday in the industry. He said companies have already slowed down production since October due to low orders, poor efficiency, high inventory, and the impact of the pandemic.

Zhang Qiang said companies were forced to either reduce or cease production to stop losses.

He said, “Shutting down is to survive until next year.”

Wang Weifei said zero-COVID reversal has brought in more orders, but cases are skyrocketing, which he expects could cause a staff shortage as more people call in sick.

This is the contrast story to manufacturers of medical supplies. As the Financial Times reported on December 22, production of antigen testing kits in Zhejiang province has increased by 76% in a week.

That was bolstered by government supervision, which wanted companies to prioritize government orders.

A representative from testing kits maker Orient Gene Biotech said, “The local government has sent officers to our factories to oversee production, ensuring that it goes smoothly and that the products get online with their centralized deployment.”

Pacific Pharmaceutical, a leading ibuprofen producer in Fujian province, has also been told by officials to meet the government demand first.

One anonymous official in Nanjing city told the Times, “It’s a desperate situation, but it’s every man for themselves.”

The person continued, “We waited so long for the unbundling of Covid controls, but the relaxation was so sudden that local governments, health systems and companies in the supply chain were not prepared.”

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