Happy Chinese New Year! And Make Sure Your International Target Audience is not on Vacation

by Matthew Allinson, International Media Relations Supervisor

Matt Allinson, Business Wire International Media Relations SupervisorThe wisdom of sending a news release to a country that’s on holiday is a frequent question at our news desk.  Our response?

Unwise.  And when the news is sent anyway, our clients wonder about the lackluster  pick-up by media.

A better question is why would you spend your company’s hard-earned dollars/euros/pounds/yen sending out a news release that virtually no one is going to read because they’re taking a day—or a week–off?

The practice of forcing news during holidays is predominantly an American one.  The U.S. penchant for a 24/7/365 go-go-go news cycle has made us believe everyone else in the world operates likewise.

Yet most countries and cultures work at a much more leisurely pace, often enjoying twice the vacation time as the American worker.  With the exception of New Zealand, Americans work more every year than any other industrialized nation.

What this means is that if you’re responsible for sending news overseas, be aware of what’s taking place in your target countries or regions so that your news doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

Here’s what David Lore, the bureau chief at Interfax Shanghai, had to say about doing business in China during a holiday:

When it comes to doing business in China, there are a host of “dos and don’ts” that can make or break a deal. You don’t embarrass your Chinese partner in front of his subordinates, and you do take major holidays into consideration when preparing press releases. Especially the week-long Chinese New Year holiday (CNY), also known as Spring Festival. Without question the single most important holiday on the Lunar Calendar, CNY is a time when tens of millions of Chinese are on the move, returning to hometowns to reunite with family and friends.

On a business level, top decision-makers and opinion-shapers usually depart on extended vacations that often encompass the week before and the week after CNY. For all intents and purposes, China’s economy (with a few exceptions, like retail) goes into a kind of hibernation from Feb 2 – Feb 8.

The best resource we’ve found to monitor holidays all over the world is bank-holidays.com.  This site provides information on when banks and stock exchanges are closed for public or religious holidays. Other major events (elections, planned strikes, festivals, etc.) are also listed which can help when determining the proper timing of a news release.

Other, less detailed resources include Onada, Who is on Holiday and Wikipedia.

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