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Posts Tagged ‘chinese new year’

258 Million People on the Move during Chinese New Year but No USB Sticks

Friday, January 24th, 2014

The Chinese New Year National Holiday (The Year of the Horse) is almost upon us. Unlike our own New Year holidays where people typically take a day or two off in China it’s their big annual holiday and most workers take at least two weeks off work.

This extended break gives millions of workers from the cities the chance to travel home and be with their families in the provinces. The number of people on the move during the holiday is staggering (estimated by the BBC at 285 million) but what even more mind boggling is the distances they travel and the time it takes to complete their journeys – take a look at this photo blog post from the BBC – it helps put the occasional travel challenges we have in the UK into perspective!

The knock on impact of the extended holidays and factory and office closures is that pretty much nothing gets manufactured or shipped for a 2 – 3 week period. Our partner factory in Shenzhen closes this week-end and won’t start manufacturing USB memory sticks again for 2 weeks. It’s the same for most of our competitors as well because whoever they are the likelihood is that their partner factory will also be In Shenzhen, China and as a result it will also close.

What this means is that after today it will become increasingly difficult to get an order for USB memory sticks delivered much before mid-February! Forget the usual promise of 6 to 10 days because no one will be at the factory to produce and print them and even if they were none of the freight forwarding companies are working so they wouldn’t get shipped anywhere!

If you need printed or engraved USB memory sticks in a hurry your only option for the next couple of weeks is to find a local supplier that holds them in stock and is able to personalise them locally as well. There are a few companies that will hold the Black Twister (Capless) model in a range of different memory sizes but that’s about all.

At USB2U we’ve lived through the challenges of Chinese New Year lots of times so we now always ensure we carry lots of stock in the UK whilst it’s on. At the moment we are unique in being able to offer 24 different styles and designs of USB stick in a wide range of memory size. Most of these can be supplied in 24hrs on our rush service but do check because out print schedule can get full pretty quickly!

If you can’t find what you want it’s not the end of the world – at least you’re not on a 33 hour trip home just to be able to spend precious time with your family.

 

USB Memory Sticks from USB2U During Chinese New Year

USB Memory Sticks from USB2U During Chinese New Year

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258 Million People on the Move during Chinese New Year but No USB Sticks

The Year of the Horse is Galloping Towards us at Breakneck Speed

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

If you’re looking to source branded or promotional USB sticks for use any time in the next few weeks then you need to familiarise yourself with the Chinese Zodiac Calendar Why? Well, 99% of all of USB memory sticks in the world are manufactured in China and most of them are made to order with a turn-around time of 1-2 weeks.

Very few suppliers of USB sticks hold stock locally and even fewer have any capability to print, engrave and data-load USB sticks in-house. So, the lead times that you see quoted are almost always based on a rapid turnaround from a “partner” factory in China. This is usually fine but when China closes production and shipping stops.

In a couple of weeks China will “close down” as the country takes an extended holiday to celebrate the start of a new year. The year 2014, according to the Chinese Zodiac Calendar is the Year of the Horse and it officially starts on the 31st January but it’s a big deal in China so offices and factories close en-masse.

New Year (also known as Spring Festival) is a huge event for Chinese communities around the world so expect the usual fireworks and extravagant displays that have become a familiar sight at the start of any New Year.

To allow families to gather together (often across huge distances) most offices and factories close for at least two weeks. As a result production of pretty much everything in China stops during the New Year festivities. The impact of this is a mad clamour to get things like promotional USB sticks produced before the holidays start followed by a period when nothing gets produced because of factory closures. This is then typically followed by a crazy week or two when the factories return and everyone is desperately playing catch-up!

In the weeks just before Chinese New Year (Now) it will come as no surprise that the price of USB sticks start to increase (classic supply and demand)  and these higher prices tend to linger for several weeks after the holiday finishes before gradually falling over the following months.

Lead times also take a battering around Chinese New Year with typical lead times of 7 – 10 days often being extended to anything up to 6 weeks!

Our advice (and we say this every year) is to plan ahead. If you need or think you might need promotional USB memory sticks during February then don’t wait – please get your orders in now! Not only will you get a better price but you’ll be able to choose the model/design you want and you’ll be assured of getting your USB sticks when you need them.

If you do leave it late then don’t panic. Having lived through (and survived) many a Chinese New Year we now plan ahead and invest heavily in holding UK stock – this allows us to continue to offer a wide range of different USB sticks all of which can be printed, engraved and data-loaded and delivered in as little as 24hrs!

USB2U Year of the Horse

USB2U Year of the Horse

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The Year of the Horse is Galloping Towards us at Breakneck Speed

Cheap Printed USB Memory Sticks – But Only if You Move Quickly

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

If you’re searching the web for some cheap printed USB memory sticks then you’ll soon realise that the vast majority of companies selling them don’t put prices on their web sites – you either have to call them or fill in one of their on-line quote request forms. Understandably this can be a little tedious and time consuming but there are good reasons for it.

The core components that make up printed USB memory sticks are traded like commodities (tea, coffee, gold and silver etc.) and as such the price is incredibly sensitive to global events and the currency markets. Prices change daily to reflect the “spot market” for flash memory and the prevailing exchange rates – add into this mix other external events like national holidays (Chinese New Year is a good example) and you start to get a feel for just how fluid pricing can be.

The problem is compounded because most USB memory sticks are bought to order – in other words when you place an order for say 500 USB memory sticks the flash memory to make these will be purchased in the market and your sticks will be made to order. The procurement of the flash memory, the assembly of the flash and other components to create the USB stick and the final printing of the sticks takes place in a matter of days! Very few companies are willing to bulk buy and hold flash memory and take a risk on holding overpriced stock hence why the pricing is so dynamic.

Cheap Printed USB Memory Sticks

Cheap Printed USB Memory Sticks

To buy USB memory sticks when they are at their cheapest you need to choose your moment. There are certain times of the year when it’s better to buy than others – its bit like waiting for the alignment of the moons! Right now (and probably for the next few days) is a good time. The reasons are:

  1. Flash memory prices are at an all-time low
  2. Flash is purchased in USD ($) and the dollar is currently trading against the pound (GBP) at $1.65 compared to around $1.50 just a few weeks ago! That’s a 10% shift in a matter of weeks
  3. Demand is low(ish) because lots of companies are still on holiday over the Christmas and New Year period but the factories in China are still working!

BUT in just a week or so prices are expected to rocket buy around 20% – the reason for this is classic supply and demand driven by the closure of the flash memory manufacturing plants in China. It happens every year – companies in the UK and Europe return to work after their Christmas and New Year holidays and want to buy printed USB memory sticks but by the time they get around to placing an order they find that supply is limited because “China closes” to celebrate Chinese New Year! We’re not talking about a day or two either, most factories that manufacture USB drives close for about 3 weeks! This leads to a mad scramble to buy stock and this in turn drives up prices – if the currency market shifts in the wrong direction at the same time then you have a perfect storm which will drive prices even higher.

If you’re looking for Cheap printed (or engraved) USB memory sticks for use in early 2014 then don’t wait – buy them now!

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Cheap Printed USB Memory Sticks – But Only if You Move Quickly

New 5 Day UK Service Introduced for Printed and Engraved USB Sticks

Friday, February 15th, 2013

In response to growing demand from our customers we have introduced a 5 day service for a large proportion of our USB memory sticks. There are no additional charges for this service and it includes engraving or full colour digital printing (on both sides) of the USB sticks and if needed data loading onto the sticks.

We have also retained our popular “Super Express 24hr Service” and our “Rush 72hr Service”. So whether you need your order the very next day or within a few days there are now plenty of options to choose from and you’re not limited to just one or two different designs. Irrespective of which timed (and guaranteed) service you choose from there are currently 18 different models to select from and some come in a range of colours and memory sizes so you really are spoilt for choice!

One of the attractions of this service is that once your order has been confirmed then delivery of your USB memory sticks is guaranteed. There is no exposure to “customs delays” or international shipping because your order will be fulfilled from UK stock. All you have to do is sign off your proofs in a timely manner, arrange your payment (if you’re not on 30 day terms and a lot of our customers are) and then finally make sure that you’re in when your USB sticks are scheduled for delivery!

Optional extras like printed or engraved gift boxes, lanyards and key rings can also be specified when you use any of our express delivery services. If you do have a particularly large amount of data you want pre-loading onto your printed USB sticks then we can normally accommodate this but you do need to consider how you get the data to us. Our data-loading team will test the data and check the “load times” and then agree with you how quickly the data can be loaded – with 4 separate professional data loading machines on-site we are able to load thousands of sticks a day (subject to the data size and structure).

During “pinch points” like Chinese New Year when lots of USB suppliers struggle to maintain their usual service levels these guaranteed delivery options are likely to prove incredibly popular. So, if you do need printed or engraved USB memory sticks in hurry and you don’t want to take any risks with delivery just give us a call or send in a quote request via our website.

USB2U New Rush Service Announced

USB2U New Rush Service Announced

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New 5 Day UK Service Introduced for Printed and Engraved USB Sticks

Prices and Anxiety Levels are Rising

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Well, you can’t say we didn’t tell you!  As we get closer to Chinese New Year things are starting to get interesting in the promotional USB stick market. Prices are rising; anxiety amongst businesses trying to source USB sticks against tight deadlines is increasing and something close to panic looks set to ensue over the next week or so.

Ironically it happens every year and every year, starting in December, we try to make as many customers as possible aware of the likely issues and encourage them, where possible, to place their orders early. The benefits are; cheaper prices and assured, stress free delivery.

Understandably not everyone is in a position in December (or early Jan) to know what USB sticks they might need but it is nevertheless surprising just how many businesses leave things right until the last minute.

The core problem is that the Chinese New Year holidays last around 2 weeks and during this time pretty much everything comes to a standstill. No factory that produces USB sticks wants to be taking new orders right up until the start of the holidays so they draw a line in the stand about a week before the festivities commence. This year the actual day of the New Year is the 10th February so expect factories to stop taking orders a week or more before this.

When the factories re-open they then typically take a week or more to catch up with the backlog of orders that have built up so “normal service” can be disrupted for about one month!

If you’ve been caught up in the delays brought on by this years Chinese New Year break in production then your best bet is to find a local supplier of USB memory sticks that holds stock and has the capability to personalise this stock in the UK.

Most UK suppliers are just intermediaries and won’t carry UK stock of their own or if they do they’ll typically have a very limited range of models and memory sizes to chose from.  At USB2U we’ve seen our fair share of challenges during Chinese New Year over the last 10 years and we now make sure we bolster our stock holdings during this time.

So, if you are beginning to worry about whether you will get your promotional USB sticks in time the best advice we can give you is to pick up the phone and call us – one of our team will talk you through the range of models, memory sizes and colours we hold and they’ll talk you through a range of delivery options that include our Rush  24hr service.

Chinese New Year - USB Sticks

Chinese New Year - USB Sticks

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Prices and Anxiety Levels are Rising

It’s Getting Closer –Are You Ready?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

As each day ticks by we nudge ever closer to Chinese New Year and the Year of the Snake and whilst this might be good news for those planning to celebrate the New Year it’s definitely not good news for anyone looking to buy printed USB memory sticks.

In 2013 The Year of the Dragon officially starts on 10th February. It’s a huge festival for Chinese communities around the world so expect the usual fireworks and extravagant displays that have become synonymous with the start of any New Year.

The days and weeks after the start of the New Year is a typically a time for families to gather together, to feast and to relax. As a result production of pretty much everything in China stops during the New Year festivities.

The impact of this is a mad clamour to get things like printed USB sticks produced before the holidays start followed by a period when nothing gets produced because of factory closures and then a mad couple of weeks when the factories return and everyone is “playing catch-up”!

In the weeks just before Chinese New Year as demand for USB sticks increases it’s no surprise that the price increases – usual supply and demand rules apply! The higher prices tend to linger for several weeks after the holiday finishes before gradually falling over the following months.

Lead times also take a battering around Chinese New Year with typical lead times of 7 – 10 days often being extended to anything up to 6 weeks!

If you need or think you might need promotional USB memory sticks during February then please plan ahead and buy now. By doing so you’ll get a better price and you’ll be assured of delivery of your USB sticks when you need them. Leave it much longer and you’ll potentially expose yourself to a whole world of pain!

If you do leave it late then your only option will be to find a company that holds blank stock of USB memory sticks and is able to printed or engrave them in the UK. Most companies that do this tend to carry a few basic models in one or two colours so your options will be very limited.

One notable exception to this is USB2U who carry a wide range of different USB sticks all of which can be printed, engraved and data-loaded and delivered in as little as 24hrs! If do need USB flash drives printed with your logo on from a UK supplier during Chinese New Year (or any other time for that matter) then give the team at USB2U a call.

USB Memory Sticks During Chinese New Year

USB Memory Sticks During Chinese New Year

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It’s Getting Closer –Are You Ready?

Chinese New Year Will Create the Usual Turmoil in the Promotional USB Flash Drive Market

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

2013 is the Year of the Snake and anyone buying promotional USB flash drives in the period around Chinese New Year needs to be on their metal because every year we always end up proving an emergency service to companies that fail to understand the consequences of this important national holiday in China.

The Chinese New Year holidays have a direct impact on the availability of promotional USB memory sticks in the UK and Europe because unsurprisingly that’s where 99% of them are manufactured.

The reason for the delay is simply because China takes its New Year celebrations very, very seriously. Factories, offices, schools and many public services close for an extended break to allow their staff to travel what is often many thousands of miles to be with their families for the duration of the holiday. These collective celebrations mean that pretty much everything stops for around 2 weeks.

Chinese New Year 2013 - USB Memory Sticks

Chinese New Year 2013 - USB Memory Sticks

The “normal” lead times of around 7-10 days that we normally enjoy for the rest of the year can reach up to 6 weeks during the Chinese New Year. Partly this is because the factories anticipate a rush of orders in the run up to the New Year so they stop accepting orders early, then they close for 2 weeks and then when they’re back it takes days to get back up to full production. Even then it can take a week or two to clear the back-logs that have built up during the break!

In 2013 the New Year’s Day is the 10th February with many factories and businesses closing for a week either side of this which in practice means that the end of January is likely to be the last date for new orders for branded USB memory sticks.

So, if you need to order promotional flash drives for delivery in February then you need to get your orders placed the 2nd or 3rd week of January. Order any later than this and you run the risk that they will get caught up in the mayhem that Chinese New Year leaves in its wake!

There are very few companies in the UK or Europe that carry blank stock of USB memory sticks that can be printed or engraved locally and when they do the stock tends to be limited to a couple of basic models in one or two colours.

One notable exception to this is USB2U who carry a wide range of different styles, colours and memory sizes all of which can be printed, engraved and data-loaded and delivered in as little as 24hrs! If do need USB flash drives printed with your logo on from a UK supplier during Chinese New Year (or any other time for that matter) then give the team at USB2U a call.

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Chinese New Year Will Create the Usual Turmoil in the Promotional USB Flash Drive Market

Promotional USB Flash Drives Will Be In Short Supply During Chinese New Year

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Chinese New Year is coming at us like a steam train and pretty soon it’s going to be too late to avoid the mayhem it causes to the promotional USB flash drive market.

We say it every year and every year we end up with disappointed customers who wanted a specific USB flash drive and in a particular pantone matched colour. In 2012, the Year of the Dragon, the holiday break is going to be even longer than normal with lots of factories closing from the 6th January to the 4th February – during this period nothing gets produced and nothing gets shipped. Nada, zip, nothing!!

Even when the factories return to work it take a week or so before things start to get back to “normal” but there are always the inevitable backlogs to deal with so typical leads times of 7-10 days can be stretched to several weeks.

Promotional USB Flash Drives

Promotional USB Flash Drives

If you know you have an event, show, seminar, press launch or any other activity for which you need printed or promotional USB flash drives during January to mid-February then you need to be placing your orders now! Don’t put it off because Christmas is looming or you think you’ll be able to “sort it out” in the New Year because you might find you can’t.

Having been through the trauma of Chinese New Year factory shut-downs for the last 9 years we now do all we can to ensure continuity of supply to our customers even it the supply is limited to a small number of flash drive models and colours. But, with a limited supply in the market and lots of customers chasing the stock the tendency is for the prices to shoot up (partly because UK print costs are higher and partly because of usual supply/demand economics) – so, whilst you may find some stock your model choices, colour choices and memory size choices are likely to be very limited and you’ll end up paying a premium for your failure to plan ahead.

Without wishing to sound like a broken record we strongly urge anyone who is likely to want printed USB sticks to plan ahead now and get any order(s) in early. You don’t have to pay for them when you order them, you’ll get exactly what you want and you’ll save yourself money – pretty compelling arguments to get any internal (early) approvals you might need.

Understandably this is not always possible but at least armed with an understanding of the issues/challenges you can hopefully find a way to work with the situation.

If you are too late then don’t forget that USB2U hold thousands of USB sticks in stock and can deliver them (printed) in as little as 24hrs – you may have to compromise a little on model and colour but at least you’ll have something!

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Promotional USB Flash Drives Will Be In Short Supply During Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year – If You Need USB Flash Drive Plan Ahead

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

It’s seems rather bizarre to be worrying about Chinese New Year in November particularly because Chinese New Year doesn’t even happen on the 1st January but towards the end of January and that’s some 7 weeks away.

But, if you are looking to buy promotional or branded products in the near future (including branded USB memory sticks) then you need to understand that these are typically manufactured to order in China and flown into the UK within a matter of days. Despite the distances involved the usual lead-time from order to delivery is usually as little as 7-10 days but this assume the factories are working – during Chinese New Year not only do the factories close but pretty much everything closes!

Chinese New Year is the most important of all of the festivals in China and it typically lasts for around 15 days but, in 2012 the Chinese will celebrate the Year of the Dragon which is arguably the most important of 12 animals that mark the coming of each new year.

2011 year has been the Year of the Rabbit – an animal (and year) that is typified by calm and reflection. By comparison the Year of the Dragon is will be marked by excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration and intensity.

Chinese New Year 2012

Chinese New Year 2012

During the Chinese New Year holiday many factory workers travel hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles to be reunited with their families in the provinces. The resulting “factory shutdown” will last for around 3 weeks in 2012 and is usually preceded by panic buying, which in turn forces the factories to stop taking orders early so they can be fulfilled before the holidays start. The expected closure dates in 2012 are from 6th January to 4th February!!

So, if you need or think you might need promotional or printed USB memory sticks early in 2012 then ideally you need to place your order in December. Leave it until January and you’ll find the prices start to rocket up and lead times stretch from days to weeks.

Some of the more established suppliers will hold stock locally so that they can continue to supply during the factory closures but don’t expect the same wide choice of models of memory sizes. You’ll also have to brace yourself for higher prices simply because labour and print costs in the UK are higher than in China coupled with the fact that you’ll be fighting over the limited supply of sticks that are available.

The best advice is to plan ahead now and get your order(s) in early. Understandably this is not always possible but at least armed with an understanding of the issues/challenges you can hopefully find a way to work with the situation.

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Chinese New Year – If You Need USB Flash Drive Plan Ahead

Promotional USB Flash Drives – Normal Service Resumes

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Phew! We all know it’s coming but irrespective of how much forward planning goes into managing the extended closure of the flash drive factories in China every year the Chinese New Year holiday throws up its own challenges and leaves many customers frustrated and disappointed.

Chinese New Year is a national holiday and technically whilst it only lasts around 10 days lots of people take an extended break to give them time to travel home to see their families – bearing in mind “home” can be several thousands of miles away the extended break is perhaps no surprise.

During the Chinese New Year holiday pretty much everything comes to a standstill; the factories that produce flash memory modules, the factories that produce the flash controller chips, the factories that assemble the finished flash drives and lots of the freight haulage companies close. It’s a bit like letting a steam train that’s been clattering along at 80mph come to a stop and then extinguishing the boiler fires.

Restarting the train takes time, you need to re-light the fires, build up the steam pressure again and then gradually start to gain momentum.

USB Steam TrainA week after the return from the Chinese New Year holidays we’re now full steam ahead again and we’re turning around customer orders for promotional USB flash drives within 10-days of order – sometimes quicker!

We always carry lots of stock in the UK that we can print and deliver within 48hrs if you’re in a hurry but you will inevitably be limited in terms of design, colour and memory size and you’ll also pay a premium for the UK print charges. If you have the time you’re always better off letting us manufacture and print your USB flash drives at one of our factories in China, this way you get exactly what you want and it’ll be cheaper!

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Promotional USB Flash Drives – Normal Service Resumes
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