With the Coronavirus currently impacting nearly everyone in China, there is no doubt there will be a significant knock-on effect to those doing business there, but also to those importing products from China. Whilst the full effect of the virus-driven disruption is not yet clear, in terms of the promotional products industry, this is what we know so far:
- Delays are very likely. In addition to the delays caused by government guidelines, China has also officially extended the recent Lunar New Year holiday in an effort to curb the virus spread. This will very likely hold up normal production schedules. That said, shipments made prior to 25th Jan are unlikely to have been affected. This map shows which cities have been worst affected.
- Things should be clearer soon. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has just declared the coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. This decision is likely to be the start of a broader understanding of what the longer term ripple effects on the importation of products into Australia. And, whilst the WHO Director-General said, “Let me be clear, this declaration is not a vote of no-confidence in China”, and does not recommend limiting trade, ABC News has confirmed this will mean ‘more screening at airports’.
- It’s much better to be safe than sorry. We are strongly advising our clients to allow for a 4-6 week contingency plan for any products being produced in China that are currently on order. That said, the Coronavirus is currently still a big unknown, so we would suggest any large activations or orders out of China between now and the end of year – yes, even Christmas orders – should be brought forward wherever possible.
Most importantly, whilst the risk of this virus being present on imported products is negligible, we would be wise to remember this is not simply a question of supply chains and the effect they might have on your (or our) business. This is about the people in China (and around the world) who have and will be affected. Our thoughts especially go out to our factories and teams on the ground – we are thinking of you all.
At Inck, we are staying alert and keeping a close eye on any changes that might affect the customers we work with. If you have any concerns or questions about how we can help, feel free to get in touch with us today.