Every year, a great migration of workers and students from megalopolises to smaller cities and towns announces the beginning of the Lunar New Year in China. This year, the travel rush begins one to two weeks before 5 February and lasts for about 40 days. Last year, 732 million trips were made by road, rail, air, and water in the lead-up to the new year, according to Xinhua, the Chinese government’s news agency. It’s the most important event on China’s calendar.
In this period, a highly prized possession is a ticket that will ensure its holder passage home. Small shops shutter for at least a month, and factories empty as most workers head home to celebrate the holiday. However, a minority remain in cities, lured by the double or triple salaries offered to keep services running. Manufacturers plan ahead by fulfilling orders before the holiday to avoid disruption in the global supply chain.
— By Alexis See Tho, an FM magazine associate editor.