At the start of Chinese New Year, on 5 February 2019, the "Year of the Dog" has made place for the "Year of the Pig". To celebrate this occasion, we would like to share several interesting facts with you about this important holiday in Chinese culture. We would also like to briefly reflect on the past and upcoming year.
According to Chinese legend, the Jade Emperor (玉皇大帝 or "Yùhuáng Dàdì") wanted to select 12 animals as his palace guards. The emperor sent a messenger into the world to spread the word that the animals were supposed to come to the Heavenly Gate, the first 12 to arrive would become his guards and the earlier one who would arrive, the higher their rank they would receive. The next day the animals set out. The early risers were the quick-witted Rat and diligent Ox. The Tiger and Rabbit came in third and fourth because they were so fast and competitive. After which, the other positions were taken in the following order: Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
A "wealthy" Year of the Pig
The animals, depending on what they did to obtain their position, are associated with certain characteristics. The pig is considered to be a logical thinker, able to fix any issue they face. Because pigs are fat, they are considered very wealthy. Therefore, the year of the pig may be considered a good year, however, one must be guard against unexpected costs or negative influence which could offset other favorable circumstances.
The year "4717" and largest annual migration
The Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration of the Chinese Lunar calendar. February 5th of 2019 already marks the year 4717. The Lunar New Year is celebrated during the second new moon after winter solstice - normally occurring between January 21 and February 20. The festival also causes the world's largest annual migration. Around 50% of the country's total population will visit friends and families, and more than 200 million people will travel long distances.
Reflecting on the past & looking ahead
The overall Chinese economy has grown with 6.6% in 2018, compared to 6.8% in 2017. This represents the lowest growth rate for the Chinese economy in several years. Although the Chinese economy is not accustomed to this decline, this figure is still large compared to growth rates of other developed economies. For example, according to a forecast the total European economy grew by 2.0% (source: IMF). The Chinese economy is facing both internal pressures as well as external pressures such as the China-US trade war, which has influenced the country's GDP growth rate and its expectations.
This year we have also experienced numerous new legislation in China. Firstly, the Negative List for foreign investment in China was introduced. Also, China reduced work permit red tape for residents from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. And perhaps the most important and significant tax reform in years within China, was the introduction of the new IIT Law and the implementation of Additional Itemized Deductions and removal of Tax-exempt Expatriate Allowances (by 2022). Where the goal of the Chinese government is to reduce the overall tax burden for its citizens, as well as to improve collection of personal taxes within China.
Although the past year was characterized by both steady growth and several new challenges arising, we look forward with confidence towards the new year in China and still expect great opportunities for both our clients and foreign businesses in China.
新年快乐! ! !
This article has been prepared by Moore Stephens Consulting, a professional service firm based in China and member of Moore Stephens International. Moore Stephens Consulting provides full financial services to foreign companies active in China and Hong Kong. For more information regarding this article, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com or visit their website to be updated on news about China.