Year of the Dragon

Photo Courtesy: Alibaba.com

January 25, 2012: Year of the Dragon

Happy New Year. No, I’m not weeks late with that greeting. Monday was the start of the Chinese New Year-and this year is an auspicious¬†one for entrepreneurs. It’s the Year of the Dragon-the water dragon, to be specific.

Since I was born in the year of the (water) dragon, you might think I’m biased in predicting a great year ahead. Not so. Here’s this year’s forecast: “This will be a year of great opportunity and many achievements, but these gains will require investments of many forces and labor.” Doesn’t that sound like a message for small business owners?

While those of us raised in Western cultures grew up with stories of dragons as evil beasts to be slain, Eastern cultures revere the dragon. In fact, a Chinese friend of mine told me the dragon is considered the luckiest symbol in the Chinese zodiac.

Those in the know have already jumped on board the dragon bandwagon. Alibaba.com, a leading B-to-B e-commerce site that connects merchants with foreign manufacturers, says the search for dragon products on its site skyrocketed 250 percent in the second half of 2011 in the U.S. alone.

What are business owners searching for? The 10 most sought-after dragon items in the U.S. were:

  • Inflatable dragons
  • Dragon rings
  • Dragon costumes for adults
  • Dragon iPhone cases
  • Dragon-print fabrics
  • Swords with dragon handles
  • Ceramic dragons
  • Dragon tea sets
  • Dragon pendants (jewelry)
  • Antique dragon vases

You can see what some of these products look like by checking out the infographic.

The list shows the broad appeal of dragon products. If you want to get your hands on some, Alibaba suggests (in their blog) you wait a bit, since many Chinese businesses are closed for the festivities until after February 6th.

The Philippines newspaper the Business Mirror says the year of the dragon is going to be one of “transformation.” Their advice: “One must be ready to adapt to changing game rules. Innovation will be a key word this year.”

Sounds like the year of the dragon could well be the year of the entrepreneur.