• HK jewelry outlook sparkles on emerging markets demand

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    Manufacturers, retailers urged to step up

    HONG KONG: The local multibillion-dollar jewelry industry is upbeat about its prospects amid improving signs of a US economic recovery and strong demand from emerging markets.

    But with competition growing fiercer, jewelry manufacturers and retailers face the challenge of stepping up their game, finding the best suppliers and upgrading their technology to get a winning share of the surge in demand.

    Despite its small population of a little more than 7 million, Hong Kong is seen having a good grip of its role as a global jewelry production and trading hub, making Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So proud of the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR).

    The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the global city’s organizer of trade fairs and promotional activities, just opened its fourth edition of the HKTDC Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show at AsiaWorld-Expo in the international airport on Lantau island, with 1,900 exhibitors from 39 countries and regions participating.

    “Our fairs are designed to address these issues,” Benjamin Chau, HKTDC deputy executive director said in a statement at the opening of the jewelry show, referring to the economic and business challenges faced by the local jewelry manufacturers and retailers.

    The event, which runs until March 4, showcases raw jewelry materials such as diamonds, precious gems, semiprecious stones, and exquisite pearls.

    On Thursday, March 2, the 34th HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewelry Show will open as well for its five-day run at the HK Convention and Exhibition Center in Wan Chai North.

    This event, which will showcase finished jewelry products, and the fourth diamond and pearl show, expect to draw more than 4,480 exhibitors from at least 53 countries and regions.

    At Tuesday’s opening ceremonies, Secretary So expressed delight over Hong Kong’s role as an international trading and production hub of jewelry in the region.

    “Hong Kong is the world’s eighth largest trading economy,” he stressed.

    The development of the local jewelry industry, according to the HKTDC, has been dominated by the precious jewelry segment via the expansion of the local market, including sales to tourists.

    Hong Kong’s Tourism Commission said on its website tourist arrivals in 2015 reached 59.3 million, 77 percent or 45.8 million of whom came from mainland China.

    “The outlook for the jewelry industry is positive, based on signs of recovery in the US economy, while emerging markets such as the Chinese mainland and Asean are displaying a sustained demand for jewelry,” Chau, the HKTDC deputy executive director, said.

    “However, with fierce competition in the market, jewelry manufacturers and retailers have to stay ahead of the curve by seeking out the best suppliers and keeping up with the market trends by understanding the latest materials, technological advancements and the needs of buyers and consumers,” he added

    The city’s total exports of pearls, precious and semi-precious stones to 30 economies reached US$20.3 billion in 2016, a 9.7-percent increase from US$18.5 billion the previous year.

    India was at the top spot of the export destinations, with US$6 billion, followed by China and the United Arab Emirates with US$3.5 billion and US$2.8 billion, respectively.

    Exports to the US and Israel amounted to US$2.2 billion and US$1.6 billion, respectively, during the same period.

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