Jewelry industry sparkles

2008-07-19 04:32:34 GMT       2008-07-19 12:32:34 (Beijing Time)       China Daily

A customer picks jewelries at a shop on July 6, 2008. By 2020, the annual total sales of China's jewelry industry are expected to reach 300 billion yuan, with exports exceeding $12 billion.[Asianewsphoto]

China's jewelry industry is facing unprecedented development opportunity and will have good prospects, said Sun Fengmin, secretary general of the Gems & Jewelry Trade Association of China.

There will be 60 to 70 Chinese jewelry companies becoming well-known Chinese-brand product enterprises by 2010, and the annual total sales of jewelry will exceed 200 billion yuan ($29.31 billion), said Sun.

By 2020, the annual total sales of China's jewelry industry are expected to reach 300 billion yuan, with exports exceeding $12 billion. By then, China will become one of the most competitive jewelry manufacturing and trading centers in the world and the largest global jewelry consumption market.

Total sales of China's jewelry industry developed at an annual growth rate of more than 15 percent in recent years and the annual growth rate for exports topped 20 percent, said Sun. Total sales of China's jewelry and gems reached 170 billion yuan in 2007, making it the third largest jewelry market in the world only after the United States and Japan, according to statistics from the association. China's jewelry market will maintain an annual growth rate of more than 15 percent in the coming several years.

At the end of 2007, China had more than 50,000 registered jewelry companies, employing more than 3 million people. Among them, about 40,000 are jewelry retail companies, employing more than 1.5 million people.

China is the world's largest gem production and consumption country with an annual consumption of more than 20 billion yuan. China is the world's biggest pearl producer with an annual output of about 1,600 tons, accounting for more than 95 percent of the world's total annual output of pearls. China's platinum consumption is also No 1 in the world.

China is also one of the world's largest consumers of diamonds and its total annual consumption reaches more than 25 billion yuan. In addition, the annual consumption of silver hits about 600 tons while ruby, sapphire and crystal also perform well in the Chinese market.

China's gold consumption reached 363 tons in 2007, ranking second in the world and only behind India. Although gold prices witnessed fluctuation this year, it has not significantly influenced gold consumption in general.

China's per capita gold consumption is only 0.15 gram, which is a low level, said Qi Minhua, a research fellow from Shanghai Securities. With the enhancement of consumption level, there will be great potential in the future.

"The rapid development of China's economy in recent years and a continuously increasing national income all promote the hot sale of jewelry in the Chinese market," said Sun.

For instance, platinum made its debut on the Chinese market in 1994, when China's platinum consumption only accounted for 1 percent of the world's total. But China's platinum sales reached 620,000 oz. in 1998 and it became the world's second largest platinum consumer, accounting for 23 percent of the world's platinum market. In 2001, China's platinum sales reached 1.3 million oz. and accounted for 52.8 percent of the world's total market demand for platinum, becoming the world's No 1 platinum consumer.

As industry competition became increasingly intense and consumers began paying more attention to brands, now brand building has become very important for the industry.

Domestic companies still have a long way to go in terms of quality enhancement and brand building compared to famous foreign jewelry brands.

In fact, some Chinese jewelry companies have exploited the end market by using exquisite technology and Chinese-element design, Sun said. The upcoming Olympics will greatly drive the development of China's jewelry industry, he added.

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