The gleam of diamonds, gold and silver proved irresistible to jewellery traders from across the globe after trading hub Hong Kong removed all travel restrictions and lifted its mask mandate.
Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the 39th HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewellery Show and 9th HKTDC Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show gathered more than 2,500 exhibitors and ran from 1-5 March. The five-day fairs attracted more than 60,000 buyers from 130 countries and regions, with a significant increase in participation from Mainland China and elsewhere in Asia.
Sophia Chong, Deputy Executive Director of the HKTDC, said: “We are delighted to see the overwhelming support from industry buyers and exhibitors for the twin shows. The vibrant atmosphere, busy traffic and packed booths not only reflected the global jewellery market’s pent-up demand after three years and strong buying power but also reaffirmed Hong Kong’s position as the world’s premier trade fair capital in Asia which brings the world together to do business and to build relationships.
“Looking ahead, we have many more trade events lined up for different sectors throughout the rest of the year, and with the policy support from the Hong Kong SAR Government, we are confident that trade fairs and conferences will help to re-energise the city’s economic recovery,” Ms Chong added.
Under HKTDC’s EXHIBITION+ hybrid model, jewellers and traders from across the world can connect online for another week beyond the physical fair days, until 12 March via the Click2Match smart business matching platform. More than 1,800 meetings between exhibitors and buyers have been scheduled.
An on-site survey of about 700 exhibitors and buyers showed 60% of exhibitors and buyers expected business to return to pre-pandemic levels in one year, reflecting a positive outlook for the jewellery sector.
Quizzed on factors that are expected to bring opportunities for the industry this year, survey respondents listed the recovering purchasing power from customers (57%), rising demand from emerging markets (34%) and the potential to expand business in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (13%).
The outlook for growth prospects over the next two years are strongest for Mainland China (78%) followed by Hong Kong (71%), Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries (64%), Northern & Western Europe (58%) and North America (55%)
Challenges come from fluctuations in the global economy (51%) and impact of inflation (46%) as well as fluctuating exchange rate (35%) were seen as key challenges.
Survey respondents listed the most popular products for this year as Karat white gold and Karat yellow gold with diamonds as the most in-demand gemstones. Social media, e-commerce and big data will have the greatest impact on the jewellery industry in the next three years.
Exhibitors record US$12m in sales
In addition to the high volume of buyers and exhibitors, robust business results were seen across the shows. Exhibitors Bruno Scarselli and Davide Scarselli, Co-owners of Scarselli Diamonds Inc from the United States said: “The twin shows are making a strong comeback this year. After the pandemic, the mood is positive and buyers are willing to buy. We have met a lot of buyers from Europe, Japan, Korea, Mainland China and the Middle East who are very interested in our blue and pink diamonds. Twelve buyers, including six from Mainland China, already placed on-site orders amounting to US$11 million to 12 million for our fancy colour diamonds.”
Hong Kong exhibitor Imran Khan, Director of Sparkle Gems Global Inc, said: “We first joined the HKTDC show 12 years ago because it is the best platform for suppliers from all over the world to promote their raw materials to international buyers. We are showcasing emeralds and tanzanites, with prices ranging from US$50 to US$10,000. We met 10 buyers from Europe, Mainland China and the US who placed on-site orders for our emeralds worth a total of US$1 million on the first day. We expect our on-site orders we receive at the show to amount to US$3 million.”
Zhuji City from Zhejiang Province, Mainland China debuted at the show. Chen Wenjin, Deputy Mayor of Zhuji City said: “A total of 49 Zhuji companies have gathered at our pavilion and we also organised a delegation from 300 companies to source at the shows. The show is an excellent platform for our pearl companies to connect with overseas buyers. We expect total sales of over Rmb100 million [US$14.45 million].”
One exhibitor, Tota Koyama, Chairman of the Japan Jewellery Association said: “Now that travel restrictions have been removed, Japanese jewellery companies are very happy to come to Hong Kong. We’ve brought 86 jewellery companies from Japan to participate in the Jewellery Show, and 69 companies in the pearl business to join the Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show. The response from buyers is better than expected and we’ve recorded very good sales. The purchasing interest is particularly strong from Mainland Chinese buyers.”
A jewellery buyer, David Abraha from the United States said: “The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show provides an important platform for me to meet suppliers from worldwide at one place. I always come here to connect with new suppliers. At this year’s show, I have found suppliers of loose diamonds from Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong. My budget is up to US$5 million.”
Qian Yiting, Chief Operating Officer of Wuxi Yinlou from Mainland China said: “The show has staged a strong comeback this year with the relaxation of pandemic policies. I have visited jewellery fairs in Japan and Korea, but the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show is definitely the best one showcasing an amazing mix of jewellery from all over the world. I have already met with six exhibitors from Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and Thailand through the Click2Match business matching service.”
Technology, lifestyle sector shows in wings
On the heels of these two exhibitions, the HKTDC will organise a series of trade fairs next month, including InnoEx, Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition) and Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Spring Edition) on 12-15 April; Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair, Fashion InStyle, Home InStyle and more on 19-22 April. These events will provide buyers with a unique one-stop souring experience and help exhibitors expand their market reach, while boosting Hong Kong’s economy.