By Jeremy Keight
Hong Kong’s first major trade fair since reopening signals comeback. This March welcomed back the HKTDC jewellery show and one of the most important dates on the jewellery fair calendar. As the industry’s main publication in Australia, Jewellery World Magazine was invited to cover the event. It has been a long wait to return to the HK show and the usual two shows were rolled into one at the convention centre in Wan Chai. This certainly presented some difficulties in registration with the enormous influx of buyers desperate to get in, but it was handled as well as could be expected.
In one of many press conferences we attended, we spoke with Mr Lawrence Ma, chairman of HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewellery Show and HKTDC Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show fair organising committee, and Mr Winston Chow, chairman of HKTDC Jewellery Advisory. A main topic of discussion was how things have been progressing with such short notice. Mr Ma confirms that six weeks before the show there were only 400 exhibitors, and once China confirmed opening to travel, the number of exhibitors jumped to 2500. This was an impressive feat to say the least and all hats off to the team at HKTDC for such an amazing job. We were also just in time for the lifting of mask mandates and after speaking to Hong Kong residents, they said it has been hard wearing masks for three years and they too, were so happy to finally see people’s faces.
For the 39th HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewellery Show and the 9th HKTDC Hong Kong International Diamond, the Gem & Pearl Show gathered over 2,500 exhibitors, concluding on March 5th. The five-day fair attracted over 60,000 buyers from 130 countries and regions, with signifi cant increase in participation from Mainland China and the Asian region. Sophia Chong, deputy executive director of the HKTDC says, “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.” An on-site survey conducted by the HKTDC with around 700 exhibitors and buyers shows that about 60 percent of exhibitors and buyers expect their business to return to pre-pandemic levels in one year, reflecting a positive outlook for the jewellery sector.
Major factors that are expected to bring opportunities for the industry in 2023 include the recovering purchasing power from customers, rising demand from emerging markets and the potential to expand business in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
The anticipation of the growth prospects of jewellery products in the target sales market is satisfactory. In the next two years we are expected to see Mainland China at 78 percent, Hong Kong at 71 percent, ASEAN countries at 64 percent, Northern & Western Europe at 58 percent, and North America at 55 percent. However, some challenging factors include fluctuations in the global economy, the impact of inflation, and fluctuating exchange rates.
During the trade fair, there proved to be some trends emerging. Karat white gold and karat yellow gold are expected to be the most popular metal product in 2023, while diamonds will be the most in-demand gemstone. It is also forecasted that social media, e-commerce and big data will have the most significant impact on the jewellery industry in the next three years. Some exhibitors also reported sales of HK$100 million at this year’s fair, proving that the future’s success is not far away.
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 say, “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 $11-12 million USD for our fancy colour diamonds.”
Hong Kong exhibitor Imran Khan, director of Sparkle Gems Global Inc says, “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 $50 to $10,000 USD. We met 10 buyers from Europe, Mainland China and the US who placed on-site orders for our emeralds worth a total of $1 million USD on the first day. We expect our on-site orders we received at the show to amount to $3 million USD.”
Zhuji City from Zhejiang Province, Mainland China made their debut at the show. Chen Wenjin, deputy mayor of Zhuji City says, “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 $100 million RMB.”
One of the exhibitors, Tota Koyama, chairman of the Japan Jewellery Association says, “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 US says, “The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl provides an important platform for me to meet suppliers from worldwide in one place. I always come here to connect with new suppliers. At this year’s show, I found suppliers of loose diamonds from Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong. My budget is up to $5 million USD.”
Qian Yiting, chief operating officer of Wuxi Yinlou from Mainland China says, “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 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.”
The Hong Kong Trade Development Sydney office is always looking for new companies to nominate for VIP packages (economy class flights and hotel accommodation) to visit the annual Twin Jewellery Shows. To put your company forward for nomination, please contact Jarrett Ho at firstname.lastname@example.org. The head office will review the nominations in the lead-up to the fairs and will contact you if your nomination has been successful. Have a look at the other 40+ trade fairs happening in Hong Kong event.hktdc.com/?location=hk.