Hong Kong jewellery in global markets

October 2003

Hong Kong's position as world's second largest supplier of jewellery is a source of pride to its government as well as its manufacturers. Today, they are as concerned with creative design, branding and good quality as they are with competitive prices. Continental Jewellery Ltd is building its Conti line of branded diamonds and the innovative Quattor-Plus, a patented design using multiple stones combined to create a fancy shape. E&V is recognized for contemporary designs pairing quartz with coloured gemstones and diamonds. Aaron Shum Ltd has greatly enlarged its colourful and floral Gemtique lines. Butani specializes in more classic diamond pieces, while Noble Jewellery has moved into high tech, being one of Hong Kong's first companies to install CAD software for jewellery design and prototype creation. Aurostyle is known for its coloured gemstone pieces. The new brand Green G., with its multi-coloured gold pieces and intricately veined leaf designs is making a name for itself in the realm of high quality Hong Kong jewellery.

Last year, 2002, ended on a positive note for the Hong Kong jewellery industry as a whole with exports up 17% overall, and up 25% to the United States. The first half of this year showed positive results in spite of the SARS outbreak and worries about the war in Iraq. Exports reached US$1,231 million, an increase of 18% over the same period in 2002. Hong Kong exports were up in nearly all markets, but the most amazing increase was in Greece where sales figures increased by 505% to US$16 million. The USA is still the overall leader with imports from Hong Kong of US$611 million (+13%) followed by Japan with US$83 million (+25%) and the United Kingdom with US$81 million (+15%). At the other end of the spectrum, the only countries to show a decrease in imports of Hong Kong jewellery were Denmark (-4%), India (-35%) and the Netherlands (-37%). “One of the reasons for the overall increase in sales is that the Hong Kong jewellery manufacturers did particularly well at the JCK Show in Las Vegas, and the reason for this is that they were not allowed to do business in Basel,” explains Joyce Hui, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's (HKTDC) Director of Product Promotion. “Fortunately, we have now made a long-term investment with the BaselWorld management that sees us return to a new specially conceived pavilion in Basel. Although the Basel Fair has not reimbursed anything to our exhibitors, both the exhibitors and the HKTDC are supportive of the new agreement. It clearly underlines a better understanding between the two organizations. It is in both our interests since Hong Kong's participation in Basel also attracts buyers to the Fair and I'm fairly sure that BaselWorld noticed the loss of buyers because of our non-participation this year.”

At the signing, Frederick Lam, Deputy Executive Director of the HKTDC explained, The return to Basel of the Hong Kong jewellers is seen as a mutually beneficial situation for both the brands and the fair since their presence is a strong draw for retailers from around the world.