2 Sept 2005
Diamonds Are Forever(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 02,2005)
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A New Course
|High-end, medium-range and affordable diamond jewellery is a speciality of JB Jewelry (HK) Ltd|
The company already had a mainland manufacturing operation near the new factory at Panyu in Guangdong Province, but the move to a larger facility built to its exact specifications dramatically increased its production capability.
"We opened the new factory with about 800 workers but that will be rising shortly to about 1,200, increasing our production capacity to about 80,000-100,000 pieces of jewellery per month," explains managing director Bhupen Surani.
He hopes the 80,000-square-foot factory, which will eventually be staffed by 2,000 workers, will enable the company to sell a much higher proportion of its jewellery regionally under its own brands.
JB brands are internationally recognised and already have an Asian presence, but the company is keen to replicate the high profile its collections enjoy in the US.
Established in Hong Kong in 2000 as a member of India's 40-year-old JB Group, the firm specialises in high-end, medium-range and affordable diamond jewellery made on the mainland.
"Our major markets include the US, Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan and the Middle East," Surani notes. "Although more than half our business is comprised of OEM/ODM work, we are firmly committed to building our own brands."
JB's medium-priced Julia collection is already popular in Japan, and the company has enjoyed success globally with the 18K gold Anni D'oro collection.
The French-designed Venti brand of pink, yellow and white gold jewellery, set with diamonds and coloured stones, is marketed internationally and has established a keen following on the mainland.
JB's greatest successes with its own brands to date, however, have been in the US under the Luxury by JB Diamonds umbrella. "We have done very well in North America with Soulmate, which is a range of engagement rings," Surani explains.
He notes that JB works with renowned US jewellery designer Charles Winston and will be helping him build his brand in Asia. "We will also be bringing a range of diamond watches to Asia," Surani reveals. "All of those collections and brands come under the umbrella of Luxury by JB Diamonds."
While the company's focus for 2005 and 2006 is on brand-building in Asian markets, the new Panyu factory has extended its production and design capabilities to expand the OEM and ODM work that remains a substantial part of JB's business.
"Mostly, we have dealt in gold and diamond jewellery, but we are now shifting some of our focus towards silver and titanium," Surani explains, maintaining that both are growth categories for which there is a proven demand. "We cover everything from fashion jewellery - say a silver pendant with a small diamond - to necklaces worth US$50,000 or more."
FOB prices for finished pieces start from about US$100 FOB and can go up to more than US$100,000, with production taking "about three weeks" after design approval. "We maintain teams of designers in both the Panyu factory and our Hong Kong office to increase flexibility and provide speedy service," Surani adds.
JB's sourcing capabilities are extensive, as befits part of an international jewellery group established in India. Diamonds come mostly from the JB Group's 13 Indian gem-cutting and polishing factories, or are sourced by Sugem, the group's diamond-trading subsidiary.
"We receive the diamonds from our Indian factories and then do the moulding and the rest of the work to make the pieces at Panyu," explains Surani.
Marketing is handled by representative offices in the company's major markets, while a team based at Panyu is charged with developing marketing opportunities on the mainland.
Now, Surani and his team are enjoying demonstrating the increased creative and productive scope the new factory has given the company.
"We're going to explore some new ideas in diamond-cutting and designs, as we want to show off the extent of the company's capabilities," Surani concludes. "The group is growing rapidly each year, and we're very excited about the new factory and how well the brands are doing in North America."
WRITTEN BY ROBERT PIERCE
JB Jewelry (HK) Ltd
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