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Hong Kong Int'l Jewellery Show 2003(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 02,2002)

Vol.2 2002

Hong Kong Int'l Jewellery Show 2003

Fair Preview

Hong Kong Int'l Jewellery Show 2003

Show Times

Fair Dates Opening Hours Buyer Registration Counter
March 4 10:30am - 6pm 10am - 5:30pm
March 5-6 10am - 6pm 9:30am - 5:30pm
March 7 10am - 5pm 9:30am - 4:30pm
Visitor Enquiries: (852) 2240-4388

Hong Kong Int'l Jewellery Show
March 4-7, 2003

Total Exhibitors
2003 (Expected): Up to 1,100
2002: 990

Total Visitors
2003 (Expected): 17,000
2002: 16,901

Product Mix
All types of fine jewellery and gems, related products and services, including: diamond jewellery; platinum jewellery; 24K fine gold jewellery; gemset jewellery; silver jewellery; antique jewellery; pearl jewellery; South Sea pearls; cultured pearls; freshwater pearls; diamonds; coloured gemstones; jewellery mountings; carvings and display ornaments; jewellery display and packaging material; machinery, tools and equipment; and high-quality watches (jewellery watches, brand-name watches and antique watches).

Group Pavilions
Belgium, Chinese mainland, ICA, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK and the US.

33,500 square metres

Halls 1, 2, 5, Mezzanine 1 and Atrium 2
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Harbour Rd, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Hong Kong Jewellers' & Goldsmiths' Assn
Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Mfrs Assn
Hong Kong Jewelry Mfrs' Assn
Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, China

Trade visitors only. Visitors younger than age 18 will not be admitted.

Exhibitions Department
Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Unit 13, Expo Galleria, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
1 Expo Drive, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2240-4288
Fax: (852) 2824-0026
E-mail: exhibitions@tdc.org.hk


2003 Show Promises To Be Bigger and Better

The stage was set for Hong Kong Secretary for Security Regina Ip (centre) to officially open the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show 2002. Assisting her were (from left): Lawrence Ma, Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, China chairman; Kisaburo Masaki, Japan Jewellery Assn chairman; Leung Sik Wah, chairman of the TDC Jewellery Industry Advisory Committee and of the Hong Kong Jewellers' & Goldsmiths' Assn; Michael Sze, HKTDC executive director; Charles Chan, Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Manufacturers Assn chairman; and Patrick Luk, Hong Kong Jewelry Manufacturers' Assn chairman.

EACH successive Hong Kong International Jewellery Show organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) gets bigger and better. Next year's edition, scheduled for March 4-7 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, is no exception.

The 2003 show will feature a significant increase in exhibitor numbers and a new section on watches, along with regular favourites such as the Designer Jewellery Galleria and the World of Pearl and Gem.

The last fair attracted 990 exhibitors, and the number for 2003 is expected to be close to 1,100. Major factors for the expansion are the Chinese mainland's entry to the World Trade Organization and the inclusion of watch companies, according to Benjamin Chau, TDC's director of exhibitions.

"The Chinese mainland is going to be a very big market. A lot of foreign jewellers want to participate to promote their products to the mainland market," Chau says.

"As for watches, there has always been a synergy between watches and jewellery. Some of our buyers have a strong interest in watches. The largest jewellery fair in the world - in Basel, Switzerland - is jewellery-cum-watches, and this is our chance to develop our show along the same lines."

Watch companies are expected to comprise 10-15% of the total number of exhibitors at the 2003 show. The timing of the show offers a perfect opportunity for buyers to restock after the Christmas and Chinese New Year selling seasons.

"Companies do their stocktake in January and February and calculate what they need for the coming year. As the market keeps changing rapidly, they have to source goods more often than before. March is just the right time for them to replenish their stock," says Chau.

The show also gives Hong Kong companies a special forum in which to shine, says Patrick Luk, chairman of the Hong Kong Jewelry Manufacturers' Assn. "There are many international fairs that Hong Kong participates in through country pavilions. But the number of companies participating is relatively small - maybe 30-40 or even 100 companies," Luk says. "The attraction of the March show is that there are almost 700 Hong Kong exhibitors. If overseas buyers come to the show, they will see a much larger variety of our companies."

As the world's fourth-largest exporter of precious jewellery, Hong Kong exported US$690m worth of such products during the first five months of 2002, an increase of 13% over the same period the year before. The buoyant statistics come on the heels of a 3% decline in 2001 (US$1.58bn), when buying sentiment was affected by the slowing US economy and fall-out from the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Industry leaders feel optimistic that exports are back on track. "People really slammed on their brakes after 911, but Christmas in the US and Europe turned out to be better than expected, especially for diamond jewellery. In Asian markets like South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia, the economies are doing much better. There is also strong growth on the Chinese mainland," says Lawrence Ma, chairman of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, China.

The US absorbed 53.4% of Hong Kong's precious jewellery exports last year, followed by the EU (19.5%) and Japan (7.3%).

Asian exhibitors and buyers have traditionally been dominant at the show, but as the event grows it is becoming more international. "We have an increasing number of European exhibitors from Italy, Belgium and France, as well as Israel. The International Colored Gemstone Assn (ICA) pavilion is expanding and the World of Pearl and Gem [which caters to gem dealers] will have more than 250 exhibitors," says Chau. "The majority of buyers come from Asia but we have a good mix from around the world - more than 30% come from Europe and North America, 5% from Australia and another 5% from the Middle East, and Central and South America."

The Designer Jewellery Galleria, a showcase for signature collections of 16 elite companies from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, is also set to expand. "We are confident that we will attract more up-and-coming designers and brand names for this section," Chau adds.

Group pavilions will include Belgium, the UK, the Chinese mainland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the US. The Paspaley Pearl and Robert Wan Tahiti Perles auctions of South Sea pearls will again be held in conjunction with the show. Market seminars featuring expert speakers from the Gemological Institute of America and the Diamond High Council will provide information and updates about the latest industry trends and technological developments.


Future Is Bright For Jewellery Sector

AS a leading centre for the production of precious jewellery, Hong Kong has forged an international reputation for high-quality craftsmanship and value-for-money pricing.

Hong Kong jewellery manufacturers are known for fashioning a wide range of 14-18K gold gemset jewellery, particularly diamond jewellery. Manufacturers are especially skilled at producing pieces set with small stones.

"The product range made by Hong Kong manufacturers is really broad. We can sell from a few dollars to US$20,000 or more per piece. We are proud to say that our manufacturers maintain very competitive prices and that at the lower end - the category with the largest sales volume throughout the world - our people can offer the best quality. But we have talented people in every category - there is no one emphasis," says Benjamin Chau, director of exhibitions at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

Re-exports from the Chinese mainland, combined with its own domestic production, make Hong Kong the fourth largest exporter of precious jewellery in the world.

Long recognized as a leader in producing pure gold (chuk kam) and jade jewellery, Hong Kong has evolved into an important trading and distribution centre for pearls.

Versatility and the ability to adapt quickly to customer demands have been valuable aids in the industry's successful growth and development. With today's emphasis on just-in-time inventory management, Hong Kong manufacturers can be relied upon to meet tight delivery schedules.

"The most important thing is we serve our customers in terms of style, quality and price. Hong Kong is very flexible about meeting market requirements," notes Charles Chan, chairman of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Manufacturers Assn.

Over the past 10-15 years, many Hong Kong jewellery companies have moved manufacturing operations to the Chinese mainland to take advantage of its vast labour pool and lower costs, while production of delicate, high-end jewellery largely remains in Hong Kong.

"People may think products made on the Chinese mainland are of lesser quality than those from Hong Kong, but that is a wrong assumption. For low- to medium-end goods, merchandise made on the mainland surpasses the quality in Hong Kong," asserts Patrick Luk, chairman of the Hong Kong Jewelry Manufacturers' Assn.

Although Hong Kong's jewellery industry remains labour-intensive, Luk says that a number of larger jewellery manufacturers have invested in sophisticated and automated production equipment, such as computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines, in order to improve both design and manufacturing processes.

"New wax setting techniques and tumbling machines have been implemented, and management of factories has been improved," Luk adds.

Other advanced production techniques, such as electro-forming, have also been integrated with handicraft skills in an effort to enhance efficiency.

The result is the technology level of Hong Kong's precious jewellery industry is generally considered to be higher than that of competitors such as Thailand.

In design, Hong Kong jewellery companies continue to place increasing emphasis on creativity and originality in original design manufacturing (ODM). Some companies are building up their own jewellery lines, while others have secured licensing agreements for other brands. Sleek, streamlined designs are currently in vogue, reflecting a popular trend towards minimalism.

Another bonus for Hong Kong companies has been the growth of the diamond cutting industry on the mainland.

"The Chinese mainland is an up-and-coming diamond cutting centre with more than 15,000 cutters. The world's largest cutting centre is India with 600,000 workers, but compared to other major centres, such as Israel, which has 10,000, the Chinese mainland is moving very quickly," reports Lawrence Ma, chairman of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, China.

"The China 'make' is becoming known as fine work and is at least as good as any other country's work. The diamond cutting industry on the mainland is no longer in its infancy. It is in its adolescence and has lots of room to grow."

If the recent evolution of the industry is any indication, prospects for Hong Kong's precious jewellery manufacturers appear bright indeed.


Fashion Sets Trends For Jewellery Makers

THE increasing influence of fashion on jewellery has inspired Hong Kong jewellery manufacturers to create designs and styles that reflect current trends.

"The association with fashion has been a big change in the last 10 years. We're happy to see that wearing jewellery has become so much a part of everyday culture," says Patrick Luk, chairman of the Hong Kong Jewelry Manufacturers' Assn. "Of course, jewellery is higher in value and doesn't change every season, so the styles have to be a bit more conservative."

The "white look" trend of recent years - various combinations of platinum, white gold, diamonds or pearls - remains popular. However, yellow gold appears to be gaining ground, especially in Europe.

Interest in coloured stones, such as amethyst, peridot, garnet, citrine and blue topaz, has also revived recently. "Anything in blue is popular now, particularly sapphires and tanzanite," Luk adds.

The novelty factor of black diamonds continues to attract attention, while coloured diamonds, especially fancy yellows, are finding ready buyers. Size-wise, the strongest demand among diamond buyers is for smaller stones.

"Smaller diamonds are definitely in fashion because consumers want price points. They would rather have 10 five-point stones set together to look like one big stone. But the market is also very tight for diamonds that are two carats or larger, especially in Southeast Asia, because the weakening US dollar is weakening diamond prices," says Lawrence Ma, chairman of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, China.

Pearls are a perennial item, with white and black colours mixed with white or yellow metals. Natural pink pearls have been in demand and freshwater pearls from the Chinese mainland are also doing well because of their lower price points.

"Prices for certain pearls, and the demand for them, have gone up. South Sea and Tahitian pearl prices have increased 10% since June, but freshwater pearls came down too much last year - more than 50%," says Leung Sik Wah, chairman of the Hong Kong Jewellers' & Goldsmiths' Assn. Akoya pearls have fallen off in both quantity and quality, he adds.

For the summer season, lightweight jewellery - bracelets, pendants and earrings - generally sells best, says Charles Chan, chairman of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Manufacturers' Assn. "There is less interest in big necklaces," he says.

The most saleable price range is US$100-500 wholesale.

Designs with simple, clean lines are leading the way, although more feminine pieces are expected to be sought after as well. Wearability is important, which means jewellery that can be worn with a variety of clothing styles including jeans. More jewellery is being targeted at younger, middle-income buyers, some in the form of branded items.

The US, Hong Kong's largest market for jewellery, absorbed 53.4% of Hong Kong's US$1.58bn in exports in 2001, according to statistics from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. The EU was next with 19.5%. Member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) accounted for 3.7% of exports. The Chinese mainland's share was 1.1% for 2001, a 16% increase over 2000. For the first five months of this year, however, exports to the mainland were up by a robust 41%.

Jewellery exports overall fell 3% in 2001, but rebounded sharply in the first five months of 2002, as companies rushed to restock inventories following the business lull after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US. Industry leaders are closely monitoring worldwide economic conditions for clues about future developments in their sector.

"Until June, people were optimistic about a US economic recovery, but the financial markets seem to be in a tumble now. The European market is the one that appears more stable and positive," says Ma.

"Economies such as Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia are picking up because of the weakening US dollar. But the market that will probably show the strongest growth is the Chinese mainland."

The vast consumer market of the mainland may be the jewel in the crown for exporters, yet many remain cautious because of high tariffs. As part of its commitment to lower tariffs on jewellery and gemstones over the next four years, the Chinese mainland began a series of phased import tariff reductions on January 1, 2002. Jewellery tariffs were reduced from 33.3-36.7% to 30-35%. By 2005, the rate for silver or gold jewellery will be lowered to 20%. Tariffs on pearls will drop from 38.75% to 35%. All other categories will stay at 35%.

"The market on the mainland is huge and every manufacturer is looking at the policy there. We hope we can get Beijing to reduce the import duties for companies in Hong Kong and Macau," says Luk.

Achieving success in any market depends on innovation. In a bid to move upmarket and provide more value-added products, many of Hong Kong's jewellery manufacturers are employing advanced metallurgical methods that can boost efficiency and enhance quality. A number of Hong Kong's larger manufacturers have also invested in sophisticated technological equipment that will help them to stay competitive and to meet whatever challenges lie ahead.


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