Davenport Laroche GeMS report aprIL 2015

Davenport Laroche
GEMS Report APRIL 2015
China’s Role in the Gemstone Industry
As China has become a global economic
powerhouse and the second largest economy in
the world, it has also had a major impact on the
state of the global gemstone industry, both as a
consumer and producer nation. This edition of
the Davenport LaRoche Gemstones Feature is
set to analyse the effect that China has had on
gemstones and the potential impact it may have
in the future.
China’s Demand for Gemstones and
China has experienced one of the strongest
economic growth rates ever following the
decision to reform its economic and political
systems in 1978. This expansion has driven a
rise in wages across the country, and therefore
boosted the spending power and affordability of
luxury goods. A number of other phenomenon
are taking place amongst Chinese consumers.
The highest growth potential lies in the inland
urban centres, as Chinese citizens continue
a massive migration from rural areas to the
cities. Chinese consumers are becoming more
knowledgeable about gemstones and jewellery
and more astute in their purchases. They have
a keen sense of both value and brand trust, and
they have become more open to contemporary
and Western designs and materials.
In 2014, despite falling by 5.4%, the imports
of jewellery into Hong Kong were worth a
staggering HK$222.68 billion ($28.72 billion).
Furthermore, 2015 has seen a strong start and
recovery for the industry with demand rising
by 29% in February, alone. From January to
February, exports in this sector increased 12.6%
to HK$33.075 billion ($4.26 billion).
China’s increasing demand for jewellery and
gemstones is being experienced around the
world. For example, in India, the Mumbai
diamond market is prospering, largely as
a result of the rise of Chinese consumers.
Chinese buyers are flocking to the western
business district of Bandra-Kurla Complex to
buy diamonds from wholesale sellers.
There is also a rise in the number of high-net
worth investors across the Dragon Economy
who are turning to diamonds and other
gemstones to protect their wealth and generate
income. According to the China Ultra High Net
Wealth Report 2014-2015, almost half of China’s
wealthiest prefer to invest in jewellery and jade.
China’s Production of Gemstones and
To ensure the competitive development and
production of jewellery, China has a number
of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in which
certain laws and regulations are relaxed
to encourage the growth and expansion of
their gemstone and jewellery developers
and producers. The province of Guangdong,
including Shenzhen and Panyu, has important
SEZs for the diamond, gemstone, and jewellery
industries. Many of the products manufactured
in these zones are exported to the rest of
the world through Hong Kong. The Chinese
industries have also benefitted from the
country being accepted into the World Trade
Organisation in 2001 which has provided greater
access to the global marketplace for the Dragon
In October 2000, the Shanghai Diamond
Exchange (SDE) was established. Prior to that,
taxation—including tariffs, VAT, and sales tax on
diamond imports—was very high, around 35%
to 40%. Polished diamonds now only pay VAT of
4% whilst if the rough is polished in China and
returned to the country of export, then no VAT is
The growth of the Chinese economy has
had a huge impact on the global gemstone
industry both in terms of demand and supply.
China’s burgeoning middle class is demanding
gemstones and jewellery for both personal
and investment purposes whilst the country’s
industries compete globally.
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