Sept HK Fair draws quality buyers

The 34th edition of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair drew more than 55,700 quality buyers from 147 countries and regions, reinforcing the B2B show’s status as the world’s leading jewellery event, trade fair organiser UBM Asia announced recently.

The seven-day trade fair concluded on September 19 with 3,615 exhibitors from 55 countries and regions, and 55,768 unique buyers (counted only once during the entire fair period) from 147 countries and regions. The number of visits recorded during the fair was 118,799.

Celine Lau, director of Jewellery Fairs at UBM Asia, said large-sized diamonds, precious coloured gemstones, South Sea pearls, fine finished jewellery, tools, packaging products and equipment were among the faster-moving goods at the show. “We observed that the number of quality buyers remained steady at this edition; their presence is an encouraging sign that points to the jewellery industry’s continued development and significant growth,” Lau said.

Certain countries showed growth in buyer numbers including India, up by 423 visitors or a 14 percent increase from last year; Myanmar, up by 196 visitors or roughly 75 percent up from last year; Belgium, up by 106 buyers (+32 percent); Australia up by 80 visitors (+12 percent); Japan, up by 78 visitors (=6 percent); the UK, up by 76 visitors (+22 percent); and Israel, up by 66 visitors or(+25 percent).

The largest group of visitors came from mainlnd China. At 17,412, the number of buyers from mainland China again surpassed the number of Hong Kong-based visitors. The Hong Kong region follows with 16,328; India, 3,403; the US, 1,948; Taiwan region, 1,670; Thailand, 1,605; Japan, 1,398; the Philippines, 1,144; Korea, 988; and Australia, 738.

Commenting on the fact that 70 percent of the buyers came from overseas, Lau said this has made the September Fair a good barometer of business sentiment.

Yoram Dvash, president of the Israel Diamond Exchange, noted that in spite of current industry challenges, “it felt like buyers at the September Hong Kong Fair are regaining trust in the market.”

“They were very interested in the merchandise, and that’s an excellent sign for the future. The stability in polished prices in recent months contributes to the confidence of jewellery shops and manufacturers in purchasing goods. I am hopeful buyers will stock plenty of merchandise ahead of the holiday season,” said Dvash.

Hiroshi Maeda, manager of Urakei Pearl Co Ltd, said his team met with more than 200 new local and international target buyers at the fair. “We believe our presence at the fair is vital for our business development. The fair website was regularly updated. It is definitely the most influential B2B jewellery trade event in the world. We will participate in the 2017 shows, both in the June and September editions,” Maeda said.

The show also takes the lead in setting the agenda that would contribute to the development of the jewellery industry, Lau said. As such, the fair’s 34th edition saw the launch of the “Declaration Programme on Exhibits of Natural Diamonds.” Diamantaires who participated in the programme were allowed to display at their booths a poster, which clearly demonstrated to buyers that the goods being offered by these exhibitors were natural diamonds. This programme provided an easier and quicker way for buyers to make an informed decision when purchasing diamonds. Participants in the programme were members of global diamond trade organisations, including the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre and the Israel Diamond Institute.

At a press conference held during the fair, Wolfram Diener, senior vice president of UBM Asia, said, “It is in our interest, and in the industry’s interest, that we provide a healthy and professional business environment. The programme ensures that buyers get the proper, sufficient information about the products being offered at our fairs. We know there is a market for both natural and synthetic diamonds, and we want to be a platform for both. We are happy to have both at our show, but it is important that the buyers are well informed.”

Lau added, “The feedback from the participants regarding this initiative has been positive. They acknowledged that we are moving in the right direction.”

In 2017, both the June and September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fairs will reach new milestones: The June Fair will celebrate its 30th anniversary while the September Fair will celebrate its 35th anniversary. “We are planning some new features that will further enhance buyer experience at our shows,” Lau said. “We will launch a new theme pavilion named CORE, which will be located in Hall 1C-E at the HKCEC. It will house esteemed fine finished jewellery companies that have supported the Jewellery & Gem Fairs, and consider Hong Kong as the platform from which they grow their businesses. In the process, they have helped propel the city and witnessed its rise as a global jewellery industry powerhouse. The pavilion is a must-visit for jewellers in search of the world-class jewellery and excellent service that Hong Kong is known for.