Global economic uncertainty didn’t prevent jewelers from attending March’s Hong Kong International Jewellery Show
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has branded its city as the “gateway to Asia,” and for many attendees, the 32nd annual Hong Kong International Jewellery Show—held March 4–8 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre—really is the entrée to the Asian market.
Asian companies that had previously catered to an exclusively Asian clientele or performed manufacturing work for Western brands were eager to connect with international buyers to bring new designs to the United States; international companies, meanwhile, came to connect with buyers ahead of the Baselworld and JCK Las Vegas shows and extend their reach into China and other Asian markets.
“Hong Kong is an important show for us,” said designer Vassiliki Theodorakidi of Athens, Greece–based Thyreos Vassiliki Art and Culture House. She said her gallery in Athens shares space with a museum and is a popular tourist attraction, allowing her a firsthand look at nationalities with the most disposable income to put toward travel—and jewelry.
“It’s our own personal market research,” she said. And it hadn’t led her astray. “It’s been good, busy,” she said of sales at the Hong Kong show. Up next: JCK Las Vegas. “That’s where we will be this year; that’s where people have money to spend.”
Anecdotal reports suggest that Thyreos Vassiliki had a better experience in Hong Kong than most exhibitors. The halls were, according to many reports, quieter than in years past, amidst growing concerns about weakening luxury demand in Russia, Europe, and China.
Cuff in 18k gold with 7.5 cts. t.w. sapphires and opal center; $14,500; Thyreos Vassiliki, Athens, Greece; 30-210-323-1701; thyreosvassiliki.com
The HKTDC, however, confirmed that participation at the show and its sister event, the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show (held at the AsiaWorld-Expo), was up 2 percent over 2014. Attendance from the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Japan saw double-digit percentage growth, and emerging-market attendance from such countries as Thailand and South Africa was also up.
At a breakfast for overseas journalists, Benedict Sin Nga Yan, a member of the jewelry advisory committee for HKTDC and the director of Myer Jewelry Manufacturer Ltd., said that with 43 percent of Hong Kong’s jewelry exports going to the United States and the EU, and emerging markets taking increasing market share, the show is a critical hub for the jewelry business.
“Despite global economic uncertainty, Hong Kong’s export of fine jewelry and gemstones remains resilient,” he said.