|Inside the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre where the finished fine jewelry portion of the fair was being held. Photo credit: UBM Asia|
Since the global financial crisis of 2008, economic instability, geopolitical tensions and outright war has factored into the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. But world’s largest trade fair proved to be resilient and kept growing.
This year, the fair (which ran from 16 - 22 September) may have faced its biggest challenge with a slowdown in the China market. For the show that bills itself as the “gateway to China,” this could have easily meant fewer visitors. However, the fair is on pace to achieve another year of record (although modest) growth, perhaps eclipsing 60,000 visitors. It should be noted that this is in comparison to a very strong 2014, when attendance grew by 12 percent.
Wolfram Diener, Senior VP of UBM Asia, which owns and operates the trade fair, acknowledged that not only China, but all the other BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are struggling this year. However, he also notes that jewelry sales grew 5.2 per cent for the first half of 2015 and the country's Gross Domestic Product grew by 7 per cent for the same period.
“I just came back from Shanghai furniture show and it had a 15 to 20 percent increase in buyers,” he says. “It’s not the market has perished but it’s a mixed picture.
In terms of sales it’s a little early but Diener says that business was better than the modest expectations going into the show.
“Most notable is that many exhibitors saw a more diverse buyer activity,” Diener says. “There were more orders from Japan, Korea, Philippines, US, whilst Chinese visitors appeared to buy more than earlier in the year.”
The number of vendors exhibiting this year totaled 3,748—53 more than last year—at the show’s two venues: The Asia World-Expo where jewelry making materials and equipment vendors are located; and the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, for fine jewelry exhibitors. The small increase is because both convention facilities are full. Any growth is due to the creative use of the 135,000 square meters of exhibition space.
“It’s a small increase but it reminds you that the show is worldwide and it reflects our constraints,” Diener says. “If we have more convention center facilities we could grow much more.”
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