Platinum Jewellery Market in China
Platinum jewellery has quietly emerged as a fast growing sector, vying with the gold jewellery sector as an equal. Within less than 10 years since platinum was first used as jewellery in China, it has developed rapidly. Now, it is quite common to find platinum jewellery occupying the most prominent place in retail jewellery outlets in every city. Since platinum, unlike gold, is not subject to supervision of the People’s Bank of China, the country’s monetary authority, the production and value added chains in platinum jewellery have expanded in number. According to statistics from World Platinum Association, platinum consumption in China in 2001 was 1.3 million ounce, that is, about 40 tons, accounting for 55.6% of the global production. Consumption registered further increase in 2002 and 2003. According to information from the China Gemmological Association, 60 tons of platinum were processed in China in 2003. It is estimated by industry insiders that platinum will be the highlight of China’s jewellery market in the years to come.
Scale production of platinum jewellery in China started as late as 1995, but the industry has recorded rapid progress since then, with a number of scale platinum jewellery processing enterprises, mainly located in Shenzhen and Panyu areas of Guangdong province. At present, there are two major components in platinum jewellery consumption: platinum jewellery and platinum mounted jewellery, of which the former is by far the largest component.
The industry’s demand for platinum rose at an amazing speed since 1999. In 2001, China overtook Japan as the largest consumer of platinum used in jewellery industry. At the same time, China became the biggest consumer of platinum jewellery in the world. In 2001, when global volume of jewellery-used platinum declined 11%, the figure for China increased by 18% to 1.3 million ounce. In 2002, when global volume rose 12.3% to 2.83 million ounce, the growth in China’s demand for jewellery-used platinum (1.48 million ounce) was higher at 14%.
Year Sales volume of platinum jewellery (million ounce)
- 1996 = 0.285
- 1999 = 0.95
- 2000 = 1.10
- 2001 = 1.30
- 2002 = 1.48
(Source: China Gemmological Association)
Platinum is expected to remain a highlight of the gems and jewellery industry in China, with prospects brighter than gold. Due to certain aesthetic preferences of the East Asians, platinum enjoys large and growing market in this region. Thus China and Japan are the two largest consumers of platinum jewellery.
Silver Jewellery Market in China
China is a large producer of silver. In 2003, total volume of silver processed in China was 400 tons, according to China Gemmological Association. When Huatong Silver Exchange was established in Shanghai on 1st January 2000, it was for the first time in 50 years that the silver market was opened up in China. With this, monopoly procurement and distribution of silver was abolished and market trading in silver commenced on the lines of non-ferrous metal trading, allowing direct interaction between producers of silver and the units using silver. At the same time, the administrative license-permit apparatus for processing, wholesaling and retailing of silver products was abolished. Export was encouraged, while import of silver and silver products restricted. Along with marketization of the silver industry, there have been changes in values. People no longer want to buy jewellery as a store of value, and use them more for cosmetic use. This has created increased demand for silver jewellery in China.
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