Beijing: China imported a record US$77.91 million (Rs31,943 crore) worth of diamonds in the first quarter of the year, registering a glittering growth of 170% over the same period last year, signalling huge opportunities for Indian exporters.
Shanghai Diamond Exchange imported $76 million worth of refined diamonds from January to March, accounting for 97.6% of the total, an increase of 188% from the comparable figure of last year. The exchange is now the only channel by which commonly-traded diamonds can legally flow in and out of China.
On 1 July 2006, China scrapped value-added tax on imported uncut diamonds, and lowered the tax rate on imported refined diamonds from 17% to 4% in a move designed to cut “widespread smuggling” of the precious stone.
China’s impressive growth in the sector confirmed a recent analysis of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).
A seven-member Indian delegation led by GJEPC vice-chairman Vasant Mehta visited China recently to identify areas for joint ventures and enhance the bilateral trade relations. “We were looking for a niche market in China’s fast-growing diamond market,” Mehta said, adding that the delegation was of the view that the Chinese jewellery industry is looking for reliable suppliers of diamonds, in an attempt to meet the demand of a fast-growing domestic market.
Mehta said the delegation was highly impressed by the Chinese gems and jewellery industry and sought cooperation.
“We explained that since India and China are two of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the two of us working together could make both our markets the two biggest in the world as well,” he said.
China had a GDP growth rate in 2006 of 10.7% and a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $1,900.
It is the second largest economy after the United States if measured in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms or the fourth largest in the world.
The GJEPC delegation also visited key jewellery manufacturing hubs in places like Shenzhen, Panyu near Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing, in the hope of establishing direct sales to China rather than through intermediaries in other countries.
Apart from discussing possible links with host Chinese institutions in each city, the delegation also made presentations to manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers on the Indian industry and what it could do for them.
The GJEPC has also invited the Gem & Jewellery Trade Association of China to send a buyer delegation to the Indian International Jewellery Show (IIJS) to be held in Mumbai from 30 August to 3 September.