The judging panel has worked diligently over this past month, as their job keeps getting tougher and tougher each year. In 2019, there are almost 100 high-quality entries from 15 countries and regions.
Letitia Chow, Chairperson of the JNA Awards, and Director of Business Development -- Jewellery Group at Informa Markets, commented, "Of the 39 Honouree companies that were shortlisted, almost half of them are first-time entrants, indicating a growing interest among quality companies who recognise the importance of this platform. We have also received a record number of entries from Thailand, second in ranking together with India and Hong Kong, reflecting the importance of this market which has been traditionally modest about its accomplishment."
The 2019 independent judging panel consists of industry experts: James Courage, former Chief Executive Officer of Platinum Guild International (PGI) and former Chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC); Albert Cheng, former Managing Director of World Gold Council, Far East (WGC); Lin Qiang, President and Managing Director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE); Nirupa Bhatt, Managing Director of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) India and Middle East; Yasukazu Suwa, Chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc.; and Mark Lee, Research Director of Asia Pacific Institute for Strategy (APIFS).
Courage shared, "The quality of this year's entries, along with its diversity in terms of size, type and geography, are worth noting. Despite facing challenges, the industry -- through these entries -- showed its focus and determination when it comes to investing in innovation, operating systems and consumer research."
Cheng added, "Just like in the last seven years, Industry Innovation of the Year proved to be the most popular category. The Young Entrepreneur Honourees -- whose credentials, professionalism and innovativeness reflect on their outstanding businesses -- are equally impressive."
Lin remarked, "It is surprising and inspiring to know that nearly 100 entries were received -- more than half of which are from first-time entrants. The influence and credibility of the JNA Awards is beyond question. It will be a rewarding journey for everyone involved."
"Having worked with the JNA Awards since 2013, I noticed that the judging process grows more difficult as the entries reach new heights and push the boundaries of excellence year after year," Bhatt noted.
Suwa expressed, "Entrants to the JNA Awards vary from very big corporations to small ones. I kept in mind to judge them based on their mission and the long-term good they have been doing for people, regardless of the company's size."
Lee also added, "The JNA Awards continues to strengthen its role as an excellent platform to showcase the industry's progress and success. The entries, particularly in the areas of innovation and marketing, are truly impressive."