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Below-Peak Performance Yet HK Show Surpasses Other Jewellery Shows
Hong Kong Jewellery & Watch Fair 2006 was the largest edition of the Show in its history of 24 years...
By: Alok Kala
Oct 24 2006 12:00AM
Reference: 2153  


Hong Kong Jewellery & Watch Fair 2006 was the largest edition of the Show in its history of 24 years. Spread across the massive area of 80,000 square meters and accommodating over 5,000 exhibition booths in two grand venues. The Show which was previously limited to Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, was simultaneously organized at Asia World-Expo (AWE) too. The fair-area comprised all six main halls, the mezzanines and the atriums of HKCEC plus five halls at AWE. Well, the grandest Show of the world endeavoured to maintain its reputation. It was relatively slower but still better than other recent shows around the world.

Global Gathering:

Over 2500 exhibitors from 47 countries and regions showcased a stunning range of products from fine finished jewellery to polished diamonds and gemstones, all varieties of pearls, jade and jadeite, timepieces, jewellery packaging and display material and jewellery making equipment, tools and machinery. Besides, many trade associations and publications from all over the world also participated.

Parallel Events:

The 2006 edition of the HK Fair presented 21 national and group pavilions. The Show was well supplemented with events like pearl auctions, various informative seminars and forums and entertainment-packed evenings. Two well established pearl auctions i.e. 32nd Paspaley South Sea Pearl Auction and 30th Robert Wan Tahiti Pearls auction were scheduled from 16 to 18 and 20 to 21 September 2006 respectively.

Useful Seminars:

Numerous seminars were conducted during the Show by leading international jewellery organizations and companies which included Hong Kong Institute of Gemology, Antwerp World Diamond Centre, Asian Gemological Institute and Laboratory, Diamond Trading Company, Gemological Institute of America, amongst others.

India Evening:

The fair’s main reception which was held on September 19 was graced by many VIP guests from all over the globe. The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India also organized a party the India Evening. Other parties and get-togethers included Hong Kong International Jewelers’ Gala Evening 2006, Jewelmer Cocktail Night and Bling-Bling Gold party by the World Gold Council.

The Show was upto the participants’ expectations. Over 11,000 visitors looked for and got busy in various business transactions. However even after an additional venue the Show did not surpass or match the success of past years, but exhibitors and visitors were content as this Show was better than other shows of this year. Though Asia World Expo accommodated the waiting list of the exhibitors, yet it was felt that the results there were neither too fruitful, nor many visitors could reach the place easily. However, others were satisfied visiting the main venue.

Indian Delegation:

A seven member Indian delegation led by Rajiv Jain, Convener- Colored Gemstone Panel, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council visited Thailand and Hong Kong from September 13 to 19 2006. The purpose of this visit was better understanding of their trade and developing bilateral trade with these countries.

- Alok Kala

As currently dullness overhangs the international gems and jewellery sector all round, no trade fair could be expected to record roaring business; yet the Hong Kong Gems & Jewellery Expo held in mid-September, 2006, managed to achieve success. The total turnout of traders and visitors was understandably less than what Hong Kong draws at its popular shows, yet, the operators from many countries including India who displayed their choice gems and jewellery, pearls, watches, etc. were not disappointed much.

A cross-section of overseas operators when contacted during our visit to the Fair estimated that the shortfall in expected sales was 25 to 30 per cent. Nirmal Bardia of Jaipur disclosed that beads which are well-patronized at Hong Kong usually could attract 40% to 45% less buyers this time. On the other hand Chirag Shah of Diavin expressed complete satisfaction over their jewellery sales at the HK expo. So, the overall result may be summed up as below expectations, yet not entirely disappointing.

History Repeats Itself !
Surprisingly, the organizers ignored the debacle suffered by the BaselWorld fair a couple of years back when that world fair was bifurcated between Basel and Zurich due to over-crowding. But the remedy proved worse than the ailment! Regretting the blunder, BaselWorld revoked the bifurcation in 2005, to unify the expo again at Basel with double-decker stalls to cope with over-crowding. With bifurcation of the 2006 HK Fair into two venues, history repeated itself and taught the same lesson to Hong Kong.

From September 19 to 23, 2006 the Hong Kong Convention Centre at its traditional venue in Hong Kong was a crowd puller all right, but its experimental offshoot at the Asia World Expo from September 18 to 23 could attract visitors for the initial day only; on the remaining days it remained very dull.

Impending Goods & Service Tax Worrying HK

At the moment, the jewellery industry of Hong Kong is apprehensive that the introduction of a Goods & Service Tax (GST) could reduce its business by as much as 50%.

Hong Kong Jewellers’ & Goldsmiths’ Association Chairman Leng Sik-wah warned that regional competitors were now looking to highjack Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s prime market.

So far people have been coming to Hong Kong to buy jewellery because it has no GST. But they might go elsewhere if the tax is introduced,” he said after the opening of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Watch Fair.

The introduction of a GST, proposed by the government at a public consultation launched in July, is sure to reduce business, it is feared.

Liberal Party legislator Vincent Fang Kang said the Coalition Against Sales Tax, which he chairs, is canvassing exhibitors and buyers at the HK Fair and later hold a forum on the proposed levy.

He said imports of valuable metals and jewels were worth about HK$18 billion last year; if the GST was set at 5 per cent, the industry would incur a HK$ 900 million tax burden. “I am really worried that the tax would affect the customers desire to purchase in Hong Kong”, he added.

Lawrence Ma Yung-yi, of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, foresaw a drop of 20 to 30 per cent in business if GST was introduced. The small and medium-sized enterprises would receive the hardest blow,” he said.

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