The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) this week traveled to Guangzhou, China, for a networking blitz/conference tour on the Mainland, jointly organized with the Guangzhou Diamond Exchange. Mainland China presents a massive new opportunity for growth beyond the traditional markets of Hong Kong and Shanghai, so the AWDC set off with a group of diamond traders to meet up with a delegation of Chinese jewelry manufacturers looking for polished diamond suppliers in Antwerp. Several Chinese jewelers took the opportunity to sign on to be DnA (Diamonds & Antwerp) Ambassadors, sourcing their goods from and promoting DnA-branded diamonds from Antwerp.
That same evening, the AWDC, backed by the Governor of Antwerp Cathy Berx, the Consulate General of Belgium in Guangzhou and Flanders Investment & Trade, hosted a gala evening, welcoming Martin Rapaport, among others, to join the festivities. The Guangzhou Diamond Exchange is located in the heart of the Panyu district, which is one of the largest manufacturing hubs for the global gem & jewelry industry. Panyu provides about 25 percent of all jewelry exports from Hong Kong and mainland China, and 60 percent of all jewelry production nationwide.
On day one, the Antwerp delegation, along with a host of respected speakers, shared their perspective on diamond industry trends at the opening of International Jewelry & Diamond Conference (Guangzhou) 2018, entitled. "The Dragon and the Diamond/The Glory and the Jewelry". The Conference, organized by the Guangzhou Diamond Exchange (GZDE) and Guangdong Gems & Jade Exchange (GDGJE) and co-organized by the AWDC, welcomed more than 600 visitors from across the globe. The opening ceremony featured the signing of a MoU by the two Exchanges with such partners as AWDC, HRD Antwerp, Rapaport and Shenzhen Culture Assets and Equity Exchange. The GZDE and AWDC signed an MoU to foster cooperation on the DnA quality label and its promotion by its Chinese ambassadors, to develop a closed-circuit China-Belgium diamond certification system and foster the exchange of market information.
Guest speakers at the main forum included Liang Ming, Director of Foreign Trade Research Institute of Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, Clement Sabbagh, Chairman of the International Colored Gemstone Association, and Martin Rapaport, who talked about the supply side revolution, mine-to-consumer branding, online trading platforms, the challenge from synthetics and the future of diamond prices and demand. The two Exchanges held parallel sub-fora, as the GZDE initiated the establishment of the Rough Diamond Alliance to improve the participation in the rough diamonds sector and optimize China’s diamond industry supply chain, while GDGJD established its Designer Club, providing a communication platform for domestic and foreign designers, offering related services such as intellectual property protection and development, and spurring the innovation and upgrading of the industry.
The International Jewelry & Diamond Conference 2018 aims to provide a communicating and matchmaking platform for domestic and foreign industry companies and partners, and to explore improvements in the quality of China’s jewelry and diamond raw material supply system in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative, Greater Bay Area Strategy and the construction of the Free Trade Port. It has effectively enhanced the influence of the jewelry and diamond industry in Panyu, Guangzhou, promoting the integration of China’s jewelry and diamond industry chain into the international market, and moved towards the high end of the value chain.