As a true international event the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair is susceptible to economic swings and geopolitical tensions throughout the world. This year the world’s largest fine jewelry tradeshow opened September 16 with perhaps its biggest challenge yet.
While unrest in the Middle East and the Ukraine as well as other geopolitical hotspots around the world has been going strong for the past few years, the big issue this year was China. The slowdown in consumer demand and the turbulence of the country’s stock markets has led to fears that the tradeshow would post a decline in attendance and business for the first time since 2008. In addition, the remaining BRIC countries (Brazil, China and India) suffered economic setbacks that were even greater than in China. However, the fair appears to have weathered the storms.
Final figures haven’t been announced yet but the trade fair is on pace to achieve another year of record—although very modest—growth, perhaps eclipsing 60,000 visitors for the first time, according to Wolfram Diener, senior VP of UBM Asia, which owns and operates the fair. It should be noted that this is in comparison to a very strong 2014 in which attendance grew by 12 percent. He adds that sales should be in the $850 million to $1 billon range, about the same as last year.
Not bad considering that many exhibitors were anticipating a much slower event.
Diener said that despite the China economic slowdown, it was positive consumer sentiment in China and other Asian countries that proved to be the difference for the positive showing at the fair.
“Most notable is that many exhibitors saw a more diverse buyer activity,” he says. “More orders from Japan, Korea, Philipines, US, whilst Chinese appeared to buy more then earlier this year (at the June Hong Kong jewelry fair).”