If you’re a jewellery brand thinking of tackling the Russian market then maybe think again. At least that was the overwhelming message given by Elena Veselaya, editor of Russia’s watch and jewellery publication J&W Magazine, during a talk at the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show.
“My advice to a foreign brand thinking of entering the Russian market would be not to enter the Russian market,” she said, explaining that the market is based on established relationships and largely closed to outsiders. Well I guess that’s that then. But this was just one of the interesting talks put on at the show, which is organised by the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council (HKTDC). I also went to an informative talk about online diamond trading, where businesses were urged to embrace new technology and buy and sell online by speaker Saville Stern, a senior manager at diamond specialist Rapaport. Luigi Marostica, promotional representative for the Italian Federation of Gold, Silverware and Jewellery Manufacturers, gave us an insight into the Italian market at another talk, revealing the strength of Italian exports, where jewellers from the country are cashing in on the lucrative Hong Kong and Chinese market. While Michael Krzemnicki, director of the Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF, gave an informative and interesting talk on fancy coloured stones.
In short, there were business lessons to be learnt aplenty at the show, which I have to say was extremely well organised and executed. I was also struck by the number of buyers at the event, which the HKTDC reports hit a record number during its four-day run from March 4 to 8. The Hong Kong show really is international and there seemed to be buyers from numerous locations milling about at the show, and it is definitely worth a look.
However, this was my first trip to Hong Kong and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see some of the sights. I managed to take in the breathtaking sights from Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island, well worth the trip if not least for the tram that takes you there. Nearly vertical as it ascends the peak and minus seatbelts it would send health and safety officials into a spin in this country, which is precisely why it’s so fun.
I also managed to meet up with the lovely team from jewellery brand Chamilia at the show and we caught the Star Ferry - a definite must for great views - across the harbour to Kowloon Island for a bite to eat, and a spot of shopping in the night markets, where you can snap up I Love Hong Kong t-shirts aplenty. You really never can have enough of those things.
All in all it was a great trip, a great show and a great city. I would recommend it to anyone interested in seeing how they’re doing things in Asia.