Speech by SCED at opening reception of Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show (English only)
Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the opening reception of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show today (March 1):
Benedict (Chairman of the HKTDC Jewellery Advisory Committee, Mr Benedict Sin), Lawrence (Chairman of the HKTDC Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show and HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewellery Show Organising Committees, Mr Lawrence Ma), Margaret (Executive Director of the HKTDC, Ms Margaret Fong), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to join you today at the opening reception for the Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show. A very warm welcome to you all, especially those who have travelled a long distance to be here with us today.
I remember I officiated at the inaugural Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show at this same venue two years ago. And on that occasion, we also witnessed the birth of the "two shows, two venues" approach, with the International Jewellery Show being held in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, and the Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show being held here in AsiaWorld-Expo.
Today, I am very proud to say that the two shows together have become the largest jewellery marketplace in the world. The twin shows offer platforms for buyers to source a wide variety of exquisite jewels, and for exhibitors to expand businesses into the world. This year, we have a record-breaking number of participants - we have over 4,380 exhibitors from 54 countries and regions participating in the twin shows.
Hong Kong is well known as the "Pearl of the Orient" for the city's glamour. Likewise, our jewellery industry, with its sophisticated designs and supreme product quality, is one of the sparkling pearls in the international jewellery arena.
Indeed, the jewellery industry has brought us significant economic benefits. In 2015, our total export value of precious jewellery, pearls, gem stones and semi-precious stones was about US$26 billion. In particular, the exports to emerging markets, including Thailand, the Philippines and Mexico, recorded a significant upsurge in 2015 with a year-on-year increase of 70 per cent, 33 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.
These numbers mean business, especially with those three emerging markets. The numbers also underline our standing as the world's premier jewellery trading and production hub, a position that we have earned thanks to the impeccable craftsmanship and design innovation of our jewellery manufacturers.
In the next few days, you are going to experience a wealth of dazzling jewels, from fancy diamonds, precious gem stones and pearls, to top-tier collections showcasing the design of our talented jewellery manufacturers.
I want to congratulate the Hong Kong Trade Development Council as well as the four co-organisers. You have all done a magnificent job putting together the twin shows. I wish you all the best of business and an enjoyable stay in Hong Kong. If you can spare some time outside of the exhibition halls, do shop a lot and enjoy our wide variety of gourmet offers.
Ends/Tuesday, March 1, 2016