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  Footfall brisk as Hong Kong jewellery fair opens

HONG KONG, September 21, 2012 - Footfall was brisk as the Hong Kong jewellery fair began on September 21, and buyer numbers were up eight percent year-on-year after the first two days of the Asia World-Expo gemstones and machinery event.
However, jewellers warned that fragile global economic conditions had triggered slowing growth in demand for fine jewellery in Asia.
Wolfram Diener, Senior Vice-President of UBM Asia Ltd, organiser of the Hong Kong September events, referred to high visitor numbers at the start of the jewellery show, which runs from September 21-25.
"Traffic (footfall) was very good this morning," he told a news conference.
Celine Lau, Director of Jewellery Fairs of UBM Asia Ltd, said 16,100 buyers had registered at the Asia World-Expo gemstone and machinery event in the first two days, up eight percent year-on-year, notably due to an increase in buyers from the Asia-Pacific region.
Billy Lau, Chairman of the Hong Kong Jewellery and Manufacturers' Association, said the weak global economy had led to a slowing of growth in demand for fine jewellery in Asia.
"For high-end product sales growth has been impacted, but for lower-end product, people still have a lot of money and are willing to buy," he said.
Kent Wong, Assistant Chairman of the Hong Kong Jewellers' and Goldsmiths' Association, said prospects were bright for tourist demand for jewellery in Hong Kong.
"We expect that in the second half of 2012, the industry will continue to benefit from an increase in numbers of tourists to Hong Kong," he said.
UBM announced plans for new jewellery fairs in Singapore and in Freiburg, Germany.
The Singapore Jewellery and Gem Fair will be held from 12-15 October 2013 at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.
"The Singapore Jewellery and Gem Fair is an opportunity to tap into a growing market," Diener said, noting that incomes in Singapore were among the highest in the world.
Singapore Jewellery and Gem Fair is an addition to UBM Asia's portfolio of 12 jewellery events in Hong Kong, Mainland China, India, Japan and Turkey, including the world's largest jewellery fair -- September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. 
The Singapore fair will have exhibitors of diamonds, pearls, precious and semi-precious gemstones, fine jewellery and silver jewellery from all over the world
Potential exhibitors and visitors polled said they believed the Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair and its October schedule will provide new business opportunities for them to tap into the robust Asian market all year round.
In cooperation with UBM Live, UBM Asia's sister company in Europe, UBM Asia will expand its global jewellery fairs portfolio to Europe with the launch of Jewellery & Gem Fair - Europe, or "JGF Europe", in April 2014 in Freiburg, Germany.
JGF Europe, which will be held at the Messe Freiburg, is positioned as a high-efficiency, high-level face-to-face jewellery business platform aimed at creating business value for international suppliers and buyers.
The concept had been supported overwhelmingly in a questionnaire of potential exhibitors, organisers said.
Freiburg in southwest Germany, is easily accessible by car or public tranport from major jewellery hubs such as Antwerp, Basel, Geneva, Paris, Pforzheim and Vicenza.
JGF Europe will be held around the same time as BASELWORLD in 2014.


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