Antwerp trade signs deal with China’s ICBC
ANTWERP, July 4, 2011 – Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with ICBC, China’s largest bank, becoming the first diamond trade centre to gain a firm footing in the fast-growing Chinese market.
The bank had been looking into alternative investments for its 240 million private and corporate clients and has now found such an investment in the AWDC.
Jiang Jianqing, ICBC’s chairman said, “Diamonds are a special investment product and have a distinct function other investment products cannot match. The demand for diamonds to celebrate marriages is substantial, not to mention the high demand from the wealthy investor class.”
The agreement was a milestone for AWDC, as it enables the pre-financing of diamond transactions via ICBC.
This joining of forces will strongly support the Antwerp diamond trade’s expansion into China’s diamond industry.
Ari Epstein, CEO of AWDC, said, “This is a very important agreement. It is the first time that a Chinese bank fully commits itself and has decided to finance the diamond trade via Antwerp.”
Jiang Jianqing said, “We firmly believe the Belgian economy will play a predominant role in ending the financial crisis via the diamond industry.”
On October 24, 2011, AWDC will embark on a first ever, 10-day road show through China.
China’s most notable jewellers will meet with the Antwerp diamond trade in five different cities, with the support of ICBC and the Chinese government.
Through this agreement, AWDC also aims to be an important link in the chain for other sectors and industries.
Therefore the road show will be launched with a celebratory reception in ICBC’s headquarters in Beijing during HRH Prince Phillip of Belgium’s trade mission to China, on October 24, 2011.
Four thousand of ICBC’s most distinguished clients will be present.
Ari Epstein said, “We hope China will open its doors to other Belgian sectors of industry as well, via the contacts the Antwerp diamond trade has now.”