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Dragons fly as Chinese language millennials take a shine to gold

SHANGHAI: For a lot of prosperous younger Chinese language shoppers, trendy simplicity is out and custom is again in in the case of jewelry.

Gross sales of gold bracelets, pendants, earrings and necklaces that draw on dragons, phoenixes, peonies and different conventional Chinese language patterns and symbols are flying amongst shoppers, particularly these of their 20s and 30s, serving to drive a rebound in gold demand within the nation after a pandemic-induced hunch.

An e-commerce increase and nationwide satisfaction are fuelling the rise in demand for what is named heritage gold jewelry, which requires intricate craftsmanship and may command premiums of 20 per cent or extra over standard gold jewelry, trade executives say.

The recognition of those new items started to take off in mid-2020 and helped gold jewelry demand in China – the world’s prime shopper of the metallic – greater than double within the first half of 2021 from a yr earlier to pre-pandemic ranges, in line with the World Gold Council (WGC).

A strengthening economic system and bettering shopper spending are serving to gross sales. Younger shoppers’ curiosity within the traditional designs and sometimes chunky gold jewelry with a matte end marks a turnaround of their urge for food for the valuable metallic, beforehand eschewed as an ostentatious signal of wealth and standing image for older generations.

It additionally offers a lift for gold at a time when demand from India, the world’s second-largest shopper, has been hit because the pandemic delayed weddings, the place gold is historically included within the dowry.

Main Chinese language jewelry retailers like Hong Kong-listed Chow Tai Fook Jewelry Group and Luk Fook Holdings Worldwide stated their heritage gold collections are doing nicely particularly amongst younger shoppers.

Chow Tai Fook, China’s largest jeweller by market worth, stated its heritage gold assortment accounted for 40 per cent of the whole worth of its retail gross sales of gold merchandise in mainland China in its fiscal year-ended March 2021 – up from 29 per cent the earlier yr, sooner development than for different jewelry.

A part of heritage gold jewelry’s enchantment, particularly amongst younger shoppers, displays a want to be patriotic amid a backlash in opposition to Western attire manufacturers in China that expressed concern over allegations of rights abuses within the Chinese language area of Xinjiang. Beijing has denied the allegations.

“The youthful technology grew up when China’s economic system was stronger, they’ve extra confidence in Chinese language growth and should have much less admiration for Western tradition,” stated Roland Wang, managing director of WGC China.

“They need to have extra conventional Chinese language tradition of their each day life, which might be represented by what they put on or how they adorn their residence … Heritage gold can ship this.”

Gao, a 29-year-old gross sales govt from japanese Jiangsu province, who solely needed to be recognized by a single identify, says she has spent 30,000 yuan (US$4,620) this yr on a bracelet and hairpin, that includes filigree patterns, for on a regular basis use. She plans to move them on to her two-year outdated daughter in the future.

“I actually like Chinese language tradition and like merchandise with Chinese language historical past. I usually put on (conventional) Han-style clothes, which is why I select heritage gold, to match my general look,” Gao stated.

Jewellers say the merchandise are more and more in style with millennials in Beijing, Shanghai and different huge cities too and a increase in e-commerce, giving shoppers entry to a lot better alternative of jewelry merchandise, is reinforcing the development.

“The pandemic certainly made me spend extra on gold jewelry … It sparked plenty of live-streaming gross sales,” stated Gao.


In anticipation of longer-term demand, gold jewelry producers are stepping up funding in heritage gold. A supervisor at a Shenzhen-based producer, who declined to be recognized as he was unauthorized to talk to the media, stated his agency is principally selling heritage gold this yr after receiving massive orders from main manufacturers and prospects.

“Heritage gold gross sales had been superb this Lunar New 12 months vacation, surpassing that of standard gold jewelry,” he stated.

“After seeing this development, our firm expanded analysis and growth on design and expertise to create extra new designs of heritage gold. Different gold jewelry producers in Shenzhen are doing the identical.”

The China Gold Affiliation says heritage gold jewelry has develop into the primary driving drive within the trade’s restoration from the impression of the pandemic. And quick development appears to be like set to proceed.

Based on trade and market analysis consultancy Beijing Zhiyan Kexin Consulting, the marketplace for heritage gold in China elevated tenfold between 2017 and 2019, and is seen reaching practically 100 billion yuan (US$15.43 billion) by 2024. Its share of China’s gold jewelry market is forecast to leap from lower than 2 per cent in 2017 to just about 1 / 4 by 2024.

“Gold jewelry enterprises are quickly recognising the significance of cultural worth and are digging deep into it,” the consultancy stated in a report on heritage gold in January.


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