China expects to import $900 million worth of diamonds this year – and double that within three to five years – as it starts cutting and polishing more rough stones to dazzle Chinese customers, a Chinese official said Wednesday, Associated Press reported.
Speaking at the recent diamond conference in Antwerp, Yu Huimin, secretary general of China's Diamond Administration, told participants that the country was already on track for diamond imports to jump 60% from last year, the report said.
Imports of polished stones have already surged 180% to $200 million in the first half of 2007 compared with the previous year as demand from Chinese luxury customers surges.
Speaking through an interpreter, Yu said there were no authoritative figures for future demand in China but gem industry estimates forecast that the entire Chinese jewelry market would be worth $2.5 billion by 2010.
He said trade should increase to between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion next year.
Yu told an audience of diamond dealers that China was a “good and stable environment” to outsource diamond processing, promising fewer strikes than in India and wages that are a tenth of European diamond workers.
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