Gembridge appoints Chinese gemstones expert to expand footprints in China. Gembridge, a digital coloured gemstone trading platform, has appointed Shanghai-based gemstone dealer Chen Shen, a specialist in Colombian emeralds and a board member of the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA), to expand its business in China.
Chen will join a network of Gembridge industry ambassadors in the United States, Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia, adding Chinese buyers and sellers to the digital marketplace for coloured gemstones.
“We aim to be the digital bridge between the international marketplace and China’s growing coloured gemstone trade. Chinese buyers will be able to easily find stones that meet their requirements, and global sellers will have the opportunity to find new partners in the Chinese market,” said Nick Marrett, Chief Executive Officer, Gembridge.
Reacting to the appointment, Chan said, “Gembridge will bring to the Chinese market unmatched access to some of the world’s most beautiful gemstones and connect its international members with China’s vast market in new ways”.
China delivered more than half the global growth in luxury spending between 2012–18 and is expected to deliver 65 per cent of the world’s additional spending heading into 2025, according to research based on UnionPay transaction data for the 2019 McKinsey China Luxury Report.
To take advantage of the growth in China’s international jewellery and gemstones business, companies need to understand the Chinese digital economy.
“China has one of the most advanced digital eco-systems in the world,” says Chen. “And it is very unique compared to the rest of the world. Mobile technology has leapfrogged laptops and credit cards. Smart companies are supercharging e-commerce. Chinese home-grown platforms WeChat, Meitu, Douyin and other applications dominate the Chinese social digital world. This huge digital eco-system makes it easier for businesses and consumers to buy, including coloured gemstones.”
With the launch of the Hainan Free Trade Port in China in 2020, global players are now concentrating on China for luxury trade. The Chinese government has turned the island into a duty-free shopping hub.
Chen said: “Without having to travel abroad, Chinese consumers can now buy about US$ 15,000 per person of duty-free products, including gemstones and jewellery, on Hainan Island. By 2025, independent customs operations and a zero-tariff will be implemented throughout Hainan Island.”
“The total sales of goods in duty-free stores on Hainan in 2021 should exceed 60 billion yuan (about $9.15 billion), which is double the figure for the previous year. Gembridge is well-positioned to capture such a growth opportunity in China.”
Chen has a strong background in the gemstone trade. He founded Skywalk Global, a wholesale gemstone business specializing in Colombian emeralds, and went on to establish jewellery retailer Rico Gems in Shanghai in 2012.
One of his contributions to the industry was to raise the profile of pink sapphires in the Chinese jewellery TV shopping market.
Chen is an authority on emeralds and has often travelled to Colombia. He co-authored with Ronald Ringsrud “Emeralds: A Passionate Guide,” the first gemstone book about emeralds’ history published in China.