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Gemstones & Jewellery: New market strategy

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Low labour costs gives advantage to factories in China so Thailand must add value elsewhere: unique designs, quality certification, Chinese luxury market. 

AIGS

Photo above of students learning basic knowledge about gems at the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS) in Silom, Bangkok.

Read previous jewelery-related articles here:  #1 and #2.

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JEWELLERY

AIGS: Thailand should aim upmarket

5/03/2012
Krissana Parnsoonthorn

Thai jewellery producers and exporters should shift their focus to more high-value and design products and aggressively penetrate the Chinese luxury market due to huge demand and rising purchasing power.

Thai jewellery can no longer compete with Chinese products in the mass export markets now due to China's cheaper labour.

"All the labour costs are so much cheaper in China, from polishing and cutting precious stones to setting gems," said Kennedy Ho, chief executive of the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS).

Our prices cannot compete in the mass export market, so we should create unique designs that are hard to copy or find value for Thai jewellery.

Thailand has been an Asian jewellery production and export hub for years, exporting US$1.23 trillion worth last year, up from only $10 million 40 years ago.

The Ho family has run a jewellery business in Thailand for many decades and owns the Jewelry Trade Centre on Silom Road.

Mr Ho suggests the government organise international fairs in Thailand and offer more trade incentives.

While the US and European markets are shrinking due to lingering economic problems, the Chinese market is burgeoning and should be a focal point of local exporters.

Some Thai jewellers set up production lines in China to benefit from low labour costs.

Myanmar is also piquing the interest of Thai jewellers.

The Bangkok-based AIGS plans to open a jewellery design school and test lab in Yangon to certify diamonds, gemstones and jewellery sold in Myanmar.

"Tourists to Myanmar often want to buy some jewellery but are not sure about genuine quality. There is potential to have a certified body verify the gems in that country," said Mr Ho.

(Source: Bangkok Post, JEWELLERY, AIGS: Thailand should aim upmarket, 5/03/2012, Krissana Parnsoonthorn, link

Jewellery Industry Vocabulary

Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS) - a private gemological school and laboratory in Bangkok founded in 1978, located in the Jewelry Trade Center, on Silom road, in the heart of the jewelry district of Bangkok, offers a diploma course including gemstone identification, grading and pricing, the gemological Laboratory has expertise in colored gemstones, especially ruby, sapphire, emerald, jade and rare stones, but it also provides identification and grading services for diamonds and jewelry (See Wikipedia)

jewellery - ornaments that people wear on their body such as rings, necklaces, bracelets made of valuable metals such as gold and silver and often decorated with precious stones (jewels, gems), also spelled "jewelry" (See Wikipedia)

precious - of great value because of being rare, worth a lot of money; rare and much loved มีค่า,ล้ำค่า ที่มีค่าสูงส่ง  
precious stone - a valuable stone such as a diamond or ruby, especially when cut into a regular shape and used to decorate jewellry อัญมณี, เพชรพลอย (See Wikipedia)
jewel - Same as "precious stone"
gem - Same as "precious stone"
gemstone - Same as "precious stone"
five cardinal gems - the five cardinal gems that have traditionally been considered more valuable than all the others: diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire, amethyst (See Wikipedia)
gemology (noun) - the study of gemstones 
gemological (adjective) - related to the study of gemstones 
gemologist - an expert in the subject of gemstones

polish - rubbing an object to make the object shine ขัด, ขัดให้ขึ้นเงา
gemstone polishing - (See Google)
set gemstone - place a gemstone in a piece of jewelry such as a ring or bracelet (See Google)

aim - purpose; goal; the thing you hope to achieve by doing something เป้าหมาย จุดมุ่งหมาย
upmarket - higher quality more expensive kinds of products for customers who are willing to spend more
aim upmarket -
make high quality expensive products your goal

AIGS: Thailand should aim upmarket

shift - 1. to change; 2. to transfer; to move from one place to another เคลื่อนย้าย โยกย้าย
focus - the main thing you are concerned with ให้ความสำคัญ to think about and work on one thing (rather than waste time on many), concentrate time and attention on one thing
shift focus - change the main area that you are concerned with (in your business, for example)
aggressively - done with great energy and intensity
penetrate a market - win customers in a market and sell your company's goods in a new market
aggressively penetrate a market -
work very hard to win customers and sell goods in some new market
luxury
- the best and most expensive of some kind of good, product or service ที่หรูหรา
Chinese luxury market
demand - the need and desire to buy goods and services by households and businesses
huge demand - many people want to buy
purchasing power - have a lot of money to buy things with
rising purchasing power - have more and more money each year to buy things with

Thai jewellery producers and exporters should shift their focus to more high-value and design products and aggressively penetrate the Chinese luxury market due to huge demand and rising purchasing power.

mass - large numbers จำนวนมหาศาล
mass export markets  

Thai jewellery can no longer compete with Chinese products in the mass export markets now due to China's cheaper labour.  "All the labour costs are so much cheaper in China, from polishing and cutting precious stones to setting gems," said Kennedy Ho, chief executive of the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS).

unique - very special, unusual or good ที่มีลักษณะพิเศษ เป็นเอกลักษณ์
unique designs - very special designs (different from others)
hard to copy - difficult to make the same

Our prices cannot compete in the mass export market, so we should create unique designs that are hard to copy or find value for Thai jewellery.

hub - the central or main part of something where there is most activity จุดศูนย์กลาง
Asian jewellery production and export hub
decades - periods of ten years เป็นสิบๆปี

Thailand has been an Asian jewellery production and export hub for years, exporting US$1.23 trillion worth last year, up from only $10 million 40 years ago. The Ho family has run a jewellery business in Thailand for many decades and owns the Jewelry Trade Centre on Silom Road.

international -  between countries ระหว่างประเทศ
international fairs - international trade fairs, an event where buyers and sellers from many different countries can meet and see what what products are available
trade fair -
an event that companies in an industry can show and demonstrate their latest products and see what products are available (See Wikipedia)
trade - 1. the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย; 2. a job, business or industry, especially one which needs special skill อาชีพ
incentives - rewards to encourage an activity (export production) or behaviour รางวัล ผลตอบแทน
trade incentives - giving something to businesses as a reward for growing a successful business in some industry (for example, exports)

Mr Ho suggests the government organise international fairs in Thailand and offer more trade incentives.

lingering - to continue for a long time, lasting for a long time, especially when this is unpleasant ที่อ้อยอิ่ง ยืดเยื้อมานาน อย่างอ้อยอิ่ง
burgeoning - growing or developing quickly
local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น

While the US and European markets are shrinking due to lingering economic problems, the Chinese market is burgeoning and should be a focal point of local exporters.

production line - assembly line, a series of steps in a factory in which parts and components are put together and assembled by workers to make finished products to be sold in the market (See Wikipedia on production line and assembly line)
benefit - to get help or an advantage from something ผลประโยชน์
benefit from low labour costs
piquing the interest - making more interested

Some Thai jewellers set up production lines in China to benefit from low labour costs. Myanmar is also piquing the interest of Thai jewellers. The Bangkok-based AIGS plans to open a jewellery design school and test lab in Yangon to certify diamonds, gemstones and jewellery sold in Myanmar.

certified - inspect officially and verify that something claimed is in fact true; that a company follows the rules and does not deceive customers ผ่านการรับรองคุณภาพ ออกใบรับรอง

genuine - real; not fake
potential - the possibility that something might happen ความเป็นไปได้
verify - check and prove that something is true or that standards have been met พิสูจน์ว่าเป็นความจริง

"Tourists to Myanmar often want to buy some jewellery but are not sure about genuine quality. There is potential to have a certified body verify the gems in that country," said Mr Ho.

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