Antwerp to Mark 30 Years of Ties with Shanghai

PassportSizePhoto1842014234Antwerp: Antwerp’s two major export industries, diamonds and designer wear, are joining forces to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ties between the city and Shanghai.

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and BVBA 32, the financial force behind fashion designers Ann Demeulemeester, Haider Ackermann and Jean-Paul Lespagnard, will be organizing an exclusive diamond evening with a fashion show in Shanghai on October 14.

Chinese consumers account for almost a third of global sales in luxury goods, the AWDC said in a statement.

“China is the fastest growing market for diamonds,” said AWDC spokeswoman Margaux Donckier. “The American market has been on top for years, but is now rapidly being overtaken by China.

“The diamond market in China has a value of approximately $75 billion, a 25-percent increase compared to five years ago. The value of the Chinese diamond market is even expected to exceed $100 billion by 2015. As a result, China will be on the same level as the United States in the field of jewelry by 2020,” she added.

The growing popularity of diamonds is due to young Chinese couples increasingly choosing to buy a diamond engagement ring.

“For years now, China’s market for luxury goods has been growing tremendously. Next to the classic luxury brands, designer fashion is increasingly finding its way to China,” says Anne Chapelle, CEO of BVBA3. “In recent years, we have witnessed a remarkable growth of our brands. In cooperation with our local retail partner we have been able to open up a number of flagship stores and shop-in-shops as well.”

The AWDC said that several memoranda of understanding with the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE) will be renewed, providing for stronger cooperation between the AWDC and the SDE. In addition, both cities will actively promote each other as a center for diamond trade, and the high quality of Belgian diamonds and the ‘Cut in Antwerp’ quality label will be promoted even more.

The ‘Antwerp’s Most Brilliant’ quality label, reserved for Antwerp jewelers who meet high quality standards, will be actively promoted to Chinese visitors to Europe.

To promote the mission, the AWDC is organizing an exclusive event that brings diamond traders and fashion lovers together. The event will be followed by a gala dinner that will be officially opened by the mayor of Antwerp, Bart De Wever.

During the evening, guests will see a fashion show by three Antwerp designers of international fame, Demeulemeester, Ackermann and Lespagnard. The models will be wearing diamonds supplied by Antwerp diamond companies.