China’s low labour cost and improved manufacturing technology are putting a strain on Thailand’s jewellery market. Local manufacturers and exporters are finding it hard to compete with Chinese products in the mass export market, and must now shift their focus to more high-value and design products, Bangkok Post reported.
This shift would allow Thailand to tap into China’s growing luxury market due to rising consumer appetite and purchasing power.
"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) was quoted as saying.
"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."
The government should also organise international fairs in Thailand and offer more trade incentives, Ho added.
For years, Thailand has been a major jewellery production and export hub in Asia, with a total export value of $1.23 trillion in 2011, up from $10 million 40 years ago, according to the report.
As US and European markets struggle to survive the global recession, the Chinese market remains strong and hence must be the focus of local exporters.
Hoping to tap into the Chinese market and benefit from low labour costs, some Thai jewellers have set up production lines in China.
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