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China’s gold jewellery market shines; culturally resonant designs draw young buyers to gold


The guochao or ‘China chic’ trend, which celebrates Chinese identity, coupled with gold’s increasing value, is creating a market opportunity. Young people are prioritising the purchasing experience, craftsmanship and the narratives behind jewellery, says Chow Tai Fook managing director


Many Chinese believe that they may face challenges during years that match the zodiac sign they were born under. So people born in the Year of the Dragon, like Wu, may believe they are at risk of financial setbacks or health issues. However, these can be warded off by wearing or carrying talismans.


But that is not the only reason Wu made the purchase. “I bought gold jewellery mainly for its value preservation, viewing it as a form of investment.” Wu said. “The designs are getting much fancier now, with collaborations featuring animated [characters] or ‘guochao’ elements. It’s changing the stereotyped impressions associated with gold accessories.”


The rise of the guochao or “China chic” trend, which celebrates Chinese identity, coupled with the increasing value of gold, has created significant market opportunities in the gold jewellery market in China, which was valued at 410 billion yuan (US$57 billion) in 2022, according to the Gems and Jewelry Trade Association of China. The market has grown about 12 per cent compared with the pre-pandemic level in 2019 and 66 per cent compared with 2012.


Kent Wong Siu-kee, Chow Tai Fook managing director, said gold jewellery with cultural innovations has grown more popular among young consumers in recent years. Photo: Handout

Kent Wong Siu-kee, Chow Tai Fook managing director, said gold jewellery with cultural innovations has grown more popular among young consumers in recent years. Photo: Handout

A report released by Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com last year showed that from 2019 to 2022, the variety of products with guochao elements more than tripled, and the number of consumers purchasing guochao-related goods grew more than 70 per cent, with transaction amounts increasing by 355 per cent.


“Young people are increasingly drawn to Chinese culture and actively seeking to experience different cultural aspects, owing to their growing confidence in Chinese culture,” said Chow Tai Fook’s managing director Kent Wong. “So gold jewellery, especially those with cultural innovations, are particularly popular among young consumers in recent years.”


In addition, gold jewellery has gained favour because consumers see the metal as a safe store of value amid an economic slowdown when both property and stocks are suffering, he said.


A recent survey of 5,000 Chinese consumers aged between 18 and 40 showed that more than 90 per cent prefer to buy jewellery with symbolic meaning related to Chinese culture. According to the survey, carried out by market research company Ipsos for Chow Tai Fook, around two thirds of respondents were interested in buying gold jewellery.




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