More sparkles for China from De Beers

While still new in China, diamond jeweller De Beers plans to grow big in the world’s second largest economy.

De Beers, together with its joint venture partner LVMH, will open at least six new stores in China this year, cashing in on the high demand for diamonds in the mainland.

“We are looking at expanding our shops in continental China big time in 2012. We are growing the business where the biggest growth is – in Asia,” said De Beers CEO Philippe Mellier.

De Beers sees China, India and the Gulf to be its biggest diamond market by 2015, taking over the position of the US. At present the US accounts 38 per cent of the De Beers’ total diamond market while China, Japan and India only comprise one third of it.

The jeweller which belongs to global miner Anglo American will also allocate spending on refurbishment of its stores in Old Bond St in London and Fifth Avenue in New York in a bid to lure more Chinese traveling to those places.

De Beers, which experienced a roller coaster year in 2011, expects more stability this year.

“We said at the end of last year that demand was going to stabilise before rebounding and this is what we are looking at today. We are seeing a lot of stability in the marketplace, which is an encouraging sign for the next few months,” Mellier said.

De Beers mines its diamonds in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. It invested US$43 million on new mining exploration in Gahcho Kue in Canada which is expected to yield 4.5 million carats annually for more than 11 years.

De Beers’ total sales last year rose 26 per cent to US$7.4 billion and EBIT accelerated 21 per cent to US$1.7 billion.


You have 7 articles remaining. Unlock 15 free articles a month, it’s free.