INTERVIEW WITH DR. ELLEN LAU, MD CABLE GROUP LIMITED, HONG KONG

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

June 25 - July 1, 20
12

Dr. Ellen Lau, FGA, GG, MBA, PhD. is the managing director of Cable Group Limited located in Hong Kong SAR, China. She is a qualified gemologist, has a master degree in marketing and management . She has got an executive training at Harvard Business School in Boston (USA) and got political training in Tsinghua & Peking University in Beijing (China). She is a professional from jewelry industry. She is the vice president of Hong Kong gemstone manufacturing association (HKGMA), the vetting committee member of small medium enterprises (SME) section under Hong Kong SAR government. She is also the honorary trade consultant of consulate general of Pakistan of Hong Kong. She has got more than 25 years working experience in jewelry industry globally.

Cable Group deals with global consultancy and trade jewelry services mainly in gemstones and jewelry; from mine to wholesale and retailing setup, training and strategic business development investment, and setup partnership etc.

The team of group comprises of highly skilled consultants, staff and strategic partners worldwide who have good experience and strong international training and networking and strong influence and ability in jewelry sectors globally such as China, Saudi Arabia, Africa, and Pakistan.

Dr. Lau is a global consultant in Middle East, Asia pacific and China. She has been successful and effective business administrator in the jewelry industry with extensive network in China at government level. She has worked in trade in 17 Asia Pacific countries. She possesses a leading position in jewelry trade associations both in Hong Kong and China. She has been involved in global jewelry projects of more than 10 countries as senior high consultation level.

PAGE: DO YOU THINK GEMS AND JEWELRY SECTOR OF PAKISTAN HAS POTENTIAL FOR HUGE EXPORT?

DR. LAU: Interventions by ministry of production, TDAP through PGJDC in the areas of skill development and technology up-gradation has given the sector new dimension. PGJDC has contributed interaction between local business community and the international market and developed innovative and internationally competitive products targeting international markets at this exhibition. With key support from TDAP, the exhibition was held successfully in prime location in city inside Pearl Continental Hotel. Decoration reached international standard and all showcased the best of Pakistan's gems & jewelry products, highlighting both traditional and contemporary class. The events are being introduced to enrich Pakistan for new cutting gems and new jewelry designs in the most aesthetic style and create attractions for the overseas buyers.

The CE of TDAP, Mr. Puri, is very concerned and set up more effective policy and useful platform to assist SME and the high potential business sector to the growing up according to the successful stories from other countries. It is believed that the gems and jewelry sectors will play an important role as a key income for Pakistan in the coming ten years. The prime minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan inaugurated the event on 7th June at Pearl Continental Hotel. It proved that gems and jewelry sector is important in the business sector and it will increase the earning income and thousands of workforces in jewelry sections in future 5-10 years.

This exhibition focused on exhibiting gems and jewelry produced through latest technology and skills. The intricately crafted jewelry and precious and semi-precious gemstones found in Pakistan will ultimately reveal entire new markets to foreign buyers at B to B. It is a huge opportunity for the mine to wholesaler, and it has a very huge potential business for Pakistan export business. Also, there is a plenty of room to improve to reach the international standard. As referring to the figures from the government record, the export number for jewelry section was rising up and it seems to have a good future development for Pakistan itself in coming 5-10 years.

Karachi and Lahore are the main hubs for jewelry manufacturing. Major occasion for the purchase of jewellery in Pakistan is marriage. However, it is also purchased for investment purposes as gold is perceived as a form of savings and it is required for this purpose over countries. There are more than 30 major cities and nearly 300 smaller cities and towns where jewellery manufacturing and trading cater to domestic demand. In addition, there are about 45,000 villages where jewelers operate as single shops, manufacturing and selling units to meet the demand of the rural population. It is estimated that about more than 500,000 people are employed by gems or jewellery sector inside Pakistan.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON YOUR BUSINESS VISITS TO PAKISTAN.

DR. LAU: Pakistan is famous for many natural resources such as cotton yarn, sports goods, fresh/frozen foods, and fruits. Gemstone, one of key productions from Pakistan, is of very good quality and high standard in gem quality such as emerald, tourmaline, quartz, peridot, etc.

I was invited to attend the Pakistan Show at Karachi during 7-10 June 2012 for 4 days. The purpose in attending was that it was the first Pakistan Jewelry International Exhibition 2012 in the country. It was organized by Pakistan Gems & Jewelry Development Company (PGJDC), and it was supported by Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (DIDC), All Pakistan Gems & Jewellery Manufacturers Association (APGJMA). The event highlighted Pakistan's gems and jewelry products in the most aesthetic style and the international buyers were introduced through latest technology and skills.

PIGJE is a B2B event focusing on providing a lucrative platform to the thriving gems and jewelry sector of the country. Enabling environment is being created both for local and international traders to interact and promote business. Jewelers, gem dealers, and manufacturers of machinery, tools, equipment and allied products were displayed at the show.

Pakistan has an extra ordinary export potential of gemstones due to its abundant natural resources. Pakistan is the home of many varieties of gemstones, some of which make it prominent in the gemstone world.

Emerald excavated from Swat Valley ranks amongst the best in the world. Their colour with a pure verdant hue and a high degree of transparency, is comparable to high quality Columbia emeralds. Topaz from Katland is believed to be equivalent in quality to those found in Brazil. Peridots coming from Sput Kohitan are considered to be the best in the international market.

The most extensive ruby deposits are located in Hunza valley. Ruby produced from here ranges in color from light to deep red. Other major potential areas of ruby are located at Azad Jammu Kashmir, Hazara and Aquamarine is found in Shigar valley of Baltistan, Kaghan, Chitral and in the Neelum valley in Azad Kashmir. The aquamarine is transparent and ranges from sky blue to sea green in colour.

World-class crystal of minerals like bastnaesite, brookite, xenotine and other rare minerals, make Pakistan unique in the international markets. The major hubs of gemstone trading and processing are Gilgit, Mingora, Peshawar, and Karachi.

Jewelry manufacturing has become a part of subcontinent's cultural heritage during the Mughal era, in which the goldsmith attained a district statue as an artisan. The most famous genres that evolved in the subcontinent include minakari, kundan and nauratan. Traditional jewellery comes in the form of the Sola Singhar, beginning with a Teeka on the forehead to the Payal (anklet). The large domestic market is driven by demand for the 22kt traditional jewellery, and international demands are fulfilled in line with requirements by the international market

PAGE: COULD YOU GIVE YOUR INPUT ABOUT GEMS AND JEWELRY EXHIBITION IN PAKISTAN AND INTEREST OF THE FOREIGNERS?

DR. LAU: There were around a hundred booths in the exhibitions. New kinds of gems, unique design jewelry, and new silver jewelry were exhibited. It was also highlighting the traditional culture of Pakistan's gems and jewelry copied with contemporary class of the sector and will bring out gems and jewelry products in the most versatile manner in order to attract foreign buyers to the rich Pakistan market. Foreign buyers from over 16 countries and delegations from different parts of the world such as India, UAE, UK, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, France, Japan, Austria, and Canada etc graced the event with their presence.

Another part was great. The exhibition encompassed a seminar from the world-renowned speakers on gems & jewelry from ICA, HKGMA, CCJP, HKJMA, and many famous jewelry consultants and experts shared their experiences with the students and audience.

Through the development of B2B linkage with the international buyers, the exhibition will be one of the major contributions to increase export earning of the country. It targeted at $1.5 billion by 2017. It will create many thousand workforce for age 20-30. There will be rooms for improvement in the future in international standard.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON COST OF JEWELRY PRODUCTION IN HONG KONG AND PAKISTAN.

DR. LAU: The Consulate General of Pakistan in Hong Kong, GC Dr. Balal, Ali Nawaz created a good business platform for the Hong Kong / Chinese to attract investors. Setting up of a Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong may be very useful for facilitating Pakistan trade between Hong Kong / China which will be more promising in future increasing business.

As today's living standard in Hong Kong, setting up a factory for skilful labor is too high, so many factories were moving to mainland China where there are factories with thousand of workers. Hong Kong gemstones manufacturers may plan to set up training new hands in Pakistan to support Asian Market to expand the future business and to support the expansion business in Asia countries such as China, Singapore, and Dubai.

Setting up new training centre was welcomed and the cost may be competitive. It needs a long time to train the master hand for cutting to reach international standard.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON USE OF TECHNOLOGY AND STATE OF THE ART MACHINES AND EQUIPMENTS IN GEMS AND JEWELRY.

DR. LAU: As the world changing every day, the equipment for the gems identification is playing an important role to make sure the identity of the gemstones. The qualify of gemologist, designers, stone cutting, jewelry making, gold smith, silver smith, factory management, training master, they all need equipment such as computer and special cutting, setting machine to support their daily Consumers nowadays have been familiar with high technology and also new state of art machines applying in gems and jewellery. Therefore, the main trend for expanding in the gems and jewellery market is to catch up with the most updated use of technology.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON TRAINING FOR THE INDIVIDUALS WORKING IN GEMS AND JEWELRY SECTOR.

DR. LAU: Training for the individuals working in gems and jewelry sector plays an important role in the business success in the industry. As gems and jewelry industry involves many different working parts of individuals including cutting, laboratory, jewellery designer, sample maker, jewellery setting, goldsmith, sales, factory/shops management, it requires different requirement in every aspect. And, it is obvious that without skilful working individuals, it will not have a good environment for gems and jewelry trade development. My consultancy experiences have told us the top priority for training the right people to work for right task. It is decisive that the management in a company in gems and jewelry industry should be professional both in leading and training their individual staff to contribute to the expansion of the company.