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Soo Kee taps China's bridal market with Chinese JV partner Global Crown
HOMEGROWN jeweller Soo Kee Group has entered into a joint venture with Global Crown Group Holding, the parent company of a gold jewellery manufacturer and distributor in China, to tap the country's booming bridal market.
Named Diamond Avenue Investments, the joint venture company will be selling diamond jewellery from the Soo Kee's bespoke bridal jewellery brand Love & Co.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU), signed by Soo Kee founder and chairman Peter Lim and Global Crown director Chau Tsan Kwan on Wednesday, marked Soo Kee's foray into China.
The wedding industry in China grew by 40 per cent from US$57 billion in 2011 to US$80 billion in 2015, and according to a China Wedding Industry Development Report, it is expected to rise further.
Last year, wedding jewellery sales was estimated to account for more than half of the total consumption volume of jewellery in China, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council said.
With higher demand for exclusivity and individuality, it is expected that 75 per cent of those born in the 1980s and 1990s and living in the first- and second-tier cities would be choosing bespoke diamond rings for their weddings.
CEO of Soo Kee Group Daniel Lim said: "We believe that the market, supported by China's huge population, coupled with the increase in income and acceptance of Western wedding customs by millennial couples, present an immense potential for our Love & Co's bespoke jewellery collection."
To capitalise on these opportunities, Diamond Avenue will be setting up "a conservative" 550 outlets, directly owned and franchised, in both China and Hong Kong "to achieve an aggregate amount of two billion yuan (S$405.1 million) in revenue by the end of five years".
Soo Kee's wholly owned subsidiary Love & Co International and Global Crown will hold 55 per cent and 45 per cent of the issued and paid-up share capital of Diamond Avenue, respectively.
Mr Chau, who is also the chairman and CEO of Batar Group, a gold jewellery manufacturer and distributor in China, said: "With Soo Kee Group's extensive experience in branding and expertise in producing innovating and differentiated products, Love & Co's exquisite bridal jewellery collection will be a good fit in the China market as more consumers are turning to premium products which boost exclusivity and personalisation. In addition, this joint venture is able to leverage on the Batar's Group existing network to gain traction and enhance its brand credibility."