The JNA Awards is honouring three influential women leaders in the jewellery industry as recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Sharing the same passion and dream, these entrepreneurs have each transformed the retail sector and influenced the industry in their own respective ways.
Hung Ming Li
Wang Chun Li
Cao Thi Ngoc Dung
This year’s recipients of the JNA Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award have helped revolutionise the retail sector with their passion and dedication.
Cao Thi Ngoc Dung, founder and chairperson of Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ); Hung Ming Li, founder and chairman of Taiwan-based Chii Lih Coral; and Wang Chun Li, managing director and general manager of Beijing Caishikou Department Store (Beijing Caibai) will be honoured at the JNA Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner on September 17 during the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.
“The JNA Awards was founded to recognise innovative ideas, best practices and successful business models. Honouring these ladies with such vision and perseverance exemplifies what this award stands for,” explained Letitia Chow, chairperson of the JNA Awards and director of Business Development – Jewellery Group at Informa Markets.
Cao Thi Ngoc Dung
Cao intended to revive the traditional Vietnamese jewellery industry. Believing that “anything made overseas can be made domestically,” she persevered and engaged in research by joining jewellery expos, visiting and studying large jewellery factories across Asia, and investing in state-of-the-art technology that would become crucial to PNJ’s growth.
Under Cao’s leadership, PNJ has grown from an initial team of 20 to become the largest jewellery retailer in Vietnam employing nearly 7,000 staff. Its products are carried in nearly 400 outlets in 55 provinces. PNJ has brought Vietnamese jewellery to the global scale by exporting to 13 countries.
In 2012, PNJ ranked 16th in the top 500 list of the world’s largest jewellery, manufacturing and trading companies by Plimsoll UK. Cao was also recognised as one of Forbes Vietnam’s Top 50 Most Influential Women in 2018 and 2019; and one of its Top 50 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in Asia in 2016.
On receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, Cao said, “I would like to sincerely thank the JNA Awards for this honour. This award has brought me pride and has motivated me even more in contributing to the growth of PNJ and the Vietnamese jewellery industry in general.”
Hung Ming Li
Hung established Chii Lih in 1973 to promote Taiwan’s most precious corals to the world. Under her leadership, the company has evolved from a small traditional coral processing factory and wholesaler in Kaohsiung to a world-renowned jewellery enterprise over the past 40 years.
“Looking at the coral dredged up from the sea, my heart was deeply touched. These are very precious marine resources and national treasures from Taiwan. We should bring such a local industry to greater heights,” she shared.
While many decided to leave the coral industry when the economy declined in the 90s, Hung stayed true to her convictions that coral will always be one of the most important treasures of Taiwan. Along with her staff, she persevered and continued to weather the economic turmoil.
To stay on course, Hung actively participated in international jewellery trade shows in Asia, the US and Europe to strengthen Taiwan’s reputation as the “Coral Kingdom.” Chii Lih was eventually recognised as a leading company in this sector.
Wang Chun Li
When Wang was the head of the yellow gold products department at Beijing Caibai, which was a department store at the time, she led a modest team to create a special strategy for selling yellow gold jewellery.
Through the years, Wang went from one achievement to the next, with Caibai becoming the first enterprise in China to sell RMB100 million (US$14.5 million) of yellow gold in 1994. In the same year, Wang and her management team successfully restructured Beijing Caibai from a state-owned company to a private share-holding structure by raising funds from employees. Beijing Caibai eventually became a specialised gold jewellery store, consistently topping sales charts and retail stores for 29 years.
Aside from providing excellent after-sales services, she insisted on protecting consumers by ensuring that products sold under her had obtained global standard certifications and underwent strict quality control measures along the supply chain.
Under her leadership, the company was named “The First Yellow Gold House in Beijing” by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce in 1997, joined the Shanghai Gold Exchange in 2001, and was recognised as “The First Gold House in China” by the Association of China Commercial Enterprise Management in 2004. Today, gold, platinum, jade and diamond jewellery are sold at Beijing Caibai. It has been honoured as a “Global Leading Platinum Jewellery Enterprise” and “The First Coloured Gemstone House in China” by Platinum Guild International and the International Colored Gemstone Association, respectively.