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The world’s major jewellery producer

22 October 2018

Source: Shenzhen Gold & Jewelry Association

Source: Shenzhen Gold & Jewelry Association

Source: Shenzhen Gold & Jewelry Association

Source: Ministry of Natural Resources of the People's Republic of China


China’s abundant supply of natural and human resources and its relatively competitive production costs have attracted local producers as well as investors from abroad to set up manufacturing facilities on the mainland to cover demand from both domestic and export markets. At present, China is a major source of freshwater pearls. The country also produces gold and a wide variety of natural coloured gemstones, accounting for a significant portion of global supply. With production facilities concentrated in the southern part of the country, cities such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou (particularly its Panyu district) in Guangdong Province have become major trading hubs for global jewellery players.


According to the Shenzhen Gold & Jewelry Association, as of September 2017, the total value of jewellery manufacturing and processing in Shenzhen reached approximately 150 billion yuan (about US$23.4 billion), and the wholesale and retail trade volume was approximately 45 billion yuan (about US$7 billion).

Freshwater pearls

China is the world’s largest producer of freshwater pearls, accounting for over 90 percent of global production. In addition to the country’s major freshwater pearl-producing area in Zhuji in Zhejiang Province, other cultivation areas include Jiangsu, Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan, Hubei and Sichuan.

Quick facts on Zhuji’s pearl industry (all figures are estimates) 

Freshwater pearl aquaculture area

380,000 acres

Number of pearl farmers


Annual output of freshwater pearls

73 percent of global production


80 percent of China’s total production

Number of pearl manufacturing operations


Number of trading companies


Annual production of pearl jewellery

>30 million pieces

Value of annual output

~5 billion yuan (around US$785 million)

Source: Guangdong Gems & Jade Exchange


According to the China Gold Association, China's total production of gold in 2017 was 426.14 tonnes, a decrease of 6.03 percent compared to the previous year. In 2017, the actual consumption of gold in the country was 1,089.07 tonnes, an increase of 9.41 percent compared to 2016.