The Israel Diamond Exchange adapts to continuing changes in the diamond trade.
Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) President Yoram Dvash sits down with JNA to discuss the increasing role of diamond exchanges in the modern world.
Is the bourse still relevant to the trade amid an era where businesses can be conducted through the internet? Has this affected bourse membership?
The global diamond industry cannot exist without diamond exchanges. Ramat Gan is one of the world's largest diamond centres. Thousands of people rely on the interaction between members, and other IDE services that enable them to carry on their businesses.
IDE offers four office towers encompassing over 100,000 sqm, with a huge trading floor, high level of security and the latest technology. It also has banks, customs and post offices, restaurants, synagogues and clinics, among others. The bourse offers international tenders, courses, an arbitration system, e-commerce platforms and more.
IDE also liaises with government officials on various initiatives to promote the diamond industry. For example, we secured government funding for international marketing projects to benefit members.
We host trade shows such as the International Diamond Week in Israel to attract international clients. We likewise facilitate our members' participation in global trade fairs. IDE also holds an annual show in New York for members and we hope to do the same in Shenzhen this year. In addition, we arrange professional courses and lectures; and parties and events during holidays and special occasions for our members and their families.
How is IDE adapting to changes brought about by the internet age?
The internet has changed the way businesses are conducted around the world. As such, we must help our members to incorporate the internet into their operations. IDE has partnered with Alibaba.com, making it the first diamond bourse to offer polished diamonds and diamond jewellery through the platform. With endorsement from IDE, trade buyers are guaranteed that suppliers offer only natural, conflict-free diamonds and uphold the highest professional standards of quality and reliability.
Moreover, together with the Israel Diamond Institute, IDE launched Get-Diamonds, a free B2B platform that enables bourse members to offer diamonds directly to traders around the world.
As part of a comprehensive technological revolution within the bourse, IDE also established an innovation centre to encourage technological entrepreneurship and development in the diamond industry. The Diamond Tech Innovation Center supports entrepreneurs and start-ups on various fields from robotics to big data, blockchain, bot technology, artificial intelligence and fraud detection, among others.
We have a Diamond Auction Center, which is adjacent to the International Tender Center. These centres bring a great deal of rough diamond supply to Israel, which is essential to the manufacturing industry.
IDE also has a website and Facebook page where members can see the latest activities and special offers, and join courses and lectures.
How does IDE interact with other bourses, especially those in China and Hong Kong?
IDE is aiming to further enhance its presence in the Chinese market. For many years, Hong Kong as the gateway to Asia especially China, has been Israel's second largest trading partner for polished diamonds, representing close to 30 percent of total exports. IDI organises national pavilions in four annual trade shows in Hong Kong in March, June, September and November.
IDE also has a special relationship with the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE). Last year, we signed a wide-ranging memorandum of understanding with them. We are certain that this cooperation will continue to deepen.
Are you expecting an increased number of buyers from China? Do you have specific programmes to assist them?
More Chinese buyers are coming to the bourse to buy diamonds. I am referring to retailers or representatives of large Chinese manufacturers. We are also hosting more delegations; some organised by trade associations or the SDE. We are working to increase these visits. There are also thousands of Chinese tourists in Israel who visit stores around the bourse area to buy diamonds directly from the source.
In addition, there's also our partnership with Alibaba.com. We will work with the SDE on other initiatives.
We will begin work soon on the 2020 edition of the International Diamond Week in Israel, which we hope will be even more exciting.