For more mainland couples, gold delivers message 'I love you' best
What's a perfect gift for your partner on Valentine's Day? On the mainland, forget flowers or chocolate. Increasingly, couples there are turning to gold jewellery to express their love instead.
Big jewellery retailers on the mainland say sales of lovers' rings, necklaces and pendants made of gold and platinum have risen significantly ahead of Valentine's Day.
'Flowers will wither within weeks and chocolate will only stay in your mouth for seconds,' said Nancy Wong, executive director of Luk Fook Jewellery.
'Precious metal is a better gift to symbolise a long-lasting romance between couples and it's also a much more practical gift for storing value.'
Wong expects single-shop-sales from February 10 to 14 to hit a record high this year.
Zhang Xuming yesterday spent about 2,600 yuan (HK$3,200) buying a heart-shaped gold ring for his girlfriend at a jewellery shop in Beijing to mark the occasion.
'I have bought her flowers, clothes and mobile phones [for Valentine's Day] in past years. We just got bored with these gift ideas,' said Zhang, 23, who works in a leather goods company.
'I hope to give her a more serious gift this year. After all, this is the only festival for the two of us all through the year.' Another customer, Qu Bing, spent more than 20,000 yuan on a pair of gold rings for his fianc?e and himself.
'The ring will still be a ring even in a hundred years. They are much more than a romantic gift since they can be a good way of storing value,' said Qu, who plans to give his future wife a valuable piece of jewellery every year in the future.
A Cai Bai Jewellery salesman said revenue had surged nearly 60 per cent over the past few days, and most of the customers were in their twenties and thirties.
A Chow Sang Sang staffer said the number of customers patronising their outlets in Beijing had increased by more than a third.
Valentine's Day has become an important sales period for jewellers on the mainland, besides the Lunar New Year, Christmas, National Day and Labour Day.
Nearly all jewellery retailers have launched special collections and promotional campaigns to draw young couples. The mainland is the world's second-largest consumer of gold after India.
The mainland produces about 340 tonnes of gold annually, which is insufficient to meet the fast-growing domestic demand.
Last year, 428 tonnes of gold from Hong Kong were imported, up more than 33 per cent from 2010.
The mainland produced more than this many tonnes of gold last year, up from 250 tonnes in 2010