Zhejiang Zhuji: Turn a Pearl into a Billion-Dollar Industry


Zhuji Shanxia Lake Pearls are well-known, and in the past, I used to watch them through live streams on the cloud. Today, taking advantage of the first time World Pearl Conference was held in Zhuji, I went to the scene with my little sister to pick a set of pearl jewelry as our new wedding gift.

Recently, a 2023 World Pearl Conference with the theme "Cherish forever" was held in Zhuji, Zhejiang Province. Zhuji City, under the leadership of the Standing Committee of the Zhuji Municipal Committee and Secretary of the Zhuji Municipal Party Committee, said that Zhuji will take this opportunity to continuously deepen the innovation of pearl industrial models, business formats, structures, and channels, and accelerate the building of a high-competitive, high-value-added, and high-market share industry worth tens of billions of dollars.

From Pearl to Treasure - 54 Years of Gorgeous Changes

World pearls come from China, and Chinese pearls come from Zhuji. The 2023 World Pearl Conference attracted more than 200 jewelry traders from around the world, and the pearls in Zhuji City's Shanxia Lake Town were full of momentum. All kinds of pearl exhibition cabinets attracted many customers to stop and inquire about prices.

Chen Xiaying, chairman of Zhejiang Pearl Industry Association and Chairman of Qianzuli Pearl Company, said that the conference has brought the fame of "the world's pearl town" to light and promoted Zhuji's freshwater pearls to the world more quickly and better through international platforms, winning broader market space.

As one of the most important industry conferences in the world, why did the World Pearl Conference choose a small town in northern Zhejiang? Time tells us the answer.

From broadcasting the first pearl oyster in 1969 to constructing the first generation pearl market in 1985, to building the world's largest freshwater pearl trading market - East China International Jewelry City in 2008, to becoming the permanent site of the 2023 World Pearl Conference - today, Zhuji has become China's largest freshwater pearl breeding, research, processing, and trading base, creating a miracle of producing 80% of China's and 70% of the world's freshwater pearl production.

At the same time, Shanxia Lake Town deeply taps local cultural resources such as West Lake beauty spot and ancient Yue culture, integrates and displays traditional cultural essence into brand image building for pearls industry, and builds cultural tourism and commercial integrated projects such as World Freshwater Pearl Museum, Pearl Cultural Street Area, Creative Workshops, etc.

"Zhuji pearls have gone through 54 years, and they have risen from a small lake to the global stage." Said Shen Zhijiang.

Up to now, Zhuji has more than 9,000 pearl operating entities with various types of pearl businesses. It has阮仕、千足、天使之泪、长生鸟等 leading enterprises in the industry, including one listed company and two state-level key enterprises. They occupy one third of Hurun Global Pearl Enterprise Innovation Brand Rank List and form a modern pearl industry cluster centered around ecological breeding, international trade, high-end design, and biomedicine.

A single pearl creates an industry; an industry creates a city.

Going online from offline - innovation changes make pearls rounder and more beautiful

Since this year, Zhuji's total online sales of pearls have reached 25 billion yuan, exceeding last year's annual revenue by 60%, truly realizing "born in small lakes around Zhuji City but exported all over the world".

As "the pearl capital of China", Shanxia Lake Town always aims at "building a model industrial cluster development area with a value of hundreds of billions of dollars". It promotes its industry by strengthening platforms and pursuing innovations while driving this "pearl town" to upgrade its industry continuously.

According to officials from Shanxia Lake Town, they have established the country's first Pearl Industry Intellectual Property Protection Center, launched the first imported pearl bonded warehouse in China, issued the first Certificate of New Media Anchor among other key tasks.

Shanxia Lake Pearl Industry Enabler Center has become a national technological innovation center for cooperation between industry, university teaching and research institutes this year. The Pearl Industry Engineer Collaborative Innovation Center has gathered nearly 500 engineers from across the entire industry chain to establish a national academic service station, two academic research institutes, and twelve research institutions.

The Zhuji Municipal Government has also introduced a series of policies to improve pearl industry value chains such as "Accelerating Transformation and Upgrading of Pearl Industry", focusing on innovative solutions for industrial upgrading and expansion in demand for industries and enterprises. These measures aim to optimize and expand the value chain of pearls continuously.