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Shanxiahu's pearl industry thrives

ezhejiang.gov.cn| Updated: November 15, 2023 L M S


Pearls are processed in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province. [Photo/Zhejiang Daily]

Shanxiahu, a small town in Zhuji, Zhejiang province, is known as the "pearl capital of China". Its annual output of freshwater pearls accounts for about 70 percent of the world's total.

According to presale records for jewelry on Tmall during the "Double 11" online shopping festival, pearl products saw a year-on-year increase of 450 percent in sales turnover on the first day of the festival.

Since Taobao's livestreaming base was located in Shanxiahu in 2018, a number of Kuaishou and Douyin (two short video platforms) bases have also been established there.

Yuan Xiaopeng, manager of the innovation development department of the China Pearl and Jewellery International City (CP&J City) in Shanxiahu, said that the expansion of online channels like e-commerce livestreaming had increased the proportion of pearl sales among jewelry products, from 0.1 percent before 2018 to 10 percent today.

In the past two years, with the help of e-commerce, demand for pearls has soared. "To get ready for Double 11, we begin preparing goods as early as August," said Zhan Shuping, owner of a shop of "PurePean", the world's largest supplier of freshwater pearls, in CP&J City.

Chen Hongjiang, the founder of the brand "Xiai Pearl", said, "During the Double 11 period, we launched new products every day and prepared nearly 20 new styles." They also design their products with elements of traditional Chinese culture.

"The popularity of pearls in the past two years shows us the potential of freshwater pearls," said Fu Baicheng, president of Zhejiang Bairuila Agricultural Technology Co Ltd, the first indoor intelligent pearl breeding enterprise in China.

To improve the quality of pearls, the company has established cooperative relations with some universities, including Shanghai Ocean University and Ningbo University, and independently developed automatic equipment for seedling cultivation.

Fu added, "The product’s popularity is temporary. For sustainable development, the whole industrial chain needs to be reformed. We hope to provide a new direction for the pearl industry through scientific research."