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Mumbai, Gujarat command 40% of bullion trade, says Choksi, Gitanjali MD

Suresh P. Iyengar | Updated on March 24, 2011

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Gitanjali Gems, one of the leading jewellery manufacturers and retailer, has grown its business many folds from just being a cut and polishing diamond company at Surat in Gujarat. It has the distinction developing some 25 patented facet patterns and producing the world's smallest heart shaped diamond (0.03 carat). It pioneered the concept of launching multiple brands for different price segments.

Being a DTC (Diamond Trading Company) holder, the company now integrates all operations, from rough diamond sourcing, cutting, polishing and distribution, and jewellery manufacture, to jewellery branding and retail, as well as global lifestyle brands.

It has won over 50 awards from the Ministry of Commerce for outstanding exports of diamond and jewellery and operations in the US, the UK, Belgium, Italy and West Asia to Thailand, South-East Asia, China and Japan.

Mr Mehul Choksi, Managing Director, Gitanjali Gems, spoke to the Business Line on the business environment in the western region. Excerpts:

What is your perception on the western region as a business hub of the country?

Maharashtra and Gujarat are already business hubs of the country. No doubt that the western region has been ahead in development and particularly Mumbai being the financial hub the related industries have also flourished around it. The major driver for both these states includes government policies, availability of quality labour, vibrant education system, concentration of financial exchanges and major banks to generate and develop business.

How big the western region as far as bullion trade is concerned?

Bullion is nearly concentrated in Mumbai and Gujarat region. Nearly 40 per cent of country's trading business happens in Maharashtra and Gujarat alone. The domestic bullion and jewellery market is estimated to be about $16.1 billion, which is expected to grow to the size of $25 billion within 2-3 years.

What makes Mumbai the main centre for bullion trade?

Mumbai has a host of business and financial concentration. Being nation's financial capital coupled with exchanges for bullion. There is also a huge demand for gold jewellery in the city, thanks to its affluent population and spending capacity. Mumbai has had significance in being historic centre for financial trading and over the years graduated to being leading bullion centre as well. Further the bullion trade is about 2,000 tonnes a day which makes it ideal for having a centre of trade at its financial capital.

What is the advantage of have the country's first Diamond Bourse in Mumbai?

Indian being the largest diamond processing centre where 9 out of 10 global diamonds are polished. Majority of this processing is done in Surat. Diamond Bourse will help in organising this sector, creating channels for distribution in and out of rough and polished diamonds. Bourse will add significant value for standardising processes as well as streamlining economics of the industry.

What efforts Gitanjali has taken to improve the knowledge pool in the cut and polish trade?

Gitanjali has been a pioneer in revolutionising diamond jewellery industry. With its first brand “Gili” launched in 1993-94, the company made diamond affordable to the middle class. This has promoted the cut and polish trade in the country.

Besides there are various campaigns run by the company from time-to-time. Latest being “Know your diamond” which educates and spreads awareness amongst its customers. Gitanjali has also brought in the concept of organised trade within the business.

What more infrastructure facilities are needed to make the Western region more investor-friendly?

Besides, common facilities of housing and transportation specialised infrastructures such as training centre, grading and sorting institutes will add significant value to develop the western region. Warehousing and support services such as back office etc. will further help the trade to expand in the region.

Published on March 23, 2011

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