|A young customer is impressed with a 1.54-carat diamond worth 320,000 yuan ($50,900) at a department store in Dongyang city, Zhejiang province. China has seen noticeable growth in demand coupled with rising interest in the gemstone as an investment product.( China Daily)|
Diamonds are expected to sparkle brighter in China amid a surge in domestic consumption and investment.
Antwerp, the world's biggest hub for diamond trading, will see China overtake the United States to become the Belgian city's biggest destination for diamonds exports by 2016, according to Ari Epstein, chief executive officer of the Antwerp World Diamond Center, which officially represents the city's diamond industry.
China imported a total of 9.28 million carats of both polished and uncut diamonds, with a total value of $5.09 billion, from the Belgian city in 2011.
The diamond center's transaction volume, which includes exports and imports, reached $60 billion in 2011, with four out of every five uncut diamonds coming from Antwerp.
The noticeable growth in demand coupled with rising interest in the gemstone as an investment product for Chinese consumers will drive the rise in diamond imports in the country, Epstein said on Friday.
He added that the upward trend will continue and will lead China to become the biggest destination for diamond exports by the end of 2016, without citing figures.
China briefly overtook the US to become the world's biggest diamond consumer in 2008, when the US was caught up in the global financial meltdown, but dropped back to second position when the crisis waned.
In 2011, the US was the biggest consumer of polished diamonds, accounting for 36 percent of total world demand, followed by China with a market share of 12 percent and India with 11 percent.