Shanghai Diamond Exchange, China's only diamond trading center, is aiming to be one of the world's biggest diamond marketplaces, according to the exchange president.
Lin Qiang said at the 33rd World Diamond Congress that the exchange trade volume totaled US$282 million in the first quarter, up 43.8 percent from the same period last year.
Lin said only 7.76 million carats of diamonds changed hands, with the volume hitting US$157 million in 2002, two years into its operation.
But last year, 199 million carats were traded, and the volume reached US$1.07 billion.
"Through accumulation and efforts of the past two decades, China has grown into the world's fourth largest consumer of diamond jewelry and the second largest global diamond cutting center after India," said Lin.
Up to 6.5 million carats of diamonds, valued at US$1.5 billion, were processed in China each year.
"We are aiming to become one of Asia's or even the world's leading marketplaces," said Lin.
Based in the Jinmao Plaza, a landmark tower in Shanghai's Pudong District, the exchange, founded in October 2000, is the only venue in China authorized by the State Council to handle diamond imports and exports and to conduct trade.
As a member of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), the exchange has seen its membership grown from 40 companies to 215 now, including 148 overseas investors from Belgium, Israel, India, South Africa and the United States.
(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2008)