China Focus: Young Chinese turn to gold for fashion, solid investment

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BEIJING, May 25 (Xinhua) -- For Wang Heying, who is preparing for her wedding, gold jewelry is a must on her shopping list.

"Now the jewelry designs are more fashionable and gold can help preserve purchasing power against inflation, so buying gold has become a habit for me," said the 26-year-old from Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province.

In Chinese culture, gold has long symbolized royalty and auspiciousness, but young Chinese came to see it as old-fashioned and turned to diamonds and other gems. In recent years, however, the precious metal has regained its luster among the youth.

According to the China Gold Association, national gold consumption reached nearly 1,090 tonnes in 2023, an increase of 8.78 percent year on year. More than 48 percent of the retailers polled believed that people from Generation Z and younger would buy more gold in the next year or two.

The young population aged between 25 and 34 have become the main force behind gold consumption, rising from 16 percent to 59 percent of total consumers in 2023. In the future, consumers under the age of 25 will become the major new gold buyers, said the association.

The finding was proved by the Shenyang Cuihua Gold And Silver Jewelry Co., Ltd. According to Di Ke, a manager with the company, the majority of their consumers are young people between 25 and 35, and the number is increasing year by year.

"In recent years, the price of gold had continued to grow," said Di. "Many people are buying gold as a form of financial management."

This view is shared by Liu Yuning, senior gold analyst and a professor with the China University of Geosciences, who noted that in China, the world's largest gold consumer, many young people see gold as an alternative to houses and stocks for investing. "In comparison, they have more confidence in the gold market," he said.

Data from the Shanghai Gold Exchange shows that the price of gold that is 99.99 percent pure or above rose to a new high of 578 yuan (about 81 U.S. dollars) per gram on Monday afternoon.

In accordance with fluctuations in the price of gold, Wang Heying makes regular purchases of between 1,000 yuan or 2,000 yuan each time. "It's like making a deposit. When we were young, we used to put coins into a piggy bank. Now we are putting in gold beans," said Wang, referring to the bean-shaped pieces of bullion popular with young people.

The processing charge for gold beans is low, so they can easily be made into jewelry, she added.

Unlike Wang, 29-year-old Jiang Xue in Beijing shifted to gold only in the last couple of years. She used to favor the jewelry from big brands, featuring pearls, diamonds and agate. Then she brought a gold necklace to a shopping mall to repair.

"I was shocked to see that the recycling price of the necklace, which I bought at 500 yuan per gram, had reached 540 yuan per gram," she said.

"It suddenly occurred to me that I should hoard gold," the woman continued, smiling. "After you get tired of wearing a certain necklace, you can simply sell it to make money."

Another reason for the "gold rush" among young people is the improved designs of gold jewelry and artwork.

For instance, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has released a series of gold artworks with a Harry Potter theme to lure fans of the magical world, while leading jewelry firm Chow Tai Fook has featured Disney and Hello Kitty images in its products. Many retailers also sell bracelets with "lucky beads" to appeal to young people who are under pressure in the fast-paced society.

Manager Di Ke in Shenyang believes that social media is an important factor in the popularization of gold, providing a new means by which young people can easily find fascinating gold jewelry.

"What's more, in recent years, an increasing number of young people have been attracted to clothes with traditional cultural elements, or what is called the new Chinese style," he said. "Gold jewelry with floral patterns and traditional techniques are a good match for them."

Wang Heying's new favorite is a delicate butterfly pattern. "The shining gold will never become outdated," she said. Enditem

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