A growing number of people around the country are investing in jade as prices of the precious stone rise while China's natural reserves shrink, according to industry sources.
"The country's high-end jade market is growing rapidly as more people are willing to invest in the product," said Miao Liyi, executive secretary-general of Shanghai Gem and Jade Association.
In the past, people tended to buy jade products as artwork or jewelry, while those investing in the stone accounted for less than 10 percent of buyers, said Miao.
However, that figure has grown rapidly over the past two years to reach about 40 percent of buyers, he said.
Unlike gold, which is priced by weight, jade's value is based on its size, shape and the quality of products made out of it. Some high-end goods cost more than 1 million yuan each.
"At present, Shanghai consumes up to 3 billion yuan of jewelry a year, 10 percent of which is jade products," said Zhao Dehua, vice-chairman of the Shanghai Gem and Jade Association.
Around two years ago, that figure stood at less than 5 percent.
Sales of jade products are booming of late mainly because of the increasing number of buyers and partly due to rising prices for the raw material.
(Shanghai Daily January 13, 2004)