Feature: Lithuanian amber industry boosted by Chinese market

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Lithuania holds an amber exhibition from Wednesday till Saturday, attracting many buyers from China.

The Baltic region, where Lithuania locates, produces the most amber with high quality in the world. The annual exhibition "Amber Trip," the largest in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, serves as a platform for people interested in amber, including a big number of Chinese.

"It's a very important festival for us because amber is known as gold of Lithuania," said Lithuania's Culture Minister Sarunas Birutis to Xinhua.

Birutis said cooperation between Lithuania and China in terms of jewelry is growing very fast.

"Even in Beijing we have places to sell our jewelry," he added.

The minister pointed out that businessmen of the two countries are cooperating with each other to make amber products.

According to Giedrius Guntorius, organizer of the exhibition, about 80 percent of Lithuanian export of amber goes to China.

Regarding the customers of the annual amber exhibition, Guntorius said: "We have many customers from Asia, from Japan, from Korea. We also have big groups of VIP buyers who are from China."

Guntorius told Xinhua that 20 percent more exhibitors came this year than in 2014.

Yet customers said that prices are also higher.

Wei Lili, who has business of amber in China, said that prices of some amber products "are even higher than that in China," she said that "the storage of amber in Europe is not very big, and at the same time a lot of amber has entered China."

Wan Mingshuang, the only Chinese exhibitor, said that during the past years the prices of amber in the Baltic region were driven higher by a strong need in the Chinese market.

Yu Wenping, Wan's wife, said amber products with low quality this year are not so easy to sell as last year on the exhibition.

A Lithuanian company which just has dozens of people even has Wechat QR code on their business card.

Wechat is a widely used mobile app for communicating and sharing among Chinese. The company said their Wechat service is especially for Chinese people.

Amber sculptures such as the Buddha can also be easily found. One exhibitor said their company also has factories in Guangzhou, a city in southern part of China.

Pointing to a Buddha sculpture, the exhibitor said "it's designed and produced in the factory in China."

The Chinese customers said that manufacturing techniques in China are better but labor forces are cheaper than in the Baltic region. The birth place of good amber and the big market of China form a sound combination to do business.

Lithuanian exhibitors told Xinhua that amber is popular in Lithuania, but buyers are not mainly locals.

In the past, amber was used quite often to make fire in the Baltic country. While Asian market, China's market in particular, boosted this business, together with the Middle East countries, and now amber is used to make money.

Following the Lithuanian Amber Trip exhibition, a bigger exhibition will kick off in Poland next week. Endit

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