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Diamonds, Jewelry Rank High in eBay's Asian Trade

Trade dominated by China and Hong Kong, with India showing 'exuberant growth.'
Sep 2, 2011 2:21 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Online retailers from across Asia shared their experiences in eBay's ''Asian Exporters' Index'' report that was published this week. The category for jewelry, gems and watches ranked second --just behind clothing-- as the most popular item purchased across the continent. Other top categories included photo, computers, cell phones and accessories, auto parts and toys.

While the market is dominated by China and Hong Kong, India as a whole  presented the story of "exuberant growth," according to the study's authors. Product sales from India were driven mainly by artisans and small-scale manufacturers, in which eBay opened the world to their shops. Top selling products from India included jewelry,  particularly diamonds, followed by photographic equipment, clothing  and collectibles such as coins, stamps, Bollywood posters and LP records. (Read the full 16-page PDF report.)

''India has a unique strength in hand-crafted value-oriented product lines, such as diamonds, jewelry, ethnic Indian clothing and handicrafts and its eBay exporters are capitalizing on global demand for centuries-old, India-inspired designs across these categories," the study found.

In one of several business case studies described in the eBay report, Ambesh Khanna, the eBay seller for the channels Solitaireworld, KhannaJewels, and Estatejewelles,  noted strong demand for  diamond engagement and wedding rings and fancy colored  and loose diamonds. ebay diamonds

Khanna lists his offerings on the eBay platforms for the U.S., U.K., Canada, Singapore and Australia. ''But the great part of eBay is that even small countries like Finland, Norway and Belgium bring a good amount of business,” Khanna said.

''When we were operating offline we had problems with payment credit cycles, order procurements, traveling expenses and debt notes,'' he explained, but eBay simplified those issues.  Khanna defined eBay as ''a big think tank'' whereas each year, the online auctioneer improves its selling policies and safeguards to protect buyer interests and to encourage trust and faith.

''They’re visionary in the online retail field and will continue to be so. I have recommended them to many people based on my own journey and I know more than a bunch of people who, on my recommendation, are working full-time on eBay and making a fortune. I will continue to recommend it. Growth is always cherished when shared,'' he said.

''Our product, diamond jewelry, is the most economical in India. Fair-priced courier companies with good logistical support help deliver on time; eBay provides a perfectly secured zone with top seller programs to showcase the best and encrypted PayPal payment gateways. It is the destination for global shopping,'' he concluded.

In a business case study from Thailand, eBay profiled Sunamorn (Ruj ) Wichainit, the operator of online channels  Egemdiamond and Gemsporium.  Wichainit has been selling gemstones for 20 years from the Chantaburi province as mainly as a family-run shop -- until he launched on eBay.  Wichainit claimed that more than 90 percent of his business now comes from eBay sales and he has grown his staff to  43, including 20 in packing and shipping  and 20 gem cutters.

''We brought product variety to the market,'' said Wichainit, ''we also sourced gems from places like Africa which other gem sellers couldn’t or wouldn’t dare do. This was our strength.''diamond jewelry ebay

While he launched the two eBay portals in 2008,  he expanded product offerings just three months ago by adding  finished jewelry.  The business trades only on the U.S. eBay site.

''The U.S. market is the biggest source of our income, the place where any kind of gems can get sold,'' he said. ''It’s also a market the family knows well. From our experience, it’s quite challenging to sell to other markets because only particular gems sell – and that couldn’t support our whole business to the extent that the U.S. market does.''

Wichainit added,  ''Running an export jewelry business on eBay is much more difficult than running a tech business. First, there are eBay policies that have been implemented to ensure a secure and legitimate diamond trade. Then there are the high operating and inventory costs that come with having to hold loose gemstones and gold and silver reserves, and supply certification.

''Account management and tax calculation is another headache, particularly for auction-based sellers like Egemdiamond, although a recent investment in better IT systems is gradually getting things on the right track,'' he concluded.

Jeff Liao, eBay's vice president for cross-border trade, noted in the study that exporting products are complex given global time zones and language barriers, but that  eBay’s export business – particularly in Greater China – was showing such promise.

''It’s rewarding to know, too, that a significant number of new buyers come to eBay through Asian exporters and have their first experience on the site buying from them,'' Liao said.

It was expected that Asian market sellers, for all product categories, will be shipping more than 140 million parcels this year. ''We expect this to exceed 200 million next year. It is our belief that the strong growth Asian exporters are experiencing on eBay is set to continue. In fact eBay has only just begun to tap the opportunities that exist in offering more discounted, better quality Asian products on eBay to delight buyers around the globe,'' he said.
Liao noted that Australia is the second-largest trading corridor for eBay Asian exporters. ''The opportunity in North America and Europe is equally significant, as consumers are seeking to drive their dollars further against a back-drop of economic uncertainty,'' he said.

Additionally, eBay shares information with sellers, such as what products are moving and at what price points, and in which countries, so that sellers can adjust inventory and marketing accordingly. ''In doing this, eBay has created a tightly bound and interactive Asian exporters’ community in which sellers across the region can meet and share best practices,'' Liao added.

As an example of how shipping relationships have evolved across eBay,  the U.S. Postal Service and China Post Express & Logistics Corporation have established a  shipping alliance that is leading to more stable and affordable China-to-U.S. online trade.  A similar alliance has been established with Hong Kong Post and the U.S. Postal Service for Hong Kong exporters.



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Tags: asia, China, diamond, diamonds, ebay, India, Jeff Miller, jewellery, selling
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