Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook, the world’s fourth-largest jewelry brand, has entered the Canadian market with a location in Richmond Centre.
The brand, founded in 1929 in Guangzhou, China, has about 7,400 shops, mainly in Asia, and is worth more than US$16 billion, offering gold, white gold and diamond jewelry products.
Po Liu, general manager for Chow Tai Fook H.K., Macau & Overseas, said at Wednesday’s grand opening the company chose to expand to Canada and selected Richmond as the location after seeing a large demand for jewelry.
“Canada has people with different background that have immigrated here. We found that lots of people from Canada go to Hong Kong to buy our jewelry,” said Liu.
“That’s why we are opening a shop here so they don’t have to worry about going to Hong Kong – we can bring all the products directly from Hong Kong here.”
Sunny Ho, franchisee of the Chow Tai Fook store in Richmond and a former Richmond city council candidate, said Richmond is a good location for the store because of the city’s “multiculturism.”
“Most people from Hong Kong and Mainland China know Chow Tai Fook, which is well known for their excellent craftsmanship and 999.9 gold jewelry,” said Ho.
Chow Tai Fook is known as a premium seller of 999.9 gold - which is 99.99 per cent pure gold, essentially 24 karats. Some of their pendants and other jewelry are 999.9. They also sell 999.9 gold as bullion bars.
Gold has played an important role in Chinese culture, said Liu, traditionally given as gifts for weddings and births. She hopes the entry of the Chow Tai Fook brand will provide more diversity in the B.C. jewelry market.
“In ancient times, gold represented power and empire, and that’s why Chinese love gold. Also, a lot of Chinese people love saving money and gold is a great way for value preservation,” she said.
In some areas of China, a bride’s family gives her gold jewelry as a gift when she gets married.
“Chow Tai Fook is originally from Guang Zhou, so its DNA is very different from the other brands. We represent Chinese culture, while other brands have their own origin,” said Liu.
“We’ve been really happy to bring the Chinese culture especially the partnership out of Hong Kong and China to a different country.”
While the grand opening was on Wednesday, the store started operating in December.