Opening Address by Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in The Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and National Development at Singapore International Jewelry Expo (SIJE) 2022, on Thursday, 14 July at Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre14 Jul 2022
Mr Edward Liu, Group Managing Director of Conference & Exhibition Management Services Pte Ltd (CEMS)
Mr Ho Nai Chuen, President, Singapore Jewellers Association
His Excellency Suryo Pratomo, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Singapore
Ms Anastuty Kusumowardhani, Bank of Indonesia
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good afternoon. It gives me great pleasure to join you at this opening ceremony of the Singapore International Jewelry Expo (SIJE) 2022. This certainly indicates that Singapore is open for business once again. Your presence here is evident of that, and we are very happy to have you here. I also want to extend a warm welcome to all the international jewellers, manufacturers and designers, who travelled to Singapore from over 20 different countries.
2. SIJE is Singapore’s largest jewellery show, not just in terms of the number of jewellers participating from all over the world, but also the amount of merchandise on display.
3. It provides an excellent platform for industry players to exchange ideas and learnings, build networks, and showcase quality products not only to one another but also local and international visitors.
Improved business outlook for jewellery sector
4. The easing of local COVID-19 safe management measures has supported business growth and unemployment rates have fallen to pre-pandemic levels.
5. Tourism is also picking up, with international travel resuming in many countries.
a. More than 900,000 visitors arrived in Singapore between January to May this year.
b. Visitor arrivals are expected to continue to grow in the second half of the year.
6. These upticks in the economy have led to an increase in retail sales over the past few months. Just recently, in May 2022, retailers of watches and jewellery recorded higher sales of more than 60% year-on-year.
7. The jewellery sector can continue to see improved business performance as economic recovery is expected to continue, and as we head towards the year-end festive season.
Adopting technology, innovating and embracing ESG
Innovation and Digitalisation
8. Singapore’s economic recovery is in part due to the efforts by businesses to transform and stay relevant even during the pandemic through digitalisation.
9. The high rate of internet penetration in Singapore enables businesses to engage with consumers via digital and social media platforms, and generate sales on these platforms.
10. Digitalisation efforts are seen in brick-and-mortar stores too. One such example is bespoke jewellery design house, MADLY. MADLY recently launched its first Brand Experience Centre, which leverages technology to provide visitors an immersive experience.
a. Visitors to the Brand Experience Centre get to join MADLY’s in-house designers in co-designing bespoke jewellery pieces.
b. Through this journey, they get to witness the transformation of gems in their rough form to its final, polished form.
12. It is never too late for companies to get onboard their digitalisation and innovation journeys. There are many Government schemes available to support businesses in doing so.
a. Business owners may visit the e-Adviser for Government Assistance webpage and get recommendations on the types of assistance and programmes suitable for their businesses.
b. Businesses can also visit the GoBusiness government portal for other useful resources.
13. Beyond digitalisation and innovation, businesses must also adapt to the changing landscape.
14. Consumers nowadays are well informed and increasingly conscious of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agendas. This change in consumer behaviour sets the stage for industry players to transform and adopt responsible practices. Those that are able to do so can stand to gain competitive advantages in improved reputation and customer engagement.
15. Home-grown brand - B.P. de Silva Jewellers, sets a good example in integrating ethical and sustainable practices into their business.
a. This includes ensuring that most of their collections are made using Fairmined Gold, which is gold that comes from responsible artisanal and small-scale mining organisations.16. In May 2022, B.P. de Silva Jewellers achieved the coveted B Corp Certification, which demonstrates its ability to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance.
Support for industry’s transformation efforts
17. Even as the economy picks up, we face global uncertainties and businesses need to be prepared to overcome such challenges.
18. It is important for us not to rest on our laurels, and continue tapping on available schemes and resources to stay competitive and relevant. The Government stands ready to support enterprises on their transformation journey.
19. For instance, the Enterprise Sustainability Programme (EPS) was launched in October 2021 to support local companies, especially SMEs, to build capabilities and capture new opportunities in the green economy.
a. As part of ESP, local companies are given access to Sustainability Courses, grants to develop sustainable products, services, solutions and more.Conclusion
20. Despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19 to the jewellery industry, many of you displayed the tenacity to press on and transform your businesses. I am confident that these learnings have helped you emerge stronger, and will help you to navigate through other difficult situations in the future.
21. I wish everyone a fruitful time at this expo, and as you learn from one another and share best practices. Together, you can bring this industry to greater heights.
22. Thank you all very much.