China needs to upgrade its gemstone industry to gain more recognition in the international market, according to a trade association official at an international jewel festival in south China.
Hong Taoyang, deputy director of the Gems & Jewelry Trade Association of China, said the country will have to produce more high-end products if it wants more market share in the international market of artificial gemstones.
Hong made the comments at an annual jewel festival that opened on Friday in Wuzhou City in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
China is the world's biggest producer of artificial gemstones, and Wuzhou is the center of the industry in the country, accounting for 80 percent of domestic production and 70 percent of the world's total volume, according to official statistics.
There are more than 150 enterprises and over 3,500 self-employed businesses operating in the city's gemstone industry, employing about 50,000 people.
But Hong said that problems still lurk, adding that although machinery has gradually replaced manual labor, machine-produced gemstones cannot compare with hand-made ones, which are better polished and more refined.
"We need to upgrade our machines to improve the quality of the gemstones," Hong said, adding that the government should also consider the problem of unemployment caused by modern machinery.
Hong urged local governments to issue more favorable policies to help the industry grow, invest more money to enhance the craft and assist people in finding jobs.
Only in this way can the industry gain more recognition in the global market, he said.