India increased its dominance in cutting and polishing last year due to relatively low costs that gave it a competitive advantage over China, according to Bain & Company.
The Indian diamond-manufacturing industry grew 11% in 2017, outpacing the Chinese market, which increased 2%, Bain reported. That left India with more than 90% of the market, versus China’s low-single-digit-percentage share, the consultancy firm said in its 2018 Global Diamond Report, which it published last week in partnership with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).
India’s manufacturing sector has benefited from cheaper labor, improvements in workers’ skills, advances in technology, and a favorable regulatory environment. Those factors also helped the country increase its production of large stones, a more profitable segment, Bain explained.
Relatively easy access to financing further contributed to the 2017 rise, as credit enables cutters’ to buy and process larger rough diamonds. While banks tightened lending in 2018, the more transparent and financially healthier companies have managed to weather that challenge, it added.
Costs in China are also low by global standards, but are still higher than in Indian hubs such as Surat, putting pressure on the ability for the country to grow its sector, Bain said.
Polishing in other countries, such as the US, Belgium and Israel, declined 6% due to high costs and an ageing workforce, the report continued. Africa failed to gain significant market share due to low productivity and relatively high costs.