Local gold traders mull projects in Cambodia, Laos

Saigon Jewellery Holding Company (SJC) and some other leading gold traders are showing keen interest in the neighbouring markets of Cambodia and Laos with plans to set up processing facilities there.

Nguyen Thanh Long, general director of SJC, told the Daily on Saturday that his company had submitted a plan to the government seeking approval to open a factory in Laos. He said if the approval from both local authorities and Laos is forthcoming, SJC will start producing SJC gold bars in Laos later this year.

“This is an important step. In reality, SJC gold has already been sold in this country, but when an SJT gold factory is opened turning out products imprinted with the Laos language, that would help promote our brands and sales,” he said.

The people in Laos and Cambodia also have the habit of stocking gold, so there are opportunities for the quality brand like SJC, which is a benchmark for bullion trade in Vietnam, according to Long.

Long also said that SJC would continue to produce and sell jewellery products in Laos in 2011 before expanding business to Cambodia.

Earlier, Sacombank Jewellery Co. Ltd (SBJ-Cambodia) on June 24 opened a new company in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh with chartered capital of $3 million.

Nguyen Ngoc Que Chi, general director of SBJ, said Cambodia is a potential market with ample gold reserve. The recent discovery of gold mines in Cambodia with 8.1 million tonnes of reserves is seen an opportunity for SBJ Cambodia to gold buy materials to produce pure gold of international standard.

She remarked that the biggest advantage for Vietnamese gold companies to invest in Laos and Cambodia is that these two countries have not been able to produce gold bars.

SBJ-Cambodia also are also weighing a plan to start jewellery production in Cambodia next year.

“Cambodian people have the habit of wearing gold jewelries. However, such jewelries look crude and rustic, and cannot compare to Vietnam’s products in terms of sophistication and refinement,” Chi said.

Other Vietnamese gold traders also pin high hopes on the neighbouring markets.

Nguyen Thi Cuc, deputy general director of Phu Nhuan Jewellery Joint Stock Company (PNJ), said PNJ was promoting sales in Cambodia and Laos. But unlike the above-mentioned enterprises, PNJ will only sell jewelries as a way to gauge the market before thinking of any other business plans.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Thanh Truc, general director of Vietnam Agribank Gold Joint Stock Company (AJC), said that his company was also exploring the two markets, as import and export policies in Cambodia are liberal.

Since gold exchanges were closed in Vietnam, many local gold traders have plans to sound out opportunities in Cambodia and Laos, said Truc. – SGT