Alrosa is looking to expand its presence in China, with plans to increase the number of long-term clients for its rough diamonds in the country.

The company currently supplies around 5% of its total sales to entities in China and Hong Kong, but more companies have access to Alrosa rough by buying through intermediaries, according to CEO Sergey Ivanov.

Alrosa wants to cut out those dealers and supply rough directly to those companies at its monthly sales, a spokesperson told Rapaport News Wednesday. Alrosa has six partnerships in China and Hong Kong, including with Chow Tai Fook, Chow Sang Sang and Luk Fook. The miner is in the process of reviewing an additional two candidates for inclusion in its long-term “Alrosa Alliance” program.

“Strengthening and developing our relationship with Chinese

[businesses]

, especially with local jewelry retailers, are among our main goals today,” Ivanov added.

As part of this initiative, Alrosa tested a pilot program to accept payment in Russian rubles earlier this month. A Chinese buyer paid for goods at an Alrosa auction in Hong Kong in rubles using Russian lender VTB Bank’s Shanghai branch.

Alrosa also plans to increase its marketing in China, it said. Last year the company began conducting market research in the country, and will use its findings to boost its visibility to Chinese buyers and retailers, the company said. The miner will also conduct more tenders through its Hong Kong office.

Alrosa is in the process of working on various marketing initiatives with Chinese partners, which it will launch at a later date, it added.

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