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Bling sales surged in Hong Kong in April. So much for China’s anti-corruption push

Western luxury brand firms didn’t think China’s anti-corruption crackdown would last. And increasingly, it’s looking like they’re right. Case in point: Sales of jewelry, watches and “valuable gifts”—that’s the official rubric from Hong Kong’s Census & Statistics Department—exploded in Hong Kong in April. They jumped 68% compared to April 2012. (Hong Kong is a top destination for mainland Chinese to do their shopping, thanks to its lack of sales tax.)

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Observers are linking the surge to the recent collapse of gold prices, which has drawn in buyers looking for a bargain. This is good news for firms that supply the shiny stuff to China, as well as the Chinese officials who eventually receive a significant share of such these baubles as “gifts.” Cartier-owner Richemont, Bulgari-owner LVMH and Swatch, which owns Breguet, all stand to catch a bit of a tailwind if China regains its luxury appetite.

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