Titanium media stocks have long known that humanoid robots will open the ceiling of industry demand, and the upstream supply and demand structure is still tight

Must-read news 1: The number of M9 bookings in the world exceeds 20,000 units, or it is expected to build another explosion model.

According to the industry media reports, AITO Jiejie Automobile released a poster announcing that the booking order of Jiejie M9 model has exceeded 20,000 units. The car was jointly designed by Huawei and Cyrus and will be officially launched in December.

The M9 has been warmly expected by consumers before it went public, and will be released as scheduled in December. Guosheng Securities believes that the blind subscription data of the M9 this time exceeded expectations, which may be due to the fact that the sales volume of the new version of M7 continued to exceed expectations, which aroused the interest of the market. The pre-sale price range of the M9 is 500,000-600,000 yuan, which is expected to create another explosive model. According to Huawei official website, the M9 will be equipped with Huawei AR-HUD and Huawei ADAS2.0, which is expected to further lead the market technology direction, drive the penetration rate of intelligent driving function in the industry to increase rapidly, and gradually enter the era of "software-defined cars".

Must-read news 2: humanoid robots will open the ceiling of industry demand, and the upstream supply and demand structure is still tight.

The agency pointed out that the price of rare earths has stabilized and the performance has improved. Q3 rare earth plate revenue was +4% month-on-month, and net profit attributable to the mother was+57% month-on-month; The second batch of rare earth indicators have been released. With the improvement of demand, it is expected that the subsequent rare earth prices will mainly fluctuate, and the development of emerging fields such as downstream industrial motors and humanoid robots is expected to drive the demand for NdFeB to continue to grow.

Ping An Securities pointed out that according to the statistics of Baichuan Yingfu, the price of praseodymium neodymium oxide has dropped by nearly 30% since the beginning of the year, which has been at a relatively low level since 2021. Under the strict control policy of the supply side, the supply and demand pattern of rare earths is mainly stable, and there is more room for upward price flexibility. Looking forward to the market outlook, the permeability of high-performance NdFeB permanent magnets at the terminal is expected to continue to increase, while the supply growth rate is narrowed, the supply and demand of rare earths are tight or push the price back. In addition, Debon Securities said that according to Musk’s prediction of 10 billion humanoid robots in the long term, it is predicted that the demand for NdFeB finished products by humanoid robots in the long term will be 20 million tons, and humanoid robots will open the ceiling of NdFeB demand.

Must-read news 3: digital currency Bridge, a multilateral central bank, will be launched next year, which will drive the demand for software and hardware system transformation.

According to media reports, on November 2, Bénédicte Nolens, director of the Hong Kong Center under the Innovation Hub of the Bank for International Settlements, said at the Financial Technology Week that the digital currency mBridge project of the multilateral central bank has entered the simplest and feasible product development stage, and in the coming months, it will study different forms of market connections, as well as some public-private cooperation to improve the liquidity and efficiency of the project, and further enhance anti-money laundering solutions and the application of new technologies such as artificial intelligence. The HKMA predicts that the simplest and most feasible product of mBridge will be launched next year, and it will be ready for the system to finally be put into operation.

Not only the international digital currency is constantly advancing, but the domestic digital currency pilot has moved from the preparatory stage to the promotion stage with more perfect mechanism construction and deeper application scenarios. Ping An Securities pointed out that with the increase of digital RMB user base and the deepening of application scenarios, it will lead to the demand for software and hardware system transformation, and it is also expected to break the monopoly of third-party payment in China and build a new payment pattern. All participants in the payment industry chain (commercial banks, third-party payment institutions and related manufacturers) should actively embrace the opportunity of digital currency promotion.

Must-read news 4: the loading rate is approaching 30%! The battle of intelligent network connection from "partial discipline" to "all-round" started.

From the early intelligent cockpit (Zebra, BYD DiLink) to the later intelligent driving (Ideal, NOA in Tucki), and then to the wave of integration of central computing and cabin driving this year, automobile intelligence is moving from a partial discipline to a global intelligence. According to the exclusive data released by the Institute of Intelligent Automobile of Hi-Tech, from January to September, 2023, 4,162,900 new cars were delivered with intelligent cockpit+car networking +OTA+ intelligent assisted driving (L2 as the baseline) as standard in China market, with a year-on-year increase of 67.64%, and the front-loading rate rose to 28.09%.

Since the beginning of this year, there have been frequent policies to promote intelligent networked vehicles. Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou and other places have rapidly promoted the construction of intelligent networked vehicle test demonstration roads and smart highways that support vehicle-road coordination. On July 26th, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the National Standardization Administration Committee jointly issued the "Guidelines for the Construction of National Vehicle Networking Industry Standard System (Intelligent Networked Vehicle) (2023 Edition)", proposing that by 2025, the system will form an intelligent networked vehicle standard system that can support the general functions of combined driving assistance and automatic driving. Great Wall Guorui Securities pointed out that the current automobile industry is undergoing the most profound changes in the past 100 years. Electrification is only the prelude, and intelligence and networking are considered as the focus of future competition. Under the resonance of policy, market and technology, it is expected that the domestic V2X industrial chain will face the golden 10-year strategic opportunity period.

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The Nanjing Forest Music Festival was accused of the singer’s performance time shrinking, and the cultural department intervened to understand.

  On October 5, the two-day 2019 Nanjing Forest Music Carnival ended in Jiangning, Nanjing. However, after the "carnival", the "aftermath" was not over, and the organizers of the music festival were accused by the audience of problems such as the singer’s performance time "shrinking", the VIP exclusive service that failed to fulfill the promise, and the on-site fare increase.

  In response to this matter, The Paper learned from the Culture and Tourism Bureau of Jiangning District of Nanjing on the 6th that the bureau has not received any relevant complaints yet, but it has understood the situation from the relevant units and coordinated the handling.

  Photo courtesy of crowded interviewees in VIP viewing area

  Some singers were accused of shortening the performance time by half.

  Miss Li, who came to Nanjing from Beijing to attend the Music Festival, is a fan of singers Ayanga and Zheng Yunlong, and this trip is specially for idols. To this end, she also specially purchased a VIP one-day ticket of 698 yuan.

  According to public information, Nanjing Forest Music Carnival has been held for five times so far this year. This music carnival is implemented by Nanjing Dahua Film and Television Culture Media Company, a subsidiary of Nanjing Wentou Group. Tickets range from 280 yuan to 1,540 yuan, and singers and bands such as Hebe Tien, Vae, Zheng Yunlong, Ayanga, Jony J and Sunset Speeder all appeared.

  The Paper noted that the organizers of the music festival said in the pre-publicity that the audience who bought VIP tickets would enjoy 10 VIP rights, such as exclusive toilets, exclusive performance areas, fast admission channels and exclusive rest areas.

  According to the performance schedule announced by the organizer of the festival, Miss Li and other audiences will watch the performances of Ayanga and Zheng Yunlong from 20:00 to 20:40 on October 5th, lasting 40 minutes.

  However, after watching the performance, Miss Li bluntly said that she was "cheated".

  Miss Li told the The Paper reporter that the 40-minute performance of Ayanga and Zheng Yunlong, which was publicized by the organizer in the early stage, was only about 20 minutes that night, which was "compressed by half". The singer Vae, who also performed that night, performed for 40 minutes in the performance schedule announced by the organizer, but the real performance duration was only 25-30 minutes.

  The shortening of the performance duration also occurred during the performance of singer Jony J on the evening of October 4. Some viewers pointed out that the organizer’s early promotion of Jony J will bring two hours of special singing, but it only sang for about one and a half hours that night, which was at least half an hour shorter than the publicity performance.

  On October 6th, Tao Jingjing, the person in charge of Nanjing Dahua Film and Television Culture Media Company, who performed the music festival, responded to The Paper, saying that it was "normal" for singers to shorten their performance time, mainly because of the short interaction between singers and fans, which led to the overall shortened performance time.

  "If some singers are particularly excited on stage, they may sing a little more, while others will sing a little less." Tao Jingjing also said that the number of songs performed by singers at the festival has not decreased.

  According to the performance schedule announced by the organizer, singers Ayanga and Zheng Yunlong will perform for 40 minutes. Screenshot of WeChat public account "Nanjing Forest Concert"

  VIP rights are accused of not being fulfilled.

  In addition to the sharp reduction in the performance duration of favorite singers, Miss Li is puzzled that the organizers have not fully fulfilled the VIP rights they promised when purchasing VIP tickets.

  Miss Li said that the organizer promised in advance that the audience who bought VIP could enjoy the exclusive bathroom in the VIP lounge, but she didn’t find the so-called VIP exclusive bathroom at the scene. If she wanted to go to the bathroom, she still needed to go to the public bathroom.

  A number of spectators who bought VIP tickets told reporters in The Paper that when they asked the staff of the music festival whether there was a VIP-only bathroom, they all said no.

  What makes Miss Li feel even more incredible is that the organizer told WeChat official account many times before the performance that the VIP tickets were sold out, but some staff at the scene said that as long as they were handed over to 300 yuan, they could directly "upgrade" to the VIP viewing area to watch the performance.

  The bill shows that the 300 yuan payee who "upgraded" at the scene provided pictures for the respondents of the music festival executive company.

  A bill provided to The Paper by an audience who paid 300 yuan’s "upgrade" to the VIP viewing area shows that the payee of the transaction is the executive company of the music festival — — Nanjing Dahua film and television culture media co., ltd. The audience believes that the organizer’s move is different from the previous ticket sold out.

  Part of the audience in the VIP viewing area told The Paper that the organizers did not control the number of people when they went through the "upgrade" at the scene, which led to the crowded VIP viewing area, and "the crowd was so crowded that it could not stand at all". One viewer said that he was pushed forward several times in the middle and was "almost pushed down".

  On-site photos show that the VIP viewing area is very crowded.

  The organizer was accused of "false propaganda"

  All this was pointed out by the audience, including Miss Li, that the organizers of the music festival had "false propaganda" and other problems in the early publicity.

  As of press time, Weibo’s topic "False Propaganda of Nanjing Forest Music Festival" has been read by more than 4 million people, and many viewers like Miss Li expressed their dissatisfaction with such behavior of Nanjing Forest Music Carnival.

  The relevant person in charge of Nanjing Dahua Film and Television Culture Media Co., Ltd. did not explain the situation to The Paper for failing to provide the promised VIP exclusive service and selling tickets at a higher price on the spot when the tickets were sold out.

  According to the communication documents between the audience representatives and the on-site staff provided by Miss Li, the organizers of the Nanjing Forest Music Festival said that they would investigate the "false propaganda" reflected by the audience, give the audience a reply within one week, and announce the investigation results through official channels.

  On October 6th, The Paper reporter called Nanjing Wentou Group several times to try to verify the authenticity of this document, but as of press time, he could not get through.

  On the same day, The Paper learned from the Culture and Tourism Bureau of Jiangning District that the bureau, as a territorial unit, mainly provided on-site basic guarantee for the music festival. No complaints have been received yet, but it has learned from the relevant units and coordinated the handling.

  It is also known that Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism and other departments have paid attention to this matter.

From tomorrow, these new regulations will be implemented! Which one are you most concerned about?

  CCTV News:On January 1, 2019, a number of new laws and regulations will be officially implemented. The implementation of the "Electronic Commerce Law of the People’s Republic of China", the sale of goods by means of WeChat friends circle and live broadcast is clearly an "e-commerce operator"; When paying individual taxes in the future, six expenses such as children’s education, housing loan interest or housing rent, and supporting the elderly can also be deducted; The mobile phone number began to support remote account cancellation.

  Selling goods by means of WeChat friends circle and live broadcast is clearly an "e-commerce operator"

  On January 1, 2019, China’s first e-commerce law, the e-commerce law of the People’s Republic of China, was officially implemented. The new law clarifies that natural persons who engage in business activities of goods and services by means of WeChat circle of friends, webcasting, etc. are also e-commerce operators. Refusing to refund the deposit and maliciously tying these infringements will face a fine of up to 500,000 yuan. At the same time, malicious brushing of praise and unauthorized deletion of bad reviews are also explicitly prohibited.

  Implementation of the first soil pollution prevention and control law in China

  The Law on Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution in People’s Republic of China (PRC) will be officially implemented on January 1, 2019, which is the first time that China has formulated a special law to regulate the prevention and control of soil pollution. Based on the principles of giving priority to prevention, giving priority to protection, risk control, classified management, pollution responsibility and public participation, the Law on Soil Pollution Protection has defined the basic systems and rules on soil pollution prevention and control planning, soil pollution risk control standards, soil pollution survey and monitoring, soil pollution prevention, protection, risk control and restoration.

  Old and young, house and school? Here comes your tax bonus.

  The Interim Measures for Special Additional Deduction of Individual Income Tax shall come into force on January 1, 2019. In the future, taxpayers can calculate the taxable income of individual tax, and besides the basic deduction of 5,000 yuan and special deductions such as "three insurances and one gold", they can also enjoy six special additional deductions such as children’s education, continuing education, serious illness medical care, housing loan interest or housing rent, and supporting the elderly.

  For example, in terms of children’s education, the expenses related to children’s pre-school education and full-time academic education from primary school to doctoral students after reaching the age of 3 are deducted according to the monthly 1000 yuan standard for each child, and the high school education includes technical education; The interest expenses of the first home loan incurred by the taxpayer himself or his spouse can be deducted according to the monthly 1000 yuan standard; According to the different cities, the eligible housing rent is deducted according to the monthly standard of 1,500 yuan, 1,100 yuan and 800 yuan; In terms of supporting the elderly, taxpayers’ expenses for supporting their parents who have reached the age of 60 are deducted according to certain standards. Among them, the only child is deducted according to the standard of 2,000 yuan per person per month, and the non-only child and his siblings share the deduction amount of 2,000 yuan per month.

  How to declare? Taxpayers can choose to apply for deduction in the withholding unit. Taxpayers can directly submit paper or electronic forms to the financial or human resources department, or fill them out through mobile App or webpage and push them to the withholding unit.

  Social security will be uniformly collected by the tax authorities, and employees’ social security rights and interests will be more secure.

  The "Reform Plan for the Collection and Management System of National Taxation and Local Taxation" clarifies that from January 1, 2019, various social insurance premiums such as basic old-age insurance premiums, basic medical insurance premiums, unemployment insurance premiums, work injury insurance premiums, and maternity insurance premiums will be uniformly collected by the tax authorities. At present, some enterprises do not provide employees with social security, and more commonly, they do not provide employees with full social security. This situation is expected to change after the social security fee is uniformly collected by the tax authorities.

  Zero tariff on 63 kinds of pharmaceutical raw materials

  The Adjustment Plan for Provisional Import and Export Tax Rates in 2019 will be implemented on January 1, 2019. According to the plan, from January 1, 2019, zero tariffs will be imposed on important raw materials urgently needed for domestic production of drugs for treating cancer, rare diseases, diabetes, hepatitis B and acute leukemia, involving 63 varieties under 31 tax items.

  New version of birth certificate launched

  Since January 1, 2019, the new version of the birth medical certificate has been launched. Compared with before, the medical certificate of birth (6th edition) changed the words "produced by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China" on the back cover of the medical certificate of birth (5th edition) to "produced by the National Health and Wellness Commission of People’s Republic of China (PRC)".

  Haitao is cheaper. Cross-border e-commerce retail import policy adjustment

  From January 1, 2019, China will raise the upper limit of commodity quotas enjoying preferential tax policies and expand the scope of the list. Increase the annual transaction limit from 20,000 yuan per person per year to 26,000 yuan, and increase the camera with the increase of residents’ income in the future; Increase the limit of a single transaction to 5000 yuan.

  Mobile phone number supports remote account cancellation.

  According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom are required to officially provide off-site mobile phone number cancellation services nationwide from January 1, 2019.

  Major adjustment of passport policy for overseas China citizens.

  In order to better meet the needs of overseas China citizens to apply for passports, the passport policy for overseas China citizens will be greatly adjusted. After the adjustment, overseas China citizens will no longer be required to settle abroad when they renew their passports, and the requirements for application materials will be further relaxed, which will make it more convenient for minors to apply for permits, and at the same time, the time for obtaining evidence will be greatly shortened, with the shortest time being about one week. The adjustment of relevant policies will be officially implemented on January 1, 2019.

  The road transport certificate and driver’s qualification certificate of ordinary freight vehicles with a total mass of 4.5 tons or less shall be cancelled.

  The Ministry of Transport issued a notice that since January 1, 2019, local transportation management departments will no longer issue road transport permits for ordinary freight vehicles with a total mass of 4.5 tons or less. Since January 1, 2019, for ordinary freight vehicles with a total mass of 4.5 tons or less engaged in ordinary cargo transportation activities, local transportation management departments shall not impose administrative penalties on such vehicles and drivers on the grounds of "operating without a license" and "driving road passenger and freight transport vehicles without obtaining corresponding qualification certificates".

Man-made vs natural diamonds, is the myth of love century shattered?

Text | Silicon Valley 101

Love is expensive.

On February 14th, International Valentine’s Day, shopping sales in the United States exceeded $25 billion. In Valentine’s Day gifts, more than one-fifth of people choose jewelry.

In this issue of Silicon Valley 101, we will talk about an industry closely related to love: diamonds. How is it priced by international interest groups? How is it deeply bound to love and marriage? Now, is it pulled down by the breakthrough of artificial diamond technology in the laboratory? Besides love economics, we also found a market with more potential for diamonds in the future. …

Where does the Lab Diamond come from? 

Diamonds have been regarded as treasures and precious symbols in human society for thousands of years, but it was not until 1772 that Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, a French scientist known as the "father of modern chemistry", put a diamond in a closed tank filled with oxygen and burned it with a huge magnifying glass focusing on the sun’s rays. It was found that diamonds, like carbon, form the same amount of carbon dioxide per gram of material, and thus human beings realized that.

Since then, human beings have started the exploration of artificial diamonds. And this exploration is hundreds of years. It was not until the 1950s that the first technological breakthrough suddenly occurred.

In 1952, Union Carbide, an American petrochemical company, produced miniature synthetic diamonds by chemical vapour deposition (CVD for short) at low pressure and relatively low temperature.

A year later, in 1953, ASEA, a Swedish general motor company, successfully developed HPHT technology, which is short for high pressure and high temperature, with another technology, and synthesized diamonds.

Then, in 1954, scientists from GE Company in the United States also made diamonds in the laboratory through HPHT technology.

Seeing this, are you curious: Why do companies like petrochemical, electric machinery and general electric study synthetic diamonds? This is because in the 1950s, just after the Second World War, diamonds were widely used in industrial applications. The governments of the United States and many other countries believe that industrial diamonds are very important to manufacturing, so they define industrial diamonds as strategic reserves.

However, although millions of carats of synthetic diamonds are produced every year, no company can make artificial diamonds large enough and of good quality for the jewelry industry. Why? Let’s take apart these two methods of making diamonds: HTHP and CVD.

HTHP method uses graphite powder as raw material and metal catalyst powder as catalyst, and establishes a high temperature and high pressure environment through current heating and hydraulic device to simulate the crystallization and growth environment of natural diamond, so that graphite undergoes phase transformation and forms diamond crystals.

Thermodynamically, HTHP mode is the most similar to the growth mechanism of natural diamond, which is to recombine carbon atoms at high temperature and high pressure to form a regular tetrahedral diamond structure with sp3 C-C bond.

However, during the growth of diamond by HTHP method, impurities such as iron, cobalt and nickel in the pressure transmission medium and raw and auxiliary materials will continue to enter the diamond crystal, forming various defects, and the diamond produced will be yellow or brownish yellow, which makes the purity not ideal, and the effective growth space of diamond is also limited. Moreover, the energy and equipment used in the early HTHP method are also very expensive.

Another method, chemical vapor deposition (CVD), refers to activating (CH4/H2, CH4/N2, CH4/Ar, etc.) carbon-containing mixed gases by certain methods under the conditions of high temperature and low pressure, so that carbon atoms in them can be stripped from carbon source gases and deposited on appropriate substrates (such as Si, c-BN, SiC, Ni, Co, Pt, Ir and Pd, etc.). It’s a bit like when it snows, snowflakes pile up little by little.

Because CVD method does not need to add metal catalyst powder, there will be less impurities, but the early technology is not mature, which makes the quality of the diamonds produced different, and the color is not easy to control, and the cultivation period is long, which makes the cost very high.

However, it is a bit like practicing martial arts. As long as the secret of the book is right, as long as you use time to polish your skills, you will be able to practice it. In the next few decades, both HTHP method and CVD method are rapidly iterating.

In 1971, General Electric announced the creation of carat-grade gem diamonds, which were polished and sent to GIA, the American Gemological Research Institute, for identification. But at that time, these diamonds were easily identified as synthetic diamonds because they could be observed by optical microscope.

De Beers, the leader of the diamond industry, couldn’t sit still after watching the development of synthetic diamond technology. In 1959, it announced to join the R&D corps and began to produce synthetic diamonds for industrial use commercially in 1961.

In 1987, 26 years later, De Beers synthesized a gem-grade diamond of 11.14 carats, and in 1990, three years later, a diamond single crystal with good quality was successfully synthesized, weighing 14. 2 carats.

Since then, Japan, the United States, Russian Federation, China and so on have all started to rapidly increase their technological research and development in the field of synthetic diamonds.

One of the important milestones in the industry is 2012.

Has a new era arrived?

Earlier, we said that the color of the diamond produced by CVD process is not easy to control, but around 2012, CVD diamond manufacturers found that changing the gas in the growth chamber and using the "higher purity" synthetic diamond called "Type II A" as the seed crystal plate can improve the color of the finished diamond and accelerate the growth rate by five times. At the same time, the manufacturer found that the subsequent high-pressure and high-temperature treatment can improve the color, make the diamond colorless and gem-grade, and also cover up some iconic visual features of CVD, thus making it more difficult to identify.

Therefore, in March 2012, Gemesis Company, located in Sarasota, Florida, USA, began to sell colorless synthetic diamonds produced by CVD process.

The researchers of GIA, the American Gemological Research Institute, smelled the wind of the market and immediately bought 16 diamonds from Gemesis and began to identify them. They found that 15 of the diamonds were cut with round brilliants, weighing from 0.24 carat to 0.86 carat, and most of them were nearly colorless. On GIA’s 4C rating of diamonds, the color rating is from D to Z, and D is the closest to colorless. Most diamonds bought by GIA from Gemesis are rated as F and G, which are quite good in color, three of them are rated as I and J, and the largest 0.9-carat rectangle cut diamond is rated as L. In terms of clarity, basically all the diamonds bought are at the higher level of VVS or VS, and one of them has reached the top purity of "flawless inside".

Dr Wuyi Wang (Wang Wuyi), director of research and development of GIA at that time, immediately led the research team to conduct a series of extensive tests on synthetic diamonds, including complex spectral analysis, as well as examination of characteristics such as inclusions, texture patterns and ultraviolet fluorescence reaction, and the conclusion was as follows:

In the past decade, the quality of colorless to near colorless CVD grown diamonds has been greatly improved. These samples show that it is necessary to use advanced spectral technology to distinguish these synthetic diamonds from natural diamonds.

GIA’s research team published the conclusion in the summer of 2012, which exploded in the market in an instant, causing great controversy. Jewelry industry organizations strongly call for greater information disclosure and punishment for those producers who fail to disclose synthetic diamonds.

At this point, the laboratory artificial diamond formally poses a threat to the natural diamond market. Many artificial diamond jewelers and laboratories have mushroomed into the market, and the sales of artificial diamond jewelry have started to soar rapidly, and people’s acceptance of laboratory diamonds is also increasing. Natural diamonds previously known as "rare and precious" were suddenly pulled down from the altar. It seems that a new era has arrived.

In 2016, the International Synthetic Diamond Association (IGDA) was formally established, headquartered in the United States, aiming at better communication and publicity on the technology and development of synthetic diamonds, and at the same time, conducting more unified and standardized terminology and behavior guidelines, thus promoting the development of the entire laboratory synthetic diamond industry.

Next, let’s answer a question: In recent years, have synthetic diamonds really pulled natural diamonds off the altar? Has the myth and monopoly of diamonds really been broken? To answer this question, we must first look at how the pricing system of natural diamonds was first established, and the story is particularly funny and bloody.

Let’s turn the clock back to the 19th century.

The Rhodes era of 03 De Beers: becoming a diamond monopolist

For a long time after being discovered, diamonds were once only symbols of the royal family and nobles and ornaments of wealth. They were really scarce in those years until a large diamond mine was discovered.

In 1871, the De Beers brothers in South Africa discovered a huge diamond mine, which was soon bought by British businessman cecil rhodes for 6,600 pounds. Seventeen years later, in 1888, De Beers United Mining led by Rhodes was established. With the support of the British colonial government at that time, the diamond capital war was started by constantly annexing other diamond mines to monopolize the market.

After capital annexation and melee, 3,600 diamond mining licenses in the market were reduced to 100, and the diamond mining rights were further centralized. In 1900, as De Beers of Rhodes defeated Kimberly Central Diamond Mining Company, the biggest competitor, to become the dominant player in the industry, De Beers not only established a monopoly on diamond mines, but also controlled the diamond sales market with one hand and had absolute dominance in the pricing of diamond market. By the time Rhodes died in 1902, De Beers, which he built, controlled 90% of the world’s mining and sales.

But for any monopolistic business behavior, it is difficult to lay down the country, but it is even more difficult to hold the country.

The only risk for De Beers, the industry overlord, is that a huge new diamond mine is discovered. De Beers’ coping strategy is: if a new diamond mine is discovered, I will buy one, if another is discovered, I will buy another … so as to maintain the continuous monopoly position in the industry. Just as Rhodes died, a great event happened in the diamond industry.

This year, a super-large diamond mine was discovered in South Africa, which is the famous "Callinan Mine", and it is also the place where the world’s largest original diamond record was found: the "Callinan Diamond" with a weight of 3,106.75 carats.

However, the owner of the Callinan mine was so contemptuous of the monopoly trade mechanism created by Rhodes that he refused to sell it to De Beers and sold the mine to a German Jewish businessman named Ernst Oppenheimer.

De Beers immediately fell into a panic: at that time, the diamond reserves in Callinan mine were almost equal to the sum of all mines controlled by De Beers. If Oppenheimer quickly pushes the diamonds from Callinan mine to the global market, it means that the retail price of diamonds will collapse, and De Beers will lose its monopoly on the diamond market.

To make matters worse, Rhodes, the founder of De Beers, has just died, and the company is in a leaderless state. Oppenheimer, on the other hand, is an extremely shrewd businessman, backed by big consortia such as JP Morgan, and he knows that De Beers must buy the Callinan mine, but because of this, the initiative is actually in his hands.

In the next few years, Oppenheimer bought shares in De Beers while buying new diamond mines. In 1926, De Beers, whose market share was continuously eroded by Oppenheimer’s subsidiary "Anglo American PLC", took the initiative to find Oppenheimer to negotiate.

For Oppenheimer, the time has come. He told the board of directors of De Beers directly that he would neither leave with a bill nor fight with De Beers. He proposed to merge with De Beers and serve as the chairman after the merger. Soon, the leaderless De Beers board agreed to Oppenheimer’s proposal. In July 1926, Oppenheimer used all the shares of Anglo-American Resources Company to obtain the control of De Beers by replacing the shares. Three years later, Oppenheimer became the chairman of De Beers Group.

Remember that the original owner of the Callinan mine sold the mine to Oppenheimer because he didn’t like De Beers’ monopolistic behavior? As a result, Oppenheimer, who annexed De Beers, became a monopolist who believed in profiteering even more.

The Oppenheimer Age of 04 De Beers: Top Marketing and Century Advertising

Why is Oppenheimer a businessman who believes in monopoly more than Rhodes? Through his handling of several incidents, everyone can appreciate it.

On October 24th, 1929, just as De Beers was preparing to enter the American market, the new york stock market crashed, and 11 bankers committed suicide in one day. At the same time, the United States entered the Great Depression before the Second World War.

Who would want to buy diamonds during the Great Depression, right? In the face of the weak demand market and falling prices, Oppenheimer thought of three vicious measures, which laid the foundation for De Beers to sit back and relax and continue to monopolize the diamond empire for decades to come:

First, control output.

The demand-supply curve of the introductory course of economics tells us directly that when you have a significant impact on the output of the supply side, you can adjust the price of goods, especially monopolists.

Just like OPEC, which has more than a dozen member countries, for oil prices, every time you watch the news, OPEC will reduce production or increase production, which can directly have a very huge impact on oil prices. In the diamond market, De Beers, a company, is equivalent to OPEC.

First, De Beers shut down almost all diamond mines in South Africa to reduce production. In 1930, De Beers’ production in South Africa was 2 million carats, which was reduced to 14,000 carats in 1933. New mines in Namibia were also shut down, and the production of Congo and Portuguese Angola was directly taken over by Oppenheimer’s London company to prevent them from appearing in the open market. But the situation is still getting worse year by year. By 1937, De Beers’ inventory had increased to about 40 million carats. What is this concept? If the market demand is about 2 million carats per year, it is equivalent to 20 years’ supply.

There are even allegations that De Beers threw a lot of diamonds into the sea to control the overproduction of the market and maintain the price. But it should be noted here that the evidence of these allegations is limited, and De Beers has never confirmed such allegations. But it also shows that De Beers’ influence on the diamond supply side has been very direct for many years.

First, in 1934, De Beers established the diamond CSO agreement, the full name of which is "Central Selling Organization".

De Beers signed an exclusive market agreement at the front end of the diamond mine, and after buying these diamonds, it calculated the best market volume every year according to the market situation to better control the supply side. De Beers signed CSO agreements with about 125 dealers around the world. Every year, these 125 dealers regularly go to London to see rough diamonds, and then they take them to all parts of the world for cutting and selling.

In the whole CSO network, although De Beers is a seller, this seller is very strong. At the ten fairs every year, the price of diamonds below 10 carats is fixed, and the price above 10 carats is negotiable. Three weeks before each inspection meeting, dealers need to submit a list of requests. Then at the inspection meeting, De Beers directly sells the dealers a briefcase the size of a lunch box, which will contain diamonds of different sizes and qualities. This briefcase is called "allotment", which will contain diamonds applied by dealers, but some dealers have not applied, and dealers can only accept the price and delivery set by De Beers in full, and there is no room for selection and counter-offer. The list of CSO CSO125 dealers is dynamic, and it is reviewed every three years. If someone does not perform well, they will be deprived of the right to see the goods.

Have you never seen such a strong seller? Just because De Beers controls the upstream of rough diamond mining, it also monopolizes the right to speak in the downstream of diamond field, such as sales.

At the same time, I would like to mention that in 1953, De Beers and GIA, the Gemological Institute of the United States, jointly formulated the diamond 4C, which is the English initials of color, clarity, cut and carat we just mentioned, and GIA issued the appraisal certificate, which became the benchmark of global diamond pricing. In this way, 4C and GIA appraisal made the rough diamonds controlled by some "irregular legions" of diamonds-for example, warlords after African countries began to break away from colonial rule-not recognized by international sales networks and consumers, but had to bow their heads and cooperate with De Beers to join the CSO system.

Third, in addition to controlling supply and sales, De Beers also began to "brainwash" consumers through marketing and advertising, creating soaring market demand.

Oppenheimer sent his son, Harry, to contact Hollywood movie stars, and used diamonds as a sponsor of Oscar and other awards ceremonies. Soon, diamond ornaments became popular among Hollywood stars. At the same time, De Beers hired NW Ayer, a well-known advertising company headquartered in new york, to reformulate its marketing strategy. After market research, NW Ayer concluded that the strong combination of diamonds and love can really trigger and stimulate market demand.

So in 1948, "A Diamond is Forever", which is translated as the well-known "Diamonds last forever, one will last forever" advertising series began to be widely introduced to the market. In advertisements and various movies, men bought diamonds for their favorite women who were crying with joy and immersed in love. As a result, love, a priceless treasure that everyone yearns for, was strongly bound together with valuable diamonds.

De Beers immediately introduced the concept of diamond engagement ring, and the promotion of this concept was undoubtedly very successful: not only Europe and America, but also international regions such as Japan began to pursue engagement rings. In 1966, only 6% of Japanese brides received engagement rings, whereas in the past, it was often in pearl style, and only 1% received diamond rings. In the 1990s, 90% of Japanese brides received diamond rings when they got married. 

Moreover, there are several advantages to strongly combine diamond ring with marriage. First, it has become a hard demand for every newly married couple. Second, since diamonds represent love, second-hand sales are regarded as a great blasphemy against love, so not many people sell second-hand diamond rings, and even if they do, there are few buyers. After all, who wants a diamond that represents the love of others? "The only, permanent and beautiful one is mine."

This means that the market demand for new diamonds will rise steadily. Therefore, after controlling output, controlling supply chain and sales, and launching century advertisements to "brainwash" consumers, De Beers strongly knocked on the door of the American market, and such stable demand and market monopoly continued until the 1990s.

Monopoly breaker: the disintegration of the former Soviet Union

In the 1950s, the former Soviet Union discovered a huge diamond mine in Siberia. De Beers, on the other hand, returned to the classic old problem: to maintain its monopoly position, it is necessary to control the diamond mining in the former Soviet Union. So De Beers said to the former Soviet Union at that time, I took all your diamonds, so they immediately signed a secret all-sale binding contract.

In the 1990s, the contract with the former Soviet Union became the source of the collapse of De Beers’ monopoly diamond empire for decades. In 1991, the former Soviet Union, the second largest diamond producer in the world, disintegrated. De Beers could not continue the previous agreement, and Siberian diamond mines and many governments began to bypass De Beers. Soon, in the late 1990s, the number of diamonds sold outside the agreement was increasing. At the same time, Australia and Canada have discovered world-class diamond mines one after another, and the global diamond shipments have gradually exceeded De Beers’ capacity, so in the end, it can only give up the traditional strategy of all acquisitions, and gradually, De Beers’ share of diamond supply has gradually declined.

On the other hand, De Beers began to face anti-monopoly investigations by the United States and the International Department of Justice in the 1990s, which completely dashed De Beers’ hope of regaining its monopoly position. In 2011, Anglo American, an Anglo-American resource group, bought 40% of the Oppenheimer family shares for $5.1 billion (3.2 billion pounds), increasing its shareholding in De Beers to 85%, ending the Oppenheimer family’s control over De Beers for 80 years.

With the improvement of technology, more and more countries begin to mine and polish their own ores. In 2016, De Beers’ market share decreased to around 35%. In recent years, Alrosa, a Russian diamond company that has been closely followed, has surpassed the output and lost its position as the industry leader.

06 checks and balances and competition between old and new forces

So let’s go back to the question we mentioned at the beginning: Have natural diamonds been pulled down by artificial diamonds? The answer is, unfortunately, not yet.

But let’s take a closer look here. Since the first quarter of 2022, the price of natural diamonds has been falling all the way. De Beers lowered the price of rough diamonds by about 10% in this year’s first auction, and continued to cut prices after last year’s decline.

However, if we go back to the St. Louis Fed’s gem-grade diamond import price index, and then lengthen the time axis a little, we will find that the current decline in diamond prices has only fallen to December 2021. If you stretch it again, you will find that it is far from falling to the low point of the 2008 financial crisis. We also interviewed an international analyst who has been tracking the diamond market for many years. He believes that the current decline in natural diamonds is mainly a revision of the rapid increase in diamond prices from 2020 to 2021. At that time, during the epidemic, because of the international supply chain problems, there was a shortage of diamonds, which led to a rapid increase in prices.

Paul Zimny, senior independent diamond analyst/consultant.

Our demand for natural diamonds set a record in 2021 and 2022. The current trend is that the demand for diamonds will decrease in 2023. I mean, it affects the price of diamonds. In the long run, the price of diamonds will be relatively stable. Therefore, you may not see much price change on the jewelry counter.

And we see that since the end of 2023, the overall diamond price has begun to stabilize. However, analysts believe that synthetic diamonds must have had a certain impact on the natural diamond market. After all, they are the same substance and the price gap is so large. However, he believes that the price correction is the main reason for the recent decline of diamonds, not the impact brought by laboratory diamonds. There are the following emerging phenomena.

First, synthetic diamonds and natural diamonds are not eating each other’s markets, but two completely different markets and tracks. Synthetic diamonds, because of their low price, attract new price-sensitive consumers who didn’t buy diamond rings or diamond jewelry before, and attract people who would have bought natural diamonds to try to buy artificial diamond jewelry. However, the relationship between synthetic diamonds and natural diamonds is not a zero-sum game, but it enlarges the overall market cake. This forecast chart of the American market from the consulting firm Grand View Research can illustrate the problem very well. The overall market scale has become larger, and the separate markets for synthetic diamonds and natural diamonds have become larger, rather than eating into each other.

Many consumers who buy laboratory synthetic diamonds may not be consumers who buy natural diamonds, so this is not a zero-sum game. I think a lot of demand is driven by laboratory synthetic diamonds, which is a new increment, but it is difficult to quantify this accurately. But I think, on the whole, volatility and the price of natural diamonds are more related to the cyclical nature of the industry.

Laboratory diamonds have not broken the strong bond between natural diamonds and love and marriage, or even the jeweler’s insistence on natural diamonds. In addition to De Beers and LVMH, the heads of luxury brands, including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Louis Vuitton, Shangmei and other jewelry brands, have made it clear that diamonds cultivated in the laboratory can not be accepted by most high-end jewelry consumers at present.

At present, the diamond trade is divided into five levels of distributors:

First-class dealer: mainly responsible for selling rough diamonds and diamonds that have been cut initially.

Second-tier dealers: buyers of big brand companies

Third-level dealers: high-end collectors purchase the best and rarest diamonds.

Fourth-level dealer: ordinary commodity-grade diamonds are sold to general jewelry manufacturers and small retailers.

Fifth-level dealers: face consumer commercial channels (D2C) and provide personalized retail services.

It seems that diamonds cultivated in the first to third laboratories cannot enter, and the fourth and fifth grades will be the main expansion markets. Therefore, we can see that the business models of pet hair cultivating diamonds, ashes diamonds and so on are all narrative and promotion that artificial diamond dealers are trying to do at present.

For the first-class to third-class diamond distribution channels, De Beers is still a very influential player in the industry, although its monopoly position is no longer. The perfect diamond trading system built in the past 100 years and the binding concept of natural diamonds and love are still being used. Therefore, natural diamond giants such as De Beers can still control the quantity and price at the source of mining and keep the price of natural diamonds at a high price.

If we look at the supply of natural diamonds, I think the supply will be relatively stable or even decline in the next 5 to 10 years. I think we will continue to see that the supply of diamonds cultivated in the laboratory will actually increase rapidly, and the production technology and production capacity of large manufacturers are also constantly improving, so the production and supply of these two products are very different.

Whether it is synthetic diamonds or natural diamonds, a large part of them are used for industrial purposes. When discussing the change of market share, we must discuss jewelry-grade diamonds and industrial-grade diamonds separately. And many analysts believe that the future potential of laboratory-cultivated diamonds, or synthetic diamonds, must be in industry, not jewelry.

In October, 2023, WD Lab Grown Diamonds, the second diamond producer in Ushizo, filed for bankruptcy in Delaware. Mike Grunza, CEO of the company, said that in the early days, jewelry-grade synthetic diamonds were still a very profitable business, but now the situation is that a large number of synthetic diamond companies began to produce jewelry-grade diamonds because of the maturity of technology, but the market demand could not swallow such a large supply, and the oversupply made the synthetic diamond market start to price, especially the price pressure from China manufacturers.

According to global market data, the production capacity of jewellery-grade cultivated diamonds in China accounts for about 50% of the total global production capacity, of which 80% comes from Henan Province. Under such a price war, the price of synthetic diamonds plunged by 80% in just one year, and even fell below the price that can be profitable. The cost of producing diamonds exceeded the company’s income from selling diamonds, which made the capital chain of the second Ushizo diamond company in the United States break and eventually went bankrupt.

It should be noted that WD jewelry business closed down, and WD Advanced Materials’ advanced materials department was spun off and re-appeared in public. The person in charge of this part told the media that it is not the purpose of the enterprise to use artificial diamonds as jewelry. Although they may sell gem-grade diamonds to get cash flow, just making jewelry is not the scope that the enterprise can bear in the future.

Similarly, Diamond Foundry, an artificial diamond company invested by Xiao Lizi Leonardo DiCaprio after filming "Blood Diamond" in 2005, has also changed from cultivating jewelry-grade diamonds in the early stage to cultivating high-precision industrial-grade diamonds, including AI and cloud computing chips, new energy charging, wireless communication chips and other fields, but their website home page does not mention jewelry diamond cultivation.

However, analysts believe that the cost needs to be reduced if the diamonds cultivated in the laboratory are to be used in industrial applications on a large scale, especially in high-precision manufacturing.

Just like high-tech industrial applications, if you want to use it as a component or equipment, it needs very high quality, and I think the price must be very low to make it economically meaningful for the industry to use it. This is why we will continue to see that the prices of materials used in all laboratories to make diamonds are falling, because other manufacturers have the incentive to lower their prices, so that they can sell materials to these high-tech industries, all of which are larger than the jewelry industry. So I think there are many opportunities to make diamonds in the laboratory in the direction of precision industrial manufacturing. I think in the next ten years, I will see important news about the diamond manufacturing in the laboratory, which will play a role in these high-tech equipment and applications, such as what most people have, whether it is mobile phones or electric cars, so I will continue to pay attention.

Finally, let’s talk about the controversy over synthetic diamonds. The mining of traditional natural diamonds involves ecological destruction, waste of water resources, and huge carbon emissions. Coupled with the immoral mining chaos behind "blood diamonds", this industry has always faced many criticisms.

However, there is another argument that laboratory-cultivated diamonds, which look more "green", "sustainable" and "transparent" in process, actually produce much more carbon emissions and carbon footprints than natural diamonds: producing a laboratory-cultivated diamond also requires a lot of energy, and requires the division of production in different countries and regions around the world, which also produces a longer carbon footprint than natural diamonds. In addition, the natural diamond mining industry has actually helped and improved the quality of life of residents in many poor and backward areas in Africa, and contributed stable economic income to many areas. If artificial diamonds completely replace natural diamond mining, the economies of these areas will bear the brunt. Therefore, there are also voices questioning whether laboratory-cultivated diamonds are more environmentally friendly than natural diamonds from the perspective of sustainability, which is really open to question.

In addition, because of the endorsement of luxury brands, the entire 4C pricing system and GIA certificate appraisal, natural diamonds make consumers think that authenticity, quality and process are more transparent, but the artificial diamond market is still mixed and the appraisal ecology is not perfect, which also makes some consumers afraid to start, but prefer to buy more secure natural diamonds.

So, let’s sum up:

1) Synthetic diamonds and natural diamonds are two different markets, which may overlap, but the mainstream consumers do not overlap too much at present;

2) In the current situation of the industry, the price war of synthetic diamonds has not directly impacted natural diamonds, but has been involved in making synthetic diamond companies go bankrupt;

3) In terms of development potential, jewelry-grade diamonds are not a fancy market for many synthetic diamond manufacturers, but a larger-scale industrial-grade high-precision manufacturing industry, but the cultivation cost needs to be greatly reduced;

4) Finally, the "environmental protection" narrative of synthetic diamonds has not touched the consumers in the market, and it will take time to verify it.

Maybe diamonds are not eternal, and they can’t be circulated forever. Monopoly business empires will also decline one day, and industries will disappear one day. Everything is unknown, but the only thing is that human beings’ desire to pursue love, beauty and faith is constant and eternal.

Even if one day, the diamond is really pulled down from the altar, I think there will be a new symbol to replace the diamond, and people will give it a new symbolic meaning. Whether this symbol is another substance or a virtual immaterial, we are also curious about what it will be.