Source: 123rf (sivaontherock)

Penang’s economic growth driven by the gold trading industry has been pivotal since the 18th century. With a rich history spanning well over a century, it’s not surprising to find century-old gold jewellery retail shops here.

According to Penang Chief Minister Chow, this industry has made an indispensable contribution, accounting for 80% of the nation’s annual gold and diamond jewellery production[1]. Currently there are about 400 small and medium factories and workshops operating in Penang[2].

Penang’s thriving gold trading industry is a magnet for interstate traders, catalyses the state’s economy, and enhances its tourism sector. Renowned for its exquisite gold jewellery collections, excellent craftsmanship, and competitive labour costs, Penang’s jewellery industry has garnered a stellar reputation. However, Chief Minister Chow reminded the importance of revitalising this industry through a strategic rebranding effort to captivate more customers’ interests and cultivate lasting brand loyalties.

Creativity enables businesses to create new products, services, and offerings that differentiate themselves from competitors and innovatively address consumers’ evolving demands. By fostering a creative and entrepreneurial environment, Penang’s local entrepreneurs can thrive in international trade, aligning with Penang’s Strategy for Economic Ecosystem Development (SEED) goals.

Penang has also taken steps to expand its creative industry by hosting a jewellery trade fair aimed at promoting Malaysia as the world’s gold and jewellery trading center. The Province Wellesley Gold & Silver Ornament Merchants Association (PWGS) Trade Fair 2023, organised by the Federation of Goldsmiths and Jewellers Associations of Malaysia, was held at the Setia SPICE Convention Centre from June 9 to 11, 2023. State executive councillor for tourism and creative economy, Yeoh Soon Hin, expressed his expectations that the fair, featuring 100 exhibitors, would attract 10,000 visitors from across Malaysia.[3]

Every piece of jewellery created by Penang’s talented designers showcases its unique cultural identity and its authentic beauty. Like HABIB, Malaysia’s leading jeweller constantly strives to differentiate itself in its product offerings. This involves establishing collaborative partnerships with renowned Italian artisans and combining their expertise in gold craftsmanship with elements of Malaysian heritage tailored to suit the local market’s preferences.[4]

Meanwhile, other designs reflect the diverse heritage of Penang, incorporating influences from Malay, Indian, Chinese, and European cultures to cater to customers’ different needs. Through initiatives like the trade fair, the gold jewellery industry in Penang and Malaysia can experience continued growth and prosperity, ensuring its sustainable development in the future.


[1] Gold trading industry plays crucial role in Penang, says CM Chow. Bulletin Mutiara, Apr 30th, 2023)

[2] Liew Jia  Xian. Back in demand. The Star, 21 August 2022

[3] Penang aims to expand creative industry by hosting jewellery trade fair-Exco. The Edge Malaysia. 20 June 2023.

[4] Puteri Yasmin Soraya. (2021, 22 Oct). A closer look into the past, present and future of HABIB.