Jeweller Chow Tai Fook named in price-fixing probe of gold shops

Customers sit inside a Chow Tai Fook jewellery store at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district. The world's biggest jewellery retailer by market value is among a number of gold shops being probed for price fixing, the official People's Dail
Customers sit inside a Chow Tai Fook jewellery store at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district. The world's biggest jewellery retailer by market value is among a number of gold shops being probed for price fixing, the official People's Daily newspaper reported, July 19, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, the world's biggest jewellery retailer by market value, is among a number of gold shops being probed for price fixing, the official People's Daily newspaper reported.

The People's Daily, citing unidentified sources, said China's National Development and Reform Commission was probing price manipulation by some jewellery shops in the commercial capital of Shanghai. The online report, which was later reposted on a government website, said several shops had admitted to the authorities that they colluded on prices.

A spokesman for Chow Sang Sang told Reuters the company did not know why it had been named in the report.

"We don't understand why we got involved in the story," spokesman Cathy Tam said. "We set the gold price every day based on the New York market close. The gold price is the same within the whole region of China, and we don't have district differences."

A spokesman for Chow Tai Fook told Reuters the company planned to issue a statement in response to the report later on Friday.

Shanghai-based jewellery retailer Lao Feng Xiang , which was also named in the report, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Gold posted a record quarterly fall from April-June, luring mainland Chinese buyers to Chow Tai Fook's almost 1,800 jewellery and gold stores across China, Hong Kong and Macau. The company earlier this month reported a 63 per cent spike in first-quarter revenue, with sales of gold products from its own stores soaring 78 per cent in the quarter ended June 30.