Business as usual at Nirav Modi’s diamond store in Beijing

The Nirav Modi store located amid a cluster of other luxury brands was open for business and the employees claimed to be unaware about the controversy raging around the businessman in India.

world Updated: Feb 22, 2018 20:02 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Nirav Modi,bank fraud,Punjab National Bank
It was business as usual at the Nirav Modi boutique diamond store at the Peninsula Hotel in Beijing on Thursday, even as stores in cities across India were shut. (HT Photo)

It seemed business as usual at the Nirav Modi boutique diamond store at the Peninsula Hotel in Beijing on Thursday.

The shop located amid a cluster of other luxury brands was open for business and the employees were eager to cater to customers. They claimed to be unaware about the controversy raging around Modi in India.

None of the employees seemed aware that he was at the centre of a massive Rs 11,000-crore bank fraud that has hit the brand and its reputation.

“This is a Chinese company based in Beijing,” said one employee, adding that business has been “so, so”.

Reports said that most of Modi’s stores in cities across India had been shut by Thursday.

Modi had opened the store at the hotel located in Beijing’s central business district, the first on the Chinese mainland, in May 2017 as part of his plans to expand into China.

Leading Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi had attended the inauguration of a diamond store Modi had earlier opened in Hong Kong.

“Founder Nirav Modi stated that he had Chinese customers visiting his boutiques in New York, London, Hong Kong and Macau and the customers were changing the face of the luxury retail industry all over the world,” the Economic Times reported before the opening of the store in Beijing.

“They are sophisticated luxury buyers, with an eye for detail and craftsmanship. The boutique in Beijing is our first one in China and we have more boutique launches in China planned over the next few years,” Modi was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Solitaire International, a magazine tracking the gems and jewellery sector, said custom-made carpets, golden glass and “rose gold decor” was used to design the store and to give it a “feminine and luxurious” feel.

In 2017, China emerged as the second largest market after the US for Indian gems and jewellery.

Reports quoting data from the India’s commerce ministry revealed that gems and jewellery exports from India to China had grown to more than $ 2.4 billion.

First Published: Feb 22, 2018 18:59 IST