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February 21, 2010

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Shining light in jewelery, charity

DIAMONDS are a girl's best friend, goes the saying. And it's not lost on acclaimed "Diamond Queen," Guangdong entrepreneur Chen Xiaofeng, who set up Shining House, a diamond jewelry brand, in 2001.

In less than 10 years, the young woman has managed to turn the brand into one of the best-known jewelry outlets in China. Today, it has nearly 200 stores in more than 30 provinces around the country.

Most recently, she was announced at the 2009 Elite Summit of Chinese Business Women held in Shanghai as one of the "Honor Roll of China Elite Business Women."

She was honored with other powerful women, such as Yue-Sai Kan, celebrity TV host, and Zhang Lan, founder of South Beauty Group, China's leading restaurant empire.

Chen talked about her career, her understanding of love and her wholehearted devotion to supporting charity events.

Q: As the acclaimed "Diamond Queen," what is your special relationship with the hardest rock in the world?

A: As a matter of fact, my husband couldn't afford to buy me a diamond when we got married. Although I sell diamonds nowadays, I still believe in love more than in diamonds. Money can't buy love. Like most Chinese people, I was "educated" by advertisements and marketing about the message of love and foreverness delivered by diamonds.

Q: What is the story behind Shining House? What made you decide to set up the brand back in 2001?

A: I set up Shining House in 2001 when diamond jewelry was not yet popular in the Chinese market. People tended to buy gold and pearl jewelry at that time.

However, when I visited a jewelry fair in Italy, I was fascinated by various diamond pieces -- in all shapes and colors -- produced by Shining House, then an Italian brand. I decided immediately that I must bring these beautiful jewelry pieces back to China.

Q: What do you think is the key to your success?

A: In fact, I have never considered myself an entrepreneur (laughs). I'm just working with my team at Shining House to design and produce some beautiful, exquisite and luxurious diamond jewelry, which I hope to share with women looking for beauty and love all over the world. During the process, the company naturally got bigger and bigger and I'm very grateful.

Q: What is your favorite jewelry item from Shining House?

A: There are many. One of our most successful ranges is the "Cape No. 7" collection, which we launched right after the huge success of the Taiwan romantic comedy.

Customers love the collection because they love the message behind it.

Most recently, we launched a collection called "Dandelion" of pendants, earrings and rings.

We will donate all the profits from the collection to help poor girls in rural areas who want to learn art.

It is a project I initiated with Elle magazine in China. I also designed some pieces in the collection.

Q: You have been involved extensively in charity events in recent years. Could you tell us more about them?

A: To me, charity is not just about donating money. I think it is far from enough if I just donate an amount of money that I would otherwise use to buy a Chanel bag or a luxury watch.

I have to be personally involved in every charity event organized by Shining House.

Last year, we sponsored 80 teachers to go to rural areas and set up schools so that local children would have the chance to go to school.

I have traveled a long way with them and managed myself to send books, stationery and computers to the children.

Through these events, more people have learned about our company. Meanwhile, we have also set an example which, hopefully, would also attract other companies to get involved in charity events and help people in need.


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