Foreigners in Kazakhstan by kpn40237


               N ER ES O RT

          Foreigners in Kazakhstan
          By Nataliya Shtenko                                                               ground offering absolutely exotic (at
                                                                                            those times in Kazakhstan) goods.
                                                                                            Gold toads with coins around them
                                                                                            and sparkling emerald eyes had no
                                                                                            appreciation of local public as well

                                                                                            as crystal birds playing wind songs
                                                                                            on silver pipes arouse no interest. So
                                                                                            the case looked liked beyond hope at
                                                                                            the beginning.
                                                                                                 After awhile Lee Chan didn’t
                                                KAZAKHYUVELIR PEDANT AND RING               make any deep marketing resear-
                                                FROM SET “KOUS ZHOLY”                       ches but paid more attention to a
                                                22 ct silver, partial gilding,              common sense and human psychol-
                                                carnelian, turquoise
                                                                                            ogy: he traveled all Chinese pro-
                                                                                            vinces in search for the cheapest
                                                                                            gold and silver jewellery to supply
                                                    IN FOREIGN LAND                         to Kazakhstan. And his intuition was

                                                       here are not many “true-born”        right: people started to visit his shop
                                                       foreign jewellery companies          more and more often leaving with
                                                       in Kazakhstan. Full-blooded          purchases. And then while serving
                                                foreign enterprises are those who           the customers Lee Chan were intro-
                                                offer exceptionally imported goods,         ducing the essence of the ancient art
                                                have no local constitutors and bring        of Fengshui telling about the features
                                                their native salespeople. There are         and virtues of gold toads, about good
                                                only three foreign companies in             influence of coins hanging on ribbons
          The importance of Ka-                 Kazakhstan which satisfy all these          and about ability of golden fish in
                                                terms: Chinese jewellery shop “Sui          a crystal ball to bring good luck.
          zakhstan market for
                                                Hun” with headquarter in Beijing,                The fish brought good luck
          Russian and Ukrainian is              Turkish “Istanbul” jewellery shop           indeed to Mr. Lee Chan himself: his
          out of the question. It’s             managed from Izmir and “Silver from         jewellery shop today is one of the
          so not only because the               Russia” company from Novosibirsk.           most expensive stores where cus-
          population’s quite high                    Some other foreigners tried to         tomers come not only for the sake of
                                                come to Kazakh market but couldn’t          jewellery but in their pursuit of luck,
          paying capacity, but add
                                                entrench: Germans came and go,              wealth and love.
          to it comparatively liberal           Austrians appeared for short time,
          laws, tax privileges and              even Finns with their northern orna-            THINGS COME
          nodal location in Central             ments out of southern understan-                IN THREES

          Asia region and you will              dings tried to bite a pie but it looked               urad Ibarde was has found
                                                like their teeth were not sharp                       his niche in Kazakhstan
          get the idea why this ex-
                                                enough.                                               jewellery market after sev-
          Soviet republic became                                                            eral attempts. His store “Istanbul”
          the attractive market for                 SECRET                                  was specializing in expensive gold,
          investments and trade.                    OF THE GOLD TOAD                        platinum and diamond jewellery at

          This article of our corre-                     bviously Mr. Lee Chan Veng         first. But at the end of 1990s people
                                                         has better teeth. His enterprise   in Almaty had not much money and
          spondent Nataliya Shten-
                                                         among all foreign companies        Ibarde decided to change his invento-
          ko from Almaty is about               is the oldest. He opened his shop in        ry: he offered gold of lower caratage,
          how foreign jewellers                 1996. Amazing how he dared to start         gave up rubies, emeralds and sap-
          operate in Kazakhstan.                a business on a completely different        phires in favor of affordable co-lored

          24                  RUSSIAN DIAMONDS & JEWE L L E R Y       4 / DECEMBER, 2 0 0 9
                                                                                                              NE T
                                                                                                           REPO RW S

stones. And the sales started to grow       local employees and hiring foreigners     his business, Mr. Lee Chan Veng
though in couple of years the competi-      instead.                                  gave rather a philosophic answer.
tion became very acute as many jewel-             – I had to gather so many cer-      “Centuries ago when the great Silk
lery shops were dumping the prices.         tificates, approvals and allowances for   Road was crossing these lands, the
     The owner of “Istanbul” had to         every employee that can’t do my pri-      Kazakh nomads were learning the
change the assortment for the third         mary job. It’s so discouraging, – says    virtues of the new goods: Persian
time and chose jewellery items for          Lee Chan Veng.                            textiles, Indian spices, European
Muslims: subhas (bead-rolls) with                 Murad Ibarde has no need in         wines. And when thinking of that fact
beads of topazes, rubies, opals;            employees from Turkey – he hires          I realized that the nation, being able

                                                                                                                                   MARKE T
tumars (guarding talismans) decorated       local salesmen. But according to seri-    to appreciate the achievements of
with sapphires and pearls. He has less      ate laws only males can work in his       foreign cultures and their goods for
clientele in comparison to the previous     store. However male staff turned out      centuries, this nation would be able to
period but his customers are special        to be not much reliable. “It’s ama-       accept me as well. It helped me to take
people who do not spare money on            zing but most guys working here were      a chance and to open my store with
their religious spirit and ready for big    somehow convinced that selling jewel-     specific goods exactly in Almaty. And
spending.                                   lery is not a good job for real men and   I didn’t regret.”
                                            suitable only for women. They start            And as for Mr. Murad Ibarde his
     AIRBORNE                               to learn how to sell our assortment,      decision to open a store here was

        o tell the truth “Silver from       spend a month or two in the store and     the result of pure strategic plans. He
        Russia” company was born            when got to some better level of sel-     cleared out the among all others ex-
        directly on the board of a plane    ling skills they leave,” – says Ibarde.   Soviet republics Kazakhstan is develo-
during the flight Novosibirsk-Almaty. Its   “I tried almost everything to keep the       ping with the most impressive results
founder Elena Solovieva were going          staff – bonuses, bigger salaries –              and much faster than the others,
to visit her relatives in Kazakhstan.       nothing did work on them.”                       which would lead soon to an eco-
Quite plain silver bracelet on her wrist          The owner of “Silver from                  nomic upturn. And he didn’t want
attracted the attention of a Kazakh         Russia” didn’t meet much difficul-                to miss his place on a sky-rocket-
lady sitting next to her who liked it so    ties while operating in Kazakhstan.                   ing market.
much that begged to sell the bracelet.      The only thing which bothers
Elena’s silver sales in Novosibirsk         her is the instability of legis-                            SOUVENIR “ELEPHANT”
were not impressive and the pre-            lation in Kazakhstan. Elena                                 Krasnoselsky Yuvelirprom
cedent was like a hint of destiny: Try      retells one of the
to sell silver in Almaty!                   examples.
     And so she tried. Her first shop             About two years
was opened right in the airport in its      ago the airport admi-
free zone. Nowadays Elena Solovieva         nistration announced a
has seven shops and outlets in Almaty       prohibition for foreign com-
and she doesn’t complain on their           panies to trade in the airport
turnover.                                   according to a new govern-
                                            mental act. I was disappoin-
    FIGHTING THROUGH                        ted as my business was flourishing
    HARDSHIPS                               at that moment, but I had to obey.

           anaging business in a foreign    I closed the shop, packed the goods
           country is practically impos-    and took them away, but shortly I was
           sible without hardships and      informed that the mentioned act was
difficulties. Personnel became the          declined on the last stage and so I
major stumbling-block for both “Sui         can come back to the airport and
Hun” and “Istanbul” jewellery stores.       re-open the shop.
Lee Chan Veng says that the concept
of the store presupposes only Chinese           SILK, WINE
salespersons – that’s his marketing             AND EMERALDS

trend so to say. But according to the                 hen asked why he
local labor code the employer should                  chose Kazakhstan
have very strong reasons for ignoring                 as the location for

                                      4 / DECEMBER, 2 0 0 9      RUSSIAN DIAMONDS & JEWE L L E R Y                           25

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