BEIJING, Jan. 7 -- As a solid, tangible, intrinsically valuable store of wealth, gold will be increasingly popular in China with the nation soon set to surpass India as the biggest consumer, the China Daily reported Wednesday.
China is already the largest gold producer in the world with an output of around 282.504 tons in the first 11 months of 2009. The figure represents a 14.6 percent increase over the same period in 2008, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on its website Tuesday.
Miners expanded output last year after bullion prices soared to record highs, with production alone reaching 27.952 tons, the newspaper quoted the ministry as saying.
According to the China Gold Association (CGA), the estimated demand for gold in the country was 450 tons in 2009, up 13.8 percent from 395.6 tons in 2008.
"With household income increasing, Chinese consumers are buying more jewelry and investing in gold assets. All of these are boosting gold demand," the newspaper quoted Zhang Bingnan, general secretary of the CGA, as saying.
Chinese miners are also eyeing overseas resources to expand their footprint to meet the rising domestic demand.
The latest move is Zijin's $498 million takeover offer for Australian mining company Indophil Resources in November, a deal that will help secure copper and gold minig assets in Phillippines.