The Chinese Art Market
As the world’s economy engine and the big C from the “BRIC,” China is proving itself again to be the wonderland for western adventurous capitalists. This time, both western auction-company Christie’s and Sotheby’s share the victory of the nouveau-riche art market. Christie’s inaugural Shanghai auction achieved RMB 154 Million/USD $25 Million. Symbolizing Sotheby’s 40th anniversary in Asia, the sales of the auction in Hong Kong reached a total value of around $370 million.
There are two main reasons for a high priced work in China: one is the long-term reputation that the work is based on and the historical importance of the artist. Another is the premium for the prestige of the work by a “hot” artist in the moment, what’s in fashion goes in and out with the tides, or with the fortunes of speculative capital. Domestic investors consider Chinese calligraphy and painting as “safe havens”, which accounted for 88% of Chinese fine art auction sales in China last year. For international contemporary art, as the Chinese travel overseas more frequently, high-end collectors from China tend to acquire an international taste in art. The education of collecting western art and antiques should be widespread.
It is said that in 2012 China’s rate of economic growth slowed from 9.2% to 7.2%. According to Tefaf Maastrich’s research, 75% of high-net-worth individuals who possess at least $ 1m in investable assets are expected to be wealthier in next 5 years, which will definitely influence the market.