Friday, April 19, 2013

Christie's allowed to hold its first ever auction in Shanghai

Christie's, the London auction house, is finally opening in the Republic of China for taking a bigger slice of nearly 5bn dollar (£3bn) art sales market in the country.

China is certainly among the world's biggest art auction markets. It makes up close to 25 percent of art sales global and with Christie's having got the go-ahead for holding its first auction ever in Shanghai in the coming autumn, it will be the first worldwide auction house to operate on the mainland independently.

Christie's and Sotheby's have operated in Hong Kong for quite long. Now the further opening up of the mainland market sure is give a major push to sales. Christie's chief executive, Steven Murphy, made following observations in a media interaction:
  • The art market continues to grow at a tremendous rate due to the burgeoning interest in art, particularly in Asia and China. There was a cooling of the market last year but looking at current figures, sales are ahead of the previous year.
  • We have been working on this for quite some time. For us now to have our own edifice here in Shanghai with our own auction room is hugely exciting. Christie's will work with clients in Shanghai in the same way that we have done in London, Paris, New York and Hong Kong.
The market has been largely restricted in the Republic of China; there are still constraints when it comes to selling off cultural relics. Mr Murphy stated that the move on part of Beijing to allow Christie's auction house indeed was ‘a major step forward for China culturally ‘. The total number of active clients from there bidding at global auctions of Christie's has almost doubled in the last five years.

The auction house already runs offices in Shanghai and Beijing; it’ll consider building its presence further through series private art sales/events all across the country, employing Shanghai as the flagship location for the region. Many of the country's home-grown local auction houses are expanding, too, with notable examples like Guardian and Poly International, two state-run businesses.

Meanwhile, Sotheby's has struck a joint venture with a state-owned firm, Gehua Cultural Development Group in Beijing, to hold auctions.

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