[private_subscriber][private_bundle]Chinese art accounts for the lion’s share of the Asian art market, both in terms of value and volume (Fig. 7). Sales of Japanese and Korean art, which have totaled just under $100 million over the past five years, barely register when put on a scale with Chinese art, which brought over $3 billion in the same period. In terms of lot volume, a total of 32,556 Chinese lots were put on the block between 2005 and 2009—more than double the number of South Asian, Japanese and Korean lots combined.
Moreover, in 2009, the average price for a Chinese work of art was about 150% greater than the average price of a South Asian work and 356% more than the average price of a Japanese or Korean work (Fig. 8). The average prices of all three categories in 2009 were much higher than their 2005 levels: Chinese art rose by 103%; South Asian art grew by 111%; and Japanese art actually sprung up by 305%. Although South Asian art came close to matching Chinese art in average prices in 2008, the Chinese subsector is in a league all its own when it comes to maximum prices. It is the only subcategory in which a lot has exceeded $5 million more than once.
Of the 39 Chinese works that have passed that benchmark since 2005, nearly 80% were sold in Hong Kong. Overall about three quarters of all Chinese sold in Hong Kong (Fig. 9). Japanese and Korean art, by contrast, has been sold exclusively in the West (the three percent that did not sell in New York or London was auctioned in Zurich). South Asian art also demonstrated a strong Western market.