The Wall Street Journal details the ambitions of Bonham’s Robert Brooks with his hopes for becoming the third major auction house by bootstrapping his business through Asian growth:
Mr. Brooks is looking to markets outside the West to help him close the gap. This week, he flies to Australia, to oversee preparations for the planned relaunch of Bonhams Australia in Sydney, for which a date has yet to be set. The trip to Australia follows last week’s announcement of an opening of a Bonhams auction house in Tokyo and is part of Mr. Brook’s ambition to expand into Asia following the establishment of a Hong Kong outpost in 2007.
With most Western economies still experiencing only sporadic growth, Asia has grown in importance for auction houses. Last year, Christie’s saw a 94% increase in the value of items purchased by Chinese buyers. While Sotheby’s raised $14.3 million from just two wine auctions in Hong Kong in 2009, almost double the figure raised by eight wine sales held in London by late October.
“Tokyo is important to us,” Mr. Brooks says. “Not just for Japanese art, but because in Japan there is a great interest in the arts across a very broad spread.
Bonham’s Looks East (Wall Street Journal)