Newsweek offers a few more scare stories about feckless Chinese buyers:
Hong Kong–based collector Nicholas Coulson filed the first lawsuit against an international auctioneer for delayed settlement from Chinese buyers. The plaintiff wants Christie’s to reimburse him for the attorney fees he incurred trying to collect payment for 44 lots (mostly high-value Bordeaux wines) sold last November to mainland buyers. Standard payment is 35 days; Coulson didn’t see all of his money for more than two months, and only after he threatened serious legal action.
“The art market has changed,” Coulson says. “It has gone from professionals only to a kind of luxury retailing where you have no idea who you are dealing with.” […] “For a seller, the worst is to be in doubt whether the work is actually sold or not,” says Jean Marc Decrop, a prominent dealer specializing in Asian contemporary art. Last year, Decrop found himself in that exact position, wondering if he’d ever see the money for a Chinese painting that went under the hammer in Hong Kong. (He finally did get paid, after four agonizing months.) Decrop notes that during the peak of the credit crunch, one U.S. buyer developed a cash-flow problem, but in that case—unlike with the Chinese purchaser—the American was open about it and arranged to pay via an installment plan.
Art Auction Delinquents (Newsweek)