Marketwatch gets on the alarmist bandwagon about the rise of China in the world art market. In the process, Virginia Harrison reveals one of the reasons Chinese have become so active in the art market is the limited number of investment options in other markets:
Anthony Lin, the former chairman of Christie’s Asia, as well as chairman of Christie’s Hong Kong and Taiwan, is a now a fine art dealer based in Hong Kong. He said a lack of investment options — including an overheated housing market — is steering the Chinese to art.
“In China, they don’t have open money markets or commodity markets. For the amount of wealth that has been generated, there’s not many options for investment. The art market is one of the few areas where there is quite a strong investment position being taken,” Lin commented.
[Clare] McAndrew notes China is “quite undeveloped for the amount of cash floating around,” and believes that local buyers have embraced the money-making potential of art more quickly than other societies.
“Chinese are more interested in the investment angle of buying and selling art than other countries,” she said. “Especially in Europe, people sort of look at you with disdain. The Chinese are taking it on straight away.”
The year 2006 “was the first time we really saw China coming into the global marketplace in any big way — at about 5% of the global value of sales,” elaborated McAndrew, who prepared the March report for the European Fine Art Foundation, known as TEFAF.
“Last year it took a huge jump into second place, and pushed out the U.K. It’s a big deal in Europe, because there are a lot of fears that the art trade is shifting out of Europe anyway and going more to the U.S. and China,” she said.
China’s Art-Market Boom Threatens Europe (Marketwatch.com)