The Chinese auction house China Guardian will be holding sales in Hong Kong this October, according to ArtInfo. British art advisor Michael Frahm points out this week on ArtDaily.org that Beijing has become the second center for Contemporary art sales:
If we drill down further into China ’s regional markets, we can see that Beijing in particular is performing incredibly well. The city is now second in the global market for contemporary art and is competing with New York, particularly at the highest end of the market, where the level of quality and prices have exploded over the last decade. Hong Kong , meanwhile, has emerged as the new epicenter of the global arts market. […] Works by Chinese artists are now contributing more heavily than ever before to the overall economic growth in the art market. Today, five Chinese artists feature in the world’s top 10 contemporary artists by revenue. Zeng Fanzhi (€39.2m), Zhang Xiaogang (€30m), Chen Yifei (€283m), Wang Yidong (€16.2m) and Zhou Chunya (€14.5m) now each feature, ahead of the likes of Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami. […]
The Chinese art market relies too heavily on the major auction houses that I have already touched upon. The dominance of the auction houses in China is far greater than that in Europe or in America . Their power and influence means that the market can, at times, lack diversity, as they are able to control much of what is brought to market. This is partly driven by a powerful culture of ‘trophy buying’ that exists amongst many Chinese buyers, which leaves a lack of enthusiasm for dealing privately. Buyers here like to be seen to be spending large sums of money, particularly for the most iconic works, and the best way to do so is to buy in person at auction. […]
This culture of trophy buying also highlights a somewhat misplaced focus in China on the lucrative investment that buying art might represent. In 2011 art was in fact China ’s hottest investment. With a far more favourable rate of return on investment than the unstable stock or housing markets, more and more of the country’s wealthiest continue to explore alternative forms of investment and art is, it seems, becoming more attractive by the day. In 2011 China ’s two largest auction houses, China Guardian Auction Co and Poly International Auction Co recorded a 49% and 20% rise in turnover respectively year-on-year.