IBT points out that China’s Poly and Guardian are expanding in Hong Kong with record-sized sales this week. The Mainland houses are chasing the money which remains offshore—in one form or another—and hopes to keep the government’s protection of their exclusive right to sell antiquities sourced inside China. It seems to be working. China Guardian made 510m HKD or $65.7m which is nearly five times the estimate offered below:
Hong Kong serves as the world’s gateway to China, and similarly, the Chinese auction houses view Hong Kong as their gateway to the international market, which is strategically important for their growth.
“In Beijing, we follow the economy, and that’s been on a downward trend for us. But in Hong Kong, we’re growing and getting bigger,” said Zhao Xu, executive director of Poly in Beijing.
Both firms are hosting their biggest sales in their brief histories in Hong Kong. Poly is hosting a three-day sale at the Grand Hyatt, offering around 2,000 items with a total valuation of $89.7 million, compared to the 409 lots it offered last year, which generated $66.8 million over two days.
Guardian has a two-day sale at the Island Shangri-La Hotel, with 600 lots worth an estimated $14.3 million. Last year it offered 358 lots, generating $23.9 million in just one day.