China Guardian to host first Hong Kong sales in October 2012

China Guardian’s move into the city is another indication of Hong Kong’s growing prestige as a regional art hub.

Mainland China’s largest auction house, China Guardian, will conduct sales in Hong Kong for the first time in October 2012. The move is a direct challenge to Sotheby’s and Christie’s, who have previously dominated the finance metropolis’ auction world.

Photo from China Guardian's spring 2012 auction in Beijing.

Photo from China Guardian's spring 2012 auction in Beijing.

According to a report by ARTINFO,

The house has made no secret of its international aspirations – just last year it opened an office on New York’s Park Avenue – but up until now its efforts have been directed to attracting international clients and consignments to their auction rooms in Beijing. The Hong Kong decision is a tacit admission that Beijing, despite its dynamism, is not proving to be a magnet for players beyond China. Doubts over the mainland market abound, with non-payment being just one issue among many, while Hong Kong’s credibility as a market hub has grown exponentially. Its status as a free port, its transport, storage, and other facilities, and its transparent legal system, are all plusses for the Harbor City, which is now the third largest auction venue in the world after New York and London.

Founded in 1993, China Guardian is the mainland’s oldest auction house. Although it and its largest domestic competitor Poly Auction still have a majority of the mainland art market, in 2011 they lost out to Sotheby’s and Christie’s in contemporary Chinese art sales. With the major drop-off in Chinese auction sales in the past year, China Guardian’s new Hong Kong auctions may be a move to expand its operations beyond the relatively narrow mainland art market and attract a broader collector base. With Sotheby’s recent opening of a permanent exhibition space in the city in May 2012, the competition for art market dominance in the Asian financial hub will likely be fiercer than ever.


Related Topics: market watch – auctions, Asia expands, art in Hong Kong

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