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.
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.
- Chinese art market in free fall – June 2012 ArtTactic report – June 2012 – a report on the economic state of mainland Chinese auction houses over the past year
- Changing global retail landscape: Can Hong Kong art galleries adapt? Part II – June 2012 – Art Radar Founder Kate Cary Evans comments on the influence of auction houses on the Hong Kong gallery scene
- Sotheby’s Hong Kong spring 2012 auctions: Modern Asian art still outselling contemporary – April 2012 – the rush to modern over contemporary may be indicative of risk-averse Asian collectors
- New records for Chinese auction houses despite market slowdown – ArtTactic report – January 2012 – 2011 brought a significant downturn between the spring and autumn sales for mainland auction houses
- Contemporary galleries face intense competition, must re-think game plan – January 2011 – Hong Kong galleries are getting squeezed by competition from auctions
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