Sunday, March 9, 2014

How China Is Changing The Balance Of Power In The Art World - posted by Florida Fine Art Blog

 An auction room of Beijing-based Poly Auction Group
How China Is Changing The Balance Of Power In The Art World
Forbes Online by Alexandre Errera

Market headlines about whether China is number one, two or three in global auction sales may only be the tip of the iceberg of what is in the making. Looking at its auction houses, private museums and collectors, one may picture a very different landscape in the art world in the not too distant future.

Last week, Poly Culture Group Corporation, part of the $61 billion state-run empire Poly Group, and owner of Beijing Poly International Auction, the world’s third largest auction house, announced that it is filing for an initial public offering. The news did not provoke much fuss in the West, perhaps due to the modest size of the IPO ($330 million), but it is indicative of its ambitions to grow global and should not be ignored.

Even more interesting is what its Chief Executive Jiang Yingchun said during the press conference: “We are big in the art auction market in mainland China but we still have a long way to go to become the biggest auction house worldwide.” A modest statement that some could actually read as the proof of its goal to become largest auction house in the world. With nearly $1 billion in sales in 2012, Poly is still far away from Christie’s or Sotheby’s, but it was only launched 8 years ago, compared to the Western houses’ 250 year history. One could argue it might be only a question of time until we see an auction of Poly or Guardian (another Chinese auction house), in New York or London.

Read the rest of the Forbes article here

The numbers coming out of China are staggering. If just the top 1% of China's population are wealthy enough to drive up the global prices at auctions that's still 13 million people, or about the same population of the entire State of Florida.  GL

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