Chinese Sales rivaling Western auctions (Spring 2011)

Chinese Art auction sales in 2010 exceeded those of the two most broadly traded sectors of Western Art – Impressionist & Modern and Post-War & Contemporary. The speed of the Asian economic recovery, relative to that in the West, has been reflected in the growth of major auctions in Hong Kong versus similar bellwether auctions in New York.

In 2006, the pivotal fall and spring auctions were a mere 23.7% of the headline New York sales. By 2010, with a year-over-year growth rate of 127.8%, they comprised 61.2% of the New York sale totals. The pace of growth is so robust that even within the same calendar year, from spring to fall, the growth in 2010 was 45.4%.

This growth is fueled as much by insatiable demand as by the quality and freshness of the property on offer. If the current trend continues by as early as 2012 Hong Kong could surpass New York in the volume of high-end auction sales, eclipsing the market supremacy New York has held for the last four decades.

In 2004, Sotheby’s Hong Kong sales had 70 buyers from mainland China; in 2009 the number increased to 195, which does not include the numerous others who bid through the growing breed of new dealers serving the Chinese market. Though the final numbers are not yet in, all indications suggest that the growth in 2010 was even stronger.

artmarketanalysis – S2011-Graph 3

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