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Christie’s Inaugural Auction in Shanghai, Autumn 2013

Christie’s China Dreams Begin in Shanghai This Fall (2013)

Christie’s maiden voyage to the pearl of the orient officially sets sail in Shanghai on 26th September 2013 at 6pm. According to NY Times, “Last year revenue in China’s auction market was estimated at more than $4 billion, down sharply from $9 billion in 2011, when the market was blistering hot. Auction revenue in the United States market was estimated at more than $3 billion in 2012.” Still, residents of China are gradually exploring valued objects of desire which auction houses are capable of keeping in their arsenal. 

A dip in numbers does not necessary mean that jump-backs are not possible. Objectively speaking, if one were to take into account of Jones Lang Laselle’s alphanumeric research data on the projections of new Chinese millionaires (in usd), it is no surprise why Christies have taken on such an initiative – as a first entry strategy acting as a foundation to their advancement in other auction segments. On the flip side, there is a rise in counterfeits peddled by homegrown auction houses and this move by Christie’s could serve a means to regain market strength and share.

In the world of auctions, it is a common sight to experience disruptive changes with every knock on the final auctioneer’s call. Behind these walls of highly organized curating and valuations from renowned experts in their respective fields, emerges objects of desire: from spectacular artworks to legendary watches bounded by a priceless tag until that very fateful departure date (to the winners). Will the demographics of winners change in due time? Is there in fact a seismic shift of luxury plates at hand? Perhaps all these are happening at this very moment. These are the days of fast computing + fast rich rising up to the hammer knocks.

▼ O V E R L O O K I N G   H U A N G   P U  &   P U   X I   –   V I E W   F R O M   1 0 0   S T O R E Y S

▲ P H O T O : A L A N   K O H

Nothing quite satisfies the higher echelons more than owning a captivating piece of history, as proven by analytical data from decades ago and still counting…Whilst the numbers elevate to new highs, the proportion of new to current bidders is stretching with every upcoming event. Generated interests of the in collecting “objects of auctionable & collectable value” is exponential, regardless if one is involved in the actual bidding process or not. Winning is the main objective, and every call is a well-thought process until those last few seconds. Every thing changes from that final knock to the ownership of the auction item – from a solo satisfaction to a desolate state of minds simultaneously. It is quite hard to grasp the reality when one can almost feel and touch that auction article. 

The record highs set each and every time (featured on collective social channels such as newspapers, radio, TV and digital platforms) are proven to have a profound effect on the almost any individual. In fact, in my recent exploration of the Chinese social networking platforms, Christie’s auctions results of vintage Rolex watches have been stirring up interests a high percentage of the time. One must note that just over 35 years ago, these lands were void of historical literature, art, musical instruments, books most of ancestral descent – motivated by political prowess befalling dilapidated states upon the people. The reminiscence of these residues are often reflected in contemporary art works by Chinese artists.


 ▼ O V E R V I E W : S H A N G H A Ishanghai-map-and-facts

▲  G R A P H I C S : A L A N   K O H ,  A D A P T E D   F R O M   W I K I P E D I A . O R G


Where will Christie’s take her residency in the land of China remains to be seen. I am almost certain that by enacting first-mover strategy is most favourable in Christie’s position, taking a two-prong inaugural approaches with India and China. What will the other auction houses do about Christie’s entry into China as an independent operator of their auction events? Branding is the keyword to winning hearts of the growing affluents, and brand IDs sends a clear message to the Chinese, banging on cultural behaviours of a progressive kind. Stroll along Nanjing East Road, IFC Mall and the spread of luxury retail presence is still on-going. LVMH, a world fashion conglomerate has been taking an interest in China for a long time now, and their Louis Vuitton’s largest boutique (taking over Champs-Elysées, Paris in terms of square footage)​ recently opened in Hongqiao, Shanghai on 24 April 2013. Fact: Shanghai is still trending.

▼ H O N G   Q I A O   L ‘ A V E N U E ,  S H A N G H A I , C H I N ALAvenue-Shanghai-4

Christie’s Upcoming “Important Watches” Auctions

Happening in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2013 :  2 “Important Watches” auctions which will take place first in Dubai, UAE on 29th October 2013 at 8:30pm; and yet another in Geneva, Switzerland on 11th November 2013 at 10am. Bookmark these dates down and of course, if you are a tat interested in acquiring a new vintage Rolex – take a flight out to see what’s the fun is all about. Below is the official press release by Christie’s announcement on their status confirmation of an independent auction operator in Shanghai, China.


O F F I C I A L   P R E S S   R E L E A S E

Christie’s Becomes First International Fine Art Auction House to Operate Independently in Mainland China

Shanghai, China – Christie’s announces that it will hold auctions in Shanghai beginning autumn 2013, having become the first international fine art auction company to be granted a license to operate independently in mainland China.

 As the global leader in the art market, this development represents an important milestone in Christie’s 247 year history. Christie’s has cultivated long term relationships with the art community in China since becoming the first international auction house to open a representative office in Shanghai in 1994, during which time China has become one of the largest and fastest-growing art markets in the world. The number of clients from mainland China bidding at Christie’s global auctions has doubled since 2008.  This growing client base participates increasingly in Christie’s auction centers in London, New York, Hong Kong and Paris.

About Christie’s

Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, the company has since provided a celebrated showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers over 450 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War and Contemporary, Impressionist and Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Christie’s has a global presence with 53 offices in 32 countries and 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, and Hong Kong. More recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in growth markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.

About Christie’s China

Christie’s has long been a pioneer in the Asian art market. Christie’s held its first auction in Hong Kong in 1986 and was the first international auction house to establish a representative office in China, opening in Shanghai in 1994 followed by Beijing in 1996. In 2005, Christie’s became the first international auction company to have auctions conducted in China under a Christie’s trademark licensing agreement with Forever International Auction Company Limited.

Source: Christie’s (Press Release)

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