Business / Companies

Sotheby's Chinese JV holds inaugural auction

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-09-28 09:15

BEIJING -- Sotheby's newly built joint venture on the Chinese mainland held its inaugural auction in Beijing on Thursday, marking the world-leading auction house's entrance into the fast-growing and lucrative Chinese art market.

The auction at the Beijing World Art Museum saw Self and Self Shadow, a contemporary sculpture by Beijing-born artist Wang Huaiqing, sell for 1.4 million yuan ($222,222), a total more than twice the starting bid of 500,000 yuan.

The construction of the joint venture, Sotheby's (Beijing) Auction Co Ltd, is a milestone in the history of Sotheby's development, which has a history of more than 260 years, Kevin Ching, chief executive officer of Sotheby's Asia, said at a press briefing ahead of the auction.

The joint venture is funded by Sotheby's and Beijing Gehua Art Company, a subsidiary of state-owned Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group, with 10 million yuan in total registered capital.

Sotheby's owns 80 percent of the joint venture, while the remaining stake goes to its Chinese partner.

Ching said China's fine art market has matured over the past decade and has now surpassed Europe and the United States as the world's largest.

"That's why we are here now to seek new growth opportunities, " he said.

The joint venture will initially carry out auction and exhibition sales businesses, and will consider expanding into other areas such as artwork mortgaging when the time is right, Ching said.

The joint venture will be located within the free port that was jointly established by BGCDG and the Tianzhu Free Trade Zone in Beijing's suburban district of Shunyi.

It will take advantage of the free port as a duty-free zone to organize auctions, exhibitions and other activities, said Wang Yudong, general manager of Beijing Gehua Art Company.

Wang said Gehua expects to build up a platform through the joint venture to introduce the world's outstanding artworks to China and, at the same time, bring distinguished Chinese modern and contemporary arts to the world stage.

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks