Art sales in the Chinese mainland accounted for 22 percent of the 51-billion-euro ($55.62 billion) global market in 2014, a report from the European Fine Art Foundation said.
China’s share of the auction business last year stood at the equivalent of 7.56 billion euros, or 30.7 percent of the world total, the report said. The top two auction houses in China are Poly International Auction Co Ltd, whose 2014 sales totaled 908 million euros, and China Guardian Auctions Co Ltd, with 621 million euros.
A substantial proportion of the activity in China is a result of the global reach of Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the report said.
Market insiders said that Chinese collectors are becoming more prudent and the prices they pay are getting more reasonable, signs that the market is maturing.
There are plenty of wealthy art collectors in China, and their numbers are growing: 6 percent of the world’s top 200 collectors were from China in 2014, compared with less than 1 percent a decade earlier.
As the market matures, more works by Chinese artists may become available, so collectors will have wider choices.
In the absence of a strong gallery distribution system, the domestic market focuses on auctions, said Kong Dada, executive head of the Shanghai Cultural Artwork Research Institute.
“Valuation and pricing of artworks remain issues for investors and collectors. A platform should be established so that professionals in the valuation and appraisal fields can set fair prices,” said Kong.
China has been opening its art market in the past decade, and there are now several exchange centers serving regional and international transactions.
Art exhibitions are also becoming increasingly common, attracting more potential buyers and visitors.
Read more at China Daily.