With all of the new wealth blossoming across Asia, it is hardly surprising that China has surpassed the United States as the biggest auction market for art and collectables after auction sales more than doubled in only one year. According to the French Auction Market Authority, sales in China – including Hong Kong – leapt 137% in 2010 to a whopping $10.8 billion.
This means that China is now responsible for 34.4% of global market share whereas in 2009, that number was at 24.2%. Overall, the global auction market for art and collectables rose 66% in 2010 with a total value of 22.15 billion euros. Pierre Capelle of the Noeo Consell management consultancy in Paris, who compiled the report, commented, “China took third place from France in 2004 and moved into second place in 2009, overtaking Britain.” Additionally, French art specialist Artprice declared China as number one in the fine art auction category in March after sales reached $3.1 billion last year.
Chinese collectors seem to be mostly hitting auction houses for ancient Chinese artifacts, many of which have been achieving record prices. In November 2010, for example, an 18th century Chinese vase sold for an incredible $69.2 million. According to the 2010 World Wealth Report, there are presently 477,000 collectors in China, and a study by the China Minsheng Bank concluded that the Chinese spend at least 80 billion yuan (8.9 billion euros) annually – exclusively on works of art.