Christies Auction enters China
Christies Auction house has secured a license to operate in China on its own and not through a partnership. However, the license is valid in Shanghai, the strong financial centre of China after Hong Kong, but not in the cultural city of Beijing, where the Chinese rivals Poly and Guardian is operating. The importance to brand with your own name is significant since the buyers from China are increasing annually on world wide auctions.
It will also be the first foreign auction house able to carry out auctions in mainland China. Clearly they see China as a future source of business expansion, hopefully not on expense for its HK business. Since the Chinese auction houses were allowed to enter the Hong Kong market, it is only fair the foreign auction houses could enter the mainland. This trend is a beginning of a free, fair market for the auction trade in China, and recognised as a good thing.
One restriction in their operation is not to offer “cultural relics” meaning anything made before 1949. China has imposed stiffer regulation with regards to imports/exports of art and increased taxes and duties for the same so if Chinese clients can buy within their own border the better. Doing business in China still presents large challenges. In the end Christies see this opportunity to position itself for the future and build up long-term client relations.