1st Chinese Art Market Development Summit Held In Beijing
With China’s art market reaching 210.8 billion yuan (US$33.8 billion) in 2011 and Chinese auction houses expanding their overseas expansion efforts in 2012, the market is encountering both opportunity and challenges in China as well as abroad. Under that backdrop, last week the 1st annual Chinese Art Market Development Summit was held in Beijing, bringing together experts to discuss the Chinese capital’s prospects as a major international arts hub.
Officials, scholars and art dealers exchanged opinions on the current situation and possible prospects for China’s art market at the summit, themed “Beijing — A Maturing Art Market Center for the World”. All sides believe art market regulations and legislation are the first imperatives to deal with if China wants to claim its status as an international art market.
Guan Yu, deputy director of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture, says the improvement of the auction market order and regulations in taxes are the most pressing needs for China’s art market.
“The inverted structure between the primary market and secondary market is the first issue we have to deal with if we want to enter the international market. Also, we are lagging behind in terms of art market legislation. As we all know, a mature art market needs the control of certain laws because laws can safeguard the interests of all sides.”
Cheng Xindong, president of the Beijing Art Gallery Association, says art dealers view China as a promising art market, but they are in strong want of joint support from the government and art professionals.
“The Chinese art market is growing very quickly. For me, the current art market is the most exciting. Because China has a wonderful cultural history, you have so many wonderful creations. With this basis, I think, in the future, China will continue to be one of the most creative places. But we need good cultural policies and professional support. For example there needs to be financial support, to understand what we are doing. Of course, we understand the value of art, but we should find reasonable, professional ways to work together. From the government, from the market, we need more and more professionals from art schools.”
Tuo Zuhai, deputy director of the Department of Art Market at China’s Ministry of Culture, says the ministry is already on its way of establishing rules for the country’s art market.
“We plan to work in the following four aspects to promote long and stable development of China’s art market: first, set up industrial qualification standards for art appraisers; second, regulate art appraisal procedures and publicize relevant information; third, regulate art sales procedures; and fourth, apply technological methods into art appraisals.”
Despite the growth potential of China’s art market, underdevelopment in comparison to older auction centers like London or even Hong Kong means it remains mostly regional. Yet, according to Mei Jianping, a professor of finance at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, this will change in the years ahead if the market manages to move toward a market-based scheme. As Mei told CRI:
“I think the Chinese art market has made great strides over the past twenty years. And right now, in terms of the trade volume, it is either the No. 1 or 2 in the world. On the other hand, I think it is still lagging behind in terms of its diversity. I think, right now, theoretically, it can only be called a regional market, not a global art transaction center, because most of the transactions are restricted to Chinese art, not international art.
I think, going forward, China needs to make it art market global and rule-based, not entrepreneurial-driven, more market based, less government intervention in the evolution of the market.”