New Collectors From The Mainland Boost Sales Of High-End Items In Hong Kong, Boosting 2009 Takings By Auction Houses
The Wall Street Journal writes today about the recent buying trends of wealthy Asian (primarily mainland Chinese) buyers at recent auctions of high-end goods like diamonds, wine, and art. These new collectors see these items as good and, perhaps more importantly, portable investments in a still-fragile global economic environment:
Record sales at recent auctions, set by Asian bidders, is spurring talk of a surge in high-end diamond demand. Several investment funds focusing solely on diamonds have launched or are in the works and are hoping to take advantage.
Asian bidders, especially from mainland China, represent a growing presence at auctions, says Patti Wong, chairwoman of Sotheby’s Asia. At a Sotheby’s auction in New York City earlier this month, five of the top 10 buyers were Asian.
The most expensive item — a 30.48 carat oval diamond — went to a buyer from mainland China for approximately $4.11 million. At a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong this month, a colored diamond, called “The Vivid Pink,” sold for $10.8 million, setting a record for a gemstone of its kind.
This trend follows what we covered in November, the major push by diamond producers like DeBeers in the China market, and an increase in diamond buying among everyone from individual investors to sovereign wealth funds.