Jing Daily’s Top Posts for the Week
In case you missed them the first time around, here are some of Jing Daily’s top posts for the week of November 21-25:
Coming on the heels of this weekend’s record-breaking sale of a Wu Guanzhong oil painting for 149.5 million yuan (nearly US$24 million) at auction in Beijing, and German collector Thomas Olbricht’s endorsement of Chinese contemporary art in a Bloomberg article as an important market to watch, next weekend Christie’s will hold a wide-ranging Contemporary Asian Art day sale in Hong Kong. Packed with blue-chip Chinese artists, with a wide range of estimates for early and later works, this auction is going to be closely watched.
On October 3, 92 percent of works by Chinese contemporary artists were sold by value at Sotheby’s Contemporary Asian Art auction in Hong Kong, and though the sale’s overall sell-through rate was dinged by bidder apathy towards contemporary Japanese and Korean works, Chinese collectors displayed their growing discrimination and strong preference for top-quality works by historical artists.
This month, the New York and China-based private network Affinity China, which provides access to lifestyle and travel opportunities for its ultra high net worth Chinese members (previously on Jing Daily), announced the launch of its new division, China Luxury Network (CLN) at an inaugural symposium at New York’s Core Club. Recognizing the growing presence of Chinese outbound tourist-shoppers in major destinations like Paris and New York, CLN aims to provide global luxury brands with market intelligence, strategic advice and possibilities for engagement with China’s emerging luxury consumer both inside and outside of the country. Considering mainland Chinese consumers made more than half of their luxury purchases last year overseas, understanding and taking full advantage of tourist and consumer trends is becoming an industry imperative.
According to CLN’s first report, released earlier this month, the rise of individual tourism among wealthy Chinese is a key trend that luxury brands can’t afford to ignore.
Yao Ming Wine
His NBA career may have come to an end, but the Chinese basketball star Yao Ming isn’t taking retirement lightly. Currently a student at the Antai College of Economics and Management at Shanghai Jiaotong University, the 31-year-old Yao is now looking to take advantage of his country’s booming demand for imported wine. Recently, Yao established his own wine company in California’s Napa Valley, and hopes to become the newest Chinese wine impresario with his imprint, Yao Family Wines.
As an ambassador for the Special Olympics, this Sunday Yao Ming will appear at the Special Olympics 2011 Unity Fundraising Charity Gala in Shanghai. At a charity auction slated for the event, Yao will formally debut Yao Family Wines, with the first 1.5 liter bottle of Yao Ming 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon wine to go under the hammer with an opening bid price of 60,000 yuan (US$9,437).
Fans of the blue-chip Chinese contemporary artist Zhang Xiaogang (张晓刚) will have their shot to bid on some of the artist’s best works this weekend at Christie’s Hong Kong. Parts of the auction house’s packed weekend schedule, the Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art and “Faces of New China: An Important Private Collection” evening sales on November 26 include several works by China’s best-known and most widely collected contemporary artists. In addition from many of the artists highlighted by Jing Daily earlier this week in our “Top Lots to Watch” feature, this weekend’s evening sales include historical works by the likes of Zhang Xiaogang, Cai Guo-Qiang, Liu Ye and Wang Qingsong.
As in other recent auction series in Hong Kong, such as the Sotheby’s autumn auction sales, look for new Chinese collectors and existing collectors to target the best works by artists known both in China and internationally.
Amid a simmering debt crisis made worse by dropping property prices and lingering global economic doldrums, the once red-hot luxury consumption that defined the southern Chinese city of Wenzhou (previously on Jing Daily) is now showing signs of cooling down. As the Wall Street Journal noted earlier this month, “the trust-based financing networks that took the place of banks in Wenzhou and fueled its binge are collapsing in the face of slowing exports, a trend made worse by Europe’s economic woes.” In the face of massive systemic problems caused by the breakdown of the city’s trademark private lending industry — which has, for decades, been a defining economic feature of Wenzhou — retailers in the famously profligate city of 9.1 million are, for the first time in years, concerned.
However, some industry observers are cautiously optimistic, noting that part of the reason for Wenzhou’s cooling luxury market could come down to more rational spending among the city’s middle- and upper-middle-class.