Tag Archives: asian

Future For Luxury Goods Looks A Little Brighter

Growing Demand In China’s Interior, Other Asian Countries Should Counterbalance Tepid Consumption Elsewhere

Although Chinese consumers have shown a taste for foreign luxury brands, domestic labels will present stiff competition in coming years

Although Chinese consumers have shown a taste for foreign luxury brands, domestic labels will present stiff competition in coming years

As a result of the fast-paced development of China’s eastern coastline and special administrative regions, only recently have major luxury brands made it to the country’s vast interior region, where a number of second- and third-tier cities remain relative blank slates. Since so many companies are only reaching these areas now, the spread of luxury brands in China has become a regular news story. This has only intensified over the last year, as formerly free-spending Japanese and American customers have thought twice about luxury goods while emerging customers in places like the BRIC countries and relatively fast-growing economies like Vietnam become more regular (and brand-loyal) buyers. Nonetheless, the luxury sector is still experiencing only modest growth one year on from the onset of the global economic slowdown despite their best efforts at wooing new customers.

If many recent articles are correct, though, what we’ve seen over the last year — severe as it has been — should only prove to be a blip in the grand scheme of luxury revenues. From Financier Worldwide:

Sales of designer shoes, handbags, and beauty products have weathered the financial storm particularly well. At the end of August, French cosmetics company L’Oréal reported higher than expected profits of €1.37bn for H1 2009. In June, Hermès revealed it was farming crocodiles in Australia to feed demand for its coveted £4000 Birkin bag. Around the same time, Mulberry announced that its handbag sales had recovered, climbing 21 percent in the first 10 weeks of the new financial year. Shoe supplier Kurt Geiger, which operates in upmarket department stores across the UK, also reported double-digit growth in profits for the first five months of the year.

Bain & Company predicts that trading in the developed markets will remain tough for the rest of the year, with growth of around 1 percent in 2010 before a slow recovery. However, despite the recession slowing the pace of development in emerging markets, Bain believes that, as a consequence of increasing personal wealth, growth in global GDP, and rising tourism in Russia, China, India and Brazil, spending will surge between 20 percent and 35 percent over the next five years. This is expected to aid the recovery of the luxury goods sector.

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Rise Of New Chinese Collector Continues As Chinese Antiquities Remain “Recession Proof”

Astronomical Prices Paid For Historical And Quality Pieces In Recent Asian Auctions Defies Global Economic Woes As More Chinese Collectors Get In The Game

In October, Sotheby's will put on a large-scale sale of Asian art in Hong Kong. Will The New Chinese Collector continue to flex his (or her) muscles at that sale?

Since good works by historical artists like Yue Minjun are becoming more scarce, Chinese collectors are expected to continue to flex their muscles in upcoming auctions of Chinese contemporary art

Hardly any industry has escaped the global economic slowdown unscathed, and art is no exception, but recent auction results indicate that the art market — or at least pockets of the art market — are coming back to life. As the Wall Street Journal reports today, in some recent auctions some pieces have sold for exponentially more than their estimates, surprising collectors and market analysts alike. The common bond shared by most of these pieces? They were Chinese — or, if not Chinese, Asian:

Last week, the longest string of Asian art sales since the Zodiac clock dispute was held in the U.S.—and amid the most entrenched art-market recession in nearly two decades, the auction prices of many more than a handful of pieces went through the roof. At the Sotheby’s sale of works from the collection of Arthur M. Sackler, for example, the auctioneer sang out fast-rising numbers, first in English, then Chinese, as if he were rising in the elevator of some fantastically tall Hong Kong skyscraper.

The emergence of the New Chinese Collector is a subject we’ve followed pretty much since our inception, and is a subject that is endlessly fascinating simply because it’s such a new phenomenon. While, technically, Chinese people have collected art for a few thousand years — with the exception of a few Mao-era decades where the practice was virtually nonexistent but for a few elite art lovers here and there — the New Chinese Collector has only existed for around 20 years, and arguably even less than that. This collector base was out in full force in recent auctions of Chinese and other Asian art — in New York, London and Hong Kong — and the motivation, desire and intensity of the Chinese collector is becoming somewhat legendary right before our eyes.

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Auction Houses Hoping For Record Season This Fall

Asian Auction Houses Looking Forward To Major Sales Of Chinese Contemporary Art, As More And More People Join Chinese Art Collectors

Top Chinese artists like Yue Minjun remain popular among Asian auctioneers and art collectors alike

Top Chinese artists like Yue Minjun remain popular among Asian auctioneers and art collectors alike

Earlier this summer, we profiled several major art auctions, which brought in millions more than expected, in both Hong Kong and Taipei. The success of the HK09 art festival and Ravenel’s 10th Anniversary Spring Auction gave the Chinese contemporary art market a vote of confidence in May and June, and this fall Ravenel hopes to continue its momentum while further cementing its reputation as one of Asia’s preeminent auction houses with two upcoming auctions, to be held in both Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Ravenel’s first autumn auction of 2009, set to take place on November 30 in Hong Kong at the Four Seasons ballroom, should attract a good deal of attention from local and overseas collectors — particularly as it will take place after many other western and Hong Kong auctions in October — but particular interest may be paid to the second autumn sale, which will take place on December 6 at Taipei’s Fubon National Conference Center. As Ravenel is celebrating its 10th anniversary with this sale, and Taiwanese art collectors are renowned for their enthusiasm and occasional aggressiveness, this sale might be a highlight of the season. This is not to say that the Hong Kong auction will be low-key. Trend-watchers will keep a close eye on the makeup of bidders in Hong Kong, and if the demographics follow what we saw in the spring and early summer, it looks like local Chinese buyers will maintain their spot as one of the world’s fastest-rising collector classes.

Clearly, momentum in the contemporary Chinese art market shows that the global financial crisis, while it has bruised nearly anything and everything that can be an investment, has not slowed the new buyers from entering the market. Although Chinese collectors have “joined the party” later than many of their western counterparts, they are more than making up for it now as they become far more prevalent at contemporary art auctions in Hong Kong and elsewhere.

Upcoming Sotheby’s Sale To Offer Chinese Furniture And Art From The Sackler Collection

Fall Auction Season To Be Packed With Chinese Arts, From Antiquities To Contemporary Pieces

Arthur Sackler amassed an impressive collection of artwork in his lifetime, including rare Chinese furniture, ceramics, and paintings

Arthur Sackler amassed an impressive collection of artwork in his lifetime, including rare Chinese furniture, ceramics, and paintings

Carol Vogel writes today in the New York Times about the upcoming Sotheby’s auction of pieces (to be held September 16), which includes many pieces of Chinese furniture and artwork from the collection of Dr. Arthur M. Sackler — “the psychiatrist and philanthropist who became one of the leading art collectors in the United States.” Vogel points out that this sale will offer not only Chinese works but valuable works from Sackler’s extensive collection of European Impressionists and sculptures as well.

Of course, to us, it is the sale of some of Sackler’s enviable collection of Chinese art and furniture that is the most interesting. According to Art Daily, this Sackler auction includes many rare and exotic pieces dating back as far as the 17th century:

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Ravenel’s 10th Anniversary Spring Auction Of Asian Art Brings In $6.5 Million

Chinese Buyers Fill The Room At Taiwanese Auction House’s Spring Asian Art Sale

Chinese artist Wang Huaiqing's 'Flying Apsaras' brought in more than $1.3 million at this weekend's Ravenel auction in Taipei

Chinese artist Wang Huaiqing's 'Flying Apsaras' brought in more than $1.3 million at this weekend's Ravenel auction in Taipei

While the auction market has been somewhat sluggish this year — despite good showings in western markets over the last few months — the recent buzz building in Hong Kong, the mainland, and Taiwan recently is starting to get more attention. After last month’s hugely successful HK09 Festival in Hong Kong, where western and Asian artists were exhibited and sold briskly, there have been a rash of sales from home-grown auction houses like the mainland’s Poly and Guardian and Taiwan’s Ravenel, and the surprising sales at these auctions to mainland and Greater China collectors have stunned some onlookers, who had underestimated the motivation of these New Collectors. Going with this trend, Ravenel’s weekend sale of modern and contemporary Asian art in Taipei was both the company’s biggest sale to date and a huge success for Asian art auctions in general.

The sale, which all told brought in $6.5 million in sales, with the top lot going for $1.3 million, has positioned the 10-year-old Ravenel as one of the top Asian auction houses. With prices having become somewhat more affordable as a result of the global economic slowdown, we have seen Chinese and Asian art collectors step up to take their place among major global art buyers, and the buying demographic of the Taipei sale — which was predominantly populated by local and mainland collectors — goes to show that this emerging group of collectors will become increasingly influential in coming auctions, both in the region and globally.

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Macau: A Complex (And Exciting) Destination in the PRC

Macau, Having Already Surpassed Las Vegas As A Gambling Destination, Sets Its Sights On Cultural, Culinary Offerings To Lure Tourists

Macau has quickly established itself as the "Vegas of the East"

Macau has quickly established itself as the "Vegas of the East"

Read more here.

Since its handover in 1999, Macau has rapidly become one of Asia’s top destinations for gambling, luring thousands of gamers from mainland China and Hong Kong. If Macau’s tourism department has its way, though, the city will soon be as renowned as a cultural destination as well — playing on its unique blend of Portuguese colonial and Chinese culture, architecture, and culinary traditions. Although construction of luxury apartments and casinos has slowed somewhat due to the global economic crisis, the city looks at the continuing growth of the Chinese tourist as a way to buoy a relatively sluggish tourism season.

Macau is unique in that it has, much like neighboring Hong Kong, combined two disparate cultures over the centuries to the point where they no longer seem distinct but instead form the one-of-a-kind Macanese culture. The city has also combined the entrepreneurial, fast-paced culture of China’s biggest cities with a fascinating mix of people, cultures, and languages, making this one of the world’s most exciting, truly global cities. The city has also become one of East Asia’s luxury hubs.

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Art Auction Season Warming Up As HK Auctions Near

With Auctions Of Western Favorites Doing Better Than Expected, Will We See The Same Excitement Surround Upcoming Contemporary Asian and Chinese Art Auctions?

Up for auction later this month in Hong Kong: Tang Zhigang, Chinese Fairytale (2006). Will Asian buyers pounce on the best buyers' market in years?

Up for auction later this month in Hong Kong: contemporary Chinese artist Tang Zhigang's "Chinese Fairytale" (2006). Will Asian collectors pounce on the best buyers' market in years?

As trend-watchers love to say, the art market may be down from last year, but it’s far from out. Yesterday’s auction at Christie’s suprised many, with better-than-expected bidding and several works exceeding their estimates. As the New York Times noted, works by historical favorites like Picasso and Giacometti brought solid prices, and the auction injected a dose of optimism into the auction market, which has recently been affected by the same drop in confidence as the rest of the economy. However, Christie’s success is not the main point that interested me in the New York Times article. This is what caught my eye:

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