1.8 Million Tourists And Shoppers Made The Trip Last Year; Will This Year See Similar Figures?
Photo Courtesy Hong Kong Tourism Board
Hong Kong retailers, hoteliers and merchants of all shapes and sizes are getting ready for the second of two “Golden Weeks” which take place annually in China — the first celebrating Chinese New Year and the second beginning on National Day (Oct. 1) and continuing through the Mid-Autumn Festival (Oct. 3) until finally ending on the 8th. For Hong Kong’s luxury retailers, Golden Week has traditionally provided a much-needed boost to their sales, particularly as fall begins and the flow of foreign tourists slows down significantly.
For many mainlanders, however, Golden Week is a chance to hop over the border and do some serious shopping. As Hong Kong retailers aren’t saddled with the same high sales and luxury taxes as those in the mainland, shoppers from throughout China often take advantage of the timing of Golden Week to enjoy the cultural ambiance of Hong Kong while stocking up on expensive products that would — at home — cost up to double the price.
Today, the New York Times Globespotters blog gives a glimpse into the fun (and chaos) of Golden Week in Hong Kong, when millions of shoppers (many of whom have saved up throughout the year for their HK shopping spree) converge on this small but densely-packed city to queue up for hours and open their wallets:
European designer emporiums, jewelers and gold shops will all be packed, as mainland Chinese rush to buy goods that are both cheaper, and more likely authentic, than back home. (Unlike China, Hong Kong has no sales or luxury taxes.) For upscale shopping, avoid the crowds by trying department stores like Lane Crawford instead.
As far as the local government is concerned, you can’t have too many festivals. During this hectic period, there is also the Hong Kong International Arts and Antiques Fair from Oct. 3 to 6, and the Hong Kong International Jazz Festival from Oct. 1 to 15. Jazz and antiques aren’t big Chinese tourist draws, so they might be another way to escape from the maddening crowds.
In addition to these festivals and events, this year’s Golden Week will also coincide with Sotheby’s Autumn Auction of Contemporary Chinese and Asian Artwork, taking place on October 6 in Hong Kong. It’ll be a great opportunity for luxury buyers who have come over from the mainland to bid on some domestic contemporary artists and maybe take home a few Yue Minjuns, Zeng Fanzhis or Cai Guo-Qiangs in addition to the boatloads of Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Rolexes they’re going to tote back over the border.
Posted in auction, Business, China, Culture, Economy, Luxury
Tagged China, chinese, chinese new year, commerce, golden week, HK, hong kong, Luxury, mainland china, mid-autumn festival, national day, october, shopper, shopping, tourism, travel, wealth
The Masterpiece Looks To Become One Of The City’s Most Exclusive Residential Towers
Apartments at The Masterpiece feature breathtaking views of Hong Kong -- and have price tags to match
The Standard today profiles the Masterpiece, a luxurious residential tower in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district. Even in a city like Hong Kong, which is no stranger to extravagant residential towers, the Masterpiece stands out:
The exceptionally spacious apartments, featuring a floor-to-floor height of 11 feet and two inches, have a neutral interior that creates a warm and harmonious ambience.
The motto for the bar is if you have got it, flaunt it, and the wine cellar that is at the heart of it is the perfect showcase for your French and other vintages to relatives, friends and colleagues.
The master en suite bedroom continues the neutral-hued design. An atlas feature on the bedroom wall exudes a cosmopolitan feel, and the walk-in closet offers storage aplenty while the full-length mirror deepens the sense of space.
The other bedrooms also exhibit well-thought-out designs. One of them features a Japanese feel that continues the cosmopolitan theme.
The New World Development and Urban Renewal Authority joint development offers a plethora of leisure and shopping spots at your feet in the form of the recently built, six-story K11 mall below.
The exclusive clubhouse offers plenty of indoor and outdoor facilities to ensure your work-life balance, and the sky garden is an urban oasis amid the hustle and bustle of city life.
With a Tsim Sha Tsui MTR exit just across the road from the building, the Masterpiece combines luxury, style and convenience in one of the most desirable addresses in town.
Posted in Business, China, Economy, Investment, Luxury
Tagged China, hong kong, Investment, Luxury, real estate, the masterpiece, tsim sha tsui
Strong interest from Asian buyers expected to spark October sale in HK
As we reported recently, the Sotheby’s autumn auction of Asian art — which highlights important contemporary Chinese pieces — will take place in Hong Kong on October 6. With combined estimates at over $12 Million US (HK $98 Million), this sale is expected to be one of the year’s biggest and most-watched auctions. As we have noticed in recent sales — both in Hong Kong and elsewhere — one thing we can expect in this auction is a high proportion of domestic Chinese buyers in the room, and we can expect them to be motivated to buy. Today, in preparation for the upcoming auction season, Forbes published an article on the market for Chinese art, noting that it is becoming gradually more difficult for western collectors to buy a range of Chinese art because of the growing collector base within the country. Describing the increasing numbers of Chinese bidders at antiquities auctions, Sallie Brady writes, “there’s a new dynamic afoot that promises to drive up prices: Mainland Chinese are entering the market in ever greater numbers.”
So for collectors who are interested in making bids on lots in the upcoming Sotheby’s auction, what should they know before they go head-to-head with Chinese buyers? Aside from doing their research to stay up-to-date on recent developments and informed about the past work and possible future longevity of the historical artworks that are up for grabs, it pays to know which lots are the “all stars.” I have looked through the catalog, and here is my list of the “Top 10” lots up for auction on October 6:
1.) Cai Guo-Qiang: Money Net No. 2 (2002)
Estimate: US$ 605,000-705,000 (HK$ 4,700,000-5,500,000)
Cai Guo-Qiang (born 1957, Quanzhou, Fujian Province) was educated in stage design at the Shanghai Drama Institute from 1981 to 1985. Gunpowder is his trademark medium, from drawings and paintings made by igniting carefully monitored explosions on paper and canvas to massive explosion events like Projects for Extraterrestrials. He is also known for sculptural installation works such as Borrowing Your Enemy’s Arrows (1998), a massive wooden boat riddled with arrows that recalls a legendary tactic of an ancient Chinese general. Cai has had many solo exhibitions, including Cai Guo-Qiang on the Roof: Transparent Monument at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2006) and Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2008). He was awarded the International Golden Lion prize at the 48th Venice Biennale (1999), and curated the first China Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005). He was the Chief Special Effects Designer for the 2008 Beijing Olympics’ creative team. Cai lives in Brooklyn.
Posted in Art, auction, China, Chinese Art, Culture, Investment, Museums
Tagged ai weiwei, Art, ash head, asia, asian art, auction, cai guo-qiang, cai guoqiang, China, chinese, chinese contemporary art, contemporary chinese art, east asia, feng zhengjie, hong kong, huang yongping, liu ye, mainland, october, sotheby's, wang qingsong, yue minjun, zeng fanzhi, zhang huan
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
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.
Posted in Art, auction, Business, China, Chinese Art, Culture
Tagged Art, asia, asian, asian art, auction, China, Chinese Art, chinese contemporary art, guardian, hong kong, poly, ravenel, taipei, taiwan
Strong Demand And Growth In Chinese, East Asian Markets Helps Luxury Jewelry Brands Find New Global Markets
Gold has been a traditional "hedge" in China for centuries
We have written before about the popularity of gold, jewelry and watches in China, and as the figures released today show that the Chinese economy seems to have positive momentum, it is likely that domestic demand will continue to grow for these luxury items. Government efforts to spur increased consumption and lower savings rates look to be at least partially successful, and as a result many global jewelry companies are now putting extra effort into their China outreach and expansion programs.
Today, Diamond Worldlooks into the growing influence of Asian jewelry brands as they become an increasing part of the global market, profiling three up-and-coming Asian jewelers who you might see at a mall near you in a few years: Luk Fook Jewelry, Kin Hung Lee Jewelry and Qeelin Jewelry.
Posted in Business, China, Culture, Fashion, Luxury
Tagged China, diamonds, gold, hong kong, jewelry, luk fook, Luxury, maggie cheung
Sale Features Works Over 190 Works By Chinese, Japanese and Korean Artists, With Estimates At Over $12 Million US (HK $98 Million)
Up for auction on October 6 in Hong Kong: Cai Guo-Qiang's "Money Net No. 2" (2002)
We will write much more about this upcoming auction as details come in, but today Sotheby’s announced its upcoming autumn auction of contemporary Asian art — featuring top Chinese artists like Cai Guo-Qiang and Zeng Fanzhi as well as Japanese and Korean artists like Yoshitomo Nara and Bae Bien-U. According to the press release, this sale — to be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 6 — will follow auctions of Wine and Fine Chinese paintings from October 3-5.
Although the auction includes many top East Asian artists, we’ll be keeping our eyes on the Chinese side. The success of recent Hong Kong auctions, where local buyers have become more numerous as well as more active, gives me a sense that this sale will be one of the year’s highlights. Depending on the turnout, we might be seeing a real turning point in terms of the buyer profile for contemporary Chinese art, and the beginning of the end of western and non-Chinese dominance in purchasing Chinese art.
As Evelyn Lin, Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary Asian Art, said, “Sotheby’s Hong Kong once again presents a carefully-curated auction of high-quality works by contemporary artists from across Asia. Highlighting this sale is a selection of seminal creations by some of the most prominent artists in the region including Cai Guo-Qiang, Zeng Fanzhi, Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara. The kaleidoscopic array of works brings to the fore the diversity and dynamism of the contemporary Asian art scene, as well as the artists’ unrivalled creativity that is set to captivate our collectors.”
Look for more updates on this auction as we get more details — it’s going to be exciting.
Posted in Art, auction, China, Chinese Art, Museums
Tagged Art, auction, bae bien-u, cai guo-qiang, fine chinese paintings, hong kong, sotheby's, wine, yoshitomo nara, zeng fanzhi
Yuan-Backed Sovereign Bonds Seen As Major Step In Building Market For Yuan As A Global Currency
Recent moves show that the internationalization of the yuan is a major priority for the Chinese government
The Shanghai Daily reports today that the Hong Kong SAR government is set to debut a new class of bonds denominated in the Chinese RMB, a move seen as a significant milestone in China’s ambitious plan to make its yuan a more global currency. While articles about the yuan’s potential status as a major currency have multiplied in the last year, particularly following People’s Bank of China director Zhou Xiaochuan’s call earlier this year for the US dollar to be replaced as the world’s de facto reserve currency, less-publicized moves such as China’s currency swap agreements with several countries, and an expansion in the issuance of yuan bonds from commercial banks, have largely flown under the media radar.
With the announcement of these new yuan-denominated bonds, it is clear that China hopes to make Hong Kong even more of an international financial hub. Although the territory has, for decades, been a major financial power in the region, with its more relaxed political and financial system, Hong Kong looks to be one of the most accessible areas for China to experiment with some of its more long-term financial projects. With the strong linkage between Hong Kong and Shanghai — sometimes playfully referred to as “Shangkong” — if this program is successful it may mean more fluid and regular investment in yuan bonds by foreign investors as well as a simultaneous boost to the yuan’s reputation abroad.
As the Shanghai Daily article explains, the Chinese Ministry of Finance will offer $878 million (6 billion yuan) worth of the bonds to retail and institutional investors beginning on September 28:
Peng Wensheng, head of China research at Barclays Capital, said that while the amount is not large, it is a significant development in the internationalization of the yuan and for the development of the Hong Kong bond market.
“The issue broke new ground in an effort to promote the domestic currency as an international currency,” Peng said yesterday.
Posted in Business, China, Currency, Economics, Economy, Investment
Tagged beijing, bonds, China, finance, financial, hong kong, internationalization, renminbi, RMB, shanghai, shangkong, world bank, yuan, zhou xiaochuan