Chinese collectors drive surge in art market growth with increasing sophistication

Estimated read time 2 min read

A | a-+=

In 2023, China cemented its position as the world’s second-largest art market, sparking a surge in demand for art advisory services from banks, according to family office advisers.

Bernie Wai, Citigroup’s Asia-Pacific head of the global family office group, noted, “Art is becoming a key focus in many families, and its ability to solve liquidity needs for tactical investments.” This sentiment was echoed by Eric Landolt, UBS’s global co-head of family advisory, art, and collecting, who highlighted the increasing demand for services such as collection governance and legacy planning.

Despite being seen as a passion investment, art emerged as the top-performing luxury asset class in 2023, with prices rising by an impressive 11 per cent, as per Knight Frank’s luxury investment index. Landolt emphasized UBS’s commitment to helping China’s wealthiest families build their cultural legacy, stating, “We support some of China’s wealthiest families and individuals in exploring their personal collecting aspirations and building their own cultural legacy for future generations.”

Chinese collectors are known for their thorough research and informed approach to art acquisitions. Landolt observed, “Chinese collectors do their research and ask well-informed questions,” indicating a high level of sophistication among buyers. This trend is particularly evident in the shift from traditional Chinese art, such as porcelain and calligraphy, to Western contemporary pieces among younger generations.

With the Chinese art market witnessing a post-pandemic spending boom, sales soared by 9 per cent to an estimated US$12.2 billion in 2023, according to a joint report by UBS, Art Basel, and Art Economics. China’s share of the global art market rose to 19 per cent, surpassing the UK to become the second-largest market, while the United States maintained its position as the top global art market.

Online channels have played a significant role in expanding the market by attracting new buyers. Both top-tier and smaller auction houses have identified online platforms as a key source of new business, with digital channels attracting significant numbers of new, young, and ambitious collectors, particularly in China.

The art market’s growth, coupled with the increasing sophistication of Chinese collectors, underscores the evolving landscape of art investment and collection in China. As the market continues to expand, the demand for art advisory services and expertise is expected to rise, further shaping the future of the art market in China.

(Source: SCMP)

You May Also Like