Mastering the Market

By Liao Danlin Source:Global Times Published: 2013-3-10 18:58:01

An employee walks past works sold at Christie's Post War and Contemporary Art sale in London on February 8. Photo:CFP
An employee walks past works sold at Christie's Post War and Contemporary Art sale in London on February 8. Photo:CFP

Last week, Art Market Monitor of Artron (AMMA), a research center under that aims to offer comprehensive information and in-depth analysis of the Chinese Art Market, released a global report about the world market as the first result of their business alliance with Artprice, a world leading art information center.

This report, which includes data that covers a wide range of topics and analysis on both Western and Chinese art markets, also explains many doubts that each side may have over the other through a dialogue between AMMA and Artprice.

Questions mostly focus on the market in an academic perspective but also consider the doubts that auction houses and galleries might have. Examples include why the Western contemporary and modern category had so many unexpected high transactions with the whole economic environment unchanged and why Chinese buyers seem to have no interest in buying Western artworks.

Thierry Ehrmann, founder and CEO of Artprice expressed through the website of Artprice that, "this unique and exclusive alliance with Artron will allow total mastery of an art market that has become bipolar (with the West at one end and Asia on the other)." According to the website, the act aims to "give the two global art-information majors full control over market data processing, market dematerialization activities and an entire range of global art market value chains" through the communication and exclusive data exchanges.

The vice general manager of AMMA, Guan Yu, told the Global Times that both AMMA and Artprice are excited because not only is this the first report written by both sides but also because they could possibly break the Chinese "wall" that divides the Western and Asian market.

Global rankings such as top artists, top transactions and artworks are Artprice's expertise. However, with the Chinese wall in the middle, the data and analysis about the Chinese market that most Western organizations obtain are not entirely accurate. Similarly, what Chinese experts understand about the Western market does not form a complete image.

Guan said the findings of the report show that the Chinese market has caught increasing attention from the world but with limited understanding. For some people, when the high numbers came unexpectedly, they became excited and hoped the Chinese market could be like Japan in the 1980s and 1990s to rescue the global downturn at that time. On the other hand, those who have access to certain internal resources sometimes feel the entire scene in China is untrue and full of bubbles.

Auction houses in the mainland opened their database to the public about a decade ago. At the beginning it was an unwilling act but later it turned out to be an important aspect that each party could take advantage of.

For Guan and her team, each piece of data has a background worth studying. The exchange of information is a perfect bridge to understanding.

According to Xie Xiaodong, vice general manager of Council Auction Company, the global market is showing signs of integration that Western and Asian markets are gradually influencing each other. Many Chinese buyers now have stronger purchasing power and are willing to travel around the world to buy things they are interested in. Mainland auction houses have also started to open branches in Hong Kong and other places that have better connections with the Western market.

Thus, Xie sees the collaboration between AMMA and Artprice as a good way to develop a better system for valuing artworks in the global market.

Posted in: ARTS

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