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Factors of Chinese Art Market Essay

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The Chinese possess the longest continuous cultural history of any of the peoples of the world (Sickman. L, 1968). In recent years, pushed by the huge economic growth in Asia, the fine art market rise sharply within Asia, especially China, changed the geographical structure of the global art market. The Chinese government set up some preferential policies to promote the fine art market because they see the great economic potential in this flied. In 2011, China has a 49% growth of artworks in auction revenue, becoming the first global marketplace for the sale of art.

Although the transaction volume of China (10.8%) was behind USA and France, the auction revenue (41.4%) was the first of the world (Artprice, Trend of art market 2011) . This means China is becoming the central of high price fine art market. In 2011, a painting with calligraphy which was painted by Qi Baishi, ”Eagle Standing on Pine Tree; Four-Character Couplet…” was sold for 4.255 Yuan(about 65 million US dollars) in Beijing by China Guardian auction company, a record high for contemporary and modern Chinese paintings and calligraphy(China Guardian Auctions).

As Chinese fine art market growing quickly in last few years, more and more researches and studies have been done by both Chinese and other foreign people, this essay will focus on some factors behind the market and analysis how the factors influence the Chinese fine art market. And the analysis can be dividing into four sections, cultures, history events and policies, buyers and marketing channels.

First of all, this essay is going to find out the difference between the western countries people and the Chinese people in culture of collecting aspect and work of art aspect. There is some strong culture which is really to be changed in any country and this will completely change the way people treat art works in a country. Just because people treat art works differently, every country’s fine art market culture is unique, and this can influence the market automatically. For example when Chinese people selling antiques, they always leave a large gap between the quote and the deal price to wait buyers to bargain because Chinese people believe buyers will feel happy and they have brought the antique in a cheaper price.

Secondly, history events and policies linkage to the Chinese fine art market will be mentioned. Through the history events (such as the reform and open up in 1978 and joining the WTO in 2001) and policies (like import and export trading policies) to analysis how these events and changes influence the Chinese fine art market. A cultural repatriation has been in the spotlight a great deal from 2000, with the sale of the Yuan Ming Yuan bronze fountainheads, then the Chinese government has attach more importance to the fine art trade after it(Wang. A, 2012).

Actually, modern Chinese fine art market starts after the reform and open up in 1978 and today becoming the first place of the marketplace for the sale of art. Also according the Tariff implementation plan 2012 of China, the import duty of art work decreased from 12% to 6% (General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China), this promoted the fine art market, in the first half of 2012, the trading amounts reach 210.8 billion Yuan (Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China), which means China has been overtaken the USA, becoming the top art market.

Then, this paper will explore different kinds of buyers and find out their purchasing intention. In this section, it will be a case study about the different buyers by having an interview with an antiquary and a staff of an international auction company. Antique buyers have different purchasing intention; some of them are shop holders or agencies buying art works for selling, some of them are art fanciers buying art works for collecting, some of them buying art work as investment, and there are some people just want to show their social status or financial position through buying expensive art works. Through the interview, more purchasing intention will carry out so that it will be more clear that how different buyers can influence the fine art market all around the world differently.

The last section of this essay will talk about the marketing channels aspect. Chinese antiques can be seen in auction houses, trade fairs, art galleries, fine art shops all around the world(Artprice, Trend of art market 2011), People come together to appreciate or buy antiques. Furthermore, some private trade happens a lot without noticed by the mass. Different marketing channels have its own characteristics and price levels so that it could attract its own target audience.

Although the market of Chinese antiques is growing in a very high speed, some scholars still have some issues to worry. As Audrey Wang mentioned (2012), some speculators believed that Chinese art market is an indomitable force and become the first place in volumes of sale of fine art. On the other hand, sceptics claim that the current trend as merely a bubble and today’s China is not ready yet to experience a full economic cycle of growth and decline.

When a group of Chinese curio dealer visit the 25th of TEFAF which hold in the Nederland, they were not only shocked by the fine art work’s quality and authenticity, but also the seller’s integrity and normative. When they ask for some background and information about an antique, the vendor just read from the testimonial but not making an attractive story. The Chinese fine art market is still not mature because more standard rules or policies are needed.

Lastly, the high speed growth of the Chinese fine art market might cause some mislead about the art. Quite a lot of people will regard high price as high quality in the fine art market, this is completely a misunderstanding for the art works. Therefore some scholars argue that the great growth could destroy the culture and art, this will be also discussed in this essay.


Sickman, L (1968) The Art and Architecture of China, Yale University Press, London

Wang, A (2012) Chinese Antiquities, an introduction to the art market, Lund Humphries, Surrey.


Artprice, Trend of art market 2011

China Guardian Auctions

Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China

General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China http://english.customs.gov.cn/tabid/47800/Default.aspx

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