Shanghai Free Trade Zone 9 years on / Updates

Shanghai show reveals nation's art market makes for very pretty picture

China Daily |  Updated:2022-11-18


A cicada-shaped jadeite brooch is on display at the fifth China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Nov 8, 2022. [Photo/IC]

Young collectors from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong are pushing the art market at home and abroad to new heights, statistics from the fourth Shanghai International Artwork Trade Week showed.

Shanghai has held the annual event since 2019. This year, more than 110 trading sub-events were held between Nov 10 and 14.

During the Shanghai Dialogue 2022, the closing forum of the week, Chen Xiaodong, general manager of Shanghai Free Trade Zone Cultural Investment & Development Co Ltd, said that the China (Shanghai) Pilot FTZ handled the import and export of artworks and cultural relics with a record total value of 17.6 billion yuan ($2.5 billion) in 2021.

The figure for this year has so far reached 10 billion yuan, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chen said.

Altogether 37 artworks and cultural relics, together valued at some 490 million yuan, reached Intention of Purchase agreements during the fifth China International Import Expo that took place from Nov 5 to 10. Among them are works from Chinese masters such as Chang Dai-Chien, Lin Fengmian and Wu Guanzhong, as well as foreign masters including Marc Chagall and Yayoi Kusama.

According to the Survey of Global Collecting in 2022 on Nov 10, authored by Clare McAndrew and released by Swiss financial firm UBS at West Bund Art & Design — a highlight art fair during the art trade week in Shanghai — spending on art among those surveyed increased in all markets, with the Chinese mainland, the Hong Kong SAR and France seeing some of the highest spending levels in the first half. Global imports of art and antiques increased 41 percent in 2021 and exports were up 38 percent, with double-digit increases continuing in the first half of 2022 versus the same period in 2021.

"If cross-border trade was to continue at this same pace in the second half of this year, record levels of trade could be reached in the major art markets by the end of 2022," said Zhang Qiong, president and head of wealth management at UBS (China) Ltd.

The survey revealed that the median expenditure of high net worth collectors this year was higher than that seen last year and also exceeds the average level in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.Just under half of the objects in collections this year were paintings, sculptures and works on paper, while 15 percent were dedicated to digital art, 9 percent of which had non-fungible tokens associated with them.

A large number of young collectors have also been entering the market in the past two years, based on the survey findings. Thanks to popular social media platforms, art information — from market trends to rising star artists — has been widely and quickly shared among fashion-conscious youth.

"As people's living standards improve, their aesthetic demands have risen too," said Zhou Chong, an art collector in his early 30s. "They are showing much higher willingness to beautify their living environment."

Zhou said he is optimistic about the art market and remains committed to supporting it.

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