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Why Fine Art Sales in China Are Rising Again


Fine art auction sales in greater China are bucking global trends by rising instead of tumbling.

The gains aren’t likely to fire up global art sales, however. Instead they reveal a return to normal for Chinese buyers who view tangible assets like fine art to be a better investment opportunity now than volatile stocks or low-interest-rate bonds.

Still, the 18% jump in auction sales in China, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, is welcome good news for an art market in the midst of a slump. China sales at the two biggest global auction houses, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, as well China’s top two houses, Poly Auction and China Guardian, totaled $2.3 billion in the first half, up from $1.97 billion last year, data show.

That gives greater China a 35% share of the global fine art market, surpassing the U.S., where fine art sales tumbled 48% to $1.7 billion in the first half versus a year ago and the U.K., where sales fell 29.5% to $1.4 billion, says.

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