Whether its art, antiques, wine, jewellery or watches - it seems that China's super-rich collectors have developed an insatiable appetite for the finer things in life which grows stronger by the day.
And with the recent news that China has overtaken the US as the world's largest market for art and antiques, it's no surprise that major auction houses are investing heavily in their Asian infrastructure.
Sotheby's have announced the details of its brand new, state-of-the-art exhibition space in Hong Kong, which will open its doors on May 19. The purpose-built gallery will offer more than 15,000 square feet and include a permanent home for 'Sotheby's Diamonds', operated in partnership with the Steinmetz Diamond Group.
"We conceived of Sotheby's Hong Kong Gallery in response to the exponential growth of our business in Asia in recent years which last year reached US$1 billion for the first time," said Bill Ruprecht, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sotheby's. "The expansion of our Hong Kong premises is the first of many developments Sotheby's is planning in the region, and particularly in China, to respond to the needs of our ever-expanding client base in this exciting market."
Traditionally, Sotheby's have conducted a twice-yearly series of sales in the Spring and Autumn. The new gallery will allow them to expand this schedule to include year-round auctions, exhibitions, lectures and cultural events.
"The opening of Sotheby's Hong Kong Gallery in this exciting moment when Asia has become one of the most prominent international art hubs is a truly important milestone in Sotheby's almost forty years of history in Asia," commented Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby's Asia. "We look forward to seeing our clients in this wonderful space, sharing our expertise while discussing their collecting interests."
In recent years, the surging Chinese economy has transformed the international auction markets - companies, collectors and investors have all turned their attentions to the East, with unprecedented results.
Now Sotheby's are investing heavily in the Chinese market, and the results look set to bring them success for years to come.