Christie’s Will Quadruple Its Sales Room Footprint in Hong Kong With a New Location—and Triple Its Number of Auctions in the City
The move is part of an ambitious growth plan for the Asian market.
Christie’s has signed a 10-year lease on a new Hong Kong office space that will massively expand its presence in the booming Asian art market.
The British auction house will be an anchor tenant in the Henderson, a new skyscraper from Zaha Hadid Architects set for completion in 2023, according to the Art Newspaper. Christie’s plans to open up shop in 2024.
The new building will afford the company four times as much gallery and sales room space, with 30,000 square feet compared to just 7,000 in its current Hong Kong location. Including offices, Christie’s will occupy 50,000 square feet over four floors.
In the past, the physical limitations of the space have limited the Hong Kong outfit to biannual spring and fall sales at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.
“It’s hard for us to extend the sales because we don’t have the real estate to do so,” Francis Belin, Christie’s president, said in a press conference, according to Reuters.
The expanded footprint will now allow for six week-long sales held in-house throughout the year.
Even with limited opportunities to hold auctions, the Hong Kong art market is experiencing impressive growth.
In the first half of the year, Asia saw $1.04 billion in sales at Christie’s, a full 39 percent of the value of auction sales worldwide.
It was a 20 percent increase from pre-pandemic numbers, and included $458 million in Hong Kong sales in May—the highest monthly total since 2013.
The robust numbers suggest that concerns about Hong Kong’s freedom under new security laws enforced by the Chinese governments are not suppressing economic growth in the art sector.
“Hong Kong is still Asia’s art center,” Belin said, according to the South China Morning Post. “Nothing has dented the confidence in the art market here.”
Christie’s does not expect to do much hiring to staff the bigger location, but it is looking for a bigger space for its Shanghai office.
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