Sotheby’s Continues Its Expansion in Asia, With a New Salesroom and Headquarters Opening in Hong Kong in 2024
The auction house will join Christie's and Phillips in opening new headquarters in Hong Kong, signaling a vote of confidence in the city.
Sotheby’s is planning a major expansion in Hong Kong, with a new headquarters as well as a new exhibition space and salesroom opening in 2024 that will allow the house to conduct live auctions and events all year round.
The announcement, made on Thursday morning Hong Kong time, precedes the auctioneer’s celebration of its 50th anniversary in Asia in 2023. The move is in line with the house’s ambitious expansion across the region throughout the past year, which has included new appointments in Seoul and Bangkok, bringing live auctions back to Singapore, exhibitions in Vietnam, as well as a new office in Tokyo and a new headquarters in Shanghai.
Both Christie’s and Phillips have already announced plans for new headquarters in Hong Kong. Phillips will be moving to a space in the West Kowloon Cultural District in March 2023, while Christie’s is scheduled to move to a new skyscraper, designed by the Zaha Hadid Architects, in 2024.
Sotheby’s latest announcement signals that three of the world’s top auction houses are confident that Hong Kong will maintain its status as an art auction and trading hub in Asia, despite speculation that the city will be overtaken by regional competitors, such as Seoul and Singapore, due to political and economic uncertainties.
Sale results and growth over the past year in the region have painted a positive picture for the house. Sotheby’s said it has sold a total of $1.1 billion worth of art and luxury items in Asia in 2022—in line with 2021’s all-time-high record of $1.3 billion.
The house recorded a record-high number of bidders based in Asia this year, with triple the number who are under 40 years old. Sixty-eight percent of new bidders to the house came from Asia, with new clients comprising one in three bidding at Asia sales. Asian collectors are spending 20 percent more per person on average, and bidding 40 percent more per person on average than collectors from anywhere else in the world, the house revealed.
The news follow’s Hong Kong’s announcement earlier this week that it will scrap several Covid restrictions, including entry restrictions, following Beijing’s plan to relax its zero-Covid policy and reopen the country, resulting in a generally optimistic picture for the new year.
Sotheby’s Hong Kong expansion will see the opening of a 24,000-square-foot location at Landmark Chater located in Central—the city’s main financial and business district. The two-story maison, which can be accessed from the ground floor, is expected to be the house’s main space for live auctions and exhibitions.
Currently, Sotheby’s Hong Kong has a gallery space adjacent to its offices but for major auctions like its spring and autumn marquee sales, the company has to rent spaces at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. The new maison, which will also include a cafe, is expected to give the house greater flexibility to conduct live auctions and events throughout the year to meet the growing demands from young buyers in the region.
Sotheby’s Hong Kong will also move to a 36,000-square-foot new office headquarters in 2024, but it will keep the house within the same district as its current offices in Admiralty. Spanning four floors, the new headquarters will be located in the newly built Six Pacific Place and is just one underground stop away from Central, where the new maison will be located.
“Sotheby’s new space will embody our vision for a widely accessible, immersive, and truly integrated destination for the world’s most extraordinary objects and experiences,” Nathan Drahi, Sotheby’s Asia managing director, said in a statement.
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