NEW YORK—Bonhams, London, opened an office in Hong Kong on Jan. 15, becoming the latest auctioneer to seek advantage in the soaring Asian art market. Bonhams plans to hold its first Hong Kong auctions this spring; sales of contemporary Asian art, Chinese ceramics and works of art, and a collection of jade carvings will be held on May 26.
Colin Sheaf, chairman of Bonhams Asia, said that opening an office in Hong Kong “is part of a strategic decision to increase our international company’s presence in Asia. We see this auction business in Hong Kong as a springboard to a new client base and activities as far afield as China, Japan, India, South Korea, Indonesia and Singapore.”
Auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s have watched Hong Kong sales soar in recent years as newly wealthy Asian buyers have energetically collected across a wide range of genres—from Chinese ceramics and jades to contemporary Chinese paintings and sculpture. In Hong Kong, a free port, the houses’ business practices are not subject to the same strict government regulations in force on the mainland.
“Nothing in the global art market,” says Sheaf, “has been more dramatic in the last decade than the emergence of new art buyers in Asia.” He notes that the younger generation of collectors, dealers and artists is “increasingly influenced by broader trends in traditional and contemporary world art.”