Sotheby’s Partner with GeHua for Assault on Mainland China –

sothebys china Sothebys Partner with GeHua for Assault on Mainland China   artmarketblog.comSotheby’s have strengthened their presence in mainland China by entering into a 10-year equity joint venture agreement with Beijing GeHua Art Company, a Chinese State-Owned Enterprise that is part of GeHua Cultural and Development Group.If the joint venture is approved by the Chinese governemnt, Sotheby’s will initially invest $1.2 million in exchange for 80% ownership of the joint venture, while GeHua will invest $0.3 million in exchange for 20% ownership.

According to a Sotheby’s press release: “The Joint Venture Agreement will allow Sotheby’s to take advantage of a planned free port project that GeHua is developing within the Tianzhu Free Trade Zone in Beijing , which will serve as a tax-advantaged storage location and provide a platform for art-related auctions and private selling exhibitions of non-cultural relics, travelling exhibitions, and educational activities.”

Sotheby’s management believes that the Joint Venture Agreement will “strategically enhance Sotheby’s long-term presence in mainland China and allow it to potentially capitalize on the opportunities presented by the Chinese art market, which Sotheby’s currently serves through its existing operations in Hong Kong.” As well as operating in the Beijing Free Port, the agreement with GeHua will allow Sotheby’s to conduct auctions and private selling exhibitions within other designated venues in Beijing.

The establishment of the free port will help promote China’s cultural products and services exports and cultivate a group of cultural enterprises and talents and is expected to serve as a pilot project for the implementation and innovation of policies and regulations on international trade.  “The cultural free trade zone will also use the preferential policies of the Tianzhu Free Trade Zone to provide trade services for the collection of antiques and artworks, cultural design and production, high-end cultural exhibitions and fashion design”, said Li Danyang, general manager of Gehua Cultural Development Group.

**Nicholas Forrest is a Sydney/London based art market analyst, art consultant and writer.  He is the founder of the Art Market Blog ( which offers independent commentaries as well as research and analysis on the current art market, and has recently been published in Fabrik magazine, Verve magazine, Visual Art Beat magazine, Australian Art Collector magazine, Art & Investment magazine and many others.  Nic has made several radio appearances (both nationally and internationally) as an art market expert and has received press from the likes of the New York Times, Conde Nast Portfolio and Times of London.

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