The Rise of Chinese Art Auction Portal EpaiLive (Part-2) – artmarketblog.com

epailive2 The Rise of Chinas Online Art Auction Portal EpaiLive (Part 2) – artmarketblog.comIn 2012 a group of UK art and antique auctioneers joined forces to launch the Association of Accredited Auctioneers (AAA) as a means of building “relationships with Chinese buyers with a view to giving them easy access to their market for Western art and antiques.”

One of the most significant achievements of the AAA to date is an alliance with EpaiLive, China’s only live auction website. EpaiLive was founded in 2011 by Beijing-based Oxford graduate Dr QiQi Jiang with support from the Chinese government.

To find out more about EpaiLive and the AAA partnership, the Art Market Blog got in touch with the Director of International Sales at EpaiLive, Katherine Stevens, and asked her a few question. In part one of this two-part interview, Stevens explains the reasoning behind the development of the alliance with the AAA and reveals some of the trends that have emerged since the launch of the partnership. In part two, below, Stevens discusses the future plans for EpaiLive and explains the significance of the EpaiLive/AAA alliance.

Do you have plans to expand EpaiLive in the future?

Yes. Most of our buyers are Chinese now, so the site only provides Chinese language services. In the future Epailive will develop a multilingual platform for more language speakers, including French, German, Italian, etc. The aim is that buyers from other countries will also be able to discover the global art world through EpaiLive.

In addition, Epailive will seek to improve the customer experience and expand into areas beyond the purchase of items through auction, i.e. providing more options to our buyers such as greater choice on packaging, insurance, transportation, etc.

How significant is the EpaiLive/AAA alliance from the perspective of Chinese/Western relations?

It’s a very important alliance for both Epailive and AAA. Through this arrangement, Chinese buyers can safely purchase art and antiques from AAA auction houses based in the UK, with a standardised structure for transporting buyers’ purchases to China and with the guarantee that what they are buying is as described and photographed.

The alliance promotes closer ties between the auction markets of the east and west. It is a process that will lead to a greater mutual understanding as well as the establishment of vital links between significant stakeholders for the regulation of the auction business, both in the UK and in China.

Where do you see the Chinese art/antique market heading over the next couple of years?

According to the TEFAF Art Market Report 2012, China became the world’s principal market for art and antiques in 2011, with sales soaring to 30% of the global total. Although it slipped back a lot in 2012, China still holds a major share of the global percentage. With the rapid economic growth in China and a new middle class consumer sector, more people are looking to purchase and collect art/antiques.

Many Chinese are already used to shopping online. The China Internet Network Information Center (an administrative agency responsible for Internet affairs under the Ministry of Information Industry of the People’s Republic of China) published a statistical report, in which it says that until the end of Dec. 2012 the amount of people who used the internet reached up to 564,000,000; the number of people who shopped online stood at 242,000,000.

Considering these trends, we are very confident and optimistic about the Chinese art/antique market, especially the online market.

**Nicholas Forrest is a Sydney/London based art market analyst, art consultant and writer.  He is the founder of the Art Market Blog (artmarketblog.com) 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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