A NEW live auction platform which will give UK auctioneers direct access to Chinese bidders has been launched in Beijing.
The Chinese-language site, epaiLive.com,
has been set up by Beijing-based entrepreneur Dr Qiqi Jiang, backed
by the major Chinese aeronautical corporation AVIC. It has been
welcomed by government officials who hope that it may bring greater
transparency to the fast-growing Chinese auction industry which has
encountered problems with non-payment and authenticity.
EpaiLive has been established as a platform for Chinese
auctioneers to sell online across China. However, Dr Jiang's
company has represented ATG in China for several years and every
catalogue on the-saleroom.com will
now be hosted automatically on epaiLive.
The site also addresses the important issue of guaranteeing
payment from Chinese bidders. Registered bidders on the site will
be required to lodge a deposit and their bidding limit can be
automatically linked to the level of that deposit. ATG Media
expects to add the Chinese payment platform to the-saleroom.com in
The launch took place at the National Centre for Performing Arts
in Beijing and the attendance of such high-ranking officials as Mr
Tan Ping of the National State Administration of Cultural Heritage
and Ms Yu Ping of Beijing Municipal Cultural Heritage Department
was seen as official blessing for the new enterprise.
Commenting on the new venture, ATG sales director Simon Berti
said: "The-saleroom.com's link-up with epaiLive follows the recent
launch of Figaro
Enchères in Paris and its tie-up with Lot-tissimo.com in Germany.
Any auctioneer using the-saleroom.com can now send a catalogue to
epaiLive, Figaro Enchères and Lot-tissimo by simply sending the
catalogue to our offices in London. ATG staff can also arrange for
the auction to be broadcast live on all four platforms with just
To mark the launch of epaiLive Mr Berti led a small delegation
of British auctioneers to Beijing to take part in a live bidding
seminar. He was accompanied by Stephen Whittaker of Fellows, Guy
Schooling of Sworders and Seth Freeman of Baldwin's, who told an
audience of 150 journalists, auctioneers and collectors how
important both the Chinese market and live bidding were to their
Sworders have seen Chinese trade grow from two to 20 per cent of
their turnover in the last three years. Baldwin's hold two auctions
in Hong Kong each year and Fellows have recently hired a Chinese
speaker, Stefanie Behrens, to ensure that potential buyers from
China receive the highest possible level of service.
They also said live bidding had been responsible for an increase
in hammer prices achieved and a reduction in the number of lots
During their visit the British auctioneers met senior members of
the Beijing auction community, including Madam Wang Yannan,
president and founder of China Guardian, Mr Jiang Yingchun of Poly,
China's largest auctioneers, and Paul Dong of Forever Auctions,
Christie's licensee in Beijing.