Christie’s are to hold auctions in Shanghai from this autumn, making them the first international fine art auction company to win a licence to operate independently in mainland China.
The move brings to fruition one of the key
ambitions of chief executive Stephen P. Murphy, who took up that
position at the company two and a half years ago.
Christie's were the first international
auction house to open a representative office in Shanghai in 1994,
later holding sales via a trademark licensing agreement with
Forever International Auction Company Limited.
Western auction houses have largely remained
in Hong Kong for the purposes of China-based business, shying away
from holding sales directly in mainland China without an
intermediary until now because of the country's reputation for red
tape, currency and tax issues, as well as regulations that might
affect auctioneers' terms and conditions in relation to their
Christie's have not yet revealed how they have overcome these
issues, but have said that further details of the auction will be
announced at a later date.