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China: incongruous datas occur, is China the first on the art market?

ai weiwei

An article dated May 28th , 2011 in the New China News Agency entitled "China's art market up 41% in 2010: report" informs of the fact that in 2010 the art market in China accounted for 23% of the global market with a volume of business of 161.4 billion yen, that is 26 billion U.S. dollars. 

According to the news agency, this figure is derived from an annual report compiled by the Ministry of Culture of China that builds on another report, written by TEFAF - The European Fine Art Foundation. In 2010, China has been up on the art market by 41% compared to 2009 and now occupies the second place behind the United States and ahead of the United Kingdom. 

This is not the opinion of the report identified by the company Artprice - World number one data banks on the art – at beginning of the year. According to Artprice, "China is now number one auctions Fine Art. It took China three short years to pass a third step to France in 2007, then top spot, ahead of the United Kingdom and the United States, the great masters of the market since the '50s. " 

A 10% difference gap comes out from the two reports. For Artprice, China represents 33% of world sales. However, according to the TEFAF report and the one compiled by the Chinese Ministry of Culture, instead China would represent 23% of the market.

This difference is explained by the fact that Artprice takes into account only public auction sales whereas the TEFAF report is based on all sales, both private and public. 

It is possible to give opinions about numbers, this is not new. What is however interesting is the caution of the Chinese Ministry of Culture that does not advance too much about the country's place on the market. Anyway, beyond the differences of numbers, which emerge from the two tests what is significant is that China is progressing at an astonishing pace in the art market and will eventually hold the first place – if it hasn’t already. 

According to China Radio International website, "The art market is developing more and more," ; the ministerial report suggests to "speed up the legal framework and supervision thereof. This would be a world first; the art market is nowhere regulated by rules of its own.



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