Philips is collaborating with another auction house as part of an ambitious plan to grow its foothold in China

Philips will team up with Chinese auction house Yongle to form a new partnership – the two will collaborate on a series of fall sales in Hong Kong and Beijing. The ambitious plan is the London-based auctioneer’s latest attempt to bolster its market presence in mainland China while creating a new opportunity for international buyers to bid at a mainland auction.

The series will kick off in Hong Kong with daytime and evening sales running from November 30 to December 1 of works spanning from the 20th century, contemporary categories, and designs, curated and curated by Philips. This will be followed by an auction of modern and contemporary art in Beijing in early December, curated and supervised by Yongli.

Yongle, also known as Beijing Yongle International Auction Co., Ltd. , is part of the Yongle Culture Group, a privately held business that operates a business covering art auctions, acquisitions and financial leasing, as well as appraisal, exhibitions and intellectual property (Intellectual Property). The company was established in 2005 under a different name before it was restructured. It held its inaugural sale at the Yongle Auction in the summer of 2020 in Beijing. Last fall, she set an auction record for selling Western art in mainland China with Balthus The cat in the mirror IIIwhich sold for 167 million yuan ($26.19 million).

This is not the first time that Philips has collaborated with a Chinese auction house. The partnership with Yongle came after nearly two years of successful collaboration with Poly Auction that ran from 2020 through fall 2021. However, the collaboration with Poly was primarily in Hong Kong – it was a partnership with Poly Auction Hong Kong, which defines itself As a sole proprietorship separates itself from the Beijing Poly International Auction (both belonging to the state-owned Poly Culture Group, headquartered in Beijing, and listed in Hong Kong). Sales were conducted in Hong Kong with telephone bidders communicating through Beijing offices.

Scene from Young’s World Beijing Vision – Evening Sale of Modern and Contemporary Art. Courtesy of Yongli Auction.

The cooperation with Yongle is expected to move this type of partnership to different terrains since Yongle is an auction house in Beijing and the cooperation includes live auctions in both Hong Kong and Beijing.

It is also in line with Philips’ growing ambitions since it arrived in the region via Hong Kong in 2015. Following a record year for the 2021 home, which had total sales of $1.2 billion, the company announced that it would be moving into its new home. Hong Kong headquarters in West Kowloon Cultural District in the spring of 2023.

“Greater China is a critical component of our growth strategy,” Stephen Brooks, Philips CEO, said in a statement. “Working with Yongle on the ground will allow us to organize auction-related programs in Beijing and Shanghai, and provide services directly [the mainland Chinese collecting] community by bringing the best of 20th century western and emerging contemporary art to mainland China clients. ”

Bidders in Asia accounted for 40 percent of Philips’ global sales in the first half of 2022, according to Jonathan Crockett, Philips’ president in Asia. This included the sale of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 work for $85 million from the Yusaku Maezawa Collection to an Asian collector.

Zhao Xu, founder of Yongle Culture Group, said the group aspires to expand its global presence, and by partnering with Phillips, it hopes to “further expand Yongle’s growth both domestically and internationally.”

The new partnership emerged amid China’s economic downturn caused by the ongoing “zero COVID” policy that keeps the country in long periods of intermittent lockdown. The latest estimates from the Asian Development Bank expect China to grow slower than the rest of Asia’s developing economies for the first time in 30 years.

The prolonged closures also caused a slump in the property market, leading to the closure of the 19-year-old Guangdong Times Museum in Guangzhou in October, and its sister space in Berlin earlier; Both are backed by real estate developer Times China. The Chinese billionaires have reportedly tried to leave the country and bring a fortune estimated at $60 million with them.

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