Phillips partners with Beijing auction house Yongle for series of joint sales

Phillips announced a strategic partnership with Chinese auction house Yongle. The two will cooperate on a series of upcoming sales this winter in Hong Kong and Beijing. The joint auctions will begin at Phillips Hong Kong for the 20th Century Design and Contemporary Art categories from November 30 to December 1, then continue to Yongle in Beijing for a modern and contemporary art sale in early December.

The two companies will present their sales to each other’s customers, with previews in Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Taichung and Singapore. Overseas buyers can bid online for sales in Hong Kong and mainland China, a Phillips spokesperson confirms. They add that Phillips may “also entrust certain works to the Beijing sale if it is convenient”.

“Great China [an informal geographical area that encompasses Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau] is a critical part of our growth strategy,” Phillips Chief Executive Stephen Brooks said in a statement. “Working with Yongle on the ground will allow us to run auction-related programs in Beijing and Shanghai, and directly serve this community by bringing the very best of 20th century and emerging western contemporary art to clients in Mainland China. »

So far, the collaboration is limited to these two sales, a Phillips spokesperson said. They add that the London-based auction house is open to different ways of collaborating with Yongle in the near future, “but there are currently no other solid plans at this time”.

Asked about the viability of doing business in China, a Phillips spokesperson said: “Despite the current challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2021 has seen an expansion of arts infrastructure in China, according to the 2022 report. of Art Basel and UBS in the global art market. Closings and the collapse of the property market on the mainland this year are no deterrent either. “Each season, approximately 75% of our total sales of 20th century and contemporary art and design in Hong Kong are made by buyers from Greater China, with global collector activity from the mainland increasing by 500% by 2021 since opening an office in Shanghai in 2018.” adds the spokesperson.

Phillips has in recent years doubled its presence in China, after announcing last year that it would move its Hong Kong operations to a new, larger headquarters in West Kowloon’s cultural district which will open next spring.

Yongle, established in 2005, has offices in 10 cities in eight countries and its overall sales since 2020 have totaled more than 7.7 billion Chinese yuan ($1 billion), with 10 lots selling for more than $14 million. . In the modern and contemporary art categories, it grossed $354 million over the same period, setting more than 50 records. However, the auction house has taken a hit this year, along with the rest of China’s economy: its 2022 spring sale brought in $135 million, a 43% drop from the equivalent 2021 sale. , which grossed $316 million.

“We believe the strategic partnership with Phillips will further expand our global reach and create a synergistic effect by combining the resources and capabilities of both companies,” said Peng Zhaojun, General Manager of Yongle Culture Group and Yongle Auction. “Through this strategic partnership, we will work together in multiple areas to increase brand awareness, access new markets and grow businesses.”