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    Art Radar Asia News conducts original research and scans global news sources to bring you selected topical stories about the taste-changing, news-making and the up and coming in Asian contemporary art.

Unusual art investment model launched by China Merchants Bank

Posted by artradar on June 18, 2009


Earlier this week China Merchants Bank  launched a new ‘art banking’ service for China’s rich says the People’s Daily Online.  The unusual model allows private banking clients to pay a deposit for an artwork and take it away to enjoy for one year after which they have the option to purchase it or return it for a full refund.

“The model is brand new in China, as art investment often involves great risk and wealthy people need time to understand Chinese contemporary art,” said Cai Can huang, deputy general manager of CMB’s private banking section.

Private clients with assets of more than ten million yuan will be targeted by the fund, who is working in collaboration with the China Contemporary Art Foundation which has amassed a collection of over 3000 Chinese contemporary works.


Su Xinping, Sea of Desire

Su Xinping, Sea of Desire

“We have worked with a group of Chinese and Western art experts to pick out seventy artworks including photos, oil paintings, wash paintings and sculptures, ranging from 10,000 to one million yuan,” said Su Yan, executive director of China Contemporary Art Foundation. 

We are curious about this bizarre art investment model. It is one thing to loan art for free to wealthy clients: luring and cementing relationships with high net worth individuals who will be upsold other high-return products.

But surely it is another thing altogether to offer the reward of potential gains without any of the risks. As the wealth levels of the targeted clients are merely mass affluent rather than mega-rich, and are therefore unlikely to produce sufficient returns on other product sales, one can only assume that the lenders are pretty confident that there will be no (or minimal) gains after a year.

One is left musing… Does this say something about the outlook for the contemporary Chinese art market? Is there perhaps an issue with the quality of the artworks selected? Not the latter, we hope, as this initiative could, now that the market has been decimated by the withdrawal of speculative purchasers, play a much-needed part in stimulating engagement with art which in turn just might help spawn a serious local collector base in China.

Read more at CMB Launches Art Banking in China – Peoples Daily June 10 2009

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One Response to “Unusual art investment model launched by China Merchants Bank”

  1. G.YianSann said

    This is interesting and worth studying at.

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