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They have created a new role of President, Asia to work out of New York, overseeing the strategy and management of the Asia region and strengthening their partnership with Beijing-based Forever auctions, with whom they have a brand licensing arrangement.

Andrew Foster has been appointed to this new position. He joined Christie’s in 1999 becoming chief operating officer for Christie’s Americas and international director of operations in 2005 – roles he will continue alongside his new job.

Mr Foster will work closely with Ken Yeh and Theow Tow, deputy chairmen for Asia and the Americas respectively, who are also based in New York. Christie’s aim to make themselves a “household name among discerning collectors” in mainland China, Hong Kong, India and the broader Asia region and add regional staff to support growth plans.

All are signals of the huge potential that Christie’s see in the Asian market, a field where they have already seen substantial growth in sales (their 2008 Spring Hong Kong series totalled £157m, a 63 per cent rise over last year).

Meanwhile Christie’s auction partner Forever are also expanding by opening a new Chinese works of art department under specialist Dai Dai to add to the Chinese paintings department they established three years ago. Mr Dai has worked with mainland auction houses China Guardian, Beijing HuaChen and, most recently, Beijing ChengXuan.

By Anne Crane