A Phillips auction in Hong Kong

A previous Phillips auction in Hong Kong.

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The agreement means the two auction houses will partner on upcoming 20th century and Contemporary art and design auctions in Hong Kong and Beijing this autumn.

Phillips' planned 20th century, Contemporary art and Design day and evening sales in Hong Kong will now be in partnership with Yongle to allow “Yongle’s collectors to participate”. The auctions are on November 30-December 1.

Then in Beijing in early December Yongle’s Global Vision – Modern & Contemporary art evening sale in Beijing will be put together by Yongle in partnership to give Phillips' clients “the opportunity to participate in an auction in mainland China”.

This is the first time Phillips has been involved in an auction in mainland China.

Stephen Brooks, Phillips’ chief executive officer, said: “Greater China is a critical component of our growth strategy. We are eager to work increasingly closely with the collecting community of mainland China. Working with Yongle on the ground will allow us to stage auction-related programmes in Beijing and Shanghai.”

Phillips said in the first half of 2022, 40% of its global sales total was accounted for by bidders in Asia.

Last year the firm, which has its London headquarters in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, announced plans for a new head office and saleroom in Asia in the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong. It will relocate its Asia headquarters to the WKCDA Tower next spring, featuring over 50,000 sq ft of space over six floors.

Phillips held its first auction in Hong Kong in December 2015.

Jonathan Crockett, chairman of Asia at Phillips, said: “With offices and representatives in eight cities across Asia, our team has built strong relationships with collectors in the region over the last seven years.”

Ahead of the Hong Kong and Beijing auctions, touring previews will be held in Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Taichung, and Singapore. Auction highlights and other details surrounding the partnership will be announced in due course.

Zhao Xu, the founder of Yongle Culture Group, said: “Since Yongle’s inaugural sale in summer 2020, we have seen strong results across all categories, with auction sales to date realising a combined total of RMB 7.7bn ($1bn).”

Phillips is among the major auction houses to focus on growing their presence in Asia.

Last year Christie’s announced plans for its first permanent saleroom and gallery space in Hong Kong to open by 2024 and in 2020 Christie’s and auction house China Guardian teamed up to create a series of sales, exhibitions and events in Shanghai.

Christie’s first opened an office in Shanghai in 1994 and in 2013 became the first international art auction house to be granted a licence to operate independently in mainland China. It held its first auction in September that year.