In case you missed them the first time around, here are some of Jing Daily’s top posts for the week of May 14-18, 2012:
Following on the heels of the successful Sotheby’s Spring Auction series in Hong Kong, during which blue-chip Chinese contemporary art pushed totals for that segment to HK$211 million (US$27.2 million) — the second highest total for a various-owner sale of contemporary Asian art — Christie’s Hong Kong will hold its Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art auction on May 26, packed with increasingly scarce pieces by leading Chinese artists. As with the Sotheby’s sale, we can expect that the Chinese collector preference for rare and historical works by the most established contemporary artists from China will be on full display later this month. At Sotheby’s, Zhang Xiaogang’s “Bloodline – Big Family: Family No. 2″ sold for twice its estimate at HK$52.18 million(US$6.69 million), and with two “Bloodline” pieces to go under the hammer at Christie’s, collectors will likely be prepared for fierce bidding.
Launched last year, the Beijing outpost of the French micro-chain S.T.A.Y. (an acronym for Simple Table Alléno Yannick) at the Shangri-La Hotel manages to stand out in a city that has, in recent years, become a magnet for some of the world’s top chefs. The restaurant’s first Asia location, with its second opening in late 2011 in Taipei, S.T.A.Y.’s attention to detail and focus on creating the ultimate dining experience belies its growing global footprint. The restaurant’s concept centers around the communal table, around which family and friends can gather for a meal of shared courses and oversized bottles of wine.
For S.T.A.Y. Beijing, three-Michelin-starred French chef Yannick Alléno has selected the talented Maxime Gilbert as the “Chef de Cuisine” to execute his quarterly menus, while Florian Couteau runs the restaurant’s pastry kitchen and “library.”
One of the brightest young stars on the American fashion scene, Alexander Wang has already had a busy year in China, and doesn’t appear to have any intention of slowing down. Though the majority of China’s newly wealthy shoppers, most of whom live in inland second- and third-tier cities, remain fixated on the Louis Vuittons and Guccis of the fashion world, more sophisticated fashion mavens in cities like Beijing and Shanghai are showing a serious appetite for independent and niche designers from around the world, putting the likes of Wang at the right place at the right time for China expansion efforts. Last week, Wang opened his first China store in Beijing at the city’s Sanlitun Village North, where it sits nearby other “advanced-level” brands like Balenciaga, Lanvin, Maison Martin Margiela and Marni. For the grand opening party, stars like Gossip Girl‘s Penn Badgely and Zoë Kravitz and Chinese supermodel Du Juan came out in force, making Wang’s event one of the hottest tickets in the city.
According to the recent “Shanghai Wealth Report 2012,” published by the Hurun Report and Australia’s Gao Fu Wealth Management, Shanghai, mainland China’s financial center and a rising star on the global business scene, now has 370,000 residents worth at least 6 million yuan (US$949,710), with business owners, real estate investors and professional investors ranking as the city’s wealthiest. The report adds that 140,000 Shanghai residents have assets of 10 million yuan (US$1.6 million) or more, an increase of 6.1 percent over last year and a full 14 percent of China’s high net worth individuals. A similar increase of 5.1 percent was seen among the 8,200 “super-rich” residents, whose net worth meets or exceeds 100 million yuan (US$15.8 million).
As anybody with China business experience will agree, developing a deeper understanding of the country’s fast-moving economic and cultural markets takes far more than simple data. It requires a nuanced perspective on how China’s transition into an emerging global power relates to its past, and how its culture impacts its future. The key to success in the China market, inside the country or among its outbound travelers and businesses, is an inside edge.
With that in mind, France Pepper founded the cultural consultancy China Insider to advise those with a particular interest in China on how to benefit from bridging business with arts and culture.