Euroasia Investment SA plans to tap into the Asian art market by building a $100 million art storage facility next to the Beijing airport.
The company, who is responsible for the Singapore Freeport model, aims to replicate that model and provide a maximum security vault for art, gold and valuables. This will provide collectors with a space to store their valuables without having to pay taxes or fill out lengthy customs forms.
Titled the Beijing Freeport of Culture project, this initiative is also being backed by the Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group, and is part of a government initiative to crack down on art smuggling.
"There will be a kind of public service in charge of authentic works getting in and out," chairman of the Singapore Freeport Tony Reynard said
Reynard went on to state that the facility should be available for use by 2014, and will save customers 34% by exempting import duties, value added tax and consumption tax.
"Gehua’s plan is to promote Chinese art both nationally and internationally; [it] wants to create and organise a market that is loosely regulated," Reynard said
. "There is a huge domestic market in China but the freeport in Beijing will also be important for the international market as import tax will be greatly reduced or even scrapped at the facility."
At 83,000 square-meters, the facility is also expected to be almost three times larger than the one in Singapore. Part of this space will be used as exhibition space to host international auctions. It is not yet clear whether large auction houses such as Christie’s International or Sotheby’s will be taking part in these auctions, although neither of these auction houses currently holds auctions in China.
According to a report published by the Netherlands-based European Fine Art Foundation last year, China has overtaken the US and become the world’s largest art and antiques market.
In fact, the Asian art market is certainly experiencing a boom, with auctions across China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan raising $12 billion last year.
China also hosts more than 1,000 auction houses, although the art auction business has garnered a reputation for forgery, smuggling and non-payment.
Euroasia also plans to launch a Freeport in Luxembourg by the end of 2014, which will measure 20,000 square-meters.