Sotheby’s sues Chinese buyers for ‘non-payment’

Interesting article on the FT website. You are not supposed to reprint their articles in full so, here is a few of the more relevant clippings from the article:

Sotheby’s is suing two mainland Chinese buyers for HK$2.1m ($270,000) in Hong Kong after they allegedly failed to pay for five Chinese paintings and an antique incense burner that they won at auctions last October.

The disputes highlight a challenge for Sotheby’s, which is increasing its dealings with less experienced buyers from new markets such as China, who are not familiar with international bidding rules. As China’s economy continued its break-neck growth in the past few years, many people turned to overseas markets to park their new-found wealth, buying everything from properties to wines.

The new rich have also been some of the most aggressive bidders at auctions.

“A lot of people have become interested in bidding in overseas auctions. But they are not used to the terms and conditions in places outside of China,” said Kevin Ching, Sotheby’s Asia chief executive.

In 2006, Sotheby’s was forced to file its first arrears cases in Hong Kong in at least a decade when it sued a Chinese buyer for HK$1.9m over two Chinese paintings. It later took the case to a mainland court, the first time the auction house issued a writ of that kind in China.

Two years ago, it sued a Chinese collector for HK$6.8m, saying the buyer failed to pay for a contemporary Chinese painting that he won in an auction in Hong Kong.

Now, Sotheby’s is suing a Shenzhen resident who made the top bid of HK$1.3m, including buyer’s premium, for five Chinese ink and colour paintings in its autumn sale in Hong Kong last October, but has allegedly refused to pay.

The auctioneer has also filed a separate writ against a Beijing bidder who bought an 18th century incense burner, or censer, at the autumn auction for HK$800,000, but has also allegedly not paid.

Original article here:,s01=1.html

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