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Artwork trade center opens in Shanghai FTZ

Painters seeking buyers for their work in the world’s second-largest art market just got a helping hand in Shanghai. With the opening of an art exchange center, works from outside the country can be displayed and sold before any import tariffs are paid.

Jennifer Zhou has run a gallery in Shanghai for eight years, which focuses on selling imported works from overseas. She has now set up a space at the FTZ exchange center, and says it will make importing works much easier.

“In the past, we had to declare the import artworks to customs, the city’s culture heritage administration, and other related government institutions. So many foreign galleries gave up despite the huge market demand in China. But this new trade center offers a channel to simplify the import process for artworks. It only takes one or two weeks compared to a month previously,” Jennifer said.

More than 1,000 artworks are up for sale at the trade center. They include Chinese works, like porcelains from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and paintings from masters like Xu Beihong, as well as foreign works. Prices range from 10 thousand yuan to 100 million yuan.

The trade center also takes steps to authenticate all the works on display.

“We have carried out three rounds of certification on every piece of artwork for sale here. First of all, we have an expert team of our own. Then we invited experts from museums, colleges and art galleries from across the country for a second round of certification. If an expert raises questions about an artwork, we remove it from our shelves. We ensure that no fake work will be traded here,” He Baiming, director of SH Free Trade Zone Art Exchange Center, said.

The artwork exchange center also operates the country’s first ever bonded artwork warehouse, which opened two years ago. The warehouse has provided services for artworks valued at over 12 billion yuan in total. And the center plans to introduce auctions and financial services in the future.

China is currently the world’s second largest art market.