7 Young Art Collectors from China: A New Generation of the Huge Chinese Art Market

January 26, 2016

We recently wrote an article about the Chinese art market, with a brief look at this important market in 2015. In this article, we mentioned few important things that we have to repeat in order to understand why there is such a big number of young art collectors from this country. In 2000, China had less than 1 percent global art market share; in 2014, it had 27 percent (only United States had higher share). This means that the Chinese art market expanded to the limits no one actually imagined. Being the second biggest art market in the world, it influences the dynamics of the global art market (read how the expansion of the Chinese art market impacted the Taiwanese market). What is also important to mention is the political context in which this expansion took place. From 1980s, China experienced a rapid economic expansion, accompanied with the improvement of personal freedoms. As a consequence, the art market boomed from 2000s. And as every big art market, the Chinese one is also characterized by the large number of art collectors. In this article, we will focus on the young art collectors from China – people born during the economic expansion, well-educated and ambitious people whose art collections are simply amazing. So, scroll down, and take a look at 7 young art collectors from China whose work you should follow.

David Chau

David Chau is 30 years old Shanghai-based art collector, who set up a $32 million art-investment fund when he was 21. Chau studied Chinese classical painting at Canada’s University of British Colombia in Vancouver, and made his first million dollars when relatively young by trading coins and sports memorabilia on eBay. Chau began collecting in 2003, and today he funds two of Shanghai’s top galleries: Leo Xu Projects and Antenna Space; and most importantly, he cofounded ART021 art fair. He possesses around 150 pieces by Wu Dayu, while his collection includes contemporary art stars such as cutting-edge conceptual artist Xu Zhen and auteur film maker, Yang Fudong.

Featured Image: David Chau (courtesy of asiartnewspaper.com)

Lin Han

Lin Han is 28 years old Beijing-based art collector, who does not have formal art education. In 2013, he bought at auction a 1997 Mask Series painting by Zeng Fanzhi for US$1 million. His parents, investors who formerly worked in the Chinese army, don’t collect art, but they pay for 20% to 30% of his art purchases, which totaled $4 million last year, and helped Lin, an entrepreneur, fund his private museum in Beijing. Lin’s collections include works from established artists such as Algeria-born French artist Kader Attia and English artist Tracey Emin, as well as emerging artists such as Brazil’s Lucas Arruda and British painter Jack McConville. He also has quite interesting Instagram profile, where you can see him posing with celebrities and other famous people.

Featured Image: Han Lin (courtesy of asiannewspaper.com)

Kelly Ying

Kelly Ying is probably the most publicly known Chinese art collector. Based in Shanghai, she is married to David Chau (art collector who is also on this list). Originally working in the fashion industry, Ying is now focusing entirely on art. She is the co-founder of Art021. Her collection consists of contemporary artists coming out of China, who are of similar age to her. However, until recently, she has branched out to younger international artists.

Featured Image: Kelly Ying (courtesy of bjswc.cn)

Chong Zhou

Chong Zhou is a second-generation collector, who is 25. He has a degree in art history from UCLA. His first major purchase was in 2010, a self-portrait by Yayoi Kusama, bought from a Tokyo gallery. Now he owns more than 100 works, by famous artists such as Zeng Fanzhi, Yoshitomo Nara, and Yang Fudong. Today, however, he is concentrating on China’s younger artists, born post-1975, such as Qiu Xiaofei, Sun Xun, and Shi Zhiying. Zhou is based in Shanghai, where he also owns a restaurant, “Macasa”, displaying his art.

Featured Image: Chong Zhou (courtesy of larryslist.com)

Lu Xun

Lu Xun, also known as Sean Lu, is a son of Lu Jun, who is also a famous art collector. In 2013, after a decade of delays, Lu and his father, real-estate developer, opened the Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing. Designed by American architect Steven Holl, the 20,000-square-foot museum serves as the centerpiece of a collection of 24 buildings on a scenic site in the Laoshan National Forest Park. The father and son are both avid collectors, and the opening of their Museum was accompanied by an exhibition curated by Belgian historian Philippe Pirotte, that featured works by some of the most recognized contemporary artists.

Featured Image: Lu Xun (courtesy of wsj.com)

Adrian Cheng

Adrian Cheng is a young collector from Hong Kong. He is heir of one of the most influential property development tycoons in Asia, and he perfectly merges commerce and art. He has developed the first “Art Mall” – called K 11 – in Hong Kong in 2009. Meanwhile the mall has branches in Shanghai and Chengdu.

Featured Image: Adrian Cheng (courtesy of larryslist.com)

Liu Wenchau

Liu Wenchau is 26 years old art collector who has degree in art management at New York University. She is daughter of Liu Yiqian—a taxi-driver turned stock-market investor who owns two museums in Shanghai and Wang Wei. They drew attention in 2014 when they paid $81 million for a 500-year old porcelain cup with a chicken painted on the surface and a Tibetan tapestry in Hong Kong auctions.

Featured Image: Liu Wenchao with Jeff Koons. All Images used for illustrative purposes only.

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