The social network platform WeChat has become the latest tool in the bidding wars of the art world. The marketing of artworks via the network has opened up art collection circles to new customers.
The past few months have witnessed the establishment of a number of WeChat auction accounts, including Weekly Auction, and Rose Auction, and auction groups such as Yimai WeChat Auction and Ate Jiefu Day & Night Auction. Most of the collections up for auction are paintings, calligraphies, photography and other works from domestic contemporary artists. The price of some of these artworks can cost tens of thousands yuan.
In the Ate Jiefu Day & Night Auction group, collections were sold at the average price of 3,000 yuan ($484), according to Hu Hu, who found the group in February and believes "people in art circles have a higher attachment to WeChat compared to other social network tools such as QQ. This is what makes WeChat an ideal platform for art trade."
Customers are drawn to WeChat group auctions because they are easy to reach. All the procedures can be made by a smart phone, in which you can bid in the group conversation and pay the price online. In order to attract more potential buyers, Hu also sets the starting price of some pieces lower than the market price.
"Most of the bidders are novice collectors but have previous experience in the art industry. They understand art and the collection market, but will not go to an offline auction," said Xia Yanguo, an art curator.
Zhu Xiaojun, executive director of an art foundation, bought several items that included paintings by young Chinese artists on WeChat. "It is more like a recreational game played by people in art circles. The pieces sold via WeChat are more like consumer goods [rather than collections]," said Zhu.
Art trade companies have also taken notice of the potential in the WeChat market. Weekly Auction, the public account of culcn.cn, a website specializing in promoting online trade of cultural products, has launched 19 weekly auctions on WeChat since February of this year.
Its latest auction events during June 29 and July 13, featured 70 Chinese paintings and calligraphy works from contemporary artists including Song Juting, Kanyu Min and Du Zhongliang.
In Weekly Auction, auctions can be easily joined by followers who send their name, contact details and a bidding price to the public account. Alternatively, auctioneers can be contacted directly by phone or text message.