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Thursday, August 30, 2012

BEIJING TO GET FREEPORT TO CHALLENGE HONG KONG’S SUPREMACY



Beijing to get freeport to challenge Hong Kong’s supremacy
The Art Newspaper exclusive: facility next to international airport due to be built by end of 2013

By Gareth Harris. Web only
Published online: 26 July 2012

The Chinese government plans to turn Beijing into a key art hub in Asia by building an 83,000 sq. m freeport next to the Beijing Capital International Airport scheduled for completion late 2013. Officials hope that the vast storage facility, which is expected to be tax exempt, will encourage collectors and corporations to stockpile their art in Beijing. A collector based in the city, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the planned freeport will “have a huge impact on the Chinese art world”, stressing that the Beijing base will challenge Hong Kong’s supremacy as an art centre.

Euroasia, the Swiss holding company behind the Singapore freeport which opened in 2010, is collaborating with the state-owned business organisation Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group on the project. The facility will be called the Beijing Freeport of Culture. “Gehua’s plan is to promote Chinese art both nationally and internationally; [it] wants to create and organise a market that is loosely regulated,” says Tony Reynard, the chairman of the Singapore Freeport Pte company. “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.”

Earlier this year, the Chinese government reduced the customs duty on imported works of art from 12 % to 6% but the tax break only applies for a year. Apart from the customs duty, importers are still required to pay value added tax of 17% plus an additional consumption tax of 5% (The Art Newspaper, China Focus, May, p6).


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