Art engagement to thrive in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong finds new retail opportunities with interest in contemporary art, alongside flourishing cultural development.

January 20, 2023

The Hong Kong Government has been driving home its effort to transform the city into a dynamic cultural hub, as outlined in the Policy Address last year. Being the top art auction centre in Asia, Hong Kong finds resilience with an embrace of contemporary art.

According to The Economist, Hong Kong accounted for a significant 17.5% global art market share in 2019. The art market in the city has remained unabated despite the outbreak of COVID-19. In 2020, the total sales value of the auction market was USD 1.17 billion, while sales for a single artwork reached over USD 30 million. Recently, Sotheby’s, one of the world’s most influential auction houses, landed their first art exhibition podium in Central for up to 24,000 sq ft of space.

Apart from the strong bonds with world-renowned artists whose works are held by the high-profile museum M+, the annual international art fair, Art Basel, marks its return to the city in 2023 on a larger scale, enticing galleries from more than 32 countries overseas. With the gradual lifting of travel restrictions, the art extravaganza is slated to positively impact inbound tourism and help restore Hong Kong’s reputation on the world stage.

Visual culture has a role to play in the commercial sector. Famous for its shopping mall K11 Musea, which blends art and retail space, the K11 Group keeps expanding their footprint in the cultural-cum-commercial landscape. Noticeably, the group has worked with Korean-based art technology trailblazer d’strict to introduce ARTE Museum to its brand-new office-cum-commercial complex, 11 Skies, in Chek Lap Kok. The exhibition features a panoramic view of beautiful nature, like forests, aurora and tides, prompting visitors’ exposure to an edifying immersive experience. Given its geographical proximity to the Hong Kong International Airport, 11 Skies is a perfect tourist spot that caters to art lovers.

The captivating Orbstellar Metaspace, launched in Pacific Place from August to October 2022, also shared similarities with 11 Skies. The cutting-edge art digitalisation attracted tech-savvy consumers, who are enthusiastic about themes like astronomy and the galaxy. Participants also had the chance to create their own NFT and bring home merchandise.

Hong Kong has long been renowned as an international financial centre, and the recent endeavour will certainly rejuvenate its cultural development. The private sector has also been taking aggressive steps to sharpen its edges with innovative marketing strategies that intend to draw a broader customer base. As a perfect east-west hybrid, Hong Kong aspires to be a unique tourist destination in the world. The city is poised to ride the wave of new retail formats, broadening the diversity of the retail environment while creating many more business opportunities.