In 2011, the Chinese art market overtook the US as the world's largest art market. China now leads the world in art auction sales, with the biggest sales revenue and highest auction results, and with trade volumes reportedly totalling 195.9 billion yuan (£19.8 billion). However, legal regulation has not kept up with the boom in the art trade. As reported by China.org:
"...if a consumer buys fake or substandard art works at a gallery, his rights and interests are protected in accordance with the Law on Consumer Legitimate Rights and Interests Protection. But if he gets cheated at an auction, there are no relevant protection regulations in the Auction Law. The lack of fair and open regulations in the art trade has caused continued disquiet among art investors.
The Ministry of Culture is now consulting professionals in both law and the art trade over legislation related to art market management. The draft will regulate the conditions of operating businesses in the art market, define tradable art works and protect the rights of the owner, consumer and traders of art works.With no sign of an end to the growth of the Chinese art market, no doubt the worldwide art trade will be monitoring the Ministry of Culture's consultation and eagerly awaiting the results.
The ministry has also been devising sectoral rules to solve specific real-world problems, which will serve as the foundation of the future Art Law."
18th century Qianlong porcelain vase which sold for a world record-breaking £53.1 million at auction in 2010