From founding art fairs and establishing private museums, to backing young galleries and young artists, China’s new generation of collectors aren’t just acquiring—they’re fostering growth across the arts ecosystem. Primarily born after mainland China’s opening-up in the late 1970s, they’ve been afforded key opportunities denied to their parents. The most significant has been access to international artists and histories through travel, communication, and, for many, studying abroad. For millennials in particular, growing up in a world connected like never before has given rise to a truly global generation.
At home, this group of 12 Chinese collectors have benefited from recent years’ establishing of a solid yet dynamic arts infrastructure in Greater China. A number of art fairs have solidified the region’s market for international contemporary art, among them Art Basel in Hong Kong, West Bund, and Art021. (The latter two open this week.) Local galleries have expanded and flourished and international galleries have set up shop in reaction to this increasingly vibrant art scene. Some among this dozen come from families with lengthy collecting backgrounds, and have applied their international outlook to steering their families’ classical collections to contemporary ground. For others, collecting began as a side project that has taken on a life of its own. A handful have incorporated a passion for art with commercial interests; many are now actively leveraging their status to support new generations of Chinese collectors, artists, and the art world at large.