Back in 2008, “the business was so unique compared to the majority of what we were seeing,” Shen said of his first encounter with the Tobins, back when he was working at the Queensland Government China Trade Office. “When Matt Tobin came to my office to discuss how they could expand into China, after half an hour I still couldn’t figure out how we could help him. He talked a lot about art, artists, and urban development…it was so rare, 10 years ago.”
Since then, it’s become essential to the development of the market. “The integration of art into a broader business strategy is going to be really important going forward,” Shen elaborated, reflecting on the growth UAP has seen in its business, and in its clients’ approaches to a wide range of projects. With the availability of selfie-consultants these days, and a growing interest in technology like augmented reality, it’s clear to Shen and his team that the future of urban development, especially in China, lies in the arts. And UAP might be in just the right place to drive that conversation.
The way the company has developed within the PRC speaks not only to its business acumen, but to the notion that “Made in China” can be a testament to quality, and not simply affordable manufacturing.
New York’s Public Art Fund chose to develop a continuing partnership with UAP after it offered to cover the initial cost of Ai Weiwei’s work, and due to its proven commitment to high-quality production.
It’s become clear that UAP is investing not only in its collaborators, but in the future of public art.