WeChat playing unique role among art collectors in China

On 04/02/2014 by Site Default

The use of Chinese instant messaging app WeChat as a sales channel for collectors has added an unintended feature to the popular smartphone application, according to the China Culture Daily.

The number of deals struck over mobile phones for art works and artifacts are on the rise in China, and WeChat’s “friend circles” feature has made the app the most favored option among collectors, the paper said.

“Everyone carries a mobile phone, which allows people to utilize fragmented time and browse for information at any time,” said a collector using the alias “Wendao.”

Wendao said many in his WeChat friend circle are fellow collectors and they often share knowledge about or photos of items in their collection, while some collectors also put out information on items they want to sell.

Antique shops have also joined the bandwagon, the paper said, with one vendor of Song dynasty (960-1279 CE) ceramics in central China’s Henan province saying that his sales through WeChat have grown five folds compared to sales through his physical store.

The shop owner said that WeChat offers an atmosphere of sharing a hobby among collectors similar to that in the real world since they can comment on the photo of an item and chat with others through texts, voice messages or video calls.

But both Wendao and the shop owner expressed the need for a credible third-party payment service for WeChat users transacting in this manner to better protect buyers and sellers in the market, the paper said.

Meanwhile, art expert Zhou Zhiyao said that WeChat has helped antique shops, dealers and collectors to share information in a more efficient way and garner popularity. There have been some collectors who conducted auctions through WeChat on a small scale, Zhou said, adding there is a potential for such a format to play a supplementary role for traditional auctions in the future.


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