Beijing Fortress To Offer Tax-Free Storage

Swiss logistics group Euroasia Investment SA plans to build a $100 million tax-free storage space next to Beijing Capital International Airport to tap the booming Chinese art market.

This facility will provide art collectors of ArtKabinett social network a golden opportunity to store and transact art in China, free from taxation or duty.

Euroasia will replicate its successful Singapore Freeport structure, pictured here and featured on today's homepage Video.

The port has a maximum-security vault for art, gold and valuables, allowing collectors to store valuables without paying taxes or filling customs forms.

The Beijing Freeport of Culture project is a joint venture between Euroasia and state-backed Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group. The project is part of a government initiative to promote the culture industry and clamp down on art smuggling.

“There will be a kind of public service in charge of authentic works getting in and out,” Tony Reynard, chairman of the Singapore Freeport, said by telephone from Singapore.

The Beijing facility, which is still awaiting license, should be ready by the middle of 2014, said Reynard. The Freeport will be exempt from import duties, value added tax and consumption tax, amounting to a 34 percent saving, he said.

The 83,000 square-meter (893,405 square feet) facility will be almost three times as large as Singapore’s, where all available space is fully let, he said

Auction Space

The site will also include exhibition space designed to host international auctions, he said. Sotheby’s and Christie’s International currently hold no auctions inside China. While China boasts more than 1,000 auction houses, the business is plagued by problems of fakes, smuggling and non- payment.

Last year, China overtook the U.S. to become the world’s largest art and antiques market, said a report published by the Netherlands-based European Fine Art Foundation.

Auctions on the Mainland by companies other than Sotheby's and Christie's -- as well as those in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan -- raised $12 billion in 2011.