A curator works next to works of art on display at Shinsegae Department Store’s Blossom Art Fair at his Myeong-dong branch in October. (The Korea Herald / Kang Jae-eun)
Shinsegae and Seoul Auction are teaming up to expand arts, NFT and metaverse operations, South Korea’s largest art auction house announced on Dec. 30.
The operator of the department store will buy 28 billion won ($ 23.6 million) of new shares issued by Seoul Auction, according to a DART announcement released by the two companies on Wednesday. When the acquisition is finalized on January 6, Shinsegae will own a 4.82% stake in Seoul Auction. The company is currently the largest art auction house in South Korea by number of auctions closed, with an estimated market share of 38%.
Shinsegae plans to use Seoul Auction’s extensive network of renowned artists and collectors to expand its art sales business.
âWe decided to invest in the business to find works of art on a stable basis and bring new art related businesses to our customers,â said a representative of the department store.
Along with traditional art businesses, both companies plan to expand further into new art markets, particularly in non-fungible art tokens, or NFTs, and the metaverse, which have recently gained popularity among young investors.
Shinsegae and Seoul Auction have said they will exchange technology and networks in NFTs and the Metaverse, while securing intellectual property that can be distributed through both platforms. Seoul Auction also plans to use the spaces of Shinsegae department stores to market its NFT-compatible art. The two companies will also join forces to develop Blacklot, Seoul Auction’s online art market.
With young collectors growing up in South Korea, Shinsegae redoubles its efforts to strengthen its artistic activity. The group is said to have beefed up its art gallery team of professional art curators this year, while adding “art exhibition and sales” as one of its areas of activity in March. The group also opened a virtual art gallery called âArt Spaceâ on its mobile app in June.
According to the Korea Art Pricing Association, 296.8 billion won of art was auctioned in November this year, up 157.4% from the previous year.
By Kang Jae-eun ([email protected])