The growing middle class and wealth of China has created a boom in the art market for both collection and investment. Forbes reported that in 2011, annual sales reached $4.8B, making up 41% of the global turnover. In fact, more paintings sold above $1M in China than U.S. and the U.K and last year, six of the world best-selling artists were Chinese painters compared to only one, three year’s ago. Like nearly every other industry, China is creating pools of huge opportunity for artists, designers and collectors alike.

One Beijing based tech start-up called Yizzu.com is taking advantage of this new and booming opportunity but democratizing art for the masses. In short, YIZZU is a platform for Chinese artists to showcase their artwork online and allow people to purchase re-prints for a few hundred yuan, compared to buying an original painting for thousands of yuan. This innovative concept gives many more people who can’t afford expensive paintings to still enjoy beautiful artwork and allows artists to connect with more people who appreciate their work. Currently the site already has more than 450 artworks for more than 100 members who registered and about 10 of them have a very good reputation or famous.

I’m proud to say the Co-Founder and Frenchman Lionel Beilin is a fellow in this year’s Start-up Leadership Program in the Beijing Chapter. Yizzu follows other art focused start-ups like New York based Art.sy which raised $6M Series A from  Peter Thiel and Wendi Murdoch to index famous artwork that normally sits in galleries and put it online. At a recent SLP class Lionel showed us a framed piece of art and I was impressed by the quality and it hit me that it is a brilliant idea.

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Jason Lim

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.