Wealthy turn to cultural artefacts as Beijing leads the world in volume of sales Sotheby’s Asia , which is headquartered in Hong Kong, recently auctioned a Chinese painting from the imperial era. Bidding had reached the tidy sum of $320,000 and Kevin Ching, the company’s CEO, was on the phone to a client on the mainland. All of a sudden his client made a much higher bid. Ching checked there was no mistake then passed it on to the auctioneer. “It’s part of the process.