Sotheby’s has launched its first ever online auction of China’s most famous spirit Moutai specially tailored for collectors in mainland China, leveraging the country’s most popular social media platform – WeChat – to allow its 1.24 billion users to bid online.
This is a part of the auction house’s expansion plans in Asia, as it introduces new sales formats and categories, which are tailored specifically to the collecting experience in this region.
Dubbed a super app for its wide range of functions, from free text and voice messaging to social media broadcasting, gaming, and digital wallet, WeChat has 1.24 billion monthly active users globally, of which the majority are based in mainland China.
The Moutai sale also responds to collector’s growing interest in collecting this fabled spirit beyond Asia. In 2021, 24 bottles of “Kweichow Moutai “Sun Flower” 1974 was sold for US$1.4 million at Sotheby’s in London, achieving the highest price for a single lot of Moutai outside of China. In the same year, Moutai entered the top 10 producer rankings for the first time. And last year, Moutai took top billing in the top 10 prices achieved for spirits at Sotheby’s with – once again – 24 bottles of Kweichow Moutai “Sun Flower” 1974, selling for US$1.2 million.
Open for bidding till March 3, Liquid Jade: Moutai features more than 50 lots of rare Moutai – China’s most famous spirit – including over 10 lots of the highly sought after Moutai bottled under “screw cap” from 1987 to 1996, and over 15 lots of Moutai in their original cartons from 1999 onwards. With all the bottles sourced and handpicked by Paul Wong, Head of Department, Sotheby’s Wine & Spirits, China, the sale caters to “the needs and preferences of the vast number of Moutai collectors. These rare Moutai vintages span the 1980s to the present day, and they are all representative of each period.”
Collectors can bid through Sotheby’s WeChat Mini Program – the aim being to allow for a convenient and seamless collecting experience within Mainland China. For those who are not registered on WeChat, collectors can also view the sale via Sothebys.com and the company’s branded app for information.
Commenting on the sale, Jean Qian, Managing Director of Sotheby’s China, said: “We are continuously optimising the digital experience at Sotheby’s to integrate fully into the collecting habits of our collectors in China. In the future, we will further optimise the user experience within our WeChat mini program to build a richer and more instant experience for the benefit of our collectors, to fit effortlessly into their lifestyle.”