Are you frustrated by the hard competition in your market of Dafen and Xiamen painting reproduction? Are you worried about the future of your art business? How should you take pulse of the painting sales? If you want, you have to know the current status of the biggest paintings village in the world, Xiamen Wushipu and Dafen.
Author: Lewis L., Toperfect Director.
A life without struggling is destined to be enmeshed in the cocoon, never being able to taste the summit feeling of breaking the cocoon and meanwhile the life will lost its meaning.
Oil painting production is called “commercial painting” in the jargon of fine art. The industry has a history of 20 years since the end of 1980s when this industry rose from Dafen painting village in Guangdong and Xiamen oil painting street in Fujian province of China. In the eyes of common people, they are considered as art, enjoying its place in the palace of art (although it only affiliates to the ivory tower); in the eyes of Xiamen and Dafen painters of reproductions, they can bring profit and vanity that can satisfy the painters.
As far as the industry itself is concerned, the development from the original situation of low output and high profit to recent situation of high output and low profit and even to minimal profit in the saturated market gradually displays its feature as a labor-intensive industry containing certain techniques; and meanwhile it also displays a common feature among non high-tech industries and industries that needn’t to be invested much--the vicious competition of rushing into China painting villages.
Part 1 The Status Quo of Industry
In order to have a understanding of the true status quo of Dafen and Xiamen paintings village as well as make an exploration of the course that it should follow, the present writer made a thorough investigation of production, marketing and other main links in the Xiamen Wushipu and got a more incisive understanding of the status quo of the Dafen painting village China.
1. Guangdong Trade Fair: the “Chicken Ribs” of Oil Painting Industry
“Chicken Ribs” comes from an ancient story in Chinese history. It means something does not have a bright future, however it is a pity to desert it.
In the Guangdong Trade Fair on Oct. 27th, the exhibition area of Dafen painting village and Xiamen art companies was very deserted compared with other exhibition areas in the main hall.
The present writer saw the oil painting suppliers in most booths chatting and some younger staff chasing and laughing. Several suppliers even put their feet on the desks, daydreaming, which deserved to be a kind of “scenery”.
The booths in the main exhibition hall were a little bit luckier, sometimes with several purchasers looking around and negotiating.
More and more people know that the Guangdong Trade Fair has another name--the “Chicken Ribs”, which has an especially profound meaning in the oil painting industry. Previously, Dafen painting village who took part in the Fair could bring back orders of various quantities. However, during the last two years, they invested more than 10 thousand USD even 100K in the Fair, but they depended on luck to decide whether they would get some orders, let alone orders of large quantities. Even 20 or 30 merchants could not necessarily get one large order according to the ratio.
2. Dafen painting village: As Clamorous as Before, but Quiet to Such an Extent Dafen. In theory, should have seen more foreign merchants now. However, it only welcomes 5 foreigners in total, divided into two groups, one group on each day.
On contrast, at this time in the previous years, even Shenzhen traders out of Guangzhou could receive many merchants from Guangdong Trade Fair; but this year saw no visiting of foreign merchants.
3. Wushipu oil painting village : Desolate and Deserted
Haicang, the same as Xiamen oil painting village and Putian, is one of the three biggest painting villages in China . In the last two years, Xiamen also helped to open up 2 Wushipu Art Streets. However, due to the rent and charge disobedience, the two streets which experienced shopkeepers’ strike have now been desolate and deserted, just like the shabby and rustic toys for the countryside children. Quite a lot of Dafen painting galleries close all day long. See picture 1.
Because of other local governments’ blindly following the trend, the newly opened painting villages and streets copied from Wushipu and Dafen are much more declining.
Part 2 Price: Who Will Be Hurt More in the Profitless Price Campaign?
Conclusion from suppliers: most of them are too eager to make every sacrifice to get Xiamen oil painting sold; some of them are struggling hard to maintain their business; few of them put a perfect extend to their business by selling in volume quantity.
1. Order: Hard to Get Your Favor
Among over 50 Xiamen painting village and Dafen factories the present writer found on the Internet and visited, most of them just rent a small apartment named XX painting company or factory, with boss himself and dozens of oil paintings in stock, generally without registration at government. 2-3 of medium-sized Dafen painting factory usually own a studio with several painters or 50-200 paintings in stock.
For those few big Xiamen oil painting company, they have their own painting factory with at least 100 artists and a gallery over 500 square meters. Toperfect Art is among them, as you can see in below picture and facilities videos here. It locates its production base in Putian and its sales office in Xiamen. Big Dafen painting factory like Toperfect are the only ones who are drawing big buyers on.
2. “Zero Profit”: Hard Choice, Hard Journey
It was a decade ago that big Dafen painting factory was the major arena for oil productions, but nowadays it is not the same case any more. Internet brings even tougher competition to those small industries like paintings village.
3. Vicious Competition: Suppliers Struggling on the Verge of Death
Most Dafen art company and Xiamen oil painting suppliers are struggling hard till wearing out their lives. Many of gallery who specialized in oil painting have become a trader of some unrelated products. For instance, some may sell shoes while at the same time selling oil painting on the same website. Even some change their trade for lack of hope.
When a Xiamen painting village begins to attract his customers at the lowest price, Dafen will follow. This can only lead to the vicious circle in the Dafen and Xiamen Wushipu oil painting village China, for they are acting against the long term interest of the whole industry in which every supplier and factory is part of it.