Poly Culture Group Corporation, the world’s third largest auction house, raised $331 million in a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) on February 28, according to the New York Times. The IPO was the first listing by a Chinese auction house and the first to be underwritten solely by the merged Citic Securities International and CSLA Ltd. Since the IPO, share prices have jumped nearly 30 percent.

China’s auction market is the world’s fastest growing, and international art auction houses have been stepping up their presence in the country. Sotheby’s held its first mainland auction in December 2013, and Christie’s won the first foreign license for an independently-operated auction house in August 2013.

Poly Culture, whose parent company—China Poly Group Corporation—was founded by the Chinese military, manages 31 theatres in addition to running China’s largest auction house. The company hopes to use the IPO to expand its art management and brokerage businesses and compete with Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the world’s top two auction houses.

Posted by Catherine Matacic