Whenever I'm back in the UK, the newspaper headlines are filled with talk of 'budget cuts' and the 'deficit' and so on. So it was all the more encouraging to read of the World Record fine wine sales held by Sotheby's, Christie's and Acker Merrall & Condit in Hong Kong, this month.
Particularly good news came from Sotheby's, which held two sales of two major collections. "Both sold out in their entirety," read our own report, "making this the latest of nine consecutive Sotheby's wine auctions to have been 100% sold out in 18 months."
All over the internet, Hong Kong is being referred to as the "fine wine capital" or the "hub" of fine wines. Sotheby's latest wine auction alone netted more than HK$100m ($13m), with total sales of $8.8m at AM&C and $6.2m at Christie's.
Once again, every bottle was sold at each event. And these 100% sales statistics show that the success of fine wines in Hong Kong is more than a fluke or a flash-in-the-pan. These markets are clearly solid and booming - and offer more confidence and reassurance than you'll find in the stock exchange.
Universal success: the Chateau Pétrus has starred at auctions all over
It's also interesting that many of the 'usual suspects' keep triumphing at these events, especially Bordeaux vintages. Three double magnums of the 1989 Chateau Pétrus brought $93,611 at Sotheby's, nearly double their pre-sale estimate.
Even better, you don't need to have tens of thousands of dollars at your disposal to get involved in these events. Plenty of great investible lots sold at Sotheby's, Christie's and AM&C's sales for less than $2,000 - perfect prices for new or entry-level investors.
Nowadays you don't even need to buy a plane ticket to Hong Kong. All you need is a mouse, an internet connection, and to have done your research. Although bidders who did make it over to the region would have found another surprise waiting for them...
Keen not to rest on its laurels following its $13m wine auction, Sotheby's is currently exhibiting a "fancy intense pink" stone before it goes to auction with a $27-38m estimate. The diamond will sell in Geneva, but Sotheby's has chosen to display it in Hong Kong.
Michael Jackson's memorabilia Moonwalked to auction
It's a significant gesture, showing that Sotheby's has great confidence in Hong Kong as a hub favoured by investors with an eye for alternative assets. And it isn't the only auction house to embrace the People's Republic...
If I told you that Michael Jackson's bejewelled black glove and arm brace sold for $216,000, or that a basketball signed by Jackson and basketball legend Michael Jordan brought $294,000, where would you think that the sale took place? Maybe Los Angeles? Or New York?
In fact, look no further than Hong Kong's neighbouring region of Macau, the Eastern gambling mecca. The auction house considered it no risk to hold its recent music and Hollywood memorabilia sale in the East rather than in the US. The result was a successful auction.
So, these four major auction houses each sought to establish their brands in Hong Kong, and have each been rewarded with great success. And it gets better... you too can 'establish yourself' and your alternative investment portfolio in Hong Kong or Macau.
In the next few weeks we'll be bringing you some exceptional collectibles with a huge Chinese following.
As I said, all you need is a mouse, the internet, and the right information...
Until next week, good luck and happy collecting!