SOTHEBY'S Asia has appointed a new managing director in a significant reorganisation of its Asian management team. Sir Andrew Ma will be joined by other new appointments including Tetsuji Shibayama, managing director of Sotheby's Japan, and Yarman Vaccha, finance director of Sotheby's Asia, in a move designed to add depth to the organisation and ensure cost controls. Sir Andrew was most recently employed as a senior consultant to the United Nations Development Programme, and previously worked for the Hong Kong Development Council and Landor Associates. He comes to Sotheby's when its Asian enterprise is expanding rapidly. Hong Kong has been mooted as a possible third hub in its international operations, joining London and New York. Sir Andrew's plans for Sotheby's Asia centre on increasing its operations in China. He said China was becoming increasingly important both as a source of art objects and as the home of many new and wealthy art collectors. After decades of remaining outside the art collections market, the past 18 months have seen a dramatic increase in the number of objects being bought and sold by people on the mainland. Sir Andrew's tenure would carry Sotheby's Asia through Hong Kong's reversion to Chinese control in 1997, a prospect, he said, he considered a challenge. He was, however, confident that the company's interests in Hong Kong would not be unduly affected. 'After 250 years of operating we are not about to push the panic button,' he said. He said he took heart from China's efforts to join the World Trade Organisation because it aimed to ensure an open economy and reduced tariffs, both of which would help Sotheby's operations. Handing out some free advice to potential Hong Kong art investors, he said that 'quality always sells, therefore aim to collect the best'. He warned that investing in antiques should not be considered an alternative to real estate. 'Investing in antiques has to do with passion,' he said.