Glancing at the exhibitor list for the upcoming Hong Kong International Art Fair, to be held between May 14 and 17, it is quickly apparent that Beijing galleries are making their presence known. Of the 100-plus galleries scheduled to attend Art HK 09, 22 are from Beijing, including heavy hitters Galleria Continua, Boers-Li Gallery, Pekin Fine Arts and Red Gate Gallery. This is particularly surprising given that the capital hosted two art fairs of its own - the China International Gallery Exposition (CIGE) and Art Beijing - back-to-back last month. Meg Maggio, owner of Pekin Fine Arts, decided to stay close to home this year sticking to the fairs in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai because of the economic downturn. 'Art fairs are first and foremost, for me anyway, a marketing exercise,' says Maggio. 'Last year, I did the first Art HK. I thanked them profusely a few months later because I met this wonderful artist, Movana Chen, from Hong Kong and I ended up giving her a one-man show here in Beijing a few months later.' Noticeably absent from both Beijing fairs was the Red Gate Gallery whose founder Brian Wallace says he decided not to attend any fairs, except for Hong Kong, in the first half of the year to cut costs. 'Certainly Beijing can't sustain two international art fairs in one month. That was fine during the good times - who knows what it would be during not so good times. It was a big mistake,' says Wallace. Red Gate has also not signed up for the SHContemporary fair in Shanghai this September because it didn't sell there last year and there is some doubt as to whether it will happen. 'The three [art fairs] in China - Shanghai and these two [CIGE and Art Beijing] - their biggest failing is that they don't attract the collectors. These sort of negatives have forced the main galleries in the direction of the Hong Kong fair,' Wallace says. The Hong Kong event can be an important regional fair 'very quickly', he says. 'Magnus Renfrew [director of Art HK] has done an incredible job at maintaining the calibre of the dealers who are present which thus influences the artworks that are brought,' says Katherine Don, director of Beijing art map producer RedBox Studio.