In a Sotheby’s art sale in Hong Kong on Sunday, a painting by Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi and Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma sold for HK$42.2 million (US$5.4 million), far exceeding expectations.

The proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Paradise International Foundation, a charity dedicated to environmental conservation.

Zeng Fanzhi and Jack Ma with Paradise
Zeng Fanzhi and Jack Ma pose with their painting Paradise. Photo: Sotheby’s

The painting, entitled Paradise, is an oil-on-canvas piece which is blue, green and white, representing planet Earth. It was acquired by Chinese business tycoon and philanthropist Fenglei Qian at the Modern and Contemporary Asian Art Evening Sale, where 85.7 per cent of the lots offered were sold.

Sotheby’s Asia CEO Kevin Ching said, “After around 30 bids, the lot was sold…for nearly seventeen times the high estimate of HK$2.5 million.”

Auction Scene
A scene from Sunday’s Art Sale. Photo: Sotheby

The Paradise work fetched the third highest price at the event, after paintings by Japanese artist Kusama Yayoi and Chinese painter Wu Guanzhong.

Medhavi Arora is in her final year at the University of Hong Kong studying Journalism and International Relations. Her print, video and multimedia pieces have been featured in the Times of India and CNN-IBN. She is a former intern at UN Women and has additional experience in sustainability, international affairs and communications.