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Painting by numbers? China art trading house promises investors sound platform

As China's economy wheezes to a 25-year low, investors who once collected stocks and property are turning to what they are willing to believe will become a new safe haven market - a trading platform for fine art.

Even as the global fever among connoisseurs cools for Chinese art, Hong Kong-based Takung Art Co said its revenue and profit jumped along with rampant growth in valuations for a portfolio of paintings, jewelry and precious gems. Via Takungs's platform, investor-enthusiasts can partly own, buy and sell Chinese art pieces over a 10-year period.

Earlier this week, the small U.S.-listed firm said thousands of customers like Shenzhen-based finance professional Zhou are boosting trading of units in artwork listed on its platform. Takung said the notional value of its portfolio of contemporary pieces has surged over 700 percent to $179 million since it launched the platform at the end of 2013.

"We all want an easy, safe place to earn money," said Zhou, 37, who declined to give his full name. Formerly a stock investor, Zhou said he researches art trends personally and currently has around 400,000 yuan ($61,360) tied up in Takung's platform: "Here I know my assets are...