Member Profile

Down to a Fine Art

When Thomas Yuen started his career in the 1970s as a fine art and antiques packing, transport and shipping contractor for Lane Crawford VIP Boutique, there were barely one or two international auction houses in Hong Kong.

“Our company handled the packing and installation of artworks and antiques at previews and sale sessions, which in those days were usually held at a hotel,” explained Yuen, Managing Director of Michelle International Transport Company Limited (Michelle).

Fast forward to the present, and not only have Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips made Hong Kong their Asia Pacific headquarters, the city has become the world’s second-largest market for contemporary art. The venue for auctions and sales has also moved from hotel ballrooms to the bigger halls of the Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Centre. “We are very grateful that more than 40 years later, our clients continue to select us as their agent,” said Yuen.

Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Hong Kong, Michelle serves the local and overseas fine art industry, with a subsidiary office in Beijing that opened in 1995. The fine art logistics company has a wide network of global associates in the industry. Long-time clients include prestigious auction houses, museums, galleries, dealers, collectors, artists and art societies. In 2006, the company won the Logistics Awards Hong Kong for Small-sized Enterprises.

While Michelle has successfully handled invaluable artworks, antiques and relics in local and international exhibitions for various institutions, Yuen said their most memorable job involved some rather precious cargo: artefacts from the Song and Yuan dynasties unearthed in Hong Kong at the works site of the To Kwa Wan Station on the MTR Shatin to Central Link.

“The archaeological finds were mostly fragments of various materials like ceramic, pottery and wood,” Yuen reminisced. “Although some of the bowls, pots and jars were assembled to near original form by curators and restorers onsite, cavity-packing and cushioning the pieces before transportation was a hard and challenging job. But we safely and successfully delivered thousands of pieces to the Antiquities and Monuments Office without any missing items or damages.”

With Hong Kong blossoming into the art capital of Asia, the sector has become more competitive in the past decade or so. New transport and warehouse companies from overseas are entering the local market for jobs at art fairs and other events, which can pose a challenge, explained Yuen, adding that Michelle will maintain a conservative outlook regarding expansion as the Hong Kong economy is still in the recovery stage after the pandemic. Going forward, with the aim of collaborating with the Government to promote the creative industries, he said the company might consider organizing public training courses in antique and artwork handling.

One reason Yuen signed up for membership to HKGCC was because of its reputation as one of Hong Kong’s oldest organizations representing the interests of the local business community.

“I joined years ago to widen my business relationships and to introduce the antique/artwork logistics service, which was unique in the 70s and 80s,” said Yuen, who is also a member of the Shipping & Transport Committee, and regularly attends the Chamber’s various seminars to broaden his knowledge and skills.


Michelle International Transport Co Ltd.

HKGCC Membership No. :HKM0511

Established :1978


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