#Asia A Singapore-registered ship has been sold on Taobao for US$11.8M

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Varada Blessing had previously been put up on the Taobao auction site twice but did not reach its reserved price

Varada Blessing

Most shoppers probably know Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao as China’s Amazon — a one stop portal for a vast selection of consumer goods ranging from electronics to household items.

What is lesser known, however, is its auction site offshoot — Paimai (Chinese for ‘auction’).

On Tuesday, the Taobao auction platform attracted media spotlight when a Singapore-registered vessel was auctioned off for RMB 81 million (US$11.8 million) to Natalia Shipping Co., Ltd. The auction attracted 33,000 views and received 19 offers.

The vessel, Varada Blessing, measures 332 metres long and 58 metres wide. It has a carrying capacity of 157,000 tonnes. It was previously owned Singaporean shipping company Varada One Pte Ltd.

Also Read: Alibaba’s moving ticket business is now worth over US$2 Billion

According to a report by Xinhua, Varada Blessing was put up for auction on Paimai by the Guangzhou Maritime Court when it was berthed in Pearl River estuary in China due to an admiralty dispute.

There were two previous attempts to auction off the vessel off on the site, but they failed when the reserved price was not met.

More than 120 Chinese courts are using the Taobao auction site to sell seized property. According to Xinhua, RMB 10 billion (US$1.45 billion) worth of seized goods were auctioned off online last year.

According to a report by the China Internet Watch, Taobao auctioned off US$1.45 billion worth of items in the first quarter of 2014. For comparison, one of the world’s largest art auction house, Sotheby’s and Christie, sold US$7.6 billion worth of art in the whole of 2015.

For Taobao, art pieces and the very occasional vessel are not the only goods it puts up for auction; there are also luxury sports cars, religious items, real estate and even domain trademarks up for grabs.

Image Credit: AlexM / Auke Visser’s International Super Tankers

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