It has been often said that you can buy almost anything on China’s online shopping platform, Taobao. It is the leading online shopping platform in China and for a good reason – a commercial rocket launch was recently sold on Taobao!
It was at first considered an April 1st joke but Chinese media has recently reported that an anonymous online shopper actually paid 40 million yuan ($5.6 million) for his own rocket launch. This incredibly unique online auction was hosted by Chinese celebrity sales anchor Wei Ya and more than two million watched as the sale take place live on Taobao. Bidders were informed that the winning auction will enable them to paint the body of a commercial rocket and the launch platform while also granting them a chance to visit the launch site and control the launch.
The posters used for advertising the launch of a rocket quickly became viral on Chinese social media on April 1st and the hashtag #WeYaSellsARocket was utilized more than 620,000 times on Weibo alone. Although many were under the impression that this was all part of the an elegant April Fools’ Day stunt but it turns out that Taobao has confirmed that the rocket sale was for real. The name of the person who paid 40 million yuan for the rocket hasn’t been revealed as of yet.
The commercial rocket launch is set to be held in Wuhan, China’s Hubei province and the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also noticed that the advertised event and the accompanying live stream were meant for re-promoting Wuhan and all that it has to offer. All of this still sounds strange and fishy, right? However, Taobao is not new to such controversies. Earlier in 2017, it was reported that the Chinese online platform was used for auctioning two Boeing 747 jets.