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This article was published on September 12, 2013

Clothes are so passé: Alibaba’s Taobao shopping site now sells aeroplanes

Clothes are so passé: Alibaba’s Taobao shopping site now sells aeroplanes
Kaylene Hong
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Kaylene Hong

Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has just given jetsetting an entirely new spin — as aeroplanes are now up for sale on its Taobao marketplace.

The sale process is auction-style, and one of the six planes being auctioned — the J160C aircraft manufactured by Australian company Jabiru — had a starting bid of just CNY1 (or barely an American quarter). As of now, its price tag has risen to CNY1.01 million ($165,000).

Taobao Airplanes Screenshot

The most expensive plane listed has an opening bid of CNY16.8 million ($2.75 million).

The auction will end on September 16. Besides the CNY1 Jabiru plane though, which has received a total of 23 bids, none of the other planes have gotten any interest.

This may be because Taobao isn’t making it easy for any Tom, Dick and Harry to place a bid. A report by Xinhua notes that there are some hurdles to cross: most notably that includes a deposit of CNY50,000 ($8,170) for each plane, although the Jabiru 160C requires a more modest CNY2,000 ($327).

Taobao Airplane Auction Screenshot

Furthermore, the pilot who will be controlling the plane needs to show proof in the form of a license (though the buyer does not necessarily need to be the pilot) and a certificate of airworthiness from China’s Civil Aviation Administration. This is similar to a road-worthiness license for cars. The owners of the jets being sold also need to present three certificates before the deal can pass: nationality, certificate of airworthiness and radio licenses — as well as a flight recorder.

Headline image via Thinkstock