Whatever you may think of the Shanghai Expo, and I personally do not think much of it, it does seem to have caught the imagination of parts of the Chinese public.
(From my cynical point of view, I suppose that if you spend enough time telling people that something is great, eventually some folk will believe it is.)
Anyway, now the event is ending, it is time to work out what to do with all the pavilions on the site. Under the Expo rules, they are supposed to be dismantled and "recycled". This is a shame. In many cases, such as the handsome and well-built Italian pavilion, it would be better to recycle it by leaving it alone and finding it a new tenant. There’s going to be a lot of waste by the time the wrecking balls have stopped swinging.
In the case of the UK pavilion, a "dandelion" made up of 60,000 perspex rods, the organisers have decided to auction off the rods for a charity supporting cerebral palsy. This is a fantastic idea, and there is every indication the sale will be a smashing success.
Yesterday the first round of the auction, a group-buying event, kicked off on Taobao. It started at 10am with 5,000 of the rods for sale.
Each was priced at 199 yuan. It ended at 10.01am with all of them sold. A second lot of 3,000 rods was then put up and sold out again within a minute. That’s 1.6 million yuan for charity within a minute.
If they put all of the pavilion’s rods up for sale at that price, they could raise an easy 12 million.
In fact, the pavilion is so popular they could raise much, much more.
One of the successful buyers in the initial auction got four rods.
He’s already trying to flip his purchase, putting his rods up for sale on Taobao at 10,000 yuan apiece.
At that price, the UK could recoup all the costs of its pavilion, give a huge sum to charity, and rent a handsome new premises for the British consulate.
Pessimistic, but not hopeless