Flying off the shelves


A month ago we reported that a couple of unlikely items – two cargo jets – were for sale on Taobao, China’s leading e-commerce site. And this week there was news that the two aircraft have been purchased. On Tuesday there was an online auction for two Boeing 747-400 Freighters that were being sold by a Shenzhen court, after a bankruptcy case. It had been trying to find buyers for the planes since 2015, and turned to Taobao as something of a last resort. Jack Ma’s platform didn’t let it down, with the aircraft sold for Rmb322.8 million ($49 million) in what has been billed by the South China Morning Post as the first online auction for jets in China.

Bidders were required to show their seriousness by depositing Rmb6.1 million with Taobao and the eventual winner was courier giant SF Express, which is building out a fleet of its own delivery planes (its boss Wang Wei said earlier this year he will spend Rmb2.7 billion on aircraft). The planes, currently painted green and white and carrying the logo of former flyer Jade Cargo, are currently in Shanghai. One other aircraft – parked in Shenzhen’s Bao’an Airport – went unsold, with its minimum starting bid of Rmb122.6 million unmet.

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