China

Chinese skyscraper to be auctioned online

A screenshot of the Taobao website showing the building's listing Image copyright Taobao
Image caption This building could be yours for just £62m

In need of an unfinished skyscraper? Act fast and you might be able to get your hands on one in China.

A 156m (511ft) skyscraper in northern Shanxi province has been listed on Taobao, China's largest e-commerce website, by a local court.

The 76,000 sq m repossessed building is due to go on the block on 2 January, with a sky high asking price of 553m yuan ($84m; £62m).

The site said online auctions helped with transparency in property sales.

Construction on the building first began in 2006 and was due to be completed by 2011, according to Chinese state media outlet Xinhua.

However, the developer ran into funding troubles. The building was eventually seized by the Shanxi Provincial Higher People's Court.

Photos listed on the auction site show an unfinished building, complete with a dimly lit car park and floors piled with construction materials.

Image copyright Taobao
Image caption The inside of the skyscraper may still be in need of a bit of work

The 39-storey building was first listed for auction on 1 December, according to a court notice.

Weird and wonderful

But this is not the first time an unusual item has been listed for auction on Taobao, said to be China's equivalent of eBay.

Earlier this year, two Boeing 747 planes were successfully auctioned on the site, going for just over 320m yuan.

A 28-storey high building was also put up for auction earlier this November for 219m yuan, though it didn't sell.

Taobao's auction page is also littered with notices of buildings for sale, from shopping malls to hotels, though few are as eye-catching as an uncompleted skyscraper.

Most of these buildings are put up for auction by Chinese courts, with almost every court in China having been registered on Taobao since 2012.

"Online auctions help transparency in legal affairs because all information is there for all to see," Lu Weixing, general manager of Alibaba's auction business, the parent company of Taobao, told Xinhua.

So if you're already planning ahead for next year's Christmas gifts, don't be too quick to rule out a dusty skyscraper.

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