Beijing, Sep 14: China’s largest e-commerce group Alibaba has started selling aircraft on its consumer-to-consumer online auction site Taobao, Xinhua reported Friday.
The bidding for six planes that opened Thursday will close at 10 a.m. Sep 16.
The bid for cheapest plane on offer, the training aircraft Jabiru J160C, started at one yuan. It received 25 bids till 5 p.m. Friday, the highest being 1.05 million yuan. One yuan equals to 0.16 US dollar.
The most expensive — light helicopter Eurocopter EC120 Colibri — was listed for 16.8 million yuan. It has not received any bid yet.
The other four planes on offer include light sport aircraft Aurora SA60L and CTLS and helicopters Robinson R22 and Robinson R44. No bid was made for the four till Friday evening.
Bidders have to put down a deposit of 50,000 yuan for each plane, except the Jabiru J160C which needs a deposit of just 2,000 yuan.
“It is common to trade planes online overseas,” said an official of Taobao. “As the largest e-commerce platform, Taobao hopes to promote private planes among the public,” said the officials who did not wish to be named.
“We are testing waters of online plane trading.”
Private planes are far beyond the reach of most Chinese people with the huge cost of the plane and expensive training. But the rising number of new rich in China have shown interest in owning private planes.
There are only 300 airports or landing areas for general aviation aircrafts in China. But prospects for private aircraft are promising as the state council and the Central Military Commission jointly decided in November 2010 to gradually open up the country’s low-altitude airspace to general aviation.