|Giant duck rakes in the money as marketing tool, 100 yuan for Beijing sighting
China welcomed its first authentic version of the giant Rubber Duck that earlier drew crowds in Hong Kong and also inspired fakes – but there were complaints visitors had to pay to see it. In Hong Kong, it was largely a marketing tactic by a shopping mall.
The inflatable yellow water fowl by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman has made appearances from Australia to South America since 2007.
The artwork soon took a commercial turn in China, with property developers setting up imitations in Hangzhou, Tianjin and other cities, that was criticized by the Communist Party's paper the People's Daily, AFP reports.
Its previous displays have normally been free, but the moneymaking continued with the authentic creation in Beijing as it went on show at the International Garden Expo on the outskirts of the city, which costs 100 yuan to enter.
After a few weeks the duck will shift to the Summer Palace, a tourist spot that also charges an entrance fee.
Expo official Qiao Xiaopeng said there are no plans to offer a free day.
But the first crowds were small today.
Kang Jing, 26, said she thought viewing the duck should be free, at least for Beijing residents.
“That would let more people come see it, which would be better,'' she said.
The duck was not completely inflated by the time of its debut, its beak somewhat limp and body tilting forward.
“It should be fatter and cuter,'' said Kang.
The duck looked smaller than she expected, Kang added – even though the Beijing version was made to be 18 meters high, compared with 16.5 m in Hong Kong.
A well-known restaurant, Quanjude, sought to take advantage of the installation by using it to advertise its own showpiece, Peking duck.
A sign at the expo entrance showed the artwork in a chef's hat with the words, “Come see the big yellow duck and eat a Quanjude duck burger.’’