A Chinese court has sold a seized foreign ship in online auction for whopping $ 2.41 million through e-commerce giant Alibaba.
The Shanghai Maritime Court sold the seized ship for 16.89 million yuan ($ 2.41 million), state-run Global Times reported on Wednesday.
The Panamanian-flagged Mahoni was bought by the Hong Kong-based Zhongjiang Ocean Shipping Limited through an auction hosted by Taobao, China’s biggest consumer-to-consumer online shopping platform, and was transferred to the firm by the court on last Friday.
Mahoni was seized in May 2016 by the local court in Shanghai Harbour after 31 Filipino crew members filed a lawsuit against the boat’s owner - an Indonesian shipping company - as they claimed they had not been paid for 18 months.
The auction attracted 12,112 viewers and went through 63 rounds of offers, before reaching the final price.
This is not the first time that the Shanghai Maritime Court has auctioned seized vessels online. As the first Shanghai court to make use of Taobao’s online auction platform, it sold a confiscated Chinese ship for 769.92 million yuan in January 2016, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
“Online auctions can boost enthusiasm for this kind of activity since they require less time and expense, and the process of making bids is clearer compared to traditional auction modes,” Ni Zhongyue, an official from the court, told the Times.
Compared to live auctions who charge proportional commissions based on the final deal price, Taobao’s online auction platform takes no commission.
“Online auctions can avoid potential buyers communicating before making bids in order to keep prices low,” Ni said.