Boeing 747s can find buyers on Taobao


Three Boeing 747 cargo aircraft went under the hammer this week on the popular site, which is owned by Chinese internet behemoth Alibaba.

Chinese logistics giant SF Express bought two of the planes for a combined total of more than 320 million yuan ($48.3 million), an Alibaba spokeswoman told CNNMoney. The third 747 went unsold in the online auction, as only one interested buyer signed up.

Six offline auctions over the last two years had apparently failed to unearth buyers for the aircraft, but they were quickly snapped up after being listed with Taobao on Monday.

The sale comes as Boeing winds down production of the 747 — once the world’s largest passenger plane — citing low demand. It has already stopped making new passenger versions of the jet, but will continue making cargo planes for at least a few years.

Alibaba said the three jets previously belonged to Jade Cargo International, a freight carrier that filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

They were listed on a special section of Taobao where bankrupt companies can auction off assets. Potential buyers were asked to shell out a 6.7 million yuan ($1 million) deposit to take part in the auction.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this appears to be the first time an aircraft of this size has been sold on Taobao. Back in 2013, the platform began selling light aircraft online.

In recent months the company has been pushing into new lines of business, such as selling groceries at traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

While impressive, the Boeing 747 sale doesn’t come close to matching a record set by eBay, one of Alibaba’s big global rivals, more than a decade ago. A 405-foot pleasure boat known as the “Gigayacht”, was sold for $168 million on the site in 2006.


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