Cathedral seeds best-seller on Taobao website

Updated: 2011-01-30 13:33

(China Daily)

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Cathedral seeds best-seller on Taobao website

The "cathedral seeds" from the Shanghai Expo UK Pavilion were popular commodity at online auction website [Photo / Xinhua]

The sale of "cathedral seeds" from the Shanghai Expo UK Pavilion recently won online auction website Taobao's top award.

Eight thousand seeds were sold out within two minutes after the sale was open on in October, the embassy announced on its website. More than 60,000 transparent rods, each containing a rare variety of seeds from the Kew Millennium Seed Bank partnership, were used to construct the distinctive, award-winning architecture of the Expo pavilion, informally known as the "Seed Cathedral". Each seed rod auctioned was issued a limited-edition serial number and an official certificate of authenticity from the UK Pavilion.

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In early January, UK Deputy Ambassador Chris Wood accepted the award at Taobao's 2010 annual award ceremony held in Beijing's Water Cube. Wood also presented a check for 2.63 million yuan collected from the sale as a donation to Shanghai Cerecare, a charity founded to provide recovery training and accommodation for children who suffer from brain paralysis.

UK pavilion officials announced in October that almost all of the 60,000 acrylic rods which comprised the "cathedral" would be auctioned by Taobao. Some rods were given to botanical institutions of the two countries, while others were presented as souvenirs to heads of state and other VIPs who visited the pavilion.

Ten rods with the signature of UK Prime Minister David Cameron were put into auction, with a trigger price from 100,000 yuan, regarded as "Treasures of the Pavilion". Cameron signed his name on the 10 rods when he visited China in November 2010 to support the auction.

The sale of cathedral seeds won Taobao's top award because it combined "tuangou" (group purchase) and "miaosha" (a Chinese online consumer phenomenon in which an online store will announce that at a given time they will sell an expensive product at a low price far below market value).


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