As reported by the Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post, "an Italian castle built during the Renaissance period will be auctioned on Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao". The starting price has been finalized in 100 million yuan (US$16 million).
The Italian castle is located in Verona, the northern Italian city famous for its Arena and for hosting the house of the Shakespearean heroes Romeo and Juliet, young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. "The castle was built in the early 16th century and covers an area of 2,831 square metres. According to Taobao it is estimated to be worth in excess of 170 million yuan. [...] Photos of the property show the two-floor building sitting in the middle of swaths of lands separated by neighbouring properties with dense trees".
The auction is set to start later today and will remain "open" for twelve hours only. As discovered by South China Morning Post, this Renaissance castle is not the only property that is expected to be sold online in China. Taobao's Paimai auction platform is actually advertising more than 100 properties, including dozens of apartments in Milan.
This is a massive e-commerce operation that is proving quite effective in China. First, is is open to everybody, and not only because internet is available almost everywhere in the country, but also because China's most famous e-commerce platform is offering good deals for everyone, as properties' prices range from just 1 yuan to 6.8 million.
According to South China Morning Post, Alibaba auctions "are the latest in a series of sales of overseas properties on Taobao designed to connect property developers and owners with potential Chinese buyers". They started looking at online sales of overseas properties in 2004, with the aim of providing their clients an opportunity to own an exotic overseas residence, and their strategy has proved pretty successful since so far 80 percent of the sixty advertised properties has been sold. A few months ago, fur islands in Fiji, Greece, the UK, and Canada were put on sale with starting prices as low as 1 yuan. They were eventually sold for between five and 12 million yuan.