Rubber Duck

Giant rubber duck bids Beijing adieu after bringing in over HK$127m

The floating sculpture was a huge money maker for the city and drew thousands of visitors

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 October, 2013, 8:16pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, 2:47pm

The giant rubber duck that enchanted audiences at Beijing’s Summer Palace for the last two months made its official exit on October 27 after bringing the city more than 100 million yuan (HK$ 127 million) in revenue.

Nearly 70,000 visitors appeared on the day to bid goodbye to the duck, which began its deflation around 6 PM, Chinese news portal Morning Post reported.

Among the visitors saying farewell were numerous schoolchildren, who were reportedly very dismayed to see their large yellow friend deflated.

“I did not expect to learn that today was the duck’s last day,” a concerned mother surnamed Wu told reporters. “[As soon as] my daughter took a look at the deflated duck she started to cry.”

Workers at Beijing’s Summer Palace confirmed that deflation of the duck would be an overnight process, and removing the base surrounding the duck was “not as easy as it looked” and would take the longest amount of time.

The 18-metre-tall rubber duck has been a tremendous moneymaker for Beijing, and has helped the Summer Palace bring in over 100 million yuan through visitor fees and the selling of duck-related products, Xinhua reported.

Originally designed as a playful urban sculpture by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, the giant rubber duck has been exhibited in various locations across the globe, including Hong Kong and Taiwan’s Keelung city. The duck’s appearance in Beijing was much anticipated after the floating fowl enjoyed a healthy reception in Hong Kong from May to June.

Beijing’s version of the duck was not without its critics. Many claimed that the 100 yuan (HK$ 126) fee required to see the sculpture was too expensive, especially when previous displays of the duck in other cities had been free.

Others pointed out that Beijing’s duck looked surprisingly chicken-like, especially when compared to its Hong Kong counterpart, and had a beak that seemed to have been sewed on incorrectly.

Generally, however, the duck was a monetary success, and a spokesperson for Beijing’s Design Week Organising Committee, which oversaw the project, reportedly said that officials were “very pleased to have had such a great big yellow duck as a city attraction.”