Rubber Duck

Beijing prepares for bigger, better rubber duck than Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 8:58am

Rubber duck fever is mounting in Beijing ahead of the imminent arrival of another enormous inflatable duck designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, tempered by questions about the cost of viewing it and the traffic jams it might cause.

The ducks have proved a huge tourist draw on their global tour, including a stop in Hong Kong in the spring. This one will float on a lake in the newly constructed Beijing Garden Expo Park in the capital's southwestern Fengtai district from September 6 to September 23.

It will then continue its trip in Kunming Lake in the Summer Palace in northwestern Beijing until October 26, the organiser said. Rubber duck commemorative stamps and postcards are already being prepared.

The duck appearing in Beijing stands 18 metres tall, 1.5 metres taller than the one that floated in Victoria Harbour in May.

News of its arrival has triggered heated discussion among Beijingers, especially since at least 10 counterfeit replicas have already popped up in other mainland cities, including Dongguan, Tianjin, Xian, Wenzhou and Wuhan.

"The authentic rubber duck is floating in Beijing," Xinhua said on its website.

However, more questions were raised on social media sites yesterday about the entrances fees to the two parks - 30 yuan (HK$37.75) in the Summer Palace and 100 yuan in the Beijing Garden Expo Park.

"Why was it free in Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong and we need to buy tickets in Beijing?" asked one Sina Weibo microblogger.

September and October are peak tourism months in the capital, and Beijingers expressed concern about crowding in the two parks and traffic congestion outside them.

"I really don't want to pay money for a glimpse of a huge rubber duck and a people mountain as well," said IT engineer Wang Yu, 30.

Zeng Hui, a deputy director of the Beijing International Design Week Organising Committee, said the sites for the duck have been chosen so that people could see it against contrasting backdrops of modern Beijing and an ancient imperial garden. Zeng also said organisers had plans to handle the expected huge crowds and traffic jams, but provided no details.