Rubber duck reveals China's love for copycats
Last Updated: 2013-11-01 20:45 | Xinhua
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(Xinhua photo)

Five days after a giant rubber duck left Beijing, copycat versions and pirated stuffed toys are still popular across China.

During its one-month stay in the capital's Summer Palace from Sep. 26, more than two million people went to see the 18-meter-tall rubber duck, which was designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.

However, Chinese cities such as Hangzhou, Chongqing, Wuhan, Shenyang and Wuxi have all reported "ugly" copycat giant yellow ducks over the past couple of months.

On the day the real duck arrived in Beijing, a replica wearing a green vest and accompanied by seven inflated duck eggs appeared in the city's Yuyuantan Park.

The Beijing Design Week organizing committee, organizer of the giant rubber duck display, condemned such acts and stated "without written authorization, no organization or individual shall copy, exhibit or sell imitations and derivatives of the rubber duck in Chinese mainland."

As many as 30,000 official small rubber ducks were sold during the seven-day National Day holiday in the palace with prices ranging from 99 yuan (about 16 U.S. dollars) to 299 yuan, according to the committee.

But many more pirated ones were sold online or at other scenic spots in Beijing.

On Taobao.com, China's largest e-commerce platform, a search of "giant rubber duck" results in 100 pages of items. An online shop had a sales volume of more than 8,000 rubber ducks within a month.

The rubber duck generated ticket sales, catering and tourism as well as raised people's awareness of public art, said Du Wei, a management professor with Nankai University, in northern China's Tianjin.

But a netizen called "Yueqiu" pointed out on his microblog that the success of the giant yellow duck reflects the failure of China's innovation industry.

The overwhelming popularity of an inflated rubber duck also demonstrates the huge market potential of the country's creative industry.

"China's manufacturing capacity - huge as it is - cannot meet its people's needs for cultural or spiritual consumption," said Fan Hesheng, vice director of School of Sociology and Political Science of Anhui University.

"What we need is 'made by China' rather than 'made in China'," said Fan.

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