China Daily/Asia News Network
30 October 2015
A famous residence of deceased US pop star Michael Jackson went up for auction in China on paimai.taobao.com, an auction website owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba.
The sprawling Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara, California, which is now called Sycamore Valley Ranch, was given a starting price of US$79 million (S$110.68 million).
The 1,090-hectare estate has six-bedrooms, a swimming pool, a movie theatre that seats 50, two lakes, railroad tracks and tennis and basketball courts.
The auction, which lasted only for one day on Tuesday, came ahead of the traditional shopping spree on Taobao on Nov 11, a day also known as "Double 11" or "Single's Day" in China, celebrated by young people shopping online.
The event attracted over 60,000 viewers in the day, but only one person gave the deposit of 50,000 yuan (S$11,000 yuan) for a bid before he turned down a formal offer in the end.
"Five hundred million yuan, that's unbelievable! 500,000 yuan is already beyond my imagination," a Taobao user said.
"People might be concerned of a possible high property tax for the house," another commented.
The ranch, named after the fantasy island in the story of Peter Pan, was valued at US$100 million when it first went up for sale in the US market in May.
Jackson bought it at US$19.5 million in 1987 and moved out in 2005 after his acquittal on charges that he molested children at the property.
Chinese buyers and investors have flooded the American real estate market for the past couple of years.
Since December 2014, Taobao's auction branch has brought properties from more than 10 countries under the e-hammer to meet growing demand from wealthy Chinese individuals for overseas realty investment, Chinanews reported.
About 60 per cent of the overseas properties, including islands in Fiji, castles in Italy and chateaus in France, have been auctioned off online, according to Lu Weixing, the general manager in charge of the auction branch.
See how Neverland looks in the inside in the gallery below.