Skip to main content

Giant duck conquers Taiwan

By Hiufu Wong, CNN
September 25, 2013 -- Updated 0500 GMT (1300 HKT)
Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's 18-meter rubber duck is currently floating in the harbor in Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan. The city's enthusiastic regard for the great bird helped it beat out dozens of other suitors who wanted a visit. Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's 18-meter rubber duck is currently floating in the harbor in Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan. The city's enthusiastic regard for the great bird helped it beat out dozens of other suitors who wanted a visit.
HIDE CAPTION
Rubber duck cometh
Biggest thing in Taiwan
Adorable even at half-mast
Parting the waters
Yellow duck? More like golden duck
Donald who?
No bathtub in the world is big enough
24/7 cute fix
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's giant rubber duck tour arrives in Taiwan
  • Taiwanese team has impressed Hofman with new pumping technology that inflates duck in seven minutes
  • Exhibition expected to draw more than 3 million visitors and generate $30 million in revenue

(CNN) -- What could possibly draw 500,000 spectators to a Taiwan harbor front in the midst of typhoon Usagi threats?

A giant inflatable rubber duck, of course.

After stirring up a duck craze in Hong Kong in May and June, the 18-meter inflatable duck created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman arrived at Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan last Thursday.

Some 500,000 people showed up to see the duck within five days, including on Saturday, when officials suspended the exhibition due to the expected arrival of Usagi.

Kaohsiung City's love affair with the bird was kindled in 2009 when government officials went to see it on show in Osaka.

More: 40 Taiwanese foods we can't live without

"When we found out the rubber duck was coming to Hong Kong this year, we sent Hofman photos of Kaohsiung City and our mayor sent him a letter," said Zeno Lai, director general of the Kaohsiung Government Information Bureau and also the event's spokesperson.

"By the time we met Hofman in Hong Kong in June, he said more than 300 cities had contacted him for the next exhibition, including more than 20 cities in Taiwan," said Lai.

How Kaohsiung City won the duck's heart

And it was all yellow ... in May and June in Hong Kong, where the big duck drew more than eight million spectators.
And it was all yellow ... in May and June in Hong Kong, where the big duck drew more than eight million spectators.
Hong Kong quacking up over art display

According to Lai, Hofman was persuaded to bring his rubber duck to Kaohsiung by the city's tremendous enthusiasm for the unusual display.

Hofman has been gratified by the royal treatment he and his duck have received in Kaohsiung, said Lai.

"We understand there were minor technical issues with the duck when it was in Hong Kong and Beijing, so we tested everything at least three times," said Lai.

"We have already drafted emergency plans in case of bad weather or of harm being inflicted by visitors."

More: Fowl play? Giant rubber duck drowns in Hong Kong

The duck, which had to be assembled in Taiwan rather than floated all the way there or flown, is inflated by a new air pump made by the Kaohsiung event team.

"The rubber duck usually takes more than an hour to be inflated," said Lai. "But in Kaohsiung, it only takes seven minutes."

The team has promised to pass on its new techniques and any lessons learned to other Taiwanese cities set to receive the duck.

The yellow bird will be docked at Kaohsiung City until October 20, before floating to Taoyuan and Keelung in northern Taiwan (that's apparently not too far for a big duck to float) later this year.

The spectacle is expected to lure more than 3 million visitors to the harbor and generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the city.

Kaohsiung City has a population of about 2.3 million people, so many spectators from outside the city will be making the trek just for the duck.

After the duck's first week in the city, final attendance figures are likely to exceed initial estimates.

Find more on Hofman and his famed fowl at the duck's official website.

More: How the big rubber duck was born

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
The guidebook asked staff, contributors and authors for well-known and lesser-known recommendations.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
An airport in Asia has stolen the crown from Manila's Ninoy Aquino, voted 'world's worst' three years in a row.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1620 GMT (0020 HKT)
It's time for a beef break, veal vacation, hog holiday or sinew sabbatical in a T-bone a-fide U.S. meatopolis.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
With so many awesome new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 0107 GMT (0907 HKT)
Scientists are busy surveying Southeast Asia's Coral Triangle, home to 75 percent of all known coral species.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1350 GMT (2150 HKT)
Bounce Below in Wales
Bounce Below transforms an abandoned slate mine into a surreal, springy world of fear and fun,
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 2316 GMT (0716 HKT)
With chopsticks or fingers? Wasabi or no? A double Michelin-starred Tokyo chef sets the record straight and shows us the sushi way.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2224 GMT (0624 HKT)
Markthal Rotterdam foodhall in the Netherlands.
It may look like a gateway across time and space crafted with alien technology, but in reality it's a fruit and vegetable market.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
Based on the votes of over 330 industry experts, the 2014 winners include bars from 27 cities in 14 countries.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 2231 GMT (0631 HKT)
Careening down an active volcano at 95 kph on a thin board? It happens only at Cerro Negro in Nicaragua.
ADVERTISEMENT